Next federal election pendulum (provisional)

A pendulum for the next federal election, assuming new draft boundaries in Victoria, South Australia and the ACT are adopted as is.

Following the recent publication of draft new boundaries for Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, we now have some idea of what the state of play will be going into the next election, albeit that said boundaries are now subject to a process of public submissions and possible revision. The only jurisdictions that will retain their boundaries from the 2016 election will be New South Wales and Western Australia, redistributions for Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory having been done and dusted since the last election.

The next election will be for a House of Representatives of 151 seats, ending a period with 150 seats that began in 2001. This is down to rounding in the formula by which states’ populations are converted into seat entitlements, which on this occasion caused Victoria to gain a thirty-seventh seat and the Australian Capital Territory to tip over to a third, balanced only by the loss of a seat for South Australia, which has now gone from thirteen to ten since the parliament was enlarged to roughly its present size in 1984.

The changes have been generally favourable to Labor, most noticeably in that the new seat in Victoria is a Labor lock on the western edge of Melbourne, and a third Australian Capital Territory seat amounts to three safe seats for Labor where formerly there were two. The ACT previously tipped over for a third seat at the 1996 election, but the electorate of Namadji proved short-lived, with the territory reverting to two seats in 1998, and remaining just below the threshold ever since. The Victorian redistribution has also made Dunkley in south-eastern Melbourne a notionally Labor seat, and has brought Corangamite, now to be called Cox, right down to the wire. Antony Green’s and Ben Raue’s estimates have it fractionally inside the Coalition column; mine has it fractionally tipping over to Labor.

The table at the bottom is a pendulum-style listing of the new margins, based on my own determinations for the finalisised and draft redistributions. The outer columns record the margin changes in the redistributions, where applicable (plus or minus Coalition or Labor depending on which side of the pendulum they land). Since I have Cox/Corangamite in the Labor column, I get 77 seats in the Coalition column, including three they don’t hold (Mayo, held by Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team, and Indi and Kennedy, held by independents Cathy McGowan and Bob Katter), and 74 in the Labor column, including two they don’t hold (Andrew Wilkie’s seat of Clark, as Denison will now be called, and Adam Bandt’s seat of Melbourne).

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Friday free-for-all

As the wheels begin to turn ahead of a federal election that might be held later this year, a round-up of recent preselection news.

No BludgerTrack update this week as there were no new opinion polls, which might be an issue from time to time now that Essential Research has gone from weekly to fortnightly. Newspoll and Essential will presumably both report next week, followed by a week off for Easter. So in lieu of any polling to analyse, I offer one of my occasional updates on federal preselection action.

Most of this relates to Queensland, where a federal redistribution will formally take effect next week – not that you would notice, as my calculations at the time the draft was published last year found no seat’s margin had changed by more than 0.6%. Nonetheless, BludgerTrack will henceforth be using the post-redistribution margins for it seats result projections. Redistributions for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, which will each gain a new seat, and South Australia, which will lose one, are presently in their early stages, and are likely to be finalised around September.

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BludgerTrack: 52.4-47.6 to Labor

Little change this week on the federal polling aggregate. Also featured: preselection news, minor polling snippets, and the latest changes to the configuration of the Senate.

There were two polls this week, one a little better for the Coalition than usual (52-48 from ReachTEL), one a little worse (54-46 from Essential Research). These add up to not much change on the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, albeit that the Coalition are up one on the seat aggregates for Victoria and Western Australia. No new numbers this week for the leadership ratings.

Latest developments on the ever-changing face of the Senate:

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New year news (week two)

A bunch of state polling, particularly from Victoria, and two items of preselection news.

Another random assortment of polling and preselection news to tide us over until the federal polling season resumes:

• Essential Research has broken the poll drought to the extent of releasing state voting intention results, compiled from the polling it conducted between October and December. The results find Labor ahead in all five states, with Tasmania not covered. This includes a breakthrough 51-49 lead in New South Wales, after they were slightly behind in each quarterly poll going back to April-June 2016; a 51-49 lead in Victoria, after they led either 52-48 or 53-47 going back to October-December 2015; a 52-48 lead in Queensland, from primary vote results well in line with the state election held during the period; and a new peak of 57-43 in Western Australia. In South Australia, Labor is credited with a lead of 51-49, from primary vote numbers which are, typically for Essential Research, less good for Nick Xenophon’s SA Best than Newspoll/Galaxy: Labor 34%, Liberal 31%, SA Best 22%.

The Age has ReachTEL polls of two Victorian state seats conducted on Friday, prompted by the current hot button issue in the state’s politics, namely “crime and anti-social behaviour”. The poll targeted two Labor-held seats at the opposite ends of outer Melbourne, one safe (Tarneit in the west, margin 14.6%), the other marginal (Cranbourne in the south-east, margin 2.3%). After excluding the higher-than-usual undecided (14.5% in Cranbourne, 15.5% in Tarneit), the primary votes in Cranbourne are Labor 40% (down from 43.4% at the last election), Liberal 40% (down from 41.3%) and Greens 7% (up from 4.2%); in Tarneit, Labor 43% (down from 46.8%), Liberal 36% (up from 26.4%), Greens 10% (up from 9.0%). Substantial majorities in both electorates consider youth crime a worsening problem, believe “the main issues with youth crime concern gangs of African origin”, and rate that they are, indeed, less likely to go out at night than they were twelve months ago. The bad news for the Liberals is that very strong majorities in both seats (74.6-25.4 in Tarneit, 66.5-33.5) feel Daniel Andrews would be more effective than Matthew Guy at dealing with the issue.

Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports on the latest flare-up in an ongoing feud between Ian Goodenough, member for the safe Liberal seat of Moore in Perth’s northern suburbs, and party player Simon Ehrenfeld, whose preselection for the corresponding state seat of Hillarys before the last state election was overturned by the party’s state council. The report includes intimations that Goodenough may have a fight of his own in the preselection for the next election, with those ubiquitous “party sources” rating him a “waste of a safe seat“, particularly in light of Christian Porter’s dangerous position in Pearce.

• Not long after Andrew Bartlett replaced Larissa Waters as a Queensland Greens Senator following the latter’s Section 44-related disqualification, the two are set to go head-to-head for preselection at the next election. Sonia Kohlbacher of AAP reports that Ben Pennings, “anti-Adani advocate and former party employee”, has also nominated, although he’s presumably a long shot. The ballot of party members will begin on February 16, with the result to be announced on March 26.

New year news

What’s next for Kristina Keneally; the trouble with Victorian Labor; George Brandis’s Senate vacancy; new hopefuls for a resurgent ALP in Western Australia; and more.

Ring in the new year with two months of accumulated news concerning preselections for the next federal election – not counting matters arising from Section 44, which will be dealt with in a separate post during the January lull in opinion poll news.

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Monday miscellany

An assembly of Section 44 detritus and recent federal preselection news.

Some Section 44 and recent preselection news to kick off a sorely needed new federal politics thread:

• The Australian Electoral Commission will today push the button on Senate recounts mandated by the High Court to determine replacements for Fiona Nash (New South Wales, Nationals), Larissa Waters (Greens, Queensland) and Scott Ludlam (Greens, Western Australia). It is a known known that this will result in the election of, respectively, Hollie Hughes, Andrew Bartlett and Jordon Steele-John. The first of these raises a complication in that Hughes is from the Liberals rather than Nationals, which upsets finely calibrated provisions of the coalition agreement.

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