Ireland 2016 – map available

I was requested to update my Irish constituency map for the upcoming general election. I’m not planning any further coverage of the Irish election, which is due at the end of February, but if you’re interested you can download the map here.


NSW and WA redistributions – updated maps

We are now nearing the end of the federal redistribution process which precedes the next federal election.

We had redistributions in New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

The AEC has a curious process where they announce the final boundaries but do not provide the maps and data which allow people to see the precise boundaries. This extra information is usually provided about a month later.

In the ACT, the final boundaries were identical to the draft boundaries, so no further maps are necessary (although the final data is expected next week). In Western Australia, the final maps were released yesterday, and I’ll post them further down in this post.

In New South Wales, the final boundaries were announced last Friday, without any maps. In most places it’s reasonably clear what boundaries they were using (although a few were confusing). I’ve done my best to put together a new map – I think it’s likely to be accurate but there may be a few errors (in particular the Hume/Whitlam boundary and the Parkes/New England boundary) and I will update it when the official data is released in late February.

Download the NSW final-ish electoral map.

Download the WA final electoral map.

Download the ACT final electoral map.

Below the fold you can see interactive maps for NSW and WA, although I haven’t added any other data to the maps, just the boundaries.

Read the rest of this entry »


NSW council amalgamations – proposals released

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.09.31 pmThe NSW government has released its plans for council amalgamations following a lengthy of period of reviews and submissions by local councils.

The government is proposing cutting the number of councils in the Sydney region from 43 to 25, as well as merging other councils in rural NSW.

In this post I’m going to focus on the changes to the region stretching from Port Stephens to Shoalhaven, covering the vast bulk of New South Wales, including about 6 million residents.

This region includes 53 councils, and the NSW government proposes reducing this to 32 councils, with only 14 councils unaffected.

I’ve done some analysis of the political make-up of each new local government area, examining allegations of gerrymandering, and posting some maps showing the stats for each proposed new council.

You can download the Google Earth map of the proposed boundaries here.

You can also download the dataset I used here.

My map does not cover rural areas – it only stretches from Port Stephens to Shoalhaven.

Read the rest of this entry »


WA state redistribution – map finalised

It’s a couple of weeks late, but I’ve now completed my Google Earth boundary map of the new WA state electoral boundaries.

Download the map here.

You can also download the 2017 map for the Legislative Council.

If you want to understand more about the redistribution, you can see Antony Green’s estimates of the new seat margins at the ABC website.


North Sydney by-election – results wrap

The Liberal Party has retained the seat of North Sydney at Saturday’s by-election despite a substantial swing on primary votes.

At the time of writing, Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman is on 47.8% (down 13.3%) with independent Stephen Ruff second on 18.8% and the Greens’ Arthur Chesterfield-Evans on 16% (up 0.7%).

While there was a substantial swing against the Liberal Party, it doesn’t appear to have aided the centre-left in defeating Zimmerman. When you add together the vote for Labor and the Greens in 2013, it was almost 1% higher than the combined vote for Ruff and the Greens on Saturday.

Instead, the vote leached to a number of other parties including the Sustainable Population Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Christian Democratic Party and the Arts Party. Having said that, some of those parties can be counted as ‘progressive’ so we’ll probably see a slight uptick in Ruff’s TCP compared to Labor’s TPP in 2013.

I’ve split the booths into the same four areas as in the pre-election guide, based on the four local government areas. We only have two-candidate-preferred vote-counts for about half the booths, so I’ve just focused on the primary votes.

The Liberal primary vote ranged from just under 46% in North Sydney and Lane Cove to 48% in Willoughby and 54% in Hunters Hill.

Independent Ruff got a very similar vote across most of the seat, polling around 19% in Willoughby, North Sydney and Lane Cove, but his vote dropped to 15.5% in Hunters Hill.

The Greens vote ranged from 14% in Hunters Hill to 18% in North Sydney and Lane Cove.

Voter group LIB % IND % GRN % Total votes % of votes
Willoughby 48.2 18.9 15.1 23,877 39.8
North Sydney 45.5 19.0 18.1 14,168 23.6
Lane Cove 45.8 19.3 17.9 14,241 23.8
Hunters Hill 54.1 15.5 14.0 5,817 9.7
Other votes 54.6 18.4 11.7 1,843 3.1

Below the fold I’ve posted the booth maps showing the primary vote for the three main candidates and the primary vote swings for the Liberal Party and the Greens.

Liberal primary votes at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Liberal primary votes at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Stephen Ruff at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Stephen Ruff at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Greens primary votes at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Greens primary votes at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Liberal primary vote swings at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Liberal primary vote swings at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Greens primary vote swings at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Greens primary vote swings at the 2015 North Sydney by-election.


North Sydney by-election live

8:29pm – The Liberal vote has increased to 47.7% and the Ruff vote has dropped to 18.8%, with about two-thirds of booths reporting.

7:55pm – Just under half the booths have reported, and the Liberal Party’s Trent Zimmerman is leading on just under 47% of the primary vote, with independent Stephen Ruff in second place on 20%. It’s unlikely that Ruff will be able to overtake Zimmerman’s lead on preferences.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in the North Sydney federal by-election. I probably won’t be actively covering the results tonight but I’ll post major updates here, and you can discuss the results in the comments below.


ACT redistribution finalised

The Australian Electoral Commission today announced the final boundaries for the ACT at the next federal election. They haven’t made any changes to the draft boundaries announced in September.

This means that the northern seat of Fraser will be renamed ‘Fenner’ after virologist Frank Fenner, freeing up the former name for a Victorian seat to be renamed after former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Antony Green estimates that the ALP’s margin in Canberra will increase from 7% to 7.4%, and will stay the same in Fraser/Fenner, at 12.6%.

In other news, the AEC recently announced its final boundaries for Western Australia. Frustratingly, the AEC is delaying releasing the final detailed maps for both WA and the ACT until January. It’s not a big deal in the ACT where there are no changes, but the final announcement for WA refers to a number of “minor boundary changes” which aren’t explained, making it impossible to be sure of the new boundaries, although the substantive changes have been announced. For this reason, I’ll wait until January before completing the WA federal map.

You can download the ACT map here.


NSW council amalgamations deadline looms

Yet another NSW government deadline looms today for local councils under the threat of amalgamation, and this time it looks likely to result in a number of significant amalgamations in Sydney and other large urban areas.

The Baird government has pursued a deliberate strategy to encourage councils to agree to amalgamations without using the full force of their legal power, through a combination of carrots (funding for councils agreeing to amalgamate) and sticks (the threat to immediately sack councils which they merge if they don’t cooperate). Up until the latest round of the process, most Sydney councils rejected amalgamation and insisted on standing alone.

With the release of the flawed Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) “Fit For the Future” report, which declared most Sydney councils to be ‘unfit’ due to their size despite giving them the tick on all financial criteria, the state government imposed today, 18 November, as another deadline for councils, with the clear threat of sacking for those councils which don’t consent to amalgamations.

It’s been very unclear as to how much power the state government has to implement amalgamations, short of passing legislation through a Legislative Council which at the moment is opposed to amalgamations. The government has some power to sack councils, and to refer changes to the boundaries commission, but whether they have the power to do this with councils which haven’t consented is unclear.

The Greens have argued that the state government doesn’t have this power, but they have also suggested it will be easier to do so if a council has given a stated preference for amalgamation, suggesting the question of the state government’s power is less clear – and clearly there are quite a few councils which don’t believe that the government doesn’t have the power to force through its agenda.

Councils have been asked to fill in a form indicating their preference for amalgamation, and they have only been given room to write 50 words explaining their decision. In numerous cases, councils have indicated that they agree to a particular amalgamation preference on the understanding that their preferred option remains to stand alone.

It’s hard to pull together information on which councils have made decisions, but here’s a summary of information I’ve found:

  • Randwick and Waverley have previously agreed to amalgamate. Woollahra remains opposed to amalgamation – while the remaining existence of a Woollahra council doesn’t cause immediate problems for a new Randwick-Waverley council, Woollahra would be an unusually small council compared to its neighbours, making it a likely target for a forced amalgamation.
  • Auburn, Burwood and Canada Bay councils have also previously agreed to amalgamate, but their amalgamation only really makes sense if Strathfield, which sits in the middle of the proposed council, is included. Strathfield is strongly opposed to any amalgamation.
  • The City of Sydney remains strongly opposed to any merger, although Marrickville has indicated a second preference to merge with Sydney.
  • Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt have previously been opposed but the three councils all passed similar motions that indicate a preference for the three councils to merge, and the three mayors have met with the minister. The merger appears one of the most likely to proceed.
  • Rockdale and Kogarah councils have indicated a preference for a merger of their two councils with Hurstville to create a St George regional council. Hurstville is open to merging with Kogarah but explicitly rejects a merger with Rockdale.
  • Canterbury sits between the potential St George, Ashfield/Marrickville/Leichhardt and Auburn/Burwood/Canada Bay mergers, but is not part of any of them. It could merge with Bankstown, but it would be an awkward shape for a council. I think it’s likely Canterbury will survive unscathed.
  • The Hills council continues to campaign for a hostile takeover of its neighbour Hawkesbury, and Hawkesbury continues to resist.
  • Warringah continues to be strongly supportive of a single Northern Beaches council, taking in its northern neighbour Pittwater and southern neighbour Manly. Both its neighbours prefer to stand alone, but they have both indicated a second preference to split Warringah between them to create Greater Pittwater and Greater Manly. The planning minister, Pittwater MP Rob Stokes, has advocated for the abolish-Warringah option.
  • Holroyd remains strongly opposed to any merger, which would presumably be with Parramatta. It’s unclear where Parramatta stands on such a change.
  • There’s a series of small councils on the lower north shore, stretching from Hunters Hill to Mosman. As far as I can tell, none of them have expressed an amalgamation preference, with North Sydney gearing up for a fight.
  • The two Central Coast councils of Gosford and Wyong, which already cover quite large areas and quite large populations, have agreed to merge. This isn’t a backup option if standing alone is rejected – it’s their first preference.
  • It was previously assumed that Newcastle and Lake Macquarie were being pushed together to form a Greater Newcastle council which would take a majority of its population from Lake Macquarie, but neither council prefers that option. Lake Macquarie expressed a preference for merging with Wyong, but Wyong has indicated a preference for merging with Gosford, leaving Lake Macquarie on its own.
  • Last night, Newcastle Council voted against voluntarily amalgamating, but expressed a backup preference for a merger with Port Stephens.

This is basically Lake Macquarie’s position:

Feel free to use this comment thread to discuss what comes after today’s deadline.


Polwarth and South-West Coast by-elections

7:25pm – The Liberal Party looks set to retain both seats. At the moment they are on 47.7% in Polwarth, which should easily be enough. In South-West Coast they are on 36%, but with ex-Labor candidate Roy Reekie second on 17.7% ahead of the Country Party and the Nationals. This should also be enough.

6:18pm – Polls have now closed in these two state by-elections for these seats in south-western Victoria.

I haven’t done my traditional booth-matching work for these by-elections, but will post occasional updates as results flow in.


North Sydney by-election – December 5

northsydney1-LIBThe by-election for Joe Hockey’s seat of North Sydney has been scheduled for Saturday 5 December.

I’ve now posted the guide to the by-election, which is likely to see Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman elected to finish Hockey’s term.

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