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.

Mulgrave by-election minus one day

Slightly mixed reports on how concerned Labor are about independent Ian Cook’s chances at tomorrow’s by-election for Mulgrave, the Victorian state seat being vacated by Daniel Andrews.

Tomorrow is the day of Victoria’s Mulgrave by-election arising from Daniel Andrews’ exit from politics. While it is generally expected that Greater Dandenong mayor Eden Foster will retain the seat for Labor, independent Ian Cook is expected to at least match his feat from the November state election of outpolling the Liberals to reach the final count. In the estimation of Shannon Deery of the Herald-Sun, Cook was “seen as a bloke seeking to exact revenge on Daniel Andrews” last year, but has now “convinced some that he is genuine about representing the local community and being a fiercely independent MP”. This is said to be backed by Labor internal polling, but as Deery tells it, “no-one is seriously suggesting Labor will lose the seat”. The Sunday Herald-Sun’s Backroom Baz column came close to suggesting otherwise, invoking what was presumably the same internal polling as a cause of “mounting concern” in the Labor camp. Here too though, Labor sources familiar with the polling said Eden Foster “should get there on preferences”.

As usual, this site will feature live results and commentary from 6pm tomorrow evening. My page for the former stands ready and waiting here – I have it geared to assume the Victorian Electoral Commission will be conducting a Labor-versus-Ian Cook indicative two-candidate preferred count (a detail that flummoxed many conspiracy theorists who developed an outsized interest in the contest last November), but have no hard information on this at present. A detail worth noting is that the number of election day polling booths has been considerably pared back, from twenty (some of which were split booths in neighbouring electorates) to ten. This is a marked departure from the Warrandyte by-election in August, which utilised the same eleven booths from last November.

Mulgrave by-election minus sixteen days

A field of ten candidates for Daniel Andrews’ old seat includes the independent who outpolled the Liberals last year.

Today was the day of the ballot paper draw for the Victorian state by-election for Daniel Andrews’ old seat of Mulgrave, to be held a fortnight from Saturday on November 18, an occasion I have marked with the publication of my by-election guide. Ten candidates have nominated, a substantial field by normal standards but not a match for the thirteen challengers Andrews attracted last November.

For what it’s worth, independent Ian Cook drew highest out of the fancied contenders at number three, followed by Liberal candidate Courtney Mann at five and Labor candidate Eden Foster at eight. This will be the first outing for the Liberal Democrats under their new name of Libertarians, and their candidate has drawn top position on the ballot paper. The party under its old name could count on a major spike in its vote if the ballot paper gave it greater prominence than the other Liberal party – we will see what happens this time.

This is Victoria’s third state electoral event since Labor’s re-election in November last year, following the supplementary election for Narracan in January (required due to the death of a candidate during the campaign period before the election) and the Warrandyte by-election in August, neither of which were contested by Labor. This time both Labor and Liberal are in the field, as is independent Ian Cook, who made it to the final preference count and slightly outpolled the Liberals on the primary vote.

Ignoring Jeff Kennett’s argument that the party should give Cook a clear run, the Liberals have preselected Courtney Mann, policy adviser to state leader John Pesutto. The Donald Trump-admiring candidate from 2022, Michael Piastrino, responded to Mann’s preselection by endorsing Ian Cook, his own favoured preselection contender having been overlooked. Whoever out of the two makes the final count will need a swing of 10% to 11% to defeat Labor, whose candidate is Eden Foster, clinical psychologist and mayor of Greater Dandenong.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 39, Coalition 32, Greens 12 in Victoria

A Labor government under new management seemingly remains on top in Victoria, despite improvement for the Coalition after a dire result last time.

The Age has the regular bi-monthly Victorian state poll from Resolve Strategic, which follows the usual format of combining polling from the state over two of its monthly national surveys, despite the fact that Jacinta Allan replaced Daniel Andrews as Premier in the interim. The super-sized national poll conducted over two weeks for the Indigenous Voice has not meant a sample size different from the usual 1100. The poll credits the Coalition with a four-point recovery from its dismal low base of 28% in July and August, but still with a 39% to 32% deficit against Labor, who are unchanged. The Greens are down one to 12%, and a generic independents category is down three to 10%. The sample of 553 from last week’s polling finds Jacinta Allan leading John Pesutto 38-19, compared with 41-32 in favour of Daniel Andrews from the sample of 550 polled a month ago.

Essential Research 2PP+: Labor 50, Coalition 45 (open thread)

Essential Research spices up an uneventful set of voting intention numbers with a finding that nearly one in ten respondents choose the red pill.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll gives Labor its best result on voting intention in two months, their primary vote up two to 33%, the Coalition steady on 32%, the Greens up one to 14% and One Nation down two to 6%, with the undecided component down one to 5%. Their lead on the 2PP+ measure is out from 49-45 to 50-45. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1125.

Also featured are questions on COVID-19, including a finding that 52% consider Australia well prepared for future pandemics compared with 38% for not well prepared, and an unexpected foray on the “nature of reality”, which finds precisely equal proportions of Coalition, Labor and Greens voters alert to the fact that we are “living in a simulation”. The 301 Victorian respondents were asked to rate Daniel Andrews’ contribution to Victoria, with 37% opting for very good or quite good compared with 40% for very poor or quite poor.

Daniel Andrews quits

A short sharp race for the premiership of Victoria to follow Daniel Andrews’ retirement, followed in a few months by a by-election for his seat of Mulgrave.

A fraction shy of a decade since returning Labor to power in Victoria after its only term in the wilderness this century, Daniel Andrews has called it a day, effective 5pm tomorrow. This will result in a by-election for his loseable south-eastern suburbs seat of Mulgrave and the choice of a new Premier at a caucus meeting to be held at midday tomorrow. (UPDATE: It is noted that party rules require a three-day nominations period.) Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan has long been the heir presumptive, reflecting the dominance of her and Andrews’ Socialist Left faction, although her CV carries the unfortunate entry of “Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery June 2022 – July 2023”. However, the Financial Review reported in May that Ben Carroll of the Right had been “canvassing support in the event of an early exit” by Andrews.

The party has a strong incentive to fall behind a consensus choice, since party rules require a ballot of the membership unless 80% of caucus supports the winning candidate in a contested vote. Making Carroll deputy would restore factional balance to the leadership positions, but the Herald Sun reported in June that Mary-Anne Thomas, Gabrielle Williams and Lily D’Ambrosio of the Left might also be in contention. However, the latter’s stocks may have declined in light of recent branch-stacking controversies.

UPDATE: The Australian reports today’s caucus meeting is likely to choose an acting leader from among those who are not planning to nominate for the leadership in the three days available for them to do so, but the Financial Review hears different, saying the meeting is likely to hand the role to Jacinta Allan. An acting leader could be in place for some time if the leadership is contested, which would require a second contender to have their nomination endorsed by 20 per cent of the party room. There would follow a two-week campaign period before ballot papers were sent out to party members, whose votes would account for 50% of the result alongside the result of a party room vote.

The question would appear to be whether Ben Carroll of the Right, who is said to be canvassing support, goes the distance against Allan. Labor sources cited by The Age say the leadership is “Allan’s to lose”, but the Right could play hardball in forcing a vote if it is not assured of the deputy position. Anthony Carbines and Natalie Hutchins are mentioned as potential Right contenders along with Carroll, but Mary-Anne Thomas and Gabrielle Williams of the Left are also said to be interested. Carbines, Williams and Thomas, together with Colin Brooks, are further listed by The Australian as “possible but unlikely” contenders for the leadership.

Essential Research 2PP+: Labor 49, Coalition 45 (open thread)

Unsurprising results on federal voting intention and the Indigenous Voice from Essential Research, while RedBridge finds the Coalition making no headway in Victoria.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll finds both major parties unchanged on the primary vote, Labor at 31% and the Coalition at 32%, with the Greens down two to 13%, One Nation up one to 8% and 6% undecided. The pollster’s 2PP+ measure has Labor down two to 49% and the Coalition up two to 45% – the narrowest result this term – with undecided likewise at 6%. A result on the Indigenous Voice maintains the remorseless trend, with no up three to 51% (hard no up one to 42%, soft no up one to 8%) and and yes down one to 41% (hard yes down two to 28%, soft yes steady at 12%).

Regarding the government’s latest package of workplace laws, the poll finds 79% are in favour of criminalising wage theft, with only 6% opposed; 66% support “closing loopholes so that employers can’t use labour hire workers to undercut full time workers”, with 12% opposed; and 54% support “ensure that gig workers who work through digital platforms have minimum rights and entitlements”, with 15% opposed. Forty-nine per cent favoured “businesses maximising profits for shareholders” as the cause of rising living costs over 32% for the alternative cause of wage and salary increases for workers, and 42% felt workplace power tilted too much in favour of employers compared with 12% for workers. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1135.

Also doing the rounds is a Victorian state poll from RedBridge Group that shows primary vote shares much as they were at the November election, with Labor on 37%, the Coalition on 34% and the Greens on 13% (36.7%, 34.5% and 11.5% respectively at the election). However, Labor is credited with a wider two-party preferred lead of 56.5-43.5, compared with 55.0-45.0 at the election. The poll was conducted August 31 to September 14 from a substantial sample of 3001, allowing for credible breakdowns by gender, age, region, education, income and home ownership in the pollster’s report.

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.