Liberals by any other name

Electoral law changes rammed through parliament, New South Wales state boundaries finalised, and some by-election news.

Significant electoral developments of the past few days:

• The federal government’s package of four electoral bills, which were explained in this earlier post, whizzed through parliament this week with the support of Labor (UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that one of the four, dealing with the threshold for registering as a political campaigner, was in fact not considered). Most contentiously, this will give the Liberal Party exclusive rights to the word “liberal” in their registered party name, with the effect that the Liberal Democrats and the New Liberals will have to change names before the next election. It is unclear what the former plans to do, but Victor Kline, leader and registered officer of the New Liberals, says the party will simply identify itself as TNL.

• The new laws also mean that parties will need to have 1500 members to maintain their registration unless they have a sitting member of parliament, which by the reckoning of Kevin Bonham could affect as many of 24 out of the 45 currently registered parties. Those privy to the sitting member exemption include Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, thanks to former Liberal MP Craig Kelly’s decision join, along with the Centre Alliance, Jacqui Lambie Network, Katter’s Australian Party and Rex Patrick Team.

• The state redistribution for New South Wales has been finalised, without much change to the draft boundaries that were published last November. Antony Green has a pendulum with estimated margins for the final boundaries.

Two minor by-elections coming up:

• For the Northern Territory parliament: a by-election will be held on September 11 for the Darwin hinterland seat of Daly, where Country Liberal Party member Ian Sloan has retired due to ill health a year after an election at which Labor was returned to power. Sloan held out against Labor by 1.2% at the election, at which he succeeded retiring CLP member Gary Higgins. The CLP’s candidate is Kris Civitarese, a Barkly councillor; Labor’s is Dheran Young, a former advisor to Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

• For the Tasmanian Legislative Council: a by-election will be required for a yet-to-be determined date early next year for the seat of Huon, encompassing the southern edge of Hobart and its hinterland, after Labor member Bastian Seidel announced he would quit parliament at the final sitting for the year in December. Seidel has complained of a “toxic environment” and “obvious problems” in the party, which would appear to refer to the sexual harassment allegations against David O’Byrne, who was compelled to resign as party leader in July after just three weeks in the job and is now facing calls from within the party, including leader Rebecca White, to quit parliament.

A preselection, two redistributions and a by-election

An assemblage of random stuff to kick off the new week.

It being the mid-point of the year, we’re about due for Newspoll’s state and demographic aggregates and Essential Research’s dump of voting intention numbers, both of which come along quarterly. In the meantime, there’s the following:

• The Queensland Liberal National Party’s preselection for a successor to Andrew Laming in Bowman has been won by Henry Pike, media and communications director for the Property Council. Pike was the only male candidate in a field of five, and prevailed despite earlier urgings from the Prime Minister for a woman to be preselected. Madura McCormack of the Courier-Mail reports he won in the final round of the ballot of local preselectors with 107 votes against 88 for Maggie Forrest, a barrister. Pike said last week that comments he made on the subject of “f***ing a fat chick” in a group chat twelve years ago, when he was about 21, do not “reflect the person I’ve grown to be”.

• Antony Green has published a report calculating party vote shares for the draft state redistribution in Victoria. Finalised state boundaries for New South Wales will be along at some unspecified point in the probably not too distant future.

• I have published a guide to the by-election for the Queensland state seat of Stretton, to be held on July 24 to choose a successor to Labor member Duncan Pegg, who resigned in April due to ill health and died on June 10.

Victorian state draft redistribution

Following on promptly from finalised federal boundaries, the draft of a significantly revised state electoral map for Victoria.

In addition to yesterday’s finalisation of the state’s federal boundaries, covered in the post below, today saw the publication of a new draft state boundaries for Victoria. The current boundaries have been in effect for two terms, in which time Melbourne in particular has experienced very substantial growth, resulting in extensive changes in the proposed boundaries. The changes have occurred mostly within Melbourne, with three new seats appearing in the western suburbs and the northern and south-eastern fringes, and another three disappearing in the relatively stagnant suburbs of middle eastern and south-eastern Melbourne.

Over the fold at the bottom of this post is a display of my effort to calculate new party vote shares for the new boundaries, an endeavour complicated on this occasion by the fact that fewer than half the votes in 2018 were cast in election day polling booths, those being the only ones for which the data offers any sense of where in the electorate they were cast. The primary votes display should be straightforward enough, but two-candidate preferred is complicated by the fact that many of the results mash together counts from different electorates that involved candidates of different parties. UPDATE: Antony Green has two-party preferred estimates here.

There are six seats that I’m designating as new and a corresponding number as abolished. The former include three that are safe for Labor (Greenvale, Kalkallo and Laverton), one that is marginal Labor (Pakenham) and two that are marginal Liberal (Berwick and Glen Waverley). Three of the abolished seats are Labor (safe Keysborough and Yuroke and marginal Mount Waverley) and the other three Liberal (Ferntree Gully, Forest Hill and Gembrook, all highly marginal). Four seats change party designation, with Bass and Bayswater going from Labor to notional Liberal and Hastings and Ripon vice-versa. As explained below, Greens-held Prahran should probably be considered Labor-held on the new boundaries. All told, the results in 2018 on these boundaries would have been Labor 57 (up two), Coalition 26 (down one), Greens two (down one) and independents three.

Major changes:

• Growth on Melbourne’s northern fringe results in a new safe seat for Labor, with Yuroke divided into the new seats of Greenvale (margin 22.1%) and Kalkallo (20.0%).

• Similarly, growth in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe is accommodated with the effective replacement of Gembrook, which had a Liberal margin of 0.8% at the election, by two new seats: Berwick, with a Liberal margin of 1.6%, and Pakenham, with a Labor margin of 3.3%. The suburb of Berwick formerly provided the seat of Narre Warren South with a Liberal-leaning eastern end, the loss of which boosts Labor’s margin in the seat from 6.9% to 11.1%.

• In addition to the area gained from abolished Gembrook, which includes the northern end of the town of Pakenham, the Pakenham electorate takes the southern part of the town of Pakenham from Bass. The removal of this territory from Bass weakens Labor in a seat they gained with a 2.4% margin in 2018, resulting in a notional Liberal margin of 1.9%.

• The new seat in western Melbourne, Laverton, is inevitably safe for Labor, with a notional margin of 23.6%. Its eastern end was formerly in Footscray, its west in Tarneit.

• Labor loses a safe seat in Melbourne’s south-east with the abolition of Keysborough, which is absorbed by its Labor-held neighbours.

• Eastern Melbourne loses two seats, one through the abolition of Ferntree Gully and its absorption by neighbouring Bayswater and Rowville. Ferntree Gully was held by the Liberals by 1.6% in 2018, but the changes convert Labor’s 0.4% margin in Bayswater to a notional Liberal margin of 1.2%, while Rowville remains secure for the Liberals.

• Eastern Melbourne’s other loss comes through the replacement of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill by a single new seat of Glen Waverley. I give Glen Waverley a Liberal margin of 0.8%, whereas Labor won Mount Waverley by 1.8% and Liberal won Forest Hill by 1.2%, so this technically amounts to another loss for Labor. The western parts of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill are absorbed by Box Hill and Ashwood, the latter being essentially a renamed Burwood in which I calculate a Labor margin of 2.5%, down from 3.3%.

• Prahran and Albert Park are to undergo very significant change through a territory swap that will shift St Kilda to Prahran and part of South Yarra to Albert Park. This makes the Liberals a lot less competitive in Prahran (down 5.2% on the primary vote for mine) and widens the gap between Labor and the Greens from 0.9%, which the Greens were just barely able to close on minor party preferences, to 5.3%. However, the next election will be a different ball game in St Kilda, with Labor losing the advantage of a sitting member. The exchange of South Yarra for St Kilda boosts the Liberals by around 3% in Albert Park, where Labor’s margin in 2019 was 13.1%.

• Brunswick is drawn deeper into the inner city environs of Carlton North and Fitzroy North, boosting the Greens margin over Labor from 0.6% to 2.1%.

• Ripon, which the Liberals won by 15 votes in 2018, has a notional Labor margin of 2.6% after gaining Ballarat suburbia around Alfredton from the electorate previously known as Wendouree, which now gains the colourful new name of Eureka. Eureka in turn absorbs the parts of Ballarat that were formerly in Buninyong, which in turn gains rural territory from Polwarth. This boosts Labor’s margin in Wendouree/Eureka from 10.3% to 13.2% and cuts it in Buninyong from 12.2% to 7.0%.

• Other electorates with new names are Point Cook, which is essentially a renamed Altona with a Labor margin of 12.5% rather than 14.6%; and Morang, which is very much the old electorate of Mill Park and remains extremely safe for Labor.

• Smaller changes to significant seats include Hastings’ gain of coastal townships around Balnarring from Nepean, which turns the 1.1% Liberal margin into a notional Labor margin of 0.3%; Eildon’s gain of the Melbourne fringe suburb of Hurstbridge from Yuroke, which cuts the Liberal margin from 2.4% to 0.2%; Croydon’s gain of territory from northern Bayswater, which cuts the Liberal margin there from 2.1% to 0.5%; and changes to Ringwood that boost Labor’s margin from 2.8% to 3.5%.
Continue reading “Victorian state draft redistribution”

South Australian state redistribution finalised

As South Australia locks down, its boundaries for the next state election are unveiled.

Among other things, South Australia has this week finalised its boundaries for the next state election in March 2022. The Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission does not publish the boundaries in a form that makes them easy to analyse, but it does calculate its own two-party preferred margins as a hangover from the days when it was required to observe an “electoral fairness” clause (as well as publishing a file that helpfully breaks down its two-party vote estimates by SA1, for those on top of ABS geography). These establish that the impact of the redistribution has been fairly minor, no doubt reflecting the fact that the redistribution before the previous election did its job in delivering a majority to the Liberals after two elections at which it was locked out despite winning the two-party vote.

Accordingly, none of the electorates has been moved to the other party’s column. However, the significant changes in the most marginal seats to be in Labor’s favour, with the Liberal margins pared back in two seats where they had redistribution-assisted wins in 2018: the inner southern Adelaide seat of Elder, where Carolyn Habib’s margin has been cut from 4.4% to 2.0%; and the north-eastern Adelaide seat of Newland, where Richard Harvey’s margin has been cut from 2.0% to 0.2%.

Of greater narrative interest are the cancellation of some fairly substantial changes that have been made from the draft boundaries, which proposed to transfer Mount Barker from Kavel to Hammond, a chunk of rural territory from Schubert to Kavel, and Gawler from Light to Schubert. This inspired Labor’s member for Light, Tony Piccolo, to secure preselection in Schubert, whose Liberal member Stephan Knoll has been on the back foot since losing his job as Transport Minister to an expenses scandal – a bold move, since it involved abandoning his 9.9% margin (boosted to 12.8% in the draft redistribution) to pursue a seat that still had a 5.4% Liberal margin on the draft boundaries, reduced though it was from 14.3%. The unwinding of this pulls the rug from under Piccolo’s endeavour to continue representing Gawler, leaving him pursuing a seat with a clearly insurmountable Liberal margin of 14.7% on the finalised boundaries.

In other South Australian news, Labor leader Peter Malinauskas has offered a response to the state’s six-day lockdown that suggests he’s been paying attention to the Queensland election result and Michael O’Brien’s approval rating. A poll would naturally be interesting to see, but until then, readers are encouraged to use this thread for general discussion relevant to South Australia.

NSW state draft redistribution published

Draft boundaries add a new seat in south-western Sydney at the expense of the Labor stronghold of Lakemba.

A draft state redistribution has been published for New South Wales, for which you can see the maps on the New South Wales Electoral Commission site. Keep an eye on Ben Raue’s post at The Tally Room, which should also have a user-friendly interactive map of the old and new boundaries. His existing post also goes into greater detail on describing the changes than I’m about to.

The biggest changes involves the abolition of Lakemba, most of which is now in a radically redrawn Bankstown, whose existing territories are mostly absorbed by surrounding electorates. This allows for the creation of the new seat of Leppington in Sydney’s sprawling south-west, drawing most of its voters from Mulgoa, Liverpool, Holsworthy and Macquarie Fields. As shown below, I reckon this seat to be marginal Labor. The local rearrangement arising from the creation of Leppington causes Mulgoa to resume its earlier name of Badgerys Creek. Other cases of seats essentially being renamed are Kellyville, formerly Baulkham Hills; St Ives, formerly Davidson; Wahroonga, formerly Ku-ring-gai; and Winston Hills, formerly Seven Hills.

Now for my quick and dirty effort to estimate the margins, using a somewhat experimental method, though the results look plausible enough to my untrained eye. This uses two-party preferred data, and thus acts as if Greens and independent members don’t exist (I am indebted to Ben Raue for providing this in easily accessible form on his site). By this reckoning, a big loser would appear to be Lee Evans, the Liberal member for Heathcote, whose seat is set to become notionally Labor by moving into the northern end of the Illawarra. Rising Labor hopeful Chris Minns has his delicate margin in Kogarah reduced to essentially nothing; conversely, a small Nationals margin almost disappears in Upper Hunter. Sydney would go from Liberal to just slightly notionally Labor if it wasn’t held by an independent.

Western Australia redistributed (state)

A draft new set of state boundaries in Western Australia produces little to frighten the horses.


Over the fold is a table showing an almost-complete set of Labor-versus-Liberal/Nationals two-party margins, excluding a few seats where the 2017 result was Liberal-versus-Nationals (Moore and Roe) or Labor-versus-independent (Baldivis). This treats Kingsway as the successor to Girrawheen, and Girrawheen as the successor to Mirrabooka. I am now calculating the Labor margin in Kingsway at 9.1%, which is modest enough that Labor would lose the seat at a bad election, like 2013. This amounts to a 7.6% cut in the old margin from Girrawheen – so if, as I suggested, Labor runs Margaret Quirk in Kingsway and gives Girrawheen to Janine Freeman, who is technically homeless with the abolition of Mirrabooka, Quirk would consider that regrettable.

As noted in the original version of this post (also over the fold), Labor has been short-changed by the redistribution’s determination to preserve the existing number of country seats, but finds ample consolation in a number of helpful revisions to marginal seats:

• Labor’s margin in Balcatta, which the party lost for the one and only time in 2013, goes from 5.8% to 8.0%, as it loses marginal territory (at least on 2017 results) in the north to Kingsley and gains Labor territory in the east from Mirrabooka.

• The change just noted to Kingsley also nudges the dial there very slightly in Labor’s favour, from 0.7% to 1.2%.

• In Burns Beach, the loss of territory in the south to Joondalup and gain in the north from Butler boosts Labor from 2.5% to 4.9%.

• No doubt the 2017 election is as bad as it will ever get for the Liberals in Hillarys, but I am calculating that Labor would have won it in 2017 by the barest of margins, after falling 4.1% short at the election. Marginal territory has been gained in the north from Joondalup, and Liberal territory in the south has gone to Carine.

• The transfer of part of Liberal-voting Leeming to Riverton in the north boosts Labor from 1.0% to 2.0% in Jandakot.

• Tweaking of the boundary with Fremantle improves Labor’s margin in Bicton from 2.9% to 3.6%.

• A territory swap with West Swan boosts Labor from 7.3% to 9.2% in Wanneroo.

• An exchange of rural territory in the south for Mandurah’s fringes in the north boosts Labor from 1.4% to 2.3% in Murray-Wellington.


• In Joondalup, which gains in the north from Burns Beach and loses in the south to Hillarys, Labor’s margin is reduced from 0.6% to 0.1%.

• In Swan Hills, a Labor margin of 14.5%, which belies its history as a tight marginal seat, reduces to 12.0%, as Ellenbrook suburbia is exchanged for parts of the Swan Valley.

Continue reading “Western Australia redistributed (state)”

Queensland redistributed (state)

A thread for discussion of Queensland’s momentous state electoral redistribution.

A sweeping draft redistribution of Queensland’s state electoral boundaries has been published today, giving effect to an increase in parliamentary numbers from 89 to 93. Annastacia Palaszczuk has appeared to suggest the finalisation of the redistribution, which is scheduled for May 2017, may herald an early election. The Electoral Commission of Queensland published the boundaries at the close of business today (apparently in response to a “leak”, ahead of a planned release in the morning) without providing spatial data files, so I can’t offer much insight into what it all means exactly. However, the Courier-Mail offers a well-informed account of how it is perceived by party insiders. Hopefully Antony Green will have estimated margins in reasonably short order. Those with further insights to offer are very welcome to do so in the thread below.

BludgerTrack: 52.1-47.9 to Labor

Little change this week to a poll aggregate that now comes with the added bonus of One Nation. Also featured: South Australian and Northern Territory redistribution news.

Results from Newspoll and Essential Research have elicited next to no change on BludgerTrack, at least so far as the results are concerned – negligible movement all round on voting intention, although what’s there is enough for the Coalition to claw back a seat in Queensland on the projection. Newspoll provides a set of leadership numbers as always, and here too their effect is negligible.


What is new on BludgerTrack is that it’s now tracking One Nation, although the only hard data here is that Essential Research has been providing since the start of September. Polls that don’t report One Nation still have some influence on them through their “others” results, and the estimated results for them show up as data points on the chart. I’ve implemented a bit of a cheat to get the One Nation trendline started from the beginning by using their national Senate vote of 4.3% as a post-election starting point. However, the “since election” reading on the tables goes off the national House of Representatives result of 1.3%, which is unflattering to them as they only fielded 15 candidates.

Two bits of electoral boundaries news to relate:

• The redistribution of the two federal seats in the Northern Territory has been finalised, with no changes made to September’s draft proposal. Three thousand voters have been transferred from growing Solomon (covering Darwin and Palmerston) to stagnant Lingiari (covering the remainder of the territory), in an area encompassing Yarrawonga, Farrar, Johnston and Zuccoli at the eastern edge of Palmerston, together with the Litchfield Shire areas around Knuckey Lagoon east of Darwin. To the very limited extent that this will have an electoral effect, it will be to strengthen Labor in Solomon and weaken them in Lingiari, the area transferred being conservative-leaning.

• The South Australian state redistribution has been finalised, with a large number of changes made to the draft published in August. These are largely to the benefit of the Liberals, who stand aggrieved by their failure to win government in 2014 despite winning the two-party vote by 53-47. The draft redrew the Labor marginals of Elder and Mawson to make them notionally Liberal. However, they did the opposite in Fisher, a normally conservative-leaning seat that Labor managed to win at a by-election in December 2014 after the death of independent member Bob Such. This seat has been renamed Hurtle Vale, and pushed southwards into the Labor-voting Morphett Vale area.

The new set of changes adds a further two seats to the Liberal column, most notably Colton, where Labor cops a transfer of 8000 voters from Glenelg North and West Beach (currently in Morphett), turning the Labor margin of 2% into a Liberal margin of 3.7%. The other seat is Newland, where there was so little in it that a further 200 voters in Humbug Scrub have been enough to nudge it to the Liberal side of the pendulum. There has also been a further boost to the Liberal margin in Elder, where gains around Lower Mitcham in the east (currently in Waite) push the margin out from 1.1% to 4.3%.

The Liberals has also benefited in Adelaide, where the reversal of a proposal to move Walkerville out of the electorate leaves the margin at 2.0%, compared with 2.5% at the election and 0.6% in the draft; and in the Labor-held seat of Lee, where an extra 4000 voters from Colton reduce the Labor margin from 4.6% to 2.6%.