Mulgrave by-election live

Live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Mulgrave state by-election.

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

End of Saturday night

Labor candidate Eden Foster’s 40.1% primary vote, while more than 10% down on Daniel Andrews’ share in November 2022, is enough to ensure the only remaining point of interest is who finishes second. Liberal candidate Courtney Mann leads independent Ian Cook by 21.6% to 18.9%, leaving 19.5% from various other candidates to be distributed among the three during the preference count. To close the gap, Cook’s share of the latter needs to be 13.85% higher than Mann’s, whereas at the general election he did little better than equal it (29.6% to 29.2%, the rest going to Andrews), and there’s little reason to expect different this time.

Consequently, the 56.2-43.8 split in Labor’s favour on the indicative TCP count is of only academic interest, and will probably be pulled over the next few days and a fresh Labor-versus-Liberal count conducted. Based on my own preference estimates, I’m projecting Labor to win that one by 56.5-43.5, though it seems that’s at the high end of what’s generally expected. This gives Labor 25% of preferences from Ian Cook, 80% from the Greens, 83% from Victorian Socialists, 64% from Animal Justice, 30% of Libertarians and 25% from Family First, and splits the rest evenly. To pull off a freakish win, Mann would need 74% of all preferences.

Live commentary

11.35pm. We’ve got what I take to be our final numbers for the evening, which include a third batch of early votes that were very strong for Labor — so much so that they are now performing above par on early votes, in swing terms.

10.51pm. A big missing piece of the puzzle has been added with the second batch of early votes on TCP, which had hitherto been in the count only as primary vote. What was previously listed as a 27.2% swing against Labor on TCP now registers as 9.9%. They have nonetheless slightly boosted Ian Cook’s vote against Labor on the progressive TCP count, which is unlikely to be the one that applies at the final count. Still outstanding for this evening are one booth on both primary TCP, and another just on TCP.

10.23pm. Labor have claimed victory and Liberal have conceded defeat, although the Liberals at least say they expect to finish ahead of Cook.

10.19pm. The last two updates have brought three TCP booth results, which confirm what was already known.

9.51pm. The only new result in the latest update is a TCP result from the Brandon Park booth, which slightly improved Ian Cook’s position relative to Labor. Whether that becomes the operative count is still an open question, but Labor is clearly not in danger either way.

9.34pm. The latest update brings another election day booth primary vote result, which does nothing to change the situation.

9.21pm. The latest update brings one new election day booth on the primary vote, and it must have been a good result for Labor because it’s almost cancelled out the impact of my correction to the error that was selling the Liberals short on the TCP projection (it had been splitting preferences 50-50, whereas now it’s going about 58-42 to the Liberals).

9.17pm. I note that a big new batch of pre-polls got added on the primary vote in the previous update, and they confirmed my earlier suspicions — the swing against Labor on the primary vote is now 13.4%, whereas before it was well over 20%. The 27.2% TCP swing against Labor currently indicated on early votes can thus be expected to come down dramatically when these new votes are added to the count.

9.14pm. I’ve identified the error that was inflating Labor’s projected TCP against the Liberals. The next update, which should be along in a few minutes, should bring it down to about 55-45.

9.05pm. There are now seven booths in on the primary vote, and still only two for TCP (plus postal and early votes on both counts), and the situation appears to have settled in.

8.49pm. The regular once-every-15-minutes update brings another election day booth on the primary vote and the small number of absent votes (if you’re wondering how a by-election can have absent votes, these are in fact telephone-assisted votes), neither of which much changes the situation.

8.36pm. The latest update (they happen every 15 minutes) brings a fourth booth on the primary vote and a second on TCP, together with the batches of postals and early votes that have been added to the count, which have both. Ian Cook has fallen further behind the Liberal on the primary vote. The Labor-versus-Liberal and Labor-versus-Cook two-candidate results from the 2022 election were very similar, so presumably the 6.2% lead has on the Labor-versus-Cook count will be broadly indicative regardless of what happens. I still think my projection of 7.6% is probably flattering Labor a little, but in any case it seems they are going to win fairly comfortably despite a double-digit hit on the primary vote, about half of which is going to the Liberals.

8.23pm. There is now an election day booth in on TCP, together with the early and postal results. Cook remains 2.7% behind the Liberals, and I wouldn’t care to venture how much chance he has of closing the gap on the primary vote. My system has a method for projecting this that says it won’t happen, but I’m not entirely sure how much I trust it at this stage of its development. My preference estimates suggest Labor will win by about 8% if he drops out, but the size of the primary vote swings are making me think that’s flattering to Labor. I’ll now revisit my preference estimates.

8.07pm. The postal TCP votes are added and Ian Cook no longer leads on the TCP count, suggesting he’s unlikely to beat Labor even if he finishes second. One further booth has reported on the primary vote, and the primary vote gap between Cook and Liberal has narrowed from 3.4% to 2.9%. His primary vote is similar in both size and distribution to the election. Apart from early votes, Labor are down a bit over 10% and Liberal up a bit over 5% — but the early votes are strikingly worse for Labor elsewhere. It may be that this is because they are from one particular location that’s weak for Labor, and will come more in line with the rest of the result when further votes are added.

7.55pm. The first two election day booths have closed the gap between Ian Cook and the Liberal candidate, from nearly 10% to 3.4%. We also have a TCP result on the pre-polls, which were bad for Labor on the primary vote, but are nonetheless striking in having Cook well ahead. My probability estimate is still not giving him any chance of making the final count, but given the imbalance between election day and postal/early votes, it may not be reliable.

7.40pm. My results page conked out for a few minutes after the first upload, but I’ve patched it up now. As was the case in Warrandyte, we have the slightly confounding (from my perspective) fact that postals and pre-polls have reported before any of the election day booths. Labor is on 41.3% of the primary vote, and Ian Cook appears set to finish third with 17.1% to the Liberals’ 26.9%. My projection does not get the Liberals anywhere near closing the gap on preferences, and is close to calling it for Labor.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the count for Victoria’s Mulgrave state by-election. Results are likely to be a bit slow in coming (and will only be updated every 15 minutes), given the field of ten candidates and the fact that all the booths are in urban areas. If the Warrandyte by-election in August is any guide, the first batch of results to come through may in fact be postals, which was something I had never previously encountered (and which my results system struggled with at first). The candidates chosen for the Victorian Electoral Commission for the indicative two-candidate preferred count are Labor’s Eden Foster and independent Ian Cook, so its results will be redundant if Cook performs below expectations and the Liberal candidate looks set to reach the final count instead. If my system calculates that this is likely, it will fall back on preference estimates to project a final result.

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.

99 comments on “Mulgrave by-election live”

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  1. MABWM

    “ Ian Cook’s catering business was shut down by the Health Department and CHO after a client died of wisteria and then during an inspection they found a slug in his kitchen.”

    Yech! No wonder he has been looking for someone (else) to blame ever since.

  2. Yep Soc, an angry vessel making lots of noise. He is SNAFU personified. Hopefully now he will slink off quietly into the night.

    Lovely day down here today. Glorious sunshine.

    A bad day for my Green team, but a great day for democracy.

  3. The truly bad result here is the Greens. Shockingly bad performance. The far left is finally cottoning on to their ineptitude, wrecking ball behaviour from the trust fund children of Liberals party members.

  4. Has the VEC decided that since Cook is not going to be in the last 2 candidates that they would stop publishing the TCP? There hasn’t been an update there for a long time.

  5. For the sake of his volunteers, hopefully Cook hasn’t prepared the snacks for tonight’s wake for his second attempt of a career in politics.

  6. As I understand the catering business supplied to a local hospital and the person who died due to the infection was a patient at the hospital – the food linked to a supplier

    Then the allegation the Council planted a slug in his kitchen, so a conspiracy!!!

    Unfortunately these types are out there in society, promoting freedom by voting against Labor!!!!

    The Court ruled that the CHO did not have the authority to shutter the business

    There actually are occasions when a Court ruling should be legislated against – and this matter could be promoted as one such issue

    No doubt there are other catering businesses which fall foul of business practices, resulting in illness such as on cruises and across society and, in one case I was well aware of years ago, supplying orange juice to Qantas

    These suppliers lose that client and lose reputation – so basically they generally fail in the face of publicity

    But if you supply to a hospital and a patient dies?

    That this guy continues to trade and then gets “people” to vote for him begs a question as to the trajectory of society fuelled by the tactics of the Liberal Party in opposition (and their media)

    And Kennett put that the Liberal Party should put their weight behind the individual

    Absolutely staggering – but not surprising

  7. @Bob,

    Terrible night for the Greens. The left vote is badly fractured.

    I think you are wrong about who the Greens are though. The vast majority are young people who want Labor to be better. Their parents all vote(d) Labor. 80% of Green votes return to the ALP.

  8. The truly bad result here is the Greens. Shockingly bad performance.

    Erm… the Greens vote went up (from 5.1% to 5.8%). What’s bad about that? It’s not like they were ever going to win the seat – it’s outer suburbia where they traditionally don’t do well. They probably gained a few % from Labor and lost a few to AJP and VS, with a net change of not much.

  9. Mulgrave is unnatural Green territory. There are no natural reservoirs of Green voters there like Universities or “hip happening” places (as opposed to Brunswick or Northcote). Springvale, Mulgrave or Wheelers Hill just doesn’t have that vibe.

  10. @Here we go again
    Have to correct you about the Supreme Court’s decision on Cook’s case. The Court didn’t rule that the Chief Health Officer had no authority whatsoever to issue the order he did, it ruled that the order was invalid because he ought to have first given the business a right to be heard in response and thus failed to afford it procedural fairness (otherwise known as natural justice). But no damages flowed because the CHO didn’t know and his legal advice didn’t tell him that he had to afford procedural fairness, so he didn’t act with reckless indifference to (let alone knowledge of) the invalidity of the order, which is a key element of misfeasance in public office, the cause of action being sued on.

  11. Hah, Labor wins.

    Sucks to be you and eat dirt, Cookers.

    I know I should be better than this, but I’ll take and celebrate this victory over the increasing looming shadow of fascism while I can.

  12. Murdoch has the record he has – and referred to on this site

    9 Entertainment is Chaired by Peter Costello, still influential within the Liberal Party and a Party Member

    7 West is Chaired by Stokes, who is a very influential Liberal Party Member

    Next question?

    Because this is the DNA of media

    It may be that on some occasion they give an impression of independent (where they have no alternative based on facts) BUT at the core they return to their DNA and the dictates of HMV

  13. TE


    I attempted to abbreviate (and lazy!!)

    Procedural fairness, hey?

    The next question is procedural fairness and who, across society, is the benificiary of procedural fairness?

    The old story is that it is not what you know but who you know – and how deep your pockets are so being represented by the best available in whatever field

    Then some, courtesy of associations, receive pro bono representation and where the reputation of that representation delivers results (without seeing the inside of a Court)

    To me at least, this individuals position is aided and abetted by media and their anti Andrews (and Labor) campaign

    Not withstanding the Court decision you correctly describe (noting there was no Order re compensation – and costs I do not know but I would imagine that costs were not against the public because if they were that would have been a screaming headline you would imagine)

    So who funded the plaintiff – including pro bono to prosecute his case?


  14. There is 7.3% of the vote not showing as a Swing because not represented at the last election

    So 2.9%, 0.8% and 3.6% respectively

    These votes have come from somwhere, impacting who?

  15. The Age reporting a “10% swing” when they mean a 10% drop in the Labor primary is the sort of inaccurate, clearly slanted to be negative to Labor, reporting that has caused them to lose all influence in Victoria. Didn’t they get burned enough at the last Federal and State election by focusing on primaries for their wrong calls predicting hung parliaments?

  16. @victoria,

    Fascism is in our future. Democracy is in steep decline. Less than half the world population lives in a democracy already.

    The progressive left still expects everyone to play by the rules and act in everyone’s best interests.

    The right don’t give a shit about the rules, or anyone else other than themselves.

    Trump is getting saturation media coverage. Most of it is pointing out what a turnip he is, but it is all good publicity fir him. That is what happened in 2016.

    The US is hopelessly gerrymandered. They have no FEC. They have the electoral college gerrymander. They vote on a Tuesday. They have first past the post. Dutton is a trumpist. He is also not smart enough to realise the forces he is releasing.

    And then the climate catastrophe will hit us.

    The next ten years will see the collapse of democracy unless we fight very hard. Enjoy it while you can.

    The game is up.

  17. These votes have come from somwhere, impacting who?

    Presumably Labor, considering they dropped 10%. Or the half a dozen weirdos who ran in 2022 but not this time. The Libertarians probably scooped a few votes from Labor just by being in the donkey vote position.

    Oh, and now Springvale Central has shown up, five and a half hours after polls closed. What took them so long?

  18. Completely pointless factoid: Vic Socialists have finished exactly ONE vote behind the Greens at three different booths, as well as three votes behind at another.

    While on VS: they need to work on their postal vote game. 5% at election day booths, but just 1% on postals (and 3% on early votes) means they don’t get their deposit back. Same thing happened in Warrandyte. Small numbers, but it could make the difference between winning or losing an upper house seat one day.

  19. Always independent age:

    “ Labor has declared a narrow victory in Saturday’s byelection to replace former premier Daniel Andrews”

    14 points is a narrow victory when it is Labor.

    14 points is a shellacking.

    This is barracking not analysis.

    We deserve better.

    On the bright side, At least they aren’t interviewing the stairs like the American owned tabloid.

  20. MABWM

    Agree with your comments at 11.45 pm

    But I am confident that Trump will not prevail and democracy at least in the western countries will continue.

    Climate change or in my thinking the volcanoes awakening again. Well that is another story.

  21. The media in Victoria is beyond pathetic.

    I will never forget what they did to us during the pandemic. It was disgraceful.
    And that goes for the frickin ABC as well.

  22. The channel 9 media in TheAge is reporting a “10% swing against labor” and a “narrow victory”, with labor “just holding on”. They report than Dan had a TPP vote of 60% but fail to report the 56% TPP win last night. The age now really is just the herald sun for the privately schooled.

  23. In a way, Ian Cook helps Labor with the narrative. The narrative is “Labor has clung on” but it is not “Liberals take giant bite out Labor’s margin”. The lack of a useful TCP result means that the true result won’t be known until 4 days from now when the story is forgotten. This doesn’t help the Liberals and doesn’t help strengthen their leadership either.
    Ian Cook is a terrible candidate as his cause is one entirely of self-interest (he is upset about what happen to his business) and has nothing really to do with the rest of the electorate – It is not like he is campaigning for improvements to the local schools or hospitals or objecting to a road project etc.

  24. Based upon results to date, the result sees to be a very comfortable Labor victory with a swing against it of about 5%. Maybe that goes out a bit more with late counting.

    So pretty much par for the course for by-elections, especially given the loss of whatever following Dan Andrews had.

    Once again the voters of Victoria have failed to do what they were told by the Herald Sun.

  25. Sorry, but did I see a comment about someone dying from ” wisteria”? Is that glorious climbing plant toxic to humans?
    Maybe a typo….” listeria ” is an infection that can be fatal.

  26. Kos Samaras on vic state by election of Dan Andrews former seat of Mulgrave


    They also sent his party a message. In 2018, the Liberal primary in this seat was 33%. Last night, it ended up on 21.6%.

    The Liberal Party lost in a landslide in 2018. In 2023, its support within this part of Melbourne is over 10% lower, even when we consider the boundary changes hurt Labor after 2018.

    His only saving grace is his party ending up slightly ahead of Cook, the Independent.

  27. ”ABC News similarly reporting that Labor has ‘clung on’.”

    The Mulgrave by-election is not big news here in Sydney and I don’t think that it was mentioned on the ABC News here. However, as a general comment, I often get the impression that the ABC is taking its lead on news from the National Rupert, often the Daily Rupert.

  28. AAP on Mulgrave (from Guardian blog):

    ‘… Eden Foster leads with more than 40% of the primary vote in Saturday’s by-election, which is down more than 10 percentage points from Andrews’ showing …’

    ‘Foster suffered a swing into the healthy 10.2% margin left by Andrews …’

    Interesting juxtaposition of primary swing and 2PP margin.

    A casual reader might interpret that as Foster indeed ‘clinging on’ after losing 10% of a 10.2% margin.

  29. @oliver Sutton, the meedja is either unknowingly incompetent, or knowingly incompetent. I don’t know which is worse.

    Slug man was never a viable candidate. Labor were never going to lose.

    It was always a 55/45 result at worst for the ALP.

    Yet somehow the result was close?

    Democracy is withering and journalism is all but dead.

  30. @Gettysburg

    FWIW, wisteria (the beautiful climbing plant) is indeed toxic to humans.

    But that’s got nothing to do with iCook’s listeria problem 🙂

  31. In the Guardian’s case, it’s laziness or just the famous Grauniad lack of quality control.

    In the Age’s case, it’s malice / following the narrative required of it by its boss. The ABC ditto, there are mornings on the radio where it’s 100% Liberal Party newsletter talking points. Not sure if the ABC news editors have changed since the Abbott installations.

    If the Guardian is the closest thing we have to a mainstream independent newspaper, Australian print journalism is indeed pretty rooted. I reckon I get more insightful commentary from FriendlyJordies than any kind of traditional news outlet…

  32. Note re the preference split from Cook, for 2022 using the 2PP throw for information and the later published distribution which has a 3CP point, it appears that 83% of votes that were with Cook at his exclusion favoured Liberals over Labor. Not all these votes were Cook’s own (81.6% of them were, the rest were preferences from other candidates). This seems staggeringly high for an impure preference flow from an IND and I’ve checked the booth data to see if there is any obvious error that might suggest the ALP vs Liberal throw for information is wrong, but found none. That would probably explain why William’s estimate using 75% to Liberal for Cook comes out higher than others for Labor on the 2PP, but that’s not to say that 75% is wrong – it could be that tactical voters for Cook last year have gone home to Liberals and the flow off Cook might therefore weaken; it could also be that Cook voters will be less anti-Foster than anti-Andrews.

  33. The narrative does not have to reflect the truth, especially when there is no clear truth. Because there is no final result due to the uncertainty around the final 2nd place getter, the only story that can be told is that Labor’s primary vote is down.
    The Victorian Political journalists would have prepared 2 stories: “Labor wins with a drop in vote; Allan government suffers blow” and “Labor loses in a shock result; Allan government in trouble”. Nobody wants to read “Labor retains with a drop in primary; steady as she goes” there is no drama in that.

    As it is the plane crash in the bay will take the headlines tonight.

  34. If it does turn out to be roughly a -4% swing on 2PP terms, that’s a good result for Labor and not too far off what I was predicting (about -3%). Ian Cook did better than I expected, I predicted a bigger Cook to Liberal swing than what occurred.

  35. Waiting for postals to all be in before continuing, as until they have those, they don’t can’t be sure who will be second.

    No huge rush, as there’s ultimately no chance of Labor losing it.

    The full preference distribution for the Mulgrave District by-election has been completed – see the results at:
    We will publish the results of 2-party preferred (2PP) count between ALP and Liberal later this evening
    6:58 PM · Nov 27, 2023
    The 2PP results have now been published – scroll to the bottom of to view them #MulgraveVotes
    7:09 PM · Nov 27, 2023

    Two candidate preferred
    Ian Cook (IND) 15681 43.51%
    Eden Foster (ALP) 20363 56.49%

    Two party preferred (nominal)
    Courtney Mann (LIB) 16340 45.33%
    Eden Foster (ALP) 19704 54.67%

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