Broadmeadows by-election live

Frank McGuire (ALP) 10516 51.0% -11.8% 10215 74.4%
Graham Dawson (GRN) 1227 5.9% -1.4% 3523 25.6%
Mark Hobart (DLP) 1180 5.7%
Merinda Davis (SEX) 1139 5.5%
Celal Sahin (IND) 4758 23.1%
Other Independents 1804 8.7%
Total 20624 13738
Informal 2216 9.7%
Counted (% of enrolled) 54.7% 36.4%
Booths counted (out of 13) 13 10

8.24pm. He also notes that Sahin ran McGuire close in Meadow Heights: 40 per cent to 37 per cent.

8.23pm. Antony Green reckons final turnout will be 76 per cent, which isn’t that unusual.

8.22pm. Meadow Heights added, so all the polling booths are in. Pre-polls and some of the postals will also be added this evening.

8.12pm. Roxburgh Homestead and Campbellfield added; only Meadow Heights to come.

8.01pm. Three booths added on meaningless Labor-versus-Greens two-party count.

8.00pm. Antony Green projects 67.1 per cent versus 31.9 per cent result for Labor versus Sahin on the final count.

7.58pm. GhostWhoVotes notes Sahin won the Upfield booth with 49.5 per cent primary vote.

7.56pm. Hume Central and Upfield booths added. By popular demand, Celal Sahin’s vote is now recorded separately in table. Psephos in comments notes Sahin has obviously harnessed the support of the electorate’s considerable Turkish community.

7.46pm. Independent Celal Sahin is easily the best performing non-Labor candidate on 17.8 per cent, and will finish far ahead of the Greens who are neck and neck with two other independents for third. So the notional two-party figures are purely a measure of the relative support for Labor and the Greens, not how the result will look after final distribution of preferences.

7.44pm. Lineball as to whether the Greens vote will be up and down. Not too big a shock: they also went nowhere in the Altona by-election.

7.43pm. Bethal, Broadmeadows North and Roxburgh Park primary vote results confirm the general trend, although the informal vote is back down to single figures.

7.41pm. I’ve added a row for the informal vote to my table, which is a very high 10.7 per cent from the five booths counted.

7.38pm. Two-party results from Glenroy East and Gowrie Park added, showing Labor with a thumping 81.8-18.2 lead over the Greens – but it’s by no means clear the Greens will in fact finish second, so this is as much a measure of their weak show as anything.

7.36pm. Broadmeadows, Coolaroo and Glenroy East booths added: Labor down quite sharply on the primary vote, further concerning for them with the informal vote is taken into account. Still a clear win on the primary vote however.

7.34pm. Antony Green points to high informal rate: 12.1 per cent.

7.30pm. Basically Labor took a big hit in their extremely strong Gowrie Park booth, but there was little change in weaker Glenroy North (which I have combined with the Glenroy booth, which is not in use at this by-election).

7.28pm. I’d made an error there on my swing calculations: Labor and the Greens are in fact both down, by 6.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

7.24pm. To cut a long story short, Frank McGuire has won. Both Labor and Greens are up slightly, but the Greens trail the Sex Party and two independents.

7.22pm. Glenroy North and Gowrie Park have reported: results added.

7.20pm. “Not the most exciting by-election count I’ve covered” – Antony Green.

7.16pm. That same someone reports the Greens vote is down in Glenroy North: from 11 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

7.13pm. Taking their time. Someone on Twitter reports: “Labor’s @Frank_McGuire wins on primary at Glenroy Nth”.

6pm. Polls have closed in the Broadmeadows by-election, which is basically an exercise to rubber-stamp the entry into parliament of Labor candidate Frank McGuire. First results should be in at about 6:45pm. The above table shows the raw primary vote and percentage; booth-adjusted primary vote swing results, which match the available booth results against the equivalent from the November state election; and a raw two-candidate preferred figure, which assumes the Greens will finish second.

Broadmeadows by-election: February 19

Friday, January 28

The Victorian Supreme Court has rejected the attempt to force a normal preselection process, clearing the path for Frank McGuire’s endorsement. The ABC reports Justice Tony Pagone “found that the internal party rules used as the basis for the unions’ case were not legally enforceable”, while VexNews says the applicants’ failure to pursue the matter through the party’s disputes resolution processes was a “big factor” in the decision. Andrew Crook of Crikey wrote yesterday that the challenge threatened the unintended consequence of a party investigation into local preselectors’ bona fides, which Yigit’s opponents claimed had the potential to expose a “ghost branch” of 200 members where “a mysterious anonymous benefactor services most of the membership fees”. Crook also reported that the local balance of power was finely poised between Yigit in central Broadmeadows and the Socialist Left around Craigieburn and Sunbury, where federal Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou wields considerable influence.

Thursday, January 27

Evening. VexNews reports the Supreme Court is today hearing a challenge being pressed by HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson, who has engaged Minter Ellison to pursue a strategy that most likely involves seeking an injunction or application to conduct a local vote. Given that nominations for the by-election close on Monday, this would not allow time for local preselectors’ bona fides to be checked. The site tells an intriguing tale of the NUW/SDA bloc of the Right being desperate to remain on side with Burhan Yigit owing to his standing in the local Turkish community and consequent ability to deliver it votes at State Conference. VexNews appears to think a legal challenge more likely to succeed than I suggested in my previous entry, given the disconnect between “the rarefied air of the Practice Court of the Supreme Court” and the “real-world issues and problems” facing a functioning political party. However, it is suggested that the challenge might be a token effort to keep Yigit on side, given that it is being pursued so late in the game.

Morning. As reported by Richard Willingham of The Age yesterday, Labor’s administrative committee has voted 18 to 13 to fast-track Frank McGuire’s preselection by referring the matter to the national executive, while also waiving the usual requirement that candidates be party members of over a year’s standing. David Rood of The Age today reports that the elements who favoured Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, namely the SDA, NUW and HSU on the right and the CFMEU on the left, have threatened legal action to enforce the normal procedure in which preselections are jointly determined by local members and the Public Office Selection Committee. A case brought by former South Australian deputy leader Ralph Clarke in 1999 established the power of the courts to rule on internal party matters, but the effect of this was to overturn a crude branch-stacking operation: what the aforementioned unions appear to be hoping for is a highly prescriptive intervention into the way the party organises its affairs, which would not seem to be promising ground. McGuire’s backing comes from the Shorten-Conroy axis on the Right and the Socialist Left, the latter of which is identified as accusing Yigit of having “effectively killed local activism” through branch-stacking.

The Richard Willingham report also tells us that Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka and Joseph Kaliniy have nominated as independents, while the Moreland Leader relates that hardy perennial Phil Cleary is considering once again throwing his hat into the ring.

Saturday, January 23

The by-election to replace outgoing former Victorian Premier John Brumby has been set for February 19. Labor’s state administrative committee will meet next week to select a candidate, having chosen to circumvent the normal process where the vote is jointly determined by local branches members and the party’s Public Office Selection Committee. This decision has presumably been taken to smooth the path for Frank McGuire, a property developer and former journalist best known as the brother of Eddie. Although he has not been a member of the party (and served a decade ago as a strategist for the Australian Democrats), McGuire has in his favour a lifelong family association with an electorate which – with all due respect to it – would count few likely ministerial contenders among its residents. Royce Millar of The Age reported that possible rivals with more current links to the area included Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, a member of the NUW/SDA sub-faction of the Right, and Mehmet Tillem, a convenor for the rival Bill Shorten-Stephen Conroy group. Also hoping for the latter’s support were Nathan Murphy, who lost his Northern Metropolitan upper house seat at the election, and Danny Pearson, a “former Bracks adviser turned lobbyist”. However, Millar also wrote that it was this group which first floated McGuire as a contender. More recently, but The Age’s Richard Willingham wrote that McGuire was “believed to be enjoying growing cross-factional support as the preferred candidate”. State party secretary Nick Reece was believed to have been Brumby’s choice, but he met resistance due to his lack of connection with the area.

The Liberals will not be fielding a candidate at the by-election, which even after a 10.8 per cent swing at the recent state election has a Labor margin of 21.0 per cent. It would thus appear that only the emergence of a strong independent candidate between now and the closure of nominations on February 1 offers the chance of a serious electoral contest. VexNews believes the Greens candidate is likely to be Graham Dawson, a City of Hume librarian who ran for the seat of Yuroke at the state election.

Altona by-election: February 13

Monday, February 8

The Sunday Herald Sun (report available at VexNews) reports that Labor internal polling conducted by Auspoll has Labor “bracing for a similar sized swing to the 2008 Kororoit by-election where its vote dropped by almost 17 per cent on a two-party preferred basis” – although this meaninglessly compares the Labor-versus-Liberal result in Kororoit at the 2006 election with the Labor-versus-independent result at the by-election. It has been widely noted that new developments around Point Cook and Sanctuary Lakes will have brought an infusion of high-income new voters to the electorate.

Monday, February 1

Background on the candidates from Antony Green.

Friday, January 29

Ballot paper order here.

Thursday, January 28

The Age reports Jill Hennessy, “a 37-year-old lawyer who lives in West Footscray and sits on the board of Western Health”, has won formidable backing in her preselection bid from Steve Bracks, Joan Kirner, Lynne Kosky and Gellibrand MP Nicola Roxon. However, she appears to be facing a serious challenge from 24-year-old Hobsons Bay councillor Luba Grigorovitch, who is determinedly playing the true-local-versus-head-office-outsider card. VexNews reports Grigorovitch is a “rebel Left” candidate running in defiance of an arrangement which reserved the seat for the Right, and in doing so has won support from the NUW and SDA forces which had been frozen out in the Left-Right unity deal (CORRECTION: Andrew Crook points out in comments that I’ve got this wrong: both candidates are from the Left, for whom the seat is reserved). The issue will be decided by a vote split evenly between branch members and the state party’s Public Office Selection Committee.

UPDATE: The ABC reports Hennessy has won; much, much more from VexNews.

Monday, January 25

The Greens’ candidate is David Strangward, a management consultant from Altona North, who managed to get a soundbite on the Channel Ten news this evening. Comments thread chat informs us Margarita Windisch will run for the Socialist Alliance.

Friday, January 22

I am pleasantly surprised to discover, via VexNews, that the Liberals look set to turn the by-election into a two-party contest by endorsing Mark Rose, a Wyndham councillor and police officer who ran in Tarneit at the 2006 election. Meanwhile, The Age reports Labor Left figureheads wish to preselect former state party president Jill Hennessy, but she may face opposition from an as yet undetermined candidate sponsored by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, which last night announced it was walking out on the faction.

Thursday, January 21

The Age reports:

The contest for Labor preselection for the seat has already drawn a wide field, including the daughter of the late trade union leader John Halfpenny and a former Victorian Labor president. Party insiders say six women have expressed interest in nominating for the seat. Lori Faraone, a former ministerial adviser to Lynne Kosky, is believed to be the current front-runner, with strong support also for former ALP state president Jill Hennessy. Catherine Van Vliet, a research officer at Melbourne University, and Ingrid Stitt, an officer with the Australian Services Union, have also expressed interest. Other names in the mix are Luba Grigorovitch, a former electorate officer to Ms Kosky and current Hobsons Bay councillor, and Bronwyn Halfpenny, who works for the Victorian Trades Hall Council. The ALP administrative committee will meet on Thursday night to open nominations. Meanwhile, the Liberal Party is yet to decide whether to contest the safe Labor seat, but insiders say there is a strong expectation among members that the party should run. The Greens are planning to pre-select a candidate this weekend.

Tuesday, January 19

Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has announced she is quitting politics immediately, citing “significant” but unspecified health problems in her family. This will initiate a by-election in her safe western suburbs seat of Altona, which she won by a margin of 20.2 per cent in 2006. VexNews‘s sources relate that the government is keen to get the by-election out of the way as soon as possible, and that Kosky’s Socialist Left will determine her successor under the terms of the cross-factional unity deal – and will be meeting “as early as today” to decide who gets the nod.

UPDATE: Peter Young in comments relates that writs have been issued in what might be world record time, for a by-election on February 13.

Kororoit by-election live

Vote Swing 2PP
Marlene Kairouz (Labor) 12,665
-13.9% 56.3
Les Twentyman (Independent) 5,108
Jenny Matic (Liberal) 5,345
Marcus Power (Greens) 1,297
Tania Walters (Independent) 1,093
Andre Kozlowski (CEC) 334

Tuesday 6pm. I am reliably informed that the Victorian Electoral Commission has conducted an unpublished Labor-versus-Liberal preference count which puts Labor at 71.5 per cent. So the real swing against Labor was only 4.1 per cent, a good result for a third term government with a big majority. There was troubling news for the Brumby government on Saturday, but it came from Gippsland, not Kororoit.

Monday 1am. I have been too busy with Gippsland to comment on Kororoit. I rather feel that this shows a sense of proportion which is lacking at The Age, whose website puts Kororoit at centre stage with a headline reading “Big rebuff for Brumby”. This heads a story which claims Labor has suffered a 16.5 per cent per swing, a figure obtained by comparing the apple of 2006’s Labor-versus-Liberal result with the orange of Saturday’s Labor-versus-Twentyman result. A meaningful two-party swing cannot be readily obtained because we don’t know how Twentyman and the minor candidates’ preferences went, but an educated guess points to a Labor/Liberal split of around 70/30 and a no-big-deal swing of 5 or 6 per cent. There is no reason to be surprised that a candidate of Twentyman’s reputation and celebrity should be able to achieve 20 per cent of the vote, or that he should do so primarily at Labor’s expense given his ideological orientation.

8.09pm. Postal votes reel Labor in 0.4 per cent and boost Twentyman 0.3 per cent.

8.05pm. Deer Park Central boosts Labor 0.2 per cent, and cuts Matic’s lead over Twentyman from 1.3 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

8.03pm. Slow going with the remaining booths. It’s worth pointing out that Twentyman is not actually ahead of Jenny Matic on the primary vote, but will presumably get there on preferences.

7.51pm. Note that Tania Walters’ swing compares her performance with her result in 2006 as Family First candidate.

7.44pm. All booths bar Churchill Reserve and two in Deer Park have now been added. The error which omitted the Greens from the above results has been corrected.

7.28pm. St Albans North added, reining in Labor 0.5 per cent. 20 per cent counted, eight booths to come.

7.19pm. St Albans West booth in, confirming what I said in the previous entry.

7.14pm. Albanvale booth in. Primary vote swings suggest Labor will land a little below 50 per cent on the primary vote, but come close enough to retain the seat.

7.07pm. Creekside booth in. Table above shows primary vote swings comparing like with like from 2006, and a 2PP result based on raw primary vote with my own guess of the preferences.

6.00pm. Polls close. I am told that the VEC will be posting results on the half hour, so presumably we can expect to see the first serious results at 7pm.

Kororoit by-election preview

The campaign for Saturday’s state by-election in the Melbourne seat of Kororoit, initiated by the retirement of one-time Police Minister Andre Haermeyer, did not at first seem a matter of great interest. Located in the rock-solid Labor outer western suburbs, from northern St Albans out to Caroline Springs, the seat was won by Haermeyer at the two elections following its creation in 2002 by margins of 27.1 per cent and 25.6 per cent. It was thus easy to dismiss the election as a rubber stamp following the real contest: Labor preselection. This well and truly lived up to the high stakes of a safe seat, producing what Rick Wallace of The Australian described as a “a proxy war for who controls the ALP’s dominant Right faction in Victoria”. In one corner were the Australian Workers Union and the Transport Workers Union, respectively associated with Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy, who found themselves opposed by an alliance of the Health Services Union and Shop Assistants Union. The two camps’ respective candidates were Natalie Suleyman, former mayor of Brimbank, and Marlene Kairouz, former mayor of Darebin.

The latter group initially succeeded in having the Right’s executive vote eight votes to seven to have Kairouz (right) installed as candidate by the party’s national executive, bypassing local party structures said to have been compromised by branch stacking and fractious relations on Brimbank Council. According to a source quoted by The Age, this decision was made at a meeting at which faction members “screamed abuse” at each other. Shorten and Conroy won round two by having the national executive overturn the decision, resulting in a normal preselection process in which votes were split between local branches and the state party’s Public Office Selection Committee. However, Kairouz was unexpectedly able to defeat Suleyman in the local ballot 125 votes to 123 (after distribution of the 27 votes for Left faction contestant Justin Mammarella), which was credited to the influence of Keilor MP and local numbers man George Seitz. Her win was confirmed by a 38-29 vote in her favour on the POSC.

For all the sound and fury behind the preselection, the spoils for the victor were less secure than the 2006 margin suggested. It is a little realised fact that major parties are most vulnerable to independents in safe seats, where challengers face a lower hurdle to reach second place and potentially win on preferences. The possibility of such a scenario unfolding was dramatically increased by the entry into the field of Les Twentyman (left), who has achieved a level of celebrity throughout Melbourne through his efforts as a social worker, being named Victorian of the Year in 2006. Twentyman’s campaign has been supported by the Electrical Trades Union and, significantly, by Phil Cleary, who won the 1992 federal by-election for Wills in very similar circumstances after Bob Hawke retired. Furthermore, the Liberals have made the surprising but evidently astute decision to field a candidate, public servant Jenny Matic, who is likely to marshall preferences for Twentyman without doing well enough to outpoll him.

According to The Australian, Labor internal polling shows their support down to 45 per cent from 61 per cent at the 2006 election, with Twentyman having picked up “the bulk of Labor’s vote”. However, the report adds the following qualification:

Although the result has alarmed some within the ALP, sources said the polling understates Labor’s position. Almost 50per cent of the electorate was born overseas and about 14per cent of its voters do not speak English well and would be unlikely to participate in a phone poll. The ALP sources argued the ethnic voters excluded from the survey were more likely to vote for it than Mr Twentyman or the Liberals.

It also says the poll had Kairouz leading Twentyman 62-38 on two-candidate preferred, which credits Labor with a remarkably strong flow of preferences from Matic and the other candidates: Marcus Power (Greens), Andre Kozlowski (Citizens Electoral Council) and Tania Walters (Independent). Read all about them at Antony Green’s summary.

UPDATE: AKP in comments notes that Walters did remarkably well to score 14 per cent as Family First candidate in 2006 and is now directing preferences to Kairouz in her run as an independent, which presumably has something do to with her links to the pro-life SDA.

Albert Park and Williamstown by-elections live

Vote Swing Vote 2PP
Martin Foley (Labor) 47.3 5.1 46.1 59.0
John Middleton (Greens) 27.8 9.1 28.2 41.0
Cameron Eastman (Family First) 4.8 3.8
Adrian Jackson (Independent) 1.0 -0.2
Shane McCarthy (DLP) 1.8
Paul Kavanagh (Democrats) 4.7
Prodos Marinakis (Independent) 5.4
John Dobinson (Independent) 0.8
Nigel Strauss (Independent) 6.5 COUNT 78 %


9.55pm. Long-delayed final two-party booth for Albert Park now in, Labor’s 2PP on 57.7 per cent.

9.12pm. Postal votes now added.

8.49pm. Turnout in Albert Park not too bad: 25,669 polling booth votes cast (including informal) compared with 26,804 last year.

8.44pm. Two-party count for all booths in Williamstown has Labor on 64.6 per cent.

8.42pm. Informal vote a rather high 7 per cent in each electorate.

8.39pm. We’ve also got a two-party count from five booths in Albert Park, with Labor on 59.05 per cent, suggesting my preference calculations did their job.

8.38pm. Labor’s vote has also continued to edge upwards in Williamstown.

8.37pm. All booths now in for Albert Park, producing a slight narrowing the margin, but still a clear win for Labor.

8.25pm. Bridport and St Kilda Park booths now in, producing little change.

8.20pm. Now we’re talking. Confusing the two St Kilda booths actually flattered the Greens slightly, not Labor.

8.19pm. Actually, scratch that – there’s something screwy with my new calculations. Working on it. Labor should be doing better than they are.

8.16pm. I was actually comparing the wrong St Kilda booths just now. The correction has made the result a little closer.

8.10pm. A big burst of figures in from Williamstown, lifting the count from 37 per cent to 60 per cent. This has pushed Labor’s vote up to a handsome 56.5 per cent. It’s starting to look like a pretty good night for John Brumby.

8.07pm. St Kilda South now in, but it doesn’t quite bear out what I said in the previous comment. Greens up a fairly typical 8.8 per cent, producing only a slight narrowing of the two-party vote.

8.01pm. The Greens picked up a handy 13.4 per cent in Middle Park, which is nearest the St Kilda booths that are still yet to come. If that’s indicative of a trend in the south of the electorate, the Greens could at least be confident of closing the gap a little.

7.55pm. The new booth results are from Middle Park Bowling Club (weak for Labor), Elwood Park and Sol Green Community Centre (about average for Labor). There’s also a new booth in from Williamstown which has produced little change.

7.50pm. Three more booths in at Albert Park, and Labor looking good.

7.44pm. Actually, the 40 per cent mark is probably not that dangerous in the context of this election. Their vote in 2006 was 41.0 per cent. I’m reasonably confident about my 2PP figure in the above table (unless the result in this booth is aberrant).

7.41pm. More than 30 per cent counted in Williamstown and Labor comfortably over 50 per cent.

7.36pm. The first booth in for Albert is the Sandridge/Fishermens Bend booth, which is Labor’s strongest and the Greens’ weakest. Labor’s primary vote is dangerously close to the 40 per cent mark.

7.33pm. More results in from both seats …

7.33pm. Slowest count ever.

7.12pm. Two booths in from Williamstown, Labor on just over 50 per cent of the primary vote (compared with 62 per cent in 2006).

6.56pm. Looks like my “half an hour” ETA on first results was a little optimstic.

6.15pm. Polls closed for the Albert Park and Williamstown by-elections 15 minutes ago, and we should be getting results in about half an hour. I will keep a lazy eye on Williamstown, but the focus here is Albert Park where the Greens have at least a theoretical chance of recording an upset. The table above will compare available booth results with those from last year’s state election to produce an estimated final result on the primary vote, which will then be converted to two-party preferred on the following basis: 70 per cent to the Greens from the Democrats, Nigel Strauss and Adrian Jackson, 50 per cent from John Dobinson and 30 per cent from the DLP, Family First and Prodos Marinakis (all of whom are recommending the Greens be put last). Anyone who doubts any of these assessments is invited to raise their voice in comments, and I will consider changing them.