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As Antony Green explains, much of the Electoral Commission’s efforts yesterday were spent preparing declaration envelopes for votes that will be counted from today, including the first absents, which have the potential to pull a few rabbits out of the hat for Labor. So far as the seats I’m continuing to follow are concerned, significant progress was made in only three, each involving the resolution of election day and pre-poll booths. As explained below, this clarified the situation in two of them to the extent that I won’t continue providing updates henceforth, and I’m probably showing an abundance of caution in the third.
Kiama. The first batch of postals, which had previously only been reported on the primary vote, were added yesterday on two-party, and broke in Gareth Ward’s favour by 1165-732. That puts him 1367 votes ahead, with only 3000 absents, a handful of provisionals and however many postals to come — with the latter sure to continue favouring him, that settles the matter.
Miranda. After slow progress in the count previously, yesterday saw all the pre-polls added on two-party and the stragglers on the election day vote cleaned up, collectively pushing the Liberal lead from 525 to a safe-and-sound 1841.
Wollondilly. The Bowral pre-poll, which had been strong for the Liberals, was added on two-party, negating advantages to independent Judy Hannan on the newly added election day votes and reducing her lead from 1602 to 1350. The Electoral Commission has received over 4000 postal votes and should get a few hundred more, of which it has counted only 962 – given those counted broke 57-43 to Liberal, they could hope to rein in a good 500 or so. There could also be as many as 3000 absents, and if all goes well for them they could maybe scrape back another 500 there as well, since they performed strongly on them in 2019. That would still leave them short, but not by enough that I am quite willing to shut the door just yet.
Yesterday’s counting continued to take care of outstanding election day booths and reduce the number of unreported pre-polls, with no postals added anywhere that I’ve been tracking. Labor’s chances of a majority hinge on strong performances in a few place on absent votes, which won’t start being added until Thursday. Below are updates on seven of the eight seats I identified as seriously in doubt yesterday, the exception being Oatley where there was no further progress.
Holsworthy. Yesterday’s counting bore out Antony Green’s indication that this would continue to drift towards the Liberals: all the pre-polls reported their two-candidate results, for a collective Liberal advantage of 7038-6889, and the one outstanding election day booth, Menai Primary, broke 619-582 in their favour as well. Even without the addition of further postals, which will almost certainly play to their advantage, that increased their lead from 340 to 526. Labor would need a very strong result on absents to remain in the hunt here.
Kiama. Again consistent with what Antony Green was hearing, Gareth Ward stormed into the lead here after winning the Nowra pre-poll 3333-2145, and he further gained 852-680 from the one outstanding election day two-candidate booth (Bomaderry Public). He now leads by 615 after trailing yesterday by 752.
Miranda. The results caught up with my projection here after the Illawong Public election day booth finally reported (though there are still three election day booths without two-party and one without primaries), breaking 1279-818 to the Liberals and pushing their lead out from 71 to 525.
Pittwater. The Narrabeen pre-poll pushed the Liberal lead out from 377 to 664, which the outstanding postals can only widen further. That just leaves the unknown quantity of absents, of which the Electoral Commission was expecting about 3000.
Ryde. The Epping pre-poll broke 873-866 to Liberal, reducing the Labor lead from 241 to 234.
Terrigal. The Woy Woy pre-poll broke 836-683 to Liberal, amounting to a below par swing to Labor of 7.2%. My system continues to project a Labor lead, but that’s probably based on an underestimate of the number of outstanding postals. Labor’s hope remains a strong performance on absents.
Wollondilly. The Camden pre-poll broke 1022-1016 to Liberal, putting independent Judy Hannan’s lead at 1602.
Before dealing with the business at hand, you can hear more of my thoughts on the result in discussion with Ben Raue on his podast at his Tally Room website, and in an article for Crikey if you’re a subscriber.
Yesterday’s counting made Labor’s win look rather less emphatic, to the extent that Antony Green – going here off “inside information” – expects them to win no more than 46 seats, placing them one short of a majority. My projections still have Labor ahead in Terrigal and Holsworthy, but the Liberals have hit the lead on the raw count in the former case and remain ahead in the latter, and Antony’s sources evidently have reason to believe they will stay there. What follows is a summary of yesterday’s progress in doubtful seats, which I’ll define here a little more tightly than I do in my results summary, starting with the aforementioned two seats and then proceeding alphabetically.
Terrigal. The Liberals went from 556 behind on the two-party count to 87 ahead after three pre-poll centres broke their way by 5969-5154 and the first postals did so by 350-208. Whereas election day votes swung 13.8% to Labor, so far pre-polls have done so by 11.5% and postals by 10.8%; further, the number of formal election day votes was down from 30,625 to 27,560. My system continues to credit Labor with a lead based on the swing from the votes that are actually in, but if it’s indeed the case that the outstanding votes underperform that, the projected lead is unlikely to hold. On the other hand, Labor performed well above par on absents in 2019 (a Liberal TPP margin of 4.3% as compared with 12.3% across the electorate as a whole), likely to number about 3000, which I would have thought held out hope for them. The Woy Woy pre-poll is still to report – Labor did 3% better there on two-party preferred in 2019 than the pre-polls that have reported so far, but it’s actually located in neighbouring Gosford and the NSWEC’s pre-election estimate was that it would handle a fairly modest 1760 votes. The problem for Labor would appear to be that the number of postals has more than doubled from the last election — another 3000 of those continuing to break nearly 63-37 to the Liberals would boost them by 750.
Holsworthy. The Liberals lead here by 0.7% on the raw two-party count, but there are a lot of pre-poll numbers still to come, and the Liberal margin on those was only 1.4% in 2019 compared with 5.7% across the electorate as a whole. Labor should also get a bit of a boost from absents if their swing is like those of votes cast within the electorate. Again though, my system could be underestimating the advantage remaining to accrue to the Liberals on postals, the first batch of which broke 943-803 in their favour.
Kiama. Labor were looking good here at the close of election night, and they still hold a seemingly handy 752 lead on the two-party count. The reason my system now thinks it’s lineball is that Gareth Ward has scored an impressive 48.6% of the primary vote out of 2192 postals, compared with his overall progress score of 38.5%, and these are yet to report on two-candidate preferred. Antony Green’s sources go further than that, saying he has it in the bag.
Miranda. With only postals added yesterday, there are still a lot of holes in the count here: two election day booths haven’t reported at all, another two have primary vote numbers only, no pre-polls have reported two-party preferred, and only one out of five of them are in on the primary vote. My system’s efforts to fill the gaps credit the Liberals with a lead of 1.0% compared with a raw 0.2% on two-party preferred. As ever, part of the equation is that the first batch of postals broke 726-505 their way.
Oatley. The Liberals’ lead here inflated from 254 to 910 yesterday with the reporting of the large Mortdale pre-poll booth, which broke 4740-4084 their way for a slightly below par swing to Labor of 5.1%. The first batch of postals broke 1329-946 to Liberal and those to come will presumably widen the gap, leaving absents as Labor’s only chance — there should be about 3000 of them, and in 2019 they broke almost evenly in a seat where the Liberals recorded a 6.9% winning margin.
Pittwater. I’m still projecting a narrow independent lead here, but the Liberals have opened up a 377 lead on the two-candidate count after winning the Pittwater pre-poll 3924-3049. They are also smashing it on postals, a factor my system struggles with when they substantially increase in number, as they have done both at this election and in Victoria. Certainly Antony Green’s sources are telling him the Liberals are home and hosed here.
Ryde. Labor’s two-party lead fell here yesterday from 412 to 241, the size of the Liberal winning margin in the large Eastwood pre-poll outweighing their losing margin in the smaller Macquarie Park pre-poll. The swing to Labor in Eastwood was a weak 3.2%. The one outstanding pre-poll and the absents both produced results in line with the overall result in 2019, but Labor would have to be worried about the thought of more than 2000 postals yet to come — the first batch swung 12.2% their way, but still broke 1052-837 to Liberal.
Wollondilly. Climate 200-backed independent Judy Hannan holds a 3.2% margin on the two-candidate count, but she has some weak booths that have so far only reported on the primary vote, which is one reason I’m only projecting her to win by 1.2%. Once again, the large number of outstanding postals may mean my system is selling them short — those counted so far have broken 437-326 their way, with a good 3000 yet to come, and the Liberals did even better on absents in 2019 than they did on postals.
No counting was conducted yesterday, but today we can expect to see progress on the pre-poll voting centres that are yet to report, which is the majority of them; a smaller number of election day stragglers; and the postal votes received up to Friday in seats where they were not reported on the night, of which I count 36. The Electoral Commission has pulled the two-candidate count between independent Alex Greenwich and the Liberals in the seat of Sydney, having determined that Labor rather than the Liberals will finish second. A new count will be conducted, but I’m not clear when the results will be published – clearly it’s academic because Greenwich has easily been re-elected. I have cleared a blockage that was preventing my results system from calling Newcastle for Labor, for whom it is now calling a definite 45 seats.
My ever cautious results system* is currently giving away 44 seats to Labor, placing it three short of a confirmed majority, but leading in another seven. So the likeliest outcome is that the incoming government will indeed hold a majority. I spent the evening as part of a six-member decision desk at the Nine Network calling seats the hard way, and by the close of business we had it down to nine in doubt: the Labor-versus-Coalition contests of Winston Hills, Goulburn, Holsworthy, Miranda and Oatley; Willoughby, Wollondilly and Pittwater, which are Liberal-held seats that might go independent; and Kiama, where ex-Liberal independent Gareth Ward effortlessly saw off his Liberal opponent as expected, but might fall foul of the swing to Labor. Immediately before it turned off booth matching and switched to raw results, the ABC was calling Winston Hills for the Liberals, but concurred with my system in not yet calling Ryde for Labor, Drummoyne for the Liberals or Balmain for the Greens.
The situation in the Legislative Council is always obscure on the night, with only a third of enrolled voters’ first preference votes counted, all of which are above-the-line votes. For what it’s worth though, Labor is currently clear of eight quotas, the Coalition six, the Greens two and One Nation one. Legalise Cannabis, the Liberal Democrats and Shooters Fishers and Farmers also look to be doing well enough to each win one of the four remaining seats, with the final seat perhaps going to the Coalition or Animal Justice. If that’s the case – and it must be stressed at this early stage that it may not be – that would result in the final seat deciding whether a broadly defined left has a majority with 22 seat out of 42, or if left and right are tied at 21 each.
* If you’re finding it of any value, donations are gratefully received through the “become a supporter” button at the top of this page and in the right-hand corner of the results page itself. Between the scale of an election for 93 seats and the confounding extra layer of complexity entailed by optional preferential voting, this involved a rather considerable expenditure of effort on my part, for which I am only rewarded to the extent that my kind donors see fit.