Senate call of the board

Senate results sliced and diced as the final determinations are reached, starting with the first two: Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The first two Senate results were determined today, for Tasmania and the Northern Territory. No further results will be decided until at least next week, with the possibility of some having to wait until a week subsequently. This post will review the results as they emerge.

Western Australia (October 2)

The one we’ve all been waiting for: it’s Louise Pratt and PUP, rather than Scott Ludlam and Sports, possibly pending an unprecedented Senate recount. 1. David Johnston (Liberal); 2. Joe Bullock (Labor); 3. Michaelia Cash (Liberal); 4. Linda Reynolds (Liberal); 5. Zhenya Wang (PUP); 6. Louise Pratt (Labor).

The result was decided by a difference of just 14 votes, that being the margin at the key point of the count between Shooters & Fishers (23,515) and Australian Christians (23,501). Going on the ABC computer projection, the margin at that point in the count was 23,395 for Shooters & Fishers against 22,967 for Australian Christians. So below-the-line votes cost van Burgel 534 vote and Bow 120 – not quite enough to make the difference. Had Shooters & Fishers dropped out, their preferences would have gone to the Australian Sports Party, sustaining them at a point in the count where they would otherwise have been excluded. There would then have come a later point in the count where the Palmer United Party would have been excluded on account of being behind the Sports Party, and their preferences would have flowed to the Greens giving Ludlam the seat at the expense of Pratt.

New South Wales (October 2)

As anticipated, 1. Marise Payne (Liberal), 2. Bob Carr (Labor), 3. John Williams (Nationals), 4. Doug Cameron (Labor), 5. David Leyonhjelm (LDP); 6. Arthur Sinodinos (Liberal).

Queensland (October 2)

No surprises here either, except that it’s come sooner than anticipated. 1. Ian Macdonald (LNP), 2. Chris Ketter (Labor), 3. James McGrath (LNP), 4. Claire Moore (Labor), 5. Glenn Lazarus (PUP) & 6. Matt Canavan (LNP).

Victoria (October 1)

1. Mitch Fifield (Liberal), 2. Gavin Marshall (Labor), 3. Scott Ryan (Liberal), 4. Jacinta Collins (Labor), 5. Janet Rice (Greens); 6. Ricky Muir (Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party).

Also confirmed today, and also in line with what all models were projecting.

South Australia (October 1)

1. Cory Bernardi (Liberal); 2. Nick Xenophon; 3. Penny Wong (Labor); 4. Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens); 5. Bob Day (Family First); 6. Simon Birmingham (Liberal).

Confirmed today, with no surprises. More to follow.

Australian Capital Territory (October 1)

1. Kate Lundy (Labor); 2. Zed Seselja (Liberal).

Confirmed this morning. No surprises here.

Tasmania

1. Richard Colbeck (Liberal); 2. Carol Brown (Labor); 3. David Bushby (Liberal); 4. Catryna Bilyk (Labor); 5. Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens); 6. Jacqui Lambie (Palmer United).

Liberal and Labor both scored a clean two quotas off the primary vote (2.63 and 2.30 respectively), with Labor’s surplus enough to ensure election for Peter Whish-Wilson (0.82) after the exclusion of the third Labor candidate, Lin Thorp. The race for the final seat ended up a three-way contest between the ultimately successful Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party, third Liberal candidate Sally Chandler, and Robbie Swan of the Sex Party. The ABC calculator had been giving it to Swan because a strong performance on preferences, including from some unlikely sources, would have helped him stay ahead of Lin Thorp by 15,145 to 14,449 at a key point of the count. However, many of those preferences were perversely to come from conservative parties (Shooters and Fishers, Country Alliance, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party) whose supporters were not of a mind to direct preferences to the Sex Party consciously (UPDATE: Kevin Bonham in comments points out the Sex Party in fact got more below-the-line preferences than Labor from Shooters and Fishers voters – however, on the ABC calculator projection they were getting all of them). That caused 653 below-the-line votes for those parties to leak away, while below-the-line votes gave Thorp a net gain of 287. The closure of the gap meant the exclusion of Swan, followed by the exclusion of Thorp and the election of Whish-Wilson. At this stage, Jacqui Lambie emerged with a 31,142-29,866 vote lead over the Liberal Democrats, whose exclusion unlocked the flood of preferences which elected her. Had Lambie failed to stay ahead of the Liberal Democrats, her own preferences would have decided the result in favour of Chandler.

Northern Territory

1. Nigel Scullion (Country Liberal); 2. Nova Peris (Labor).

Labor finished just short of a quota with 0.9824, but would presumably have got over the line on below-the-line preferences on any scenario. Even if it were otherwise, the combinations that might have put Nova Peris in jeopardy were not in place. The one party with the potential to absorb the entire non-Labor vote was First Nations, but the combined vote for it and its immediate preference feeders amounted to only 2.18%, giving its candidate no chance of overtaking Australian Independents or Shooters and Fishers as required to keep the snowball rolling. Peris made it to a quota when Sex Party preferences were distributed, and stood to receive the 8.7% Greens vote if the count had proceeded further.

Photo finishes: the Senate

A review of the Senate election results, to be updates as late counting progresses.

Progressive updates of the long and laborious Senate count.

Still in play

Western Australia

Monday 23/9. The ABC computer projection today flipped to show the last two seats going to Louise Pratt and Zhenya Wang at the expense of Scott Ludlam and Wayne Dropulich, the decisive change being that Australian Christians have fallen behind Shooters and Fishers at “Count 21”. This deprives Dropulich of the Shooters and Fishers preferences he needs to survive the subsequent counts.

Tuesday 17/9. The most excellent Senate modelling of PB regular Truth Seeker illustrates the delicate balance of the count here, and the stars that need to remain aligned if Wayne Dropulich of the Australian Sports Party is indeed to find his way to the Senate off 0.2% of the vote. Key to the outcome is Dropulich remaining ahead of the Rise Up Australia party after distribution of preferences from Australian Voice, after which his snowball builds all the way to a quota. This might yet be undone by a gentle trend towards RUA on late counting, together with the unknown quantity of below-the-line votes. Should Dropulich fall short, not only will his own seat instead go to Zhenya Wong of the Palmer United Party, but the complexion of the race for the final seat between Scott Ludlam of the Greens and Labor’s Louise Pratt will change. This is because the comfortable win presently projected for Ludlam is achieved off Palmer preferences, which won’t be available to him if the votes are used to elect Wong. Truth Seeker’s projection is that Pratt will “almost certainly” defeat Ludlam on a scenario in which Wong is elected.

Monday. Together with the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party in Victoria, the other freak result being projected is that someone called Wayne Dropulich from something called the Australian Sports Party is projected to win off 0.22% of the primary vote. However, there are two points in the projected count where Dropulich narrowly escapes exclusion after finishing slightly ahead of the No Carbon Tax and Rise Up Australia parties. Those hurdles cleared, he harvests almost the entirety of the micro-party vote along with the Liberal Party surplus. If he drops out, it looks like another seat would be in the bag for the Palmer United Party, whose candidate is the little-known Zhenya Wang. The other point at issue is whether the second “left” seat goes to Labor’s number two candidate, incumbent Louise Pratt, or Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. If Zhenya Wang drops out, Ludlam looks the certain winner as he stands to receive the Palmer party’s preferences. But if the Palmer candidate is elected and has no preferences to spare, the result between Ludlam and Pratt at the final count becomes very close, though with Ludlam still appearing better placed.

Election night. One of a number of freakish outcomes currently projected by the ABC computer is that something called the Australian Sports Party wins a seat off 0.22% of the vote. However, there’s a very good chance that they will not in fact make it through the early rounds of the count. It does appear though that a micro-party seat is up for grabs to join the three for the Liberals and the two for Labor and/or Scott Ludlam. As best as I can tell, the only danger to Ludlam is that a share of the Palmer United Party vote might get used to elect one of the micro-parties candidates who are above the Greens on their preference order, which include the Liberal Democrats, the Australian Christians and Family First, perhaps depriving him of the preferences he needs to defeat Louise Pratt at the final count. It is also problematic for him that the PUP, being largely a phenomenon of the late campaign, may fade as pre-poll and postal votes are added.

Tasmania

Tuesday 24/9. The AEC yesterday announced that the computerised preference distribution will be conducted tomorrow, and the result declared on Thursday.

Tuesday 16/9. With two seats each for Labor and Liberal and one for the Greens assured, there are three scenarios for the final seat which could variously see it go to third Liberal candidate Sally Chandler, Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party, or Canberra resident Robbie Swan of the Sex Party. The ABC computer is presently intriguing journalists by giving it to Swan, based on him finishing ahead of Labor at Count 21 by the grand total of 14,275 to 14,274. That sees Swan soak up the Labor/Greens surplus to finish ahead of the Liberal Democrats, whose preferences then put him ahead of Lambie and on to victory with Lambie’s preferences. But if the situation at Count 21 was just one vote different, Swan would be excluded and his preferences distributed in such a way as to leave Lambie about 1000 votes behind the Liberal Democrats, and thus be excluded. Lambie’s preferences would then flow to the Liberals and deliver the seat to Sally Chandler. A win for Lambie thus looks the least likely of the three possible scenarios, although the high rate of below-the-line voting in Tasmania is such that I don’t think it should be entirely ruled out.

Thursday. The ABC projection in Tasmania no longer has Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party winning a seat, as she now finishes behind the Liberal Democrats (28,114 to 27,234) after the Greens surplus is distributed at Count 24. I earlier presumed that this scenario would deliver the seat to the Liberal Democrats, but Palmer preferences are in fact going to the Liberals and, unless Lambie can recover, will deliver the final seat to the third Liberal candidate, Sally Chandler.

Monday. Labor and the Greens have won over three quotas between them, securing two seats for Labor plus the re-election of Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, despite a headlong plunge in the Greens’ statewide vote from the historic high of 2010. On the right, the Liberals have won their obligatory two seats, but the last is a close-run thing between the third Liberal, Palmer United Party candidate Jacqui Lambie (who unsuccessfully contested Liberal preselection for Braddon) and Clinton Mead of the Liberal Democrats. All three are between 9% and 10% at the second last exclusion, Mead having preference-harvested off a base of 2.29%, Lambie having received the Labor and Greens surplus, and the Australian Christians and Rise Up Australia feeding preferences to third Liberal candidate Sally Chandler. The high rate of below-the-line voting makes this particularly hard to pick.

Election night. Neither Labor nor Liberal appears to have the firepower to get a third member up, leaving Labor preferences to re-elect Peter Whish-Wilson. The last seat, I believe, is a toss-up between the Palmer United Party, currently projected to win the seat, and those pesky Liberal Democrats.

Decided

New South Wales

Monday. David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party is currently on 8.9% of the statewide vote, which is almost certainly an accidental consequence of his party being the first listed on the huge ballot paper, and hence the first most voters encountered with the word “Liberal” in its name. The party also receives the preferences of the Democratic Labour Party, which is on a not insubstantial 1.5%. The DLP too did handily on the ballot paper draw, securing the third position out of 44 groups, and similarly owes some of its vote to those who thought they were voting for the other Labor party. A further 0.4% was funnelled to the party by the snappily named Stop the Greens, Smokers Rights and Australian Republicans, whose links to the LDP have been reviewed by Crikey’s Andrew Crook . Other micro-parties feeding Leyonhjelm preferences, either due to their general hostility to larger parties or because they hoped to be the ultimate beneficiary of the preference network, include Katter’s Australian Party, Shooters & Fishers, the Fishing & Lifestyle Party, the Christian Democatic Party, One Nation, the Sex Party, Wikileaks, the Animal Justice Party, HEMP and the Drug Law Reform Party and the Stable Population Party. Not too many of these parties’ supporters would have cast their vote with the intention of electing a party that trades in Ron Paul-style low-tax libertarianism. When combined, Leyonhjelm emerges with a 14.3% quota with at least 4% to spare, and no need for any surplus from the major parties.

Election night. Notwithstanding a sadly typical flurry of excitement based on a meaningless early projection, Pauline Hanson’s chances have been negated by the phenomenon of an accidental 8.9% vote for the Liberal Democrats. This has probably secured a result of three Coalition, two Labor and one Liberal Democrats, although the Greens would be a chance of nabbing one of the Coalition seats if they or Labor improved in late counting for some reason.

Victoria

Monday. Despite picking up a swing in Victoria, the Coalition has for the second election running failed to achieve a Senate vote sufficient to ensure a third seat. Last time this caused them to lose out on a third seat which instead went to the Democratic Labor Party. However, the DLP’s vote in Victoria was well down this time, mostly no doubt due to the proliferation of competition. Based on Antony Green’s calculator, Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party stands to win the final spot, simply because the Coalition doesn’t have three quotas in its own right and very few parties are favouring it ahead of Muir, who fortuitously outperformed other micro-party candidates due to the way preferences were allocated. As far as I can see, the most likely scenario to thwart Muir involves him falling behind Australian Christians and the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party at a point where one of three must be excluded, though this would be easier to envision if Muir had to fall below two candidates rather than just one. If he does fall short, it appears that the last micro-party standing would be Family First, who would not match Muir’s preference firepower owing to the Sex Party (polling close to 2%) putting the Christian parties last. The upshot would be that Liberal incumbent Helen Kroger could get up after all, leaving the Abbott government with one less cross-bencher to worry about.

Election night. The ABC calculator currently projects a win for the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party off 0.52% of the vote together with two Liberal, two Labor and one Greens, but I wouldn’t stake the mortage on that. However, the Coalition has fallen short of a third quota and doesn’t get many preferences, helping to explain why the preselection stoush between second placed Scott Ryan and third placed Helen Kroger was so willing. In Kroger’s stead, the final seat would go to some or other right-wing micro-party. Unlikely to be in the hunt are the “DLP Democratic Labour Party”, whose vote from from 2.33% to (on current numbers) 0.69%. This was no doubt partly due to the greater competition for the micro-party vote, but I also suggest it was a bad idea to subtly rename themselves from “Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia”, which I suggest was easier to confuse with the Australian Labor Party.

Queensland

Monday. Here at least the result is both straightforward, with the Liberal National Party winning three seats, Labor two and the other going to Glenn Lazarus of the Palmer United Party, and inoffensive on a democratic level, since a) Lazarus’s 10.3% of the vote is near enough to a full quota in his own right, and b) people were clearly voting for him on purpose.

Election night. I think you can lock in the currently projected result of three Liberal National Party, two Labor and one Glenn Lazarus of the Palmer United Party looks locked in.

South Australia

Monday. Another of the many extraordinary results was that Nick Xenophon outpolled the Labor Party in South Australia, by 25.88% to 22.78%, and finished only slightly behind the Liberal Party on 26.69%. That looks certain to limit Labor to one seat, Don Farrell’s act of altruism in conceding the top position on the ticket to Penny Wong appearing more consequential than he probably realised at the time. That leaves a decisive Labor surplus to pass on to Sarah Hanson-Young, who had wrongly been written off by many who failed to consider the possibility of Xenophon sucking up enough votes to reduce Labor to one seat. Xenophon could probably have won a seat for his running mate if he had been more ready to engage in preference deals, but very few of the minor players have favoured his running mate over Liberal incumbent Simon Birmingham. The remaining seat looks set to go to Family First, whose candidate is housing tycoon and one-time Liberal candidate Bob Day. Day polled a strong 3.77%, and the only potential roadblock on his path to victory is that he finishes only slightly ahead of the Liberal Democrats at the point where they are excluded. South Australia’s six Senate seats thus look set to be divided between five different parties.

Election night. I may need a fresh pair of eyes on this one this morning, but I think the present projection of two Liberal and one each for Labor, Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Family First is the likely outcome. The one potential disturbance I see is Count 27, where the Liberal Democrats are excluded on 3.67% only just behind 4.03% for Family First. A reversal would, I presume, give the Liberal Democrats the seat instead. Despite Xenophon’s brilliant success in scoring 1.8 quotas, I don’t believe he can secure the remaining 0.2 quotas he needs to elect his running mate. Labor’s failure to secure a second seat, as looks to have happened in Western Australia in results without historical precedent, looks likely re-elect Sarah Hanson-Young. Now recall that the Labor Party initially proposed to give Don Farrell the only winning spot on the ticket at the expense of Penny Wong.

Territories

Monday. The territories have never failed to deliver one seat each to the major parties, but Greens candidate Simon Sheikh has at the very least come extremely close to knocking off Liberal candidate Zed Seselja, the former ACT Opposition Leader making a bid for federal parliament after knocking off incumbent Gary Humphries for preselection. In the Northern Territory, there was talk that Nova Peris’s path to the Senate might be blocked by the tightness of preference flows to the indigenous rights party First Nations, but their vote was too low to put them in contention.

Election night. The Greens are making their best fist yet of winning a Senate seat in the ACT, potentially thwarting Zed Seselja’s bid to move from territory to federal politics. However, the ABC projects Zeselja holding by 34.05% to 32.62% at the final count, and my instinct is that that’s unlikely to be overturned on late counting. In the Northern Territory, the First Nations party doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the early stages of the count, thwarting a potential threat to Nova Peris’s election, which probably would have been averted anyway by a near-quota vote for Labor.

Coalition 90, Labor 55, Others 5

House of Representatives numbers settled as Clive Palmer makes it over the line in Fairfax by 36 votes, pending a recount.

The AEC reports the count in Fairfax has ended with Clive Palmer 36 votes in front of Liberal National Party candidate Ted O’Brien. The scrutiny progress table still lists 107 pre-polls and seven postals as awaiting processing, but I guess these are the ones that have been “disallowed” (the numbers are about right in each case). Admitted to the count today were 304 pre-polls, which broke 178-126 to O’Brien, and 147 postals, which broke 85-62, in each case in line with the general trend of the pre-poll and postal count. That was only sufficient to chip 75 votes away from Palmer’s 111-vote margin from last night.

Assuming that result is not overturned on a recount, I would say this definitively settles the line-up of the new House of Representatives: 90 seats to the Coalition (58 Liberal, 22 Liberal National, nine Nationals and one Country Liberal), 55 to Labor, one each for the Greens, Katter’s Australian Party and the Palmer United Party, and two independents.

Call of the board: part two

A quick run-through election results of interests from seats in the AFL states plus the Australian Capital Territory (the rest having been dealt with yesterday).

The other half of my review of electorate results of interest, with numbers and swings cited for the sake of consistency on the basis of “ordinary” polling booth votes.

Victoria

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	42.6	+3.1	42.7	
Labor		35.3	-8.2	34.6		
Greens		10.5	-1.7	10.9
Palmer United	3.7
Others		7.9

Two-party preferred

Coalition	49.7	+5.4	50.1
Labor		50.3	-5.4	49.9

Bendigo. A 7.9% swing following the retirement of sitting member Steve Gibbons returned Bendigo to a marginal zone from which it had emerged with successive strong swings to Labor in 2007 and 2010.

Bruce. Alan Griffin’s eastern Melbourne seat is now marginal after a swing to the Liberals of 6.2% cut deep into his existing 7.7% margin.

Corangamite. Darren Cheeseman’s two-term hold on Corangamite was ended by a swing well in line with the statewide average, hitting him 8.0% on the primary vote and 4.4% on two-party preferred.

Gellibrand. It appears Nicola Roxon was well liked by her constituents, as the Labor primary vote in Gellibrand fell 12.6% upon her retirement, the second highest drop in the primary vote for Labor in Victoria. That translated into an ultimately harmless 7.6% swing on two-party preferred.

Indi. Support for Cathy McGowan has been slightly stronger in Wangaratta and Wodonga, which both broke about 54-46 her way, than in the rural centres, which were collectively at about 50-50.

Jagajaga. Jenny Macklin copped Labor’s second highest two-party swing in Melbourne, reducing her 11.1% margin by 8.3%.

La Trobe. Jason Wood returns to parliament after easily accounting for Labor member Laura Smyth’s 1.7% margin with a 5.8% swing, which was well in line with the Melbourne average.

Lalor. The loss of Julia Gillard was keenly felt in Lalor, an 18.6% drop in the primary vote being Labor’s worst in Victoria. Much of it spread across a crowded field of minor contenders, whose preferences limited the two-party swing to 10.0%.

Mallee. The Nationals comfortably retained a seat they might have feared losing to the Liberals with the retirement of veteran member John Forrest. Their candidate Andrew Broad had 39.5% of the ordinary vote to 27.0% for Liberal candidate Chris Crewther, and on present counting holds a lead of 9.9% after preferences. The only ordinary polling booths won by Crewther were the six in Mildura and the two in Stawell.

McEwen. The swing that is imperilling Rob Mitchell was notably fuelled by swings of around 12% in the Sunbury and Craigieburn booths, which were newly added to the electorate. Swings elsewhere were substantial, but generally well below the 9.2% margin.

McMillan. Russell Broadbent picked up an 8.0% swing, part of what looks an ongoing trend away from Labor in West Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.

Melbourne. The Liberal preference switch bit deep into the Greens’ two-party preferred vote, with Adam Bandt’s overall preference share shriking from 77.2% in 2010 to 40.4%. Had that applied on the 2010 numbers, Bandt would have fallen 3.4% short. On that basis, the current 4.9% margin after preferences can be seen as an 8.3% swing, although Bandt’s margin has in fact been reduced by 1.0%. Bandt picked up 7.2% on the primary vote amid a crowded field, for which Labor made way by dropping 10.9%.

Western Australia

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	51.1	0.4	51.0
Labor		29.1	-2.5	28.7		
Greens		9.6	-3.2	10.0
Palmer United	5.4
Others		4.8

Two-party preferred

Coalition	57.1	+0.9	57.3
Labor		42.9	-0.9	42.7

Brand. Gary Gray held firm amid a status quo result for Labor in WA, his margin of 3.3% more than enough buffer for a 1.1% swing. Both Labor and Liberal were down fractionally on the primary vote, the big movers being the Greens, down more than half to 7.1%, and the Palmer United Party on 7.4%.

Canning. Canning was one of only two mainland seats to record a double-digit two-party swings against Labor, the other being Lalor. This is clearly a correction after Alannah MacTiernan outperformed the state result by 5% when she ran in 2010. This time the Labor vote was down 14.8%, with Liberal member Don Randall up 6.4%.

Durack. It was a disappointing election for the WA Nationals, who among other things were unable to snare the northern regional seat of Durack which had been vacated by retiring Liberal member Barry Haase. The party’s candidate Shane van Styn was outpolled by Liberal candidate Melissa Price 37.8% to 23.6% on the primary vote, and has on current indications fallen 4.2% short after receiving 57.4% of preferences. In this he was inhibited by Labor’s decision to put the Nationals last, which the experience of O’Connor suggests cut the overall Nationals preference share by about 10%. That being so, the Labor preference decision would have exactly accounted for the final margin.

Hasluck. Amid what was only a slight statewide swing off a high base, Liberal sophomore Ken Wyatt landed a handy 4.3% buffer to what had been a precarious 0.6% margin.

O’Connor. Tony Crook’s retirement combined with Labor’s preference decision ended the toehold the WA Nationals gained in the House of Representatives, the election of Crook having ended a drought going back to 1974. The primary votes were not greatly changed on 2010, when Crook was outpolled by Wilson Tuckey 38.4% to 28.8% on the primary vote before emerging 3.6% ahead after preferences. The biggest changes were that the Nationals were down 3.3% to 25.6% and the Palmer United Party scored 4.4%. The decisive factor was a drop in the Nationals’ share of preferences from 75.3% to 66.0%, landing Nationals candidate Chub Witham 1.0% short of Liberal candidate Rick Wilson.

South Australia

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	44.8	+4.8	45.1
Labor		36.2	-5.1	35.6		
Greens		8.0	-3.8	8.2
Palmer United	3.8
Others		7.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	52.2	+5.7	52.6
Labor		47.8	-5.7	47.4

Boothby. The run of five successive swings against Andrew Southcott at elections going back to 1996 came to an emphatic end as Labor directed its resources elsewhere. Southcott was up 5.9% on the primary vote and 7.3% on two-party preferred.

Hindmarsh. The South Australian swing hit Labor hardest where they needed it least, an 8.2% swing handily accounting for Steve Georganas’s 6.1% margin in the most marginal of their six seats. Labor’s fortunes in Hindmarsh have changed since Georganas won it for them at the 2004 election, at which time Kingston, Makin and Wakefield were Liberal seats on respective margins of 0.1%, 0.9% and 0.7%. Those seats have stayed with Labor since falling to them in 2007, currently being held by respective margins of 9.7%, 5.4% and 3.1%.

Wakefield. After talk that Nick Champion might be troubled as a result of job cuts at Holden’s Elizabeth plant, he retained a 3.1% margin in the face of a 7.1% swing, which was slightly higher than the statewide result of 5.8%.

Tasmania

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	40.2	+6.9	40.5
Labor		35.1	-9.3	34.7		
Greens		8.1	-8.5	8.3
Palmer United	6.2
Others		10.4

Two-party preferred

Coalition	51.6	+9.4	51.2
Labor		48.4	-9.4	48.8

Bass and Braddon moved very closely in tandem, with two-party swings of 10.9% and 10.3% that were both driven by Labor primary vote collapses at around the double-digit mark, and increases in the Liberal vote of around 8%. Lyons fell with a bigger swing off a lower base, the margin of 12.3% accounted for by a 14.0% swing with primary votes shifts well into double digits for both parties. However, it was a different story in the south of the state, with Julie Collins holding on to a 4.9% margin in Franklin after a relatively benign 5.9% swing. In Denison, Andrew Wilkie’s vote was up from 21.3% to 38.3%, with Labor (down 10.8% to 24.5%) and the Greens (down 11.3% to 7.7%) making way. The Liberals held steady, but nonetheless remained slightly below Labor and sure to remain in third place after distribution of Greens preferences.

Australian Capital Territory

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	34.5	-0.1	34.7
Labor		43.4	-2.1	42.9		
Greens		13.0	-5.8	13.4
Palmer United	2.8
Others		6.3

Two-party preferred

Coalition	40.0	+1.9	40.2
Labor		60.0	-1.9	59.8

With only a subdued swing against Labor, the outstanding feature of the result appears to be a slump in the Greens vote, down 6.0% in Canberra and 5.8% in Fraser. However, this can largely be put down to greater competition for the minor party vote. The 2010 election saw only three candidates nominate in Canberra and four in Fraser (the Secular Party together with the usual three), but this time there were six and eight seats respectively. A clearer picture is presented by the Senate, where the Greens vote was down 4.1% to 18.8% despite the high-profile candidacy of Simon Sheikh, while Labor fell 6.0% to 34.8%. Both major parties were just clear of a quota.

Call of the board: part one

Short and sharp reflections on some of the more interesting electorate results, starting with New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

What follows is a brief overview of the results in electorates I felt worth commenting on for one reason or another, together with projections of state vote shares based on ordinary votes results (which are not quite fully accounted for in the count, but close enough to it) and the extent to which postals, pre-polls and absent votes shifted the totals in 2010. New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory are covered herein, with the others to follow.

New South Wales

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	47.3	+2.6	47.2
Labor		34.9	-2.8	34.5
Greens		7.7	-2.2	8.1
Palmer United	4.3
Others		5.8

Two-party preferred

Coalition	54.2	+3.2	54.3
Labor		45.8	-3.2	45.7

Banks. The 3.3% swing which ousted Daryl Melham was almost exactly equal to the state total, which followed an 8.9% swing in 2010. An increase in the number of candidates from four to nine restricted the Liberal primary vote gain to 1.7% and contributed to a halving of the Greens vote, down from 9.6% to 4.7%.

Barton. The seat vacated by former Attorney-General Robert McClelland is going down to the wire, the 6.9% margin exactly matched by the swing on ordinary votes. This was the second biggest swing against Labor in Sydney after Macquarie. Barton was another seat that witnessed a dramatic proliferation of candidates, from three to eight, with the five minor party and independent newcomers collectively drawing 11.3%. The Liberals nonetheless increased their primary vote slightly, the balance coming off Labor and the Greens.

Blaxland. Reports on the eve of the election suggested Labor had grave fears for Jason Clare’s hold on Paul Keating’s old seat, despite its 12.2% margin. This proved entirely unfounded, with Labor up 5.4% on the primary vote and holding steady on two-party preferred.

Charlton. For some reason, the seat vacated by Greg Combet gave the Palmer United Party what was comfortably its highest vote in New South Wales at 11.3% (UPDATE: Frickeg in comments reminds me the belated disendorsement of the Liberal candidate probably had something to do with it). The party’s second best showing in the state was 7.8% in neighbouring Hunter. That aside, Combet’s departure did not cause any disturbance to Labor, the two-party swing being slightly below the state average.

Dobell. Craig Thomson managed 4.0%, which was at least better than Peter Slipper and contributed to a double-digit drop in the Labor primary vote, their worst such result in the state. Also contributing was former test cricketer Nathan Bracken, running as an independent with the backing of John Singleton, who managed 8.3%. The Liberal primary vote was up slightly, and its 5.9% swing on two-party preferred adequate to account for the 5.5% margin.

Eden-Monaro. Mike Kelly appeared to be well placed early in the count, but the larger and later reporting booths, including those in Queanbeyan, tended to swing more heavily. Kelly is presently sitting on a swing of 4.8%, enough to account for his 4.4% margin barring late count peculiarities and maintain Eden-Monaro’s cherished bellwether record. This was higher than the state average, part of a pattern in which swings in the state’s regions were actually slightly higher than in Sydney, contrary to all expectations.

Fowler. After all the hype about Labor’s looming collapse in western Sydney, a seat in that very area produced the most anomalous swing of the election in Labor’s favour. The 9.0% swing to Chris Hayes was 12.2% above the statewide par for Labor, and was fuelled by an 11.2% drop in the Liberal primary vote and swings approaching 20% in Cabramatta, the very area the Liberals had hoped to target by picking a Vietnamese candidate in Andrew Nguyen. However, look at the seat’s behaviour over longer range suggests this to have been a correction after an anomalous result in 2010, when Liberal candidate Thomas Dang slashed the Labor margin by 13.8% and picked up swings ranging from 16.5% to 23.1% in the Cambramatta booths.

Gilmore. The south coast seat was one of three in New South Wales to swing to Labor, presumably on account of the retirement of long-serving Liberal member Joanna Gash. Her successor, Ann Sudmalis, has emerged with 2.6% remaining of a 5.3% margin.

Grayndler. The Greens vote fell only modestly, by 1.2% to 22.8%, but it looks enough to have cost them a second place they attained for the first time in 2010. With primary votes generally fairly static, the change in Liberal preferencing policy would presumably have inflicted a hefty two-party swing if they had made the final count.

Hunter. Joel Fitzgibbon was down 10.1% on the primary vote, and while this was partly on account of the Palmer United Party’s second best performance in the state, he also suffered Labor’s biggest two-party swing in the state at 8.9%.

Kingsford Smith. One of a number of pieces of saved furniture for Labor in Sydney, Kingsford Smith turned in a largely status quo result in Peter Garrett’s absence, outgoing Senator Matt Thistlethwaite easily defending a 5.2% margin against a swing of 1.9%.

Lindsay. The swing that unseated David Bradbury was slightly on the high side for Sydney at 3.5%, more than accounting for a margin of 1.1% without meeting the more fevered expectations of a western Sydney disaster.

Macarthur. Liberal sophomore Russell Matheson picked up the second biggest two-party Coalition swing in New South Wales, up 6.8% on the primary vote and 8.4% on two-party preferred.

Page. The expectation that Labor would perform better in regional New South Wales than in Sydney was most strikingly defied in Page, where Janelle Saffin unexpectedly fell victim to a 7.2% swing.

Parramatta. Julie Owens’ seat produced a fairly typical result for Sydney in swinging 3.4% to the Liberals, which hasn’t been enough to account for the 4.4% margin. (UPDATE: I speak too soon. In keeping with a general trend of late counting away from Labor, postal votes are flowing heavily to the Liberals and putting Owens at very serious risk.)

Robertson. As expected, the seat Deborah O’Neill did well to retain in 2010 with a margin of 1.0% was an early election night casualty for Labor, the swing of 4.0% being perfectly typical for non-metropolitan New South Wales.

Throsby. Gary “Angry” Anderson managed 10.5% as candidate of the Nationals, nearly doubling the party’s vote from 2010 despite the number of candidates being up from five to 11. The Greens conversely were well down, by 6.5% to 5.3%.

Werriwa. Frequently written off during the campaign, Laurie Ferguson is set to retain about 2.2% of his 6.8% margin from 2010.

Queensland

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	45.3	-1.9	45.5
Labor		30.1	-3.9	29.7
Greens		6.1	-4.7	6.2
Palmer United	11.3
Others		7.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	56.0	+1.1	56.3
Labor		44.0	-1.1	43.7

Blair. One Labor MP with good cause to feel glad about Kevin Rudd’s return was Shayne Neumann, who picked up a 1.4% two-party swing and held firm on the primary vote in the face of 12.8% vote for the Palmer United Party. Here as elsewhere in Queensland, the Greens crashed in the absence of the Kevin Rudd protest vote in 2010, dropping 6.9% to 4.2%.

Brisbane. While Labor had much to be relieved about in Queensland, its high hopes for recovering Brisbane were not realised, with Liberal National Party member Teresa Gamabaro up 1.8% on the primary vote, Labor steady. A 6.9% drop in the Greens vote to 14.3%, coming off Andrew Bartlett’s high-profile campaign in 2010, produced a significantly weaker flow of preferences to Labor.

Capricornia. The central Queensland seat vacated by Kirsten Livermore is going down to the wire after a heavy 8.9% drop in the Labor primary vote. This was mostly down to the competition from the Palmer and Katter parties, the former outscoring the latter 7.9% to 5.3%. With the Liberal National Party vote little changed, Labor suffered a 4.4% swing on ordinary votes off a margin of 4.6%.

Fairfax. Clive Palmer seems to be fighting to hold on to a 1411 against a strong trend in late counting towards Liberal National Party candidate Ted O’Brien. However, O’Brien’s current vote count looks to have been inflated by a discrepancy you can read about here. As things stand, the key to Palmer’s potential victory is his clear success in outpolling Labor 27.3% to 18.1% on ordinary votes, with LNP candidate Ted O’Brien’s 41.0% below the safety zone with Labor and Greens preferences flowing strongly against him.

Fisher. With Palmer United Party candidate Bill Schoch apparently primed to overtake Labor on preferences, despite trailing them 21.0% to 18.3% on the primary vote, Mal Brough’s 43.8% share of the vote was an uncomfortably long distance from the 50% mark. Nonetheless, Brough appears to be gaining about a quarter of the overall preferences on offer, enough to get him over the line with a few per cent to spare.

Griffith. Kevin Rudd suffered Labor’s equal biggest swing in Queensland of 5.2%, with Bill Glasson’s 5.9% lift on the primary vote the second highest achieved by an LNP candidate.

Kennedy. Bob Katter emerged a big loser of election night with a 17.1% slump in his primary vote, reducing him to 29.5%. Liberal National Party candidate Noeline Ikin was the beneficiary of a 14.0% spike that put her well in front on the primary vote count with 40.6%, but preferences are flowing solidly enough to Katter to leave him with a margin slightly below 3%.

Leichhardt. There was strong movement to Labor in Aboriginal communities, doubtless reflecting the background of Labor candidate Billy Gordon. This briefly created the illusion of a potential Labor victory as the first booth-matched results came through on election night, but that was negated by a strong performance by LNP member Warren Entsch in Cairns and the electorate’s rural areas.

Lilley. The 1.6% swing against Wayne Swan was well in line with the statewide norm, and if anything a little above it. Given the pre-election publicity though, Swan’s success in retaining almost all of his 2010 primary vote was among the results that lifted Labor’s spirits on an otherwise grim evening.

Petrie. Kevin Rudd’s election night boast of having defended all of Labor’s Queensland seats to the contrary, it appears that Yvette d’Ath has been unseated by a swing of 3.0% on the ordinary votes, compared with her pre-election margin of 2.5%.

Northern Territory

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	41.2	+0.8	41.6
Labor		38.3	-0.2	37.7
Greens		7.7	-5.0	7.9
Palmer United	4.6
Others		8.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	49.7	+0.9	50.1
Labor		50.3	-0.9	49.9

Lingiari. As usual, swings in the extra-Darwin Northern Territory electorate were all over the shop, the general picture being of a slight swing to Labor in remote communities blunting the swing against Labor to 2.7%, short of Warren Snowdon’s 3.7% margin. This followed a 2010 result which delivered huge swings to the Country Liberal Party in remote communities but partly balanced them out with strong swings to Labor in the major centre, specifically Alice Springs.

Solomon. Natasha Griggs, who unseated Labor’s Damien Hale in 2010, notably failed to enjoy a sophomore surge, Solomon delivering a rare 0.7% swing to Labor to reduce the CLP margin to 0.9%.

Random observations

Scattered thoughts on the Senate, the western Sydney electorate of Fowler, Bob Katter, the informal vote rate, and the fine art of poll aggregation.

Time for a new thread, so here’s some very scattered thoughts that it occurs to me to share at this late hour:

• I had a piece on the Senate result in Crikey yesterday, and have been keeping a low profile on Poll Bludger in part because I’ve been busy fielding inquiries from media outlets eager to hear an election wonk’s take on the whole affair. If you’d like to comment on the progress of late counting in the Senate I’d encourage you to do so on the dedicated thread, or at least re-paste your comments there after leaving them on this one.

• I’d also like to encourage those with particular insights to offer on late counting in close lower house seats to share the love in the relevant comments threads, which can serve as useful clearing houses for information for those of us trying to keep up. Note that these posts can be accessed through links near the top of the sidebar.

• So what the hell happened in Fowler? There was, as we know, a much milder swing against Labor in western Sydney than media hype and certain local opinion polls had primed us for. However, that scarcely explains the thumping 8.8% swing enjoyed by Labor journeyman Chris Hayes. What presumably does explain it is Liberal candidate Andrew Nguyen, chosen by the party with a view to snaring the Vietnamese vote in Cabramatta, who suffered swings approaching 20% in that very area. As to what Vietnamese voters might have known about Nguyen that the Liberal Party did not, I cannot even speculate. However, it won’t be the only question the party has to ask itself about its candidate selection processes in New South Wales, for the second election in a row.

• It wasn’t a very good election for Bob Katter, who failed in his bid to bring new allies to Canberra and had his seemingly impregnable hold on Kennedy cut to the bone. One reason of course was that he was squeezed out by Clive Palmer (with due apologies for the unattractiveness of that image). However, another was very likely a preference deal he cut with Labor which in the event did neither party any good. I would also observe that this is not Katter’s first failed attempt at empire-building. At the 2004 Queensland state election, Katter organised an alliance of independents with a view to activating discontent over sugar industry policy, and the only one to poll a substantial share of the vote had done nearly as well without Katter’s help at the previous election. Even the much-touted successes of Katter’s Australian Party at last year’s Queensland election involved it a) absorbing probably transient protest votes which formed part of the huge swing against Labor, and b) electing two members who could just easily have won their seats as independents. Katter’s constituency would evidently prefer that he stick to being an independent local member, and limit his broader ambitious to bequeathing the family firm to his son.

• As well as witnessing an explosion in the micro-party vote, the election has at the very least seen the rate of informal voting maintain the peak scaled at the 2010 election. Limiting it to ordinary election day votes to ensure we’re comparing apples with apples (pre-poll and postal voters being generally more motivated and hence less prone to informal voting), the informal vote rate has progressed from 4.18% to 5.82% to 5.92%. Presumably the Australian Electoral Commission will be conducting a ballot paper study to let us know how much this is down to proliferating candidate numbers leading to inadvertent mistakes, and how much to disaffection leading to deliberate spoilage of ballot papers.

• If I do say so myself, my BludgerTrack poll aggregate performed rather well. The Coalition’s two-party preferred vote is at 53.15% on current counting, which is likely to edge up towards the projected 53.5% as the remaining votes come in. Better yet, there’s a good chance the state seat projections will prove to have been exactly correct, allowing for the fact that the model did not accommodate non-major party outcomes such as the possible wins for Clive Palmer in Fairfax and Cathy McGowan in Indi. No doubt this is partly down to luck. There was some imprecision on the primary vote, with the Coalition about a point too low and the Greens about a point too high (though the model in fact scaled down the latter from the pollsters’ published results), with the circle being squared by a preference allocation method that proved over-favourable to the Coalition, based as it was on the 2010 election result (although I’m pretty sure it still performed better than a method based on respondent allocation would have done).

Nonetheless, the model was certainly successful enough to confirm the wisdom of its basic premise that the best way to read the campaign horse race is to a) only pay attention to large-scale polling, i.e. national and state-level results, b) adjust pollsters for bias according to their past performance where sufficient observations are available from recent history, c) instead use the pollster’s deviation from the aggregated poll trend where sufficient observations are not available, and d) weight the results of each pollster according to how historically accurate/consistent with the trend they have been. As to the performance of the polls themselves, I’ll have a lot more to say about that when all the votes are in. In the meantime, here’s a broad brush overview from Matthew Knott at Crikey.