Warrandyte by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Victorian state by-election for Warrandyte.

Click here for full display of Warrandyte by-election results.

Live commentary

End of Saturday night. By-elections with major party forfeits are always hard to read, particularly when, as in this case, the absent major party had accounted for nearly a third of the vote last time. Even so, the 8.9% hike in the Liberal primary vote seems respectable enough, having been scored from a field of twelve candidates compared with six last time. The Greens, who often struggle at by-elections, can likewise take something out of a 7.4% gain despite competition from the Victorian Socialists, who are on 3.9%. The only smaller party in the field both times was Family First, who struggled against a bigger field and a religious Liberal candidate. The DLP would owe a fair bit of their 5.7% to the name “Labour”, and Sustainable Australia some of their 2.7% to the donkey vote. The Freedom Party’s 2.2% was a bit below their average at the state election, and five independents managed less than 7% between them, more than half of which went to former Liberal Democrat Maya Tesa.

9.53pm. Sure enough, about 7000 early votes have just reported on the primary vote. These are very strong for the Liberals — about as much so as the postals, in swing terms. Presumably the corresponding TCP result will be along a bit later, and that will be it for the evening.

9.34pm. All election day booths are now in on primary and TCP, although there may be a large dump of early votes still to come this evening.

8.40pm. The preference flows table on my results page is back in business. It now shows the Liberals getting more than half, but I suspect that’s inflated by it being dominated by postals.

8.37pm. Out of 11 booths, seven are in on primaries and four are TCP. My projections are doing what they’re supposed to do, in that they’re remaining fairly steady while the raw totals fluctuate — raw TCP has blown out to 74.5-25.5 because the postals have now reported and dominate the total, but that will come down when we get the TCP results from the three booths that have so far only reported on primaries.

8.18pm. Now we’ve got five booths in on primaries and three on TCP. The Liberals are on 60.9% of the primary vote, but I’m projecting that to come down to 57% as the count becomes less dominated by postals. I’m less clear on how sticky the nearly 70-30 result on TCP will be, because it hasn’t been reported on postals yet. I’d be interested to know what the 42 absent votes are.

8.15pm. On the booth that’s in on the TCP, the Greens received 55.2% of minor party and independent preferences — which is what the preference flows table should be showing.

8.12pm. So now I’ve rubbed out the contents of the preference flows table.

8.09pm. Projection error rectified. However, the “preference flows” table is not behaving as it should.

8.04pm. Two booths in, one on primary votes only, the other on both primary and two-party. My projection has gone awry, and should not be allowing for the remotest possibility of Liberal defeat. Even so, the Liberals are doing less well on polling booth swings than on postals.

7.48pm. Results at last — and very curiously, it’s a huge batch of 5580 postals (primary votes only), on which the Liberal vote is up 13.8%. More than enough for my system to call it.

7.09pm. On what basis I’m not sure, but Simon Love of Sky News tweets: “Early pre-poll and postals strong so far – Lib primary vote up”.

7.04pm. Still nothing. The VEC results page confirms there will indeed by a Liberal-versus-Greens TCP count.

6.34pm. Results are only being refreshed every 15 minutes. Another update came through just now, but still nothing.

6.06pm. I’m assuming the TCP count will be between Liberal and the Greens, but won’t actually know until some numbers come through.

6pm. Polls have closed. Given the large field of candidates and the lack of small rural booths, I don’t imagine we will be seeing any results for at least a quarter of an hour.


Today is the day of Victoria’s Warrandyte by-election, occasioned by the resignation of Liberal member Ryan Smith. As detailed in my by-election guide, this seems likely to result in an easy win for Liberal candidate Nicole Werner, with Labor forfeiting and no obviously threatening independent or minor party challenger emerging. As usual, this site will feature a results page including projections and tabular and mapped displays of results at booth level, to be updated live from the close of voting at 6pm, together with live commentary to be added to this post.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

89 comments on “Warrandyte by-election live”

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  1. This is gonna be like the robot vote from Futurama. “The robot polls are now opening, and the robot vote is in, Nixon has won!”

    Morbo congratulates our gargantuan Warrandyte member of Parliament. May death come quickly to his enemies.

  2. Seemingly no news coverage on this for weeks. Can’t even find a mention in the The Age online today. Turnout could be very low.

  3. @BlackburnSeth – spot on. There has been no coverage whatsoever.

    I ‘m hoping for a miracle and Thomas Lightbody gets up! The Lib candidate is a bible thumping reactionary. She believes in miracles.

    Hopefully we get a Newspoll tomorrow night…

  4. It will be interesting to see how many votes Tomas Lightbody gets without a Labor candidate running. He does not have a high profile but he has been a Manningham councillor for a few years & beat the current mayor to get that seat.

    I counted four transphobic How To Vote flyers being handed out at polling stations, some more covert than others. The field is polarised.

  5. Looking at William’s guide, I notice that there is a DLP candidate running, with their party label being the rather needlessly deceptive “Labour DLP.” Wonder how many they will pick up from less engaged voters in the absence of an actual Labor candidate?

  6. Labor needs to wipe out DLP by electoral reform on party names. Federal law already made sure these deceptive parties can’t use similar names.

  7. Asha: I’m surprised the DLP are still allowed to do that… then again, this is the govt that has to be dragged kicking and screaming to fix the upper house.

    The DLP got 11% at the Lyndhurst by-election in 2013 (Family First also cracked double figures). That was a safe Labor seat with no Lib candidate, though, so it’s a different vibe.

    Colleen Bolger got 5.5% for Vic Socialists last year, when she ran in… Melbourne. This doesn’t seem like the part of Melbourne that’d take kindly to either (a) blow-ins or (b) socialists.

    Sustainable Aus have the donkey vote, so they should get their deposit back.

  8. 7.09pm. On what basis I’m not sure, but Simon Love of Sky News tweets: “Early pre-poll and postals strong so far – Lib primary vote up”.

    Liberal scrutineer got confused and texted a Sky News reporter instead of party HQ?

    I guess it would be an easy mistake to make!

  9. There’s really not much to compare this by-election to historically. Liberal seats in Melbourne don’t have many… the last ones were Burwood 1999 and Mitcham 1997 (both lost to Labor). Before that, Kew 1988, Malvern 1982 and Kew (again) 1981.

    So, if the Libs win, it’ll be the first time in 35 years they’ve held one of their own seats in a by-election in Melbourne!

  10. Initially I wasn’t going to comment until results started to come in, but with that comment from Simon Love, might as well.

    Of course there’d be an increase in the Primary Vote for the Liberals, with Labor not running, that’s 33% of the vote to distribute to others.

    This is just a run-of-the-mill safe seat by-election. But of course the right wing media will chalk it up to a triumph of reactionary conservative politics and say that the Liberals need to keep on attacking minorities and keep going full Trump in order to be electorally successful.

  11. Postals in – over 10% of enrolment. (When’s the last time postal votes were the first in?)

    67% to the Libs! 12% for Greens, 7% for DLP, chicken feed for everyone else. Family First somehow went backwards.

  12. Massive swing to Libs on First Preference and 2pp. I think it’s fair to say Commonwealth Games fiasco has ended any chance of Labor re-election at State level, and based off these numbers, will cost them a swathe of seats at the federal level.

  13. The result is another Pentecostal Bible basher in the Conservative Party room

    Their Leader is IPA – so another leadership vote against him

    The Pentecostals are circling

    They hold the administration hence the pre selection

  14. Finally, some real booths in. Ringwood Heights: Greens 27.5, Vic Socialists 7.8 (third, ahead of DLP). The other booth (Wonga Park) has 15.5 for the Greens, so they should be generally in the high teens.

    Usually the postal vote comes in last and whacks the Green vote down by a few points – here it’s done the opposite.

  15. Massive swing to Libs on First Preference and 2pp. I think it’s fair to say Commonwealth Games fiasco has ended any chance of Labor re-election at State level, and based off these numbers, will cost them a swathe of seats at the federal level.


    Welcome back, Sean.

  16. yep, if Labor don’t run any candidates in the 2026 election, they won’t be re-elected.

    Extrapolate the results of this by-election to 2026, and Labor gets 0% of the primary vote! Dan Andrews must be real worried right now!

  17. I am guess Labor is happy having sat this one out. There was little to gain from running. The very small chance of winning was out weighed by the downsides of losing ground and having the Vic media hyperventilating over the result.

    Because the Liberals couldn’t afford to lose the seat, they had to spend some of their rare cash on it. If Labor had run the Liberals would have needed to spend more but from Labor’s POV that was not really worth it either.

    Nicole Werner is another hype conservative religious nut and that is exactly not what the Victorian Liberals need at the moment. There is ahigh probably that she becomes a thorn in the side of the leadership like the others of that ilk.

    It is just not natural Green territory. So the Liberals can’t be too pleased with only 10% swing to them.

    High DLP vote due to lost Labor voters.

  18. God Victoria are highly politically informed constituents. If DLP ran in parts of QLD with Labor absent on the ballot I’d expect them to get at least 15% of the vote (assuming the voters actually turned up). To be fair though I think there is more actual political affinity with the DLP in QLD than most of Victoria (still not a lot).

  19. Another good booth for Vic Soc, and they’re averaging over 5% on booths, compared to just 1.1% on postals. They’ll probably crack the 4% barrier. Similar for Maya Tesa, who got 1.5% on postals but 4.5% so far on booths.

    Parties who did better on postals: the Libs obviously, by about 12% – but also Sus Aus, DLP and the ind Chow, by about 1% each. Two microparties who have had MLCs elected in the recent past I can kinda understand, but why would a random independent have a good postal vote game?

  20. Well, you would have to say Pesutto has passed that test.
    Will put a real spring in his step coming off the back of the Commonwealth Games fiasco.

  21. There will be a real panic going through the Andrews camp tonight based off these results.

    Labor head office will be in overdrive trying to make sure they don’t all simultaneously forget to run candidates in every single electorate in 2016.

  22. Asha: as stupid as that sounds, it has actually happened.


    At the 1973 NSW election (eight years into Bob Askin’s govt), the health minister forgot to renominate for his (very safe) seat, and the DLP got their one and only lower house seat. That must’ve been one major “aarrgh SHIT!” moment. Up there with the Vic Lib shadow treasurer in 2002 who wasn’t enrolled to vote.

    *hums theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm*

  23. I just realised what Ven’s constant, compulsive verbal tic of “the Greens political party” reminds me of. That episode of “Round The Twist” where Pete can’t stop saying “without a shirt” after every sentence.

    (Asha, you’re probably the only other person on here the right age to get that reference.)

  24. These results are mostly as I expected, Liberals getting at least 45% of the Primary Vote, Greens getting 10-20%, and nobody else managing to get over 10%.

    Only surprise is Liberals getting more and the other sundry candidates getting less. I suppose once the final turnout figures are published that could be down to a large number of Labor voters simply refusing to show up.

    Pretty much meaningless in Victorian politics, other than the fact that John Pesutto now has to put up with Peta Credlin’s protégé in his party room to add to the numbers constantly white anting him about Moira Deeming and other such matters.

  25. A sure bet for the person that runs as a liberal, and Nicole Werner is what they offer up. Says a lot about where the Liberals are at.

  26. While the electorate results are about as expected, it came very close to a very different kind of contest in the preselection.

    Apparently John Roskam allegedly missed out on it by 1 vote when it came down to the final 3 candidates, and if he was the candidate it probably would have been a very different matter, since even people in Labor admit that he’s a seasoned politician with possibilities of leadership, but it turned out to not be like that in the end.

  27. Kirsdarke
    Yes,it wasn’t as if there was no option, the party selected from the religious wing. IPA, KPMG, no longer have the power.

  28. Am I right in thinking this is another bad night for the Greens? From Labor’s 33% primary last time they only gained 6 or 7 percent? Or what’s normal for a by-election like this?

  29. “Sky News reporter instead of party HQ”
    What’s the difference?

    What’s the headlines tomorrow? “DAN DISASTER! Labor’s 33% swing against them proves Victoria doesn’t want them!”

  30. Interesting result.

    Nicole Werner running unopposed only gets 58.5% of the vote and yet the LNP are dancing in the street.

    She will be sitting next to Moira Deeming before you can say ‘next state election’. Well done Libs, you just invited a trojan horse in to your inner sanctum.

    The ALP made a tactically sound decision not running a candidate. Their decision was heavily influenced by the LNP preselecting the said bible-thumping reactionary. Why run candidate who would probably lose and if they did win they’s be out at the next general election unless we have Danslide III – Slide even harder!

    Tomas Lightbody’s 31.5% of the 2pp vote for the Greens is a great result. Well done, lad!

    @nixon did nothing wrong – I really hoped you were a satirical poster – sadly you’re not. Which Nixon are you referring to: Richard, Ricky or Christine. Only one of them did nothing wrong!

  31. Joeldipops: I’d call it about what anyone impartial could’ve expected. The Greens picked up a few votes from Labor, and also Animal Justice (2.3% last year), while losing some to Vic Socialists. Meanwhile, a big chunk of Labor voters jumped straight to the Libs. Most of them had probably been Lib voters before 2018 anyway. And there’s “Labour DLP” for the terminally clueless.

    If you’ve spent more than five minutes on the main thread on PB, you’ll understand how some Labor voters’ rabid hatred of the Greens can induce them to vote for the Liberals if their own party isn’t there.

  32. @bob:

    Pesutto: “The people of Warrandyte have been the voice of all Victorians tonight,” he said. “They have said loudly, enough is enough.”

    David Southwick declared “a new dawn has risen for the Victorian Liberal Party”.

    These people are delusional!

  33. BoP: Animosity aside, don’t Greens usually get 60 – 80% of Labor preferences? So to see them getting less than a third of Labor’s primary seemed like a pretty serious drop. But I didn’t notice the very low turnout Spence pointed out. I reckon that’s the main thing at play here, as they suggested.

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