Tale of three maps: Batman, Macquarie and Richmond

Macquarie2-GRNAs a further taste of the seat guides being posted now on the Tally Room (53 and counting), I thought I’d run through another three interesting seats. Today these three seats are all seats with above-average Greens votes, but also with a wide variation in the Greens vote across the seat.

These seats are: Batman in the inner north of Melbourne, Macquarie on the north-western fringe of Sydney, and Richmond in the north-eastern corner of New South Wales.

I’d like to remind readers that comments are open on all fifty-three seat guides posted so far – comments have been posted on every guide, with almost 800 comments posted so far this month. Please join in and let us know your thoughts about your local seat or another seat that you are familiar with.

Read the rest of this entry »


Queensland moves to compulsory preferences

In October 2015, I wrote about an attempt by the Liberal National Party and Katter’s Australian Party to pass legislation through the Queensland Parliament which would have increased malapportionment amongst Queensland electorates.

This legislation had a chance of passing despite Labor being in power due to Labor being a minority government. The LNP and KAP were hoping to win over ex-Labor independent Billy Gordon, whose seat of Cook was one of the large rural seats which would be allowed to have a smaller population under the changed rules.

The October legislation also included some changes to the redistribution committee and a proposal to add up to five more seats to the Parliament. Earlier this month, the LNP and KAP proposed another law which made the same changes to the committee, and increased the size of the Parliament from 89 seats to 93.

Labor still strongly opposed the proposed legislation – personally it seems a lot less objectionable than the original proposal. It’s hard for me to assess who would benefit more from adding four seats – it seems likely that the new seats will be distributed around between both major parties.

It became clear that Rob Pyne (another ex-Labor independent) would vote for the opposition legislation. When the legislation came up tonight, Labor wrong-footed the LNP by amending the legislation to change the voting system from optional preferential voting (OPV) to compulsory preferential voting. The legislation was passed with this dramatic change to the voting system included. KAP and the independents voted with the government, while the LNP were left voting against their own legislation.

While the winners and losers of OPV change over time (the Liberals and Nationals were hurt by OPV in the late 1990s), at the moment OPV hurts Labor, as many Greens votes exhaust rather than flowing to Labor. Antony Green estimates that Labor would have won nine more seats in 2015 if preferences were compulsory.

While the original legislation may have had some slight benefits for the LNP, the Labor amendment will have dramatic consequences, hurting the LNP in a bunch of marginal seats, at least until there is some major shift in partisan voting patterns.

The pros and cons of OPV and CPV, and how they effect how campaigns are run, is a story for another day.

I wanted to just sum up what the current enrolment figures suggest about the next redistribution.

Region # of seats Quota / 89 Quota / 93
Brisbane North 16 15.85 16.57
Brisbane South 20 19.23 20.09
Central QLD 11 10.81 11.30
Gold Coast 10 10.55 11.03
North QLD 11 10.91 11.40
South-East QLD 10 10.40 10.87
Sunshine Coast 8 8.45 8.83
Western QLD 3 2.78 2.91

The Gold Coast gains an entire new seat, with rural parts of south-east QLD and Sunshine Coast almost gaining enough population to each gain their own seats. In southern Brisbane, the increased seat number prevents the region from losing a seat, while northern Brisbane has a half-quota more than its current seats. Overall, the south-east QLD region should gain three of the four new seats – one definitely on the Gold Coast, and the other two likely on the outskirts of Brisbane and in the Sunshine Coast.

Seats on the north and central coast of Queensland are slightly over-quota, so expect to see the fourth new seat on the coast, with seats along the coast nudged along to absorb the extra population.

I’m finding it hard to see an overall trend towards the ALP or LNP in the redistribution changes. LNP seats are already half a quota over before the changes to the quota, with ALP seats collectively 0.4 quotas under. With the reduced quota adjusted for 93 seats, the 42 LNP seats are 2.46 quotas over, while the 44 ALP seats are 1.55 quotas over.

One final thing which remains unclear to me is how this affects the timing of the redistribution. The redistribution was due in this term of Parliament, and expected to commence shortly. Queensland’s Attorney-General, Yvette D’Ath, has claimed that passage of the legislation would delay the redistribution into the next term – I can’t find any confirmation of this claim, or an explanation of why a redistribution could not be completed in time for an election due in early 2018.

If you want to see more details, the following map shows seats in relation to the new quota (for 93 seats) passed tonight.


Registered party logos are a thing now!

I have a blog post in the Guardian today about the flood of party logos being registered by political parties since the Senate reform legislation was passed in March. At the upcoming election, all parties will get to have their logo printed on ballots – above the line in the Senate and next to the candidate’s name in the lower house.

The Guardian has included a series of logos alongside my article, below you can see all 31 logos which had been put on notice at the time of the writing. I’ve tried to shrink them down to roughly the size we would expect them to be on the ballot (between 7mm x 7mm and 10mm x 10mm).

party logos small2


You can click on the image to see a larger version.


Three key marginals, and their interesting maps


At the time of writing, I’ve finished the first 21 out of 150 seat profiles – covering marginal Coalition seats on margins of 4.4% or less.

This work continues behind the scenes but isn’t often seen by casual readers, so in this post I thought I would run through some of the most interesting maps I’ve produced while making these guides.

The three seats I wanted to cover are Banks, Brisbane and Lyons. Coincidentally, these are all seats the Liberal Party now holds, but were previously held by a longstanding Labor MP who managed to retain the seat from the early 1990s all the way through the Howard government, before losing in 2010 or 2013.

Comments are now open on every seat guide and quite a few have got lively conversations now running about the likely result in that seat. Read the rest of this entry »


New Guardian blog, and guide update

Things have been quiet here for the last few weeks but a lot of things are still happening.

I’ve started a regular column writing for the Guardian Australia.

You can read my first two columns at these links:

I’ll be writing for the Guardian regularly during the election, but I will still be writing here from time to time when I have stuff to write.

Right now I am focusing most of my spare time on the election guide. I’ve now gotten maps completed for two-thirds of all federal seats, and as of last night I have started posting election guides for each seat.

You can now read the first two for Petrie and Capricornia, both very marginal LNP seats in Queensland. Please comment and engage in the conversation. You’ll be able to see the newest seat guides in the little box on the right of the website, or navigate alphabetically, by state, or by clicking through from the pendulum.

I plan to post these guides very fast – hopefully three or four every day. So keep an eye out. Closer to the election I will highlight interesting guides, but right now I’m just planning to get them out as quickly as possible.

Please let me know if you notice any errors, and if you know of any candidates I’ve missed – I won’t be thoroughly searching for candidates at this stage.


Brisbane City Council – council results

This is the final of my three maps summarising key results from yesterday’s voting in Queensland. You can also check out my maps of the Brisbane lord mayoral results and the referendum results.

Overall, there was a swing to the ALP and away from the LNP, but it hasn’t been reflected in the ward victories.

The LNP primary vote dropped from 57.1% to 49.7%. Labor’s vote only increased from 32% to 33.8%, with the bulk of the swing going to the Greens, who increased their vote from 8.5% to 13.9%. This partly reflects that the Greens only ran in 18 wards in 2012, and ran in 26 in 2016.

On a two-party-preferred basis, Labor gained big swings in many LNP wards, but not in the ones that mattered.

The LNP has held on to all of their wards. Labor has lost its marginal ward of Northgate to the Liberal National Party, and Labor and the Greens are in a tight race for second place in the Gabba ward. Whichever progressive candidate comes second in the Gabba should easily defeat the LNP candidate on preferences.

Overall this leaves the LNP with 19 wards (up from 18), the ALP with five (down from seven), independent Nicole Johnston with her ward of Tennyson, and the Greens currently leading for their first Brisbane council seat.

(When the results are final and there is more time it would be worth examining whether there was an increase in preferences from Greens to Labor giving them those big 2PP swings, or whether it was just a drop in the LNP vote).

The following map can be clicked on to look at the primary votes and two-candidate-preferred figures for all 26 wards. We don’t have two-candidate-preferred vote figures in five wards. Understandably we won’t have a count in The Gabba until we know who is in the top two (although the ALP in winning about 59% in the ALP-LNP count). In Paddington, the ECQ originally conducted a count between the LNP and Labor, but the Greens overtook Labor.

For some reason in Tennyson, Pullenvale and Walter Taylor the ECQ included Labor in the notional count, even though they came third in those wards in 2012. It looks like Labor has again come third, so the ECQ will need to conduct a new count.


QLD referendum results map

Queenslanders yesterday voted in a referendum on whether the state Parliamentary terms should be extended from three to four years, and that election dates should be fixed on a date in October.

The result was close, but the referendum passed. At the time of writing, Yes has 53.15% of the vote.

Yes is currently winning a majority of the vote in 72 out of 89 districts, and has won in every region of Queensland.

The following clickable map shows the vote in each of the 89 state electoral districts:


Brisbane City Council – Lord Mayoral results

The Liberal National Party’s Graham Quirk won a second full term last night as Lord Mayor of Brisbane, the fourth successive win by the LNP after the two wins by Campbell Newman in 2004 and 2008.

He won comfortably with 58.9% of the votes counted so far after preferences, but even that was a swing of about 10% from the highs of 2012.

The following map provides the primary votes and two-party-preferred votes in the lord mayoral race by ward, including the swings from the 2012 results adjusted for the ward redistribution.

I’ll return later today with similar maps for the Brisbane City councillor elections and the statewide referendum.


QLD election night live

10:20pm – Alright I’ll call it a night. I’ll come back tomorrow and put together some maps of the results. In summary:

  • The Yes vote looks like winning the referendum. Not by a lot, but remarkably consistently across the state, including in Labor and LNP areas.
  • Labor has gained a large swing across most wards for the Brisbane lord mayoralty, with the LNP’s vote after preferences dropping from 68.5% to 58.4%. Such a result would put Labor within reach of winning in 2020.
  • Labor has made no progress towards winning back the city council. They have lost one of their seven wards (Northgate) to the LNP, and look like losing another (The Gabba) to the Greens. While they gained big swings in many safe LNP wards, the ALP actually lost votes in the only seriously marginal LNP ward (Doboy).

10:07pm – The Yes case is winning in both Labor and LNP areas. Yes is winning 54.5% in the 44 seats which Labor won in 2015, while Yes is winning 52.8% in the 42 LNP seats. No is winning in the three seats won by Katter’s Australian Party and independent Peter Wellington.

10:03pm – I’ve just run updated referendum figures. Yes is now winning in all regions, ranging from 50.5% in regional South-East Queensland to 58.3% on the Gold Coast. We have no figures from Stretton, but Yes is winning 67 other seats and No is winning 21 others. The vote count is still more progressed in No areas.

9:55pm – In 2012, Labor won the mayoral vote in only one ward: Richlands. The new ward replacing Richlands, Forest Lake, had a notional LNP majority, so going in to tonight Labor had a mayoral majority in no wards. At the moment it looks like Labor has gained a majority in Forest Lake, Deagon, Moorooka and the Gabba. Labor’s swing is averaging at 9.95%, with swings over 10% in fifteen wards, and a negative swing in only one: Morningside.

9:47pm – In the inner-city ward of The Gabba, it looks like the Greens might be winning off Labor, in a similar way to what happened in Balmain at the 2011 NSW state election. We currently have half the booths in, and the Greens are on 33.6%, the LNP on 33% and the ALP on 31%. However the Queensland Greens report an “unconfirmed scrutineers tally” which has the LNP in first narrowly, with the Greens well ahead of Labor. On either of those sets of numbers you’d expect Labor preferences to elect the Greens over the LNP. Labor’s only hope is to overtake the Greens on primary votes or with preferences from the only other candidate, but on the current numbers that fourth candidate wouldn’t have enough votes to overturn the gap.

9:41pm – It appears that the LNP has held on strongly in its marginal wards. In Doboy the LNP has currently increased their margin from 1.8% to 4.4%. Labor’s vote is up substantially in a whole bunch of safe LNP vote, with swings of over 10% in Coorparoo, Enoggera, Runcorn, The Gap and Marchant.

9:38pm – Looking at the Brisbane City Council results, Labor are leading in six of their current wards on two-party-preferred vote (although I’ll come back to the Gabba). In Northgate, where Labor councillor Kim Flesser retired after 19 years, Labor is currently down 2.6% on the two-party-preferred vote which leaves them on 47.8%.

9:30pm – Breaking up the results by region, “Yes” is winning in every region except for those parts of South-East Queensland outside of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Even there, No only has 50.3%. We have 26.8% counted in the 11 seats in central Queensland, along with 15% in North Queensland and 22% in the remainder of SE Queensland but under 10% in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

9:28pm – We have referendum data from 74 out of 89 electorates. In 56 of those electorates, “yes” is winning, often not by very much. Yes is only winning over 60% in nine seats. In the other 18, “no” is winning.

17.4% of the roll has been counted in the No seats, while 13.9% has been counted in the Yes seats. This suggests that Yes is likely to increase its lead, although I haven’t been able to take account of any trends within each seat, and we have no idea about how the remaining 15 seats will break.

9:17pm – I’ve now gotten around to looking at the results. I’ll give some analysis on the referendum in a minute.


QLD election day open thread

Queenslanders are voting today in council elections, and on a referendum to change the constitution to have fixed four-year terms for the state Parliament.

I won’t be liveblogging results tonight as I’ll be out, but you can use this thread to discuss the results, and I might do occasional updates.

Antony Green will be covering the results at the ABC Elections website.

I’ll be doing post-election analysis, maybe late this evening or more likely tomorrow morning, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, you can read through my guide to the Brisbane City Council election, which includes profiles of all 26 wards.