Podcast #31 – Introduction to Brisbane City Council

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This episode is all about the March 2020 election for Brisbane City Council, the most populous council in Australia. Ben is joined by Alexis Pink from 4ZZZ’s Pineapple Rebellion to discuss the context and some of the key wards.


You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

Guide to Brisbane City Council 2020 – now up

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I have just finished my first full seat guide since the federal election, and it covers the Brisbane City Council election, due on March 28.

Brisbane City is the largest council in Australia by quite a long way and in some ways more resembles a small state election than a council election. The guide includes comprehensive guides to all 26 wards as well as the lord mayoral election.

Read the guide now

I will be providing some more coverage of this election, starting with a podcast about the election going up tomorrow.

There’s going to be a bunch of elections held next year, a bunch of them with lower profiles but still important. This includes local government elections along the entire east coast as well as both territories, and finally the state election in Queensland. I plan on doing full guides to the larger NSW councils as well as the territory and state elections. A lot of these elections don’t receive anywhere near as much coverage as they warrant so I hope the work I am doing to prepare for these elections will prove particularly useful.

If you find this work useful, please consider chucking me $5 a month via Patreon.

You can see the map of Brisbane City and navigate to each ward’s guide via the following map.

Australian Election Study released

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The results of the Australian Election Study was released yesterday morning with a great deal of information about how and why Australians voted at the recent federal election. The AES is a long-standing study which has been conducted on every federal election since 1987, and gives us an opportunity to ask voters about what motivated their vote, and match that up against demographic characteristics to get a richer sense of why the election went the way it did.

In this post I thought I’d run through a few of the interesting points to emerge.

Podcast #30 – can our voting system really be “fair”?

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Ben is joined by Peter Brent and Stewart Jackson to discuss whether it’s ever possible for a single-member voting system to be “fair” in the context of the final defeat of the South Australian fairness clause, and the relative value of survey, polling and raw voting data in assessing the results of an election.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

Podcast #29: Redistribution update

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I’m joined by William Bowe from Poll Bludger to run through all of the electoral redistributions which have been conducted while we’ve all been thinking about other things this year: specifically Western Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory, Brisbane City Council and the likely change in federal seat numbers in 2020.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

Podcast #28: Polling after the federal election

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This week I’m joined by Kevin Bonham to discuss the failure of Australian polls at the 2019 federal election and the limited improvements in transparency by Australian pollsters since that election.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

You can’t just legislate ‘fairness’ in our voting system

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The South Australian Liberal government failed on Tuesday in its attempt to restore the “fairness clause” which used to apply to SA state redistributions. The clause was an attempt to ensure the “correct” winner in state elections by requiring the redistribution commissioners to draw boundaries that would give a majority of seats to a party that won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote.

The clause was introduced by a state Labor government via a statewide referendum in 1991, and was then abolished by the outgoing state Labor government in 2017, shortly before they lost the 2018 state election.

The clause is based on a false premise: that you can require “fairness” between major parties in a system of arbitrary winner-take-all contests which is by its very nature unfair. If you want a fair voting system, you need to look to proportional representation systems.

New data – NSW 2019 election results

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I’ve added a new dataset to my data repository. This dataset covers the entire results of the 2019 New South Wales state election.

The dataset includes voting figures at the polling place and electorate level for both houses, including two-candidate-preferred and two-party-preferred data for the Legislative Assembly.

It also includes full lists of the candidates in both houses and a list of polling places including the address and geolocation of each booth. These lists include unique IDs to be matched to the voting data.

There’s a number of elements in this dataset which are not easily accessible elsewhere.

Brisbane City – final boundaries

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The final ward boundaries for Brisbane City Council were released last Friday. These boundaries will apply for next March’s council election.

The changes from the draft boundaries were relatively mild, although it was enough to push Doboy from being very marginal for the LNP to becoming a notional Labor ward.

QLD council elections 2020 – ward redistributions

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I’ve posted a few times recently about the Brisbane City Council ward redistribution, but it’s not the only Queensland council redrawing its electoral boundaries.

A total of 17 councils are undergoing redistributions during this council term in the lead-up to next March’s election.

So far 11 of these 17 councils have finalised their boundaries. The draft boundaries have been published for the other six (including Brisbane) and I would expect them all to be finalised fairly soon.

I’ve partly been absent from the blog recently because I’ve been pulling together Google Earth maps of these 11 councils. These are now finished, and can be downloaded from the maps page. The 2020 file includes the draft Brisbane boundaries and the final boundaries for the other eleven.

Redistributions have been held in every large urban council in the south-east (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland and Sunshine Coast), as well as a handful of others, including Gympie, Rockhampton and Townsville. The other councils are Cassowary Coast, Fraser Coast, Isaac, Scenic Rim, South Burnett, Tablelands and Whitsunday.

We are still waiting for the final boundaries in Brisbane, Ipswich, Rockhampton, Townsville and Whitsunday.

I won’t go into any detail about what these changes mean but feel free to download the 2016 and 2020 maps and look at the changes if you know the area, and comment below about what you think they might mean.

I will be starting my 2020 ward map for New South Wales later this year, so if you know if your council is redistributing its wards let me know. I’ve started a spreadsheet listing the decisions here.