Monday miscellany: seat entitlements, Voice and China polling, by-election latest (open thread)

Confirmation that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a lower house seat, with Western Australia to gain one.

I don’t believe there will be any voting intention polling this week, apart from the usual Roy Morgan – and if you’re really desperate, Kevin Bonham has discovered a trove of its federal polling in a dark corner of its website. Other than that, there’s the following:

• The regular mid-term calculation of population-based state and territory seat entitlements for the House of Representatives was conducted last week, and it confirmed what anyone with a calculator could have worked out in advance, namely that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat, Western Australia will gain one, and the size of the chamber will go from 151 to 150 (assuming the government doesn’t go the nuclear option of seeking to increase the size of parliament, which is under active consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters). Antony Green has detailed blog posts on the looming redistributions for New South Wales, suggesting Sydney’s North Shore as the area most likely to have a seat abolished), Victoria, which is harder to call. Western Australia’s existing fifteen seats all have similar current enrolments, making it difficult to identify exactly where the sixteenth will be created, except that it is likely to be in an outer suburban growth area.

Michael McKenna of The Australian reports that Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick, who is appealing his recent Liberal National Party preselection defeat, has offered legal advice that Peter Dutton was wrongly told by party headquarters that he could not vote unless he attended the ballot, where other party notables were allowed to cast votes in absentia. Rennick lost the final round of the ballot to party treasurer Stuart Fraser by 131 votes to 128. The party’s disputes committee is likely to make a recommendation this week as to whether the preselection should be held again, which a party source is quoted describing as a “real possibility”.

Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports that a comprehensive internal poll conducted by Labor earlier this month from a sample of 14,300 found 48% in favour of an Indigenous Voice and 47% opposed, with yes leading in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Further, yes voters were more likely to be firmly resolved in their choice, with 40% saying they would definitely vote yes compared with 30% for a definite no.

• A survey encompassing 24 countries by the Pew Research Centre found Australia tying with Japan for having the least favourable attitudes towards China, with 87% expressing an unfavourable view.

• Labor has formally decided against fielding a candidate in Victoria’s Warrandyte by-election on August 26. The three official nominees thus far are Liberal candidate Nicole Werner, Greg Cheesman of the Freedom Party and Cary De Wit of the Democratic Labour Party. Endorsed Greens candidate Tomas Lightbody’s paperwork is evidently still on its way.

• In other by-election news, I can offer the following contribution to the debate as to how Labor in Western Australia should feel about the result in Rockingham on Saturday: they scored 67.6% of the two-party preferred vote in ordinary election day booths, which was hardly different from their 68.8% in the corresponding booths at last year’s federal election. This means Labor almost matched a result it achieved in the context of an election where the statewide two-party result was 55-45 in its favour.

Victorian federal redistribution finalised

Finalised federal boundaries for Victoria affect the delicate between Labor, Liberal and Greens in two inner urban seats. Later today: new draft boundaries for Victoria’s state electorates.

In a remarkable display of synchronicity, yesterday saw the announcement of finalised new federal electoral boundaries for Victoria, which will be followed today by the publication of draft new boundaries for Victorian state boundaries, the result of an entirely separate process. While the former release is limited to written descriptions of the changes that have been made to the draft that was published in March, with maps and geospatial data not to be published until July 28, I have taken the effort to conduct a full analysis of the final boundaries, which you can read about below. I hope to be able to provide an analysis of the state boundaries later (probably much later) today.

The federal redistribution gives effect to an increase in Victoria’s representation from 38 House of Representatives seats to 39, at the expense of Western Australia, which is down from 16 to 15 and has accordingly undergone its own redistribution which was finalised a fortnight ago. The final boundaries in Victoria make changes to the draft boundaries affecting 20 electorates, by far the most significant of which is the abandonment of a major adjustment that was proposed for the boundary between Macnamara and Higgins in Melbourne’s inner south, an area of particular interest to the Greens.

N.B.: I am a little confused by the assertion of the AEC release that a remnant of the change remains in that most of Windsor has been transferred to Higgins, as it seems to me that both draft and final boundaries have this suburb remaining entirely in Macnamara. This analysis proceeds on the assumption that this statement is in error, but I may well be missing something. Ben Raue’s maps of the draft boundaries at The Tally Room are instructive here. (UPDATE: This has finally penetrated my skull — Windsor will indeed be transferred to Higgins, with effects that do little to disturb my overall analysis. The spreadsheet linked to at the bottom of the post has been revised to reflect this).

The practical upshot of the reversal is that the Greens are now less likely to take Macnamara from Labor, but the chances of them rather than Labor taking Higgins from the Liberals has increased, without much affecting the Liberals’ overall chances of losing the seat. The draft proposed a straight north-south boundary along Williams Road, resulting in Macnamara gaining territory around South Yarra at the northern end, while an area around Caulfield in the south was to go the other way. This would have boosted the Greens in Macnamara by around 2% from their 24.2% at the 2019 election, drawing in roughly equal measure from the Liberal and Labor vote. Just a few days ago, this prospect had the Greens talking up their chances of taking the seat from Josh Burns, who retained it for Labor when Michael Danby retired in 2019.

Macnamara, which was known prior to the 2019 election as Melbourne Ports, has been in Labor hands since 1906, but has lately evolved into a tight three-way contest involving the Liberals, who came within 2.2% of winning the seat in 2016, and the Greens, who would almost certainly win if they were able to reduce Labor to third place. This they fell 5.8% short of doing so in 2019, when they were excluded at the second-last count with 27.33% of the vote to Labor’s 33.2%. Greens preferences then flowed heavily enough to Labor to secure a comfortable 6.2% margin for Josh Burns, despite the Liberals outpolling him by 37.4% to 31.8% on the primary vote. The changes proposed by the draft boundary would have brought the Greens’ shortfall to around 3%, in a seat where their primary vote had steadily escalated from 15.0% to 24.2% since 2007.

However, the Greens’ gain in Macnamara would have been balanced by a weakening in Higgins, which on my analysis would have cut their primary vote by 1.6% while boosting Liberal and Labor by 0.7% each. Higgins has also developed into a three-cornered contest in recent years, a particularly notable fact in a seat that the Liberals have held since its creation in 1949, with members including John Gorton and Peter Costello. The Greens came closer to taking second place in Higgins in 2019 than they did in Macnamara, being excluded from the count with 24.3% to Labor’s 26.2%. However, the Liberals only fell just short of a majority at this point with 49.5%, and would have picked up enough stray preferences after the final exclusion to have retained the seat in any case.

Preference flows in Melbourne’s inner urban seats in 2019 suggest the Liberals would be slightly more likely to lose Higgins if Labor rather than the Greens made the final count, since flows from the Greens to Labor were slightly stronger than vice-versa — particularly in Macnamara, where Greens preferences split 87.5-12.5. However, the distinction seems to blur in areas where the Liberal vote is stronger, with Greens preferences in Higgins splitting 83.4-16.6, which was equal to how Labor preferences split between the Greens and the Liberals after they finished third in Kooyong.

The only other change to the finalised boundaries that might potentially have a bearing on the election result involves Chisholm, Higgins’ eastern neighbour, which Gladys Liu retained for the Liberals in 2019 by 0.6% after a 2.3% swing to Labor. The seat will be reoriented southwards with the redistribution, which by my reckoning added 0.2% to the Liberal margin on the draft boundaries — although Antony Green’s calculation was that it had in fact gone 0.4% the other way. My assessment is that the minor adjustments made in the final boundaries boost the Liberals by a further 0.3%.

You can find my party vote share estimates for the new boundaries, together with detailed accounting of how they were arrived at, here for Victoria and here for the Western Australian redistribution.

Draft federal redistributions: Victoria and WA

A deep dive into proposed new federal electoral boundaries for Victoria, which gains a seat, and WA, which loses one.

This post will be extensively updated throughout the day to analyse the new draft federal boundaries for Victoria and Western Australia. My quick and dirty first go at estimating the margins and party shares are featured below; here are Antony Green’s; here are Ben Raue’s.

Western Australia

The northern suburbs seat of Stirling, which was created in 1955, is set to go. East of the freeway, the bulk of the old electorate goes to Cowan, while the area around Yokine at the southern end goes to Perth; west of the freeway, the northern parts around North Beach and Carine go to Moore, the southern parts around Karrinyup go to Curtin.

Changes of note:

Cowan. The gains from Stirling, which include Balcatta, Balga, Mirrabooka and northern Dianella, are balanced by extensive losses in the north, most of them to Pearce. This adds a useful 0.5% to Anne Aly’s narrow margin.

Pearce. Becomes a lot more urban, losing Lancelin and the Avon Valley to Durack and gaining Wanneroo, Wangara and Landsdale from Cowan (although it also loses Ellenbrook to Hasluck). All of which reduces Christian Porter’s margin from 6.7% to 5.5%.

Hasluck. Gains the new urban development around Ellenbrook and nearby Swan Valley territory from Pearce, which boosts the Liberal margin from 4.6% to 5.9%.

Swan. Gains Forrestfield from Hasluck; loses Kenwick to Burt; the Liberal margin is up from 1.7% to 3.3%.


The new seat of Hawke is on Melbourne’s north-western fringes, and is pretty safe for Labor with a margin of 9.8%. Corangamite, which has existed with that name since federation, is now called Tucker, the lake from which it takes its name having gone from the electorate as the urbanisation of Geelong has pulled it eastward.

Changes of note:

Hawke. The new seat encompasses Sunbury, formerly in McEwen; extends westwards from there into Melton, formerly in Gorton; and further west still into Bacchus Marsh and Ballan, formerly in Ballarat.

Bruce. Labor’s Julian Hill has his margin cut from 14.2% to 6.9% as Noble Park gets transferred to Hotham in the west, and it gains northern Berwick in the east from La Trobe.

Hotham. Correspondingly, the gain of Noble Park boosts Clare O’Neil in Hotham from 5.9% to 11.1%, further aided by the loss of the southern end of Mount Waverley and Glen Waverley to Chisholm.

Chisholm. And Chisholm in turn loses territory at its northern end, around Box Hill North and western Forest Hill, to balance the loss to Hotham — the changes affecting around a third of its voters. I’m a little perturbed by the fact that Antony Green and Ben Raue are in agreement that this cuts the Liberal margin from 0.6% to 0.2% whereas I have it up to 0.8%.

La Trobe. The loss of northern Berwick to Bruce is balanced by semi-rural territory in the south-east, including Westernport Bay around Koo Wee Rup, which boosts the Liberals from 4.5% to 5.3% in an historically important marginal seat.

Tucker. This seat has earned its name change, being now very much centred on the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast and outer southern Geelong. The Great Ocean Road from Anglesea on goes to Wannon; rural areas around Meredith go to Ballarat, compensating it for its losses to Hawke. All of which gives Labor what may prove a handy boost of 0.8%.

Deakin. Only a few tweaks to this important marginal seat, reducing the Liberal margin from 54.8% to 54.6%.

Finalised redistributions and federal election pendulum

A full accounting of the electoral landscape as the boundaries for the next election are finalised.

Federal redistributions for Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have been finalised over the past fortnight, a development that removes procedural obstacles for the staging of a normal election for the House of Representatives and half the Senate. At the bottom of this post is a new electoral pendulum based on post-redistribution margins. This illustrates that the goverment has, notionally speaking, lost its majority, being reduced from 76 seats to 74 in a chamber that increases in size from 150 to 151. The Liberal-held Victorian seats of Corangamite and Dunkley move into the Labor column (just barely in the former case – others who calculate the margins might very easily fall the other way), while Labor also gains new seats in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, but loses a seat through the abolition of Port Adelaide in South Australia. That gives Labor 72 seats, assuming the cross-bench remains unchanged with its existing five members. All margins shown in the pendulum are Labor-versus-Coalition, except in the five seats held by minor parties and independents.

The main changes made from the draft to the finalised boundaries are cosmetic, in that Corangamite will retain that name and not be renamed Cox, and Batman will be renamed Cooper. Beyond that, minor changes were made to eleven seats in Victoria. The most significant change was to Deakin, costing it around a third of the 19,000 voters it was originally to gain from Casey in the east, and compensating it at the other end with more than 3000 extra voters in Vermont South from Chisholm. The electoral impacts are very slightly advantageous to the Liberals, boosting their margin in Dunkley relative to the draft proposal by 0.4% to 6.6%. There are no changes to the draft as far as I can see in South Australia, and only a minor and inconsequential one in the Australian Capital Territory.

The links below provide my full accounting of the new margins, both for the three redistributions just finalised, and the other three concluded since the last election.

Federal Redistribution of Victoria 2018
Federal Redistribution of Australian Capital Territory 2018
Federal Redistribution of South Australia 2018

Federal Redistribution of Queensland 2018
Federal Redistribution of Tasmania 2017
Federal Redistribution of Northern Territory 2017

The two-party results featured above are strictly Labor-versus-Coalition, which leaves some explaining required where this doesn’t apply. None of the three Melbourne inner-city seats where the Greens threaten Labor has been significantly changed. There is no difficulty counting a new Labor-versus-Greens result in Wills and the seat now known as Cooper, since neither gains territory from a seat in which no Labor-versus-Greens count was conducted. David Feeney held the Greens off in Batman by 1.0% in 2016, but I now make it at 0.5%, while Ben Raue at The Tally Room has it at 0.7%. However, given Ged Kearney’s succession to the seat in the March by-election, comparisons based on the 2016 election are rather academic. Labor’s margin over the Greens in Wills is unchanged at 4.9%. Cathy McGowan’s seat undergoes only minor changes, although territory gained from Murray (now Nicholls) now provides about 4% of its voters, which obviously cannot be used to measure support there for McGowan. This is not enough to significantly alter the position of McGowan, who held off Sophie Mirrabella in 2016 by 4.8%.

In South Australia, the Nick Xenophon Team reached the final count in four seats, winning Mayo from the Liberals by a margin of 5.0%, and finishing 2.0% and 4.7% short of Liberal incumbents in Grey and Barker, and 14.9% short of Labor in Port Adelaide. In no case can new margins be determined: Port Adelaide is abolished; Grey and Barker have both gained territory from Wakefield, respectively accounting for around 15% and 8.5% of their voters, where no Liberal-versus-NXT count was conducted; and Mayo gains territory from Kingston and Boothby, collectively accounting for over 17% of the voters, neither of which had useable counts.

Pendulum over the fold below. Seats whose notional party has changed are indicated with an asterisk. The “redist.” column records the effect on the margin of redistributions, where they have been conducted (i.e. everywhere but New South Wales and Western Australia). Margins shown for the five seats held by minor parties and independents are their winning margins at the 2016 election, with no change made for the redistribution.

Continue reading “Finalised redistributions and federal election pendulum”

Victorian federal redistribution finalised

A few nips and tucks and changes of name, but the final federal boundaries for Victoria are much the same as those in the draft published in April.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published the finalised boundaries for the redistribution of Victoria, occasioned by the state’s gain of a thirty-eighth seat. The main changes from the draft published in April are of nomenclature: Batman will now be called Cooper, in honour of William Cooper, an Aboriginal leader of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; and Corangamite will not be renamed Cox, as earlier proposed. It was surprising they didn’t get Batman right the first time, given their enthusiasm for changing names elsewhere (the changes of McMillan and Murray to Monash and Nicholls respectively have been confirmed) and the political sensibilities of the electorate in question. Minor adjustments have been made to 25 of the 38 seats compared with the draft, none of which is electorally consequential. Ben Raue at The Tally Room has published a set of estimated margins, and my own will follow in due course. Finalisation of the other two redistributions, in South Australia and Australian Capital Territory, will presumbly follow in very short order. Their completion will remove an obstacle to the calling of an early election, which it is increasingly being suggested might be on the cards for later in the year.

South Australian draft federal redistribution

Port Adelaide nominated for the chop in draft federal boundaries for South Australia, which bring the state down from 11 seats to 10.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published draft boundaries for the South Australian redistribution, which brings the state’s representation down from 11 seats to 10. The seat mooted for abolition is Port Adelaide; Wakefield is to be renamed Spence. At the bottom is a table featuring my estimates of party vote shares and two-party margins (Labor versus Liberal only).

Adelaide. Drifts westwards into the void created by the abolition of Port Adelaide, turning a tight Labor seat into a reasonably safe one.

Barker. Gains Barossa Valley territory around Kapunda.

Boothby. Drawn northwards into Glenelg through knock-on effects from Port Adelaide abolition, without much change to the margin.

Grey. Expends to the northern edge of Adelaide, gaining Clare Valley, with next to no impact on the margin.

Hindmarsh. Takes the bulk of Port Adelaide, turning the seat from marginal to safe Labor.

Kingston. Loses coast at southern end around Aldinga Beach, gains suburbia at northern end around Aberfoyle Park. Slightly advantageous to Liberal, but not enough to make them competitive on recent form.

Makin. Expands west to take over some Port Adelaide territory, notably Parafield Gardens.

Mayo. Not abolished, as some expected; gains the Aldinga Beach coastal area lost by Kingston.

Spence (Wakefield). Greatly strengthened for Labor through loss of Clare Valley and Barossa Valley to Grey and Barker respectively, and gain of suburbs around Paralowie from Port Adelaide.

Sturt. Gains Norwood at western end from Adelaide, with little impact on margin.

LIB change ALP change XEN change LIB 2pp vs ALP change
Adelaide 34.4% -2.1% 42.8% 6.9% 12.5% -0.3% 41.1% -4.3%
Barker 47.3% 0.8% 15.9% 0.7% 29.0% -0.1% 64.4% -0.8%
Boothby 44.4% 3.2% 27.7% 3.2% 18.3% -2.4% 52.8% -0.7%
Grey 44.7% 1.9% 22.4% 0.8% 27.2% -0.6% 58.6% -0.1%
Hindmarsh 33.5% -6.8% 43.4% 9.4% 16.4% 1.4% 41.8% -7.6%
Kingston 27.2% 3.9% 50.0% 0.6% 17.7% 0.5% 36.5% 3.5%
Makin 28.6% 0.0% 46.3% 4.5% 16.2% -0.4% 39.2% -1.2%
Mayo 37.7% -0.1% 16.4% 2.9% 33.8% -1.1% 53.3% -2.1%
Port Adelaide Abolished
Spence/Wakefield 20.4% -6.0% 49.4% 9.6% 20.1% -0.4% 32.1% -6.9%
Sturt 47.4% 3.0% 23.5% 1.3% 19.7% -1.4% 55.7% -0.1%

Victorian and ACT draft federal redistributions

New federal boundaries (and seats) in Victoria and the ACT bring Labor good news on multiple fronts.

The Australian Electoral Commission has published draft boundaries for redistributions of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, both of which gain new seats. At the bottom of the post are my estimates for the new margins, which I’m pleased to say are almost bang on those produced independently by Ben Raue at The Tally Room. The redistribution picture will not be complete (even in draft form) until next month, when we get a draft for South Australia, which is to be knocked back from eleven seats to ten.

As expected, the draft redistributions for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are full of good news for Labor, who gain a new seat on Melbourne’s booming western fringe and have two Liberal-held seats made notionally Labor, without suffering too much damage through the knock-on effects. The creation of a third seat in the Australian Capital Territory could hardly fail to be of benefit to Labor, and so it has proved. There are a number of name changes: Corangamite is now Cox, in recognition of the fact that its titular lake has been transferred to neighbouring Wannon to the west; Melbourne Ports is Macnamara; Murray is Nicholls; McNamara is Monash. Corangamite and Cox I get, but I could do without the name changes to Melbourne Ports and Murray, which denote in-my-view-excessive zeal not to have electorates named after geographic features.

First, a quick guide to the most interesting of the proposed changes in Victoria. All of this relates to Coalition versus Labor: nothing of very great interest is to happen in the seats where the Greens are strong, with Adam Bandt’s position marginally improved in Melbourne, and their chances of gaining Higgins from the Liberals very slightly reduced.

Continue reading “Victorian and ACT draft federal redistributions”

Queensland federal draft redistribution

A draft federal redistribution in Queensland proposes very little change – including to Peter Dutton’s precarious electorate of Dickson.

The draft boundaries for the Queensland federal redistribution have been published, and the big story is that there is no big story. The redistribution is being held because the existing boundaries have reached their maximum permissible life span of seven years, and not because a change in the state’s seat entitlements or a serious imbalance of elector numbers, such as would necessitate more dramatic change. What we have instead is a total of 10 minor adjustments to existing boundaries, none affecting more than around 5500 voters.

The big question was how Peter Dutton’s electorate of Dickson might fare: it gains around 4000 voters in a small area of Bridgman Downs and McDowall from Lilley, a conservative voting area that by my reckoning lifts Dutton’s margin from 1.6% to 2.0% (and adds 0.5% to the 5.3% Labor margin in Lilley). The largest transfers are of roughly 5000 voters from Griffith to Moreton (parts of Annerley and Tarragindi), Leichhardt to Kennedy (parts of Bentley Park and Edmonton in southern Cairns) and Ryan to Blair (an area around Karana Downs), none of which is of any great consequence electorally.

Here’s a summary guide showing the impact on LNP two-party preferred margins: