Finalised redistributions and federal election pendulum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Victorian federal redistribution finalised

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

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

South Australian draft federal redistribution

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

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

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

Barker. Gains Barossa Valley territory around Kapunda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victorian and ACT draft federal redistributions

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

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

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

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

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Queensland federal draft redistribution

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

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

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

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

Matters Tasmanian

Lots to report from the apple isle: new electoral boundaries, state upper house elections, and an encouraging poll for new Labor leader Rebecca White.

A helpful conjunction of events allows me to condense three pieces of Tasmanian electoral news into one post, namely the publication of draft boundaries of the state’s five federal and state electorates; tomorrow’s elections for three of the state’s 15 Legislative Council seats; and the quarterly poll of state voting intention from EMRS. In turn:

Draft electoral redistribution

Draft boundaries have been published today for a redistribution of the state’s five electorates, which, uniquely to the state, apply for both federal and state elections. A full accounting of my determinations of the new margins can be viewed here. In no case do the changes alter the existing margins by more than 1%, so the present situation where Labor holds four seats and independent Andrew Wilkie holds the fifth is notionally undisturbed. The changes can be summarised as follows:

• Bass is to be substantially altered in shape through an exchange of territory with Lyons, although it will still be dominated by Launceston. The changes are to cost it the north-eastern corner of the state (including Scottsdale and around 6000 voters overall), while adding territory to the west of the Tamar River (including Exeter, Beaconsfield and around 7500 voters all told). The areas gained and lost by Bass are conservative in roughly equal measure, so there is only a modest change to the Labor margin in Bass, from 6.1% to 6.4%.

• Braddon is to gain around 4500 voters from Lyons in the coastal area around Port Sorell, which together with the transfer to Bass costs Lyons the entirety of its territory on the north coast. This is a fairly conservative area, so Labor’s margin in Braddon is reduced from 2.2% to 1.6%.

• In addition to changes noted already, Lyons is to gain around 3500 voters from Franklin, in an area around Old Beach on the eastern bank of the Derwent River, about 10 kilometres north of central Hobart. This area is electorally typical of Franklin as a whole, so the margin in Franklin is unchanged. Lyons being less strong for Labor overall, the change makes a contribution to an overall 0.7% increase in the Labor margin there.

• Denison is to be left undisturbed.

Legislative Council elections

Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of the annual periodical elections for the Tasmanian Legislative Council, the definitive guides to which are provided by local observer Kevin Bonham. The 15 seats in this chamber are elected according to a cycle in which either two or three electorates go to the polls each May (I also observe that a redistribution is presently under way, which had previously escaped my notice, but doesn’t affect tomorrow’s poll). This system causes the chamber to be uniquely dominated by independents, with Labor and Liberal presently accounting for only two members each. One of the two Liberals, former Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin, recently announced she was terminally ill and is shortly expected to resign, leading in due course to a by-election in her eastern Hobart seat of Pembroke.

The seats up for election tomorrow are all held by independents, each of whom is seeking re-election. Defeat for any would be highly unusual. The seats in question are:

Launceston. Rosemary Armitage came to this self-explanatory seat upon the retirement of Don Wing in 2011, running slightly behind the Liberal candidate on the primary vote but finishing well ahead after preferences. The Liberals are leaving the field vacant this time, leaving Armitage to be opposed by Brian Roe of Labor; Emma Anglesey of the Greens, who works as a staffer to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson; Matthew Allen of Shooters and Fishers; and two independents, Neroli Ellis and Mark Tapsell.

Rumney. This electorate is centred around Storm Bay about 25 kilometres east of Hobart, and includes Sorell, Richmond and Port Arthur. Lin Thorp held the seat from Labor until 1999 until her defeat in 2011, and later served in the Senate from 2012 and 2014, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Nick Sherry and then failing to win election in 2013 from third position on the ticket. She was succeeded in Rumney by Tony Mulder, a former police commander who ran in 2011 as an independent Liberal. Mulder’s opponents are Labor’s Sarah Lovell, an organiser for United Voice; Cheryl Arnol of Shooters and Fishers; and three rival independents, Shelley Shay, Debra Thurley and hardy perennial Steve Mav.

Murchison. This electorate covers the state’s lightly populated west coast, and a stretch of the north coast inclusive of Wynyard, Smithton and Somerset (areas covered federally by Braddon). Ruth Forrest has held the seat since 2005, and her only opponent is another independent, Daryl Quilliam.

EMRS state poll

The latest phone poll of 1000 respondents for EMRS, which is the first conducted since Rebecca White replaced Bryan Green as Labor leader, has both major parties well up on the primary vote, presumably because the Liberals have benefited from a drop in support for One Nation, while White has helped Labor soak up votes from the Greens. The Liberals are up four on the primary vote to 39%; Labor is up five to 34%; the Greens are down four to 15%; and One Nation is down three to 3%. Will Hodgman holds only a narrow 42-39 lead over White as preferred premier, after dominating on this measure throughout Bryan Green’s tenure.