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NSW council elections – read the Tally Room guides

Voters in 46 NSW local councils will be voting on September 9 to elect new councils.

The rest of the state voted last September, but elections were postponed in all of those councils which had either been amalgamated or had an amalgamation pending.

Amalgamations have been cancelled in a series of regional councils, so these existing councils will hold regular elections in September.

There are twenty newly-amalgamated councils which will hold their first elections: eleven in Sydney and nine in regional NSW.

The state government is planning to amalgamated fourteen Sydney councils into five new councils, but these plans have been delayed by various court cases. Unless these amalgamations take place in the next few months, the unamalgamated councils are due to hold elections this year.

I’ve prepared guides for eleven of the biggest councils holding elections. These are the eleven councils with populations over 100,000 which are not still facing amalgamations.

Eight of these councils are new creations. Newcastle and Wollongong survived amalgamation plans, while the Hills had its election delayed after losing its southern tip to the City of Parramatta, but has mostly survived intact.

There are four councils which are still under the threat of amalgamation which have a population of over 100,000: Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, Randwick and Ryde. I would normally write profiles for these councils, but have held off due to amalgamation plans. I may add profiles of these four councils if I have time before September.

Each profile contains information on the history of each constituent council, the council wards, and recent election results. I will gradually be updating each profile with candidate information as we get closer to election day.

You can also use this map to see which councils are facing election, and to click through to the guide for the eleven councils listed above:

One last note: of the fourteen councils which are still facing potential amalgamation, thirteen will use the same wards as in 2012. The only exception is Hornsby, which was required to redraw its wards after it lost a large area to Parramatta. I have now added in the updated Hornsby wards and uploaded a complete version of the ward map for the 2016-2017 council elections. You can download it at the maps page.

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WA state election data posted

Following on from last month’s Western Australian state election, I’ve finished compiling data from that election and added it to the data repository for your use. The dataset includes polling place-level and seat-level data for the lower house and something similar for the upper house. There’s also complete candidate lists for both houses and a full list of polling places with addresses and lat/long information. There are a few pieces of data which are missing and this information is listed in the folder.

Check out the data.

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NSW by-elections live

10:23pm – I’m going to stop here. The Liberal vote in North Shore has climbed back from 40.3% to 41.4%, and they’re looking a bit more likely to hold on.

9:00pm – I think it’s very unlikely that independent candidate Kathryn Ridge will be able to win in Manly. She trails by 20.6% of the primary vote, with 33.8% of the vote left to be distributed as preferences. If 40% of preferences were to exhaust, it would be impossible for Ridge to win, even if no preferences flowed to the Liberal candidate.

8:55pm – We’re still waiting for one booth from North Shore and all of the special votes, some of which will come in tonight. As it currently stands, Corrigan trails Wilson by 15.3%, with 34.8% of the vote left to distribute. If 50% of these preferences exhaust, Corrigan will need 87.7% of the remaining votes.

8:46pm – My North Shore guide divided the seat into three parts: east, central and west. The east corresponds to the Mosman council area. Unsurprisingly, Carolyn Corrigan did best in that area, polling almost 30% compared to 24% in the centre and 19.5% in the west. The east was also the best area for the Liberal candidate, thanks to a lower vote for the Greens and other candidates.

8:41pm – In my pre-election guide, I divided the seat of Manly into three parts. The Liberal vote is at 48% in the south-west, compared to 41% in the north and 39.3% in the south-east. The south-west was already the best area for the Liberal Party, so the swings are similar in all three areas.

8:00pm – Apparently we won’t get a Liberal vs Independent preference count in either Manly or North Shore tonight – so while we will know more once more primary votes will be counted, we won’t have a definitive answer as to who will win.

7:40pm – In North Shore, Liberal candidate Felicity Wilson is polling only 40.4% of the vote. Independent candidate Carolyn Corrigan is on 25.8% and the Greens’ Justin Alick is on 16.8%. Corrigan is in a stronger position than Ridge in Manly since more of the anti-Liberal vote is concentrated with the independent, and thus she will need less preferences. Corrigan needs at least 14.6% of the vote out of 33.8% polling for the Greens and other minor candidates. Bear in mind that a lot of votes will exhaust, and some will flow to the Liberal Party, so this doesn’t look as easy as it first sounds.

7:37pm – In Manly, Liberal candidate James Griffin is polling 41.2% of the primary vote, ahead of independent candidate Kathryn Ridge on 22.5% and Greens candidate Clara Williams Roldan on 20.6%. If Ridge stays ahead of William Roldan, Ridge will need about 18% preferences from about 36% of the vote which has gone to the Greens and other candidates.

7:30pm – This won’t be a thorough election night coverage tonight, but I might post a few comments. Labor has comfortably retained the seat of Gosford. The Liberal Party in Manly and North Shore are competing with independents for the seat. The Liberal vote has dropped to around 41-42% in each seat, with a leading independent polling just over 20% as the main competitor. We don’t have any preference distributions between the Liberal and independent candidates yet, so we can only guess how preferences will flow.

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Yet another by-election coming up on Saturday

In addition to three state by-elections which will be held on Saturday in New South Wales, there will also be two council by-elections: for Ward 2 of Blacktown council, and for Lithgow council.

I profiled Blacktown council for last September’s election so I figured it would be good to produce a guide to this by-election. I’m going to try and keep on top of council elections for the larger councils in metro NSW going into the future. Sorry Lithgow, but I’m limiting my focus to the bigger councils.

Click here to read the guides to Saturday’s by-elections.

The by-election was triggered by the death of longstanding Labor councillor Leo Kelly. Labor should easily win the by-election without Liberal opposition. Labor currently holds nine out of fifteen seats on the council, which will return to ten if they retain this seat, so there isn’t any risk of Labor losing control of the council.

There was actually a bigger and more consequential council by-election in my hometown of Campbelltown last month, but unfortunately I was busy moving house and didn’t get to cover it. Campbelltown has no wards, so the by-election took place across the entire council (an area roughly as populous as a federal electorate).

The result solidified Labor’s control over Campbelltown. Labor held seven seats on the council, along with one Green and two members of Fred Borg’s independent ticket, giving Labor-friendly councillors ten out of fifteen seats on the council. The by-election was triggered by Borg’s death, and the contest was primarily between a member of Borg’s independent party and Labor. Labor’s win gives them a majority in their own right, without relying on Greens or independents to command a majority.

Click here to read the guides to Saturday’s by-elections.

Anyway, I’ve now got guides to all three state by-elections due this Saturday, along with Blacktown Ward 2. I’m having wisdom teeth surgery on Thursday so I don’t know yet whether I’ll be in a position to conduct a liveblog on Saturday – I’ll let you know.

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Tasmanian Legislative Council elections – guides posted

In addition to yesterday posting guides to the NSW by-elections, I’ve now also posted guides to the three seats in the Tasmanian upper house election which will hold elections on May 6.

These three seats are:

Each guide has maps showing the results of that seat, along with the history of the seat.


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NSW by-election guides complete

I’ve been absent over the last two weeks as I’ve been moving house. This has unfortunately prevented me from covering the aftermath of the WA state election as much as I would’ve liked, and slowed down work on other elections.

I’ve now completed a guide to the Gosford by-election in New South Wales, and added candidate lists to the Manly and North Shore by-elections. All three of these by-elections will be held on Saturday April 8.

Read the by-election guides here.

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WA election night live

10:47pm – I’m going to call it a night. One final point to note is that the ABC upper house results page has just flipped the final seat in Mining and Pastoral from One Nation to the Shooters.

10:35pm – South West (33% counted):

South West is currently electing two Labor MLCs and one each for Liberal, Nationals, Greens and One Nation. This is a loss of two Liberal seats to One Nation and the Greens.

While the current calculator is giving one of the seats to the Greens, Tom’s probabilities actually suggest there’s a 72% chance that seat will go to the third Labor candidate, and the Greens’ Diane Evers only has a 28% chance. I presume this is because the Greens are less than 1% ahead of Labor when Labor is knocked out and elects the Greens.

10:31pm – South Metro (32% counted):

Antony’s calculator is currently gifting three seats to Labor, two to the Liberal Party and one to the Liberal Democrats. This is a gain of one for Labor and the LDP, and a loss of one for the Greens and the Liberal Party.

The LDP result is not particularly robust: Geeklections gives the LDP only a 70% chance of holding that seat, with most of the remaining possibility going to the Daylight Savings Party.

The Greens also finish the count on 0.95 quotas, just behind the second Liberal: if the Greens vote increases in later counting they could come back and win.

10:28pm – North Metro (32% counted):

North Metro is currently producing a result of 3 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Greens. This would be a drop of one seat for the Liberal Party and one extra seat for the Greens.

This result isn’t vulnerable to small changes flipping the result. It is possible that, if the third Labor candidate overtook Family First, they would win the final seat instead of the Greens.

10:24pm – Mining and Pastoral (5% counted):

This is the least reliable, since the vast majority of votes are yet to be counted. Labor and the Nationals are each on track to win two seats, with the Liberal Party and One Nation each winning one. This is a gain of a seat for Labor and One Nation, and a loss of a seat for the Liberal Party and the Greens.

The margins of victory are not particularly tight, and the vote would need to shift quite a lot to produce a different outcome. But considering only 5% is counted, this is quite possible.

10:21pm – East Metro (28% counted):

Currently the seats are splitting three Labor, one Liberal, one Greens, one Fluoride Free WA. This would be a loss of two Liberal seats to the minor parties.

On the current vote, Tom Clement gives the Greens and Fluoride Free roughly 85% chance of winning their seats. There are some narrow paths to victory for the second Liberal candidate or the first One Nation candidate.

10:19pm – Let’s run through each upper house region in turn.

Firstly, Agricultural (35% counted):

Currently the seats break down as two Labor, two Nationals, one Liberal and one Shooter. This is a loss of one seat for the Liberal Party and a gain of one for Labor. At the moment it appears that the Shooters have a buffer of about one-fifth of a quota over One Nation, so this could change if One Nation’s vote grows in late counting.

10:10pm – At this point we know most of what we will know tonight regarding the lower house. By my count Labor has won at least 38 seats. The Liberal Party is on 11, and the Nationals are on five.

I have five seats listed as undecided. Kalgoorlie is very messy and we don’t even know which candidates are the top two, so it’s not possible to conduct an indicative preference count. The preference count has barely started in Pilbara, so it’s not clear if that seat will stay with Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, or flip to Labor.

There are three seats which are conventional Liberal vs Labor races. Labor is leading with 51% after preferences in Murray-Wellington and leading by a handful of votes in Jandakot. The Liberal Party is narrowly ahead in Geraldton.

9:31pm – It’s clear that the Western Australian upper house crossbench will be very diverse – Antony’s calculator (now with errors fixed) is giving seats to One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Fluoride Free WA and the Daylight Savings Party. It seems unlikely that Labor and Greens will reach a majority, but they won’t face a solid conservative bloc with an upper house majority.

9:23pm – Since there’s some problems with the ABC’s upper house results, I’d suggest looking at Tom Clement’s Geeklections site. Tom is taking the raw election results and running many simulations based on the preference tickets, and he is currently projecting the most likely outcome of 12 Labor, 9 Liberal, 5 Nationals and 3 Greens – which would leave Labor and Greens two votes short of a majority. But Tom’s website does more, showing the chances of each party winning in each region.

9:13pm – The upper house numbers are very confusing – it appears two seats actually going to the Shooters are being credited to Daylight Savings. But it’s worth noting that both Daylight Savings and Fluoride Free are currently projected to win seats. One Nation is currently leading for only one seat.

8:57pm – We’re starting to get some small numbers in from the upper house. Antony Green’s preference calculator gives the final seats to the Shooters in Agricultural and One Nation in the South West. In both regions, the calculator gives Labor an additional seat. It also appears that Labor and the Greens could win four seats between them in the East and South Metro regions – in both regions the combined Labor/Greens vote is over four quotas in the lower house, and is sitting at a similar level in the small number of upper house votes counted so far. It also appears likely that Labor or the Greens will gain a seat in the North Metro region. If the left wins an additional seat in all six upper house regions, that would give Labor and the Greens a majority.

8:21pm – I count 14 seats Labor has gained from the Liberal Party: Balcatta, Belmont, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Darling Range, Forrestfield, Joondalup, Morley, Mount Lawley, Perth, Southern River, Swan Hills, Wanneroo and West Swan.

Labor is also leading in Burns Beach and Geraldton, and Kalgoorlie will take days or weeks to decide.

8:10pm – It’s too early to draw any conclusions about the upper house, but it’s interesting to look at lower house votes by upper house region. One Nation is polling less than half a quota in North Metropolitan and South Metropolitan (although they wouldn’t have run in every seat). One Nation is on about 60% of a quota in the East Metro and South West regions, and about three quarters of a quota in Mining and Pastoral and Agricultural. It suggests they are likely to pick up two seats, but none of those figures are conclusive enough to call any seats.

8:03pm – It’ll be interesting to see how the swing to Labor varies across the state – there was a theory that the party was performing better in the marginal seats. I’d like to wait for more preferences to be counted and to ultimately judge on the two-party-preferred swing, but Labor has definitely gained larger primary vote swings in more marginal Liberal seats. The Labor vote is up on average by 11.7% in Liberal seats with margins under 12%, compared to 7.85% in the other Liberal seats and 10% in Labor seats.

7:47pm – The Liberal Party has suffered a massive collapse in Bunbury – the ABC currently has it on 32%.

7:41pm – Sorry, this website is struggling with the traffic now. Been meaning to make some technical updates but house-moving has gotten in the way. I was just writing something about how interesting Kalgoorlie is – we really won’t know who will come in the top two until the count is finished, with One Nation preferences deciding who out of Liberal and Nationals will go on to face Labor.

7:27pm – The trend at the moment suggests that Labor is on track to gain all of the Liberal seats held on margins of less than 11%. Labor is recording large enough swings to win in Balcatta, Belmont, Collie-Preston, Forrestfield, Kalamunda, Morley, Perth, Southern River, Swan Hills, Wanneroo and West Swan, although in some cases this is based off a single strong booth. We have no results from the other three Liberal seats held by margins of under 11% – no seat in this range has a swing small enough to allow the Liberal Party to hold on.

7:16pm – We don’t have enough booths to call them yet, but it looks likely that Peter Abetz has lost in Southern River.

7:13pm – After five booths, it looks likely that Labor has gained Balcatta (7% margin). It also appears that Forrestfield is likely to fall.

7:06pm – Let’s discuss Collie-Preston. It’s an unusual seat, with extremely pro-Labor Collie paired with other pro-Liberal towns. The redistribution redrew the seat into a notional Liberal seat, after Labor’s Mick Murray was narrowly re-elected in 2013. We don’t have many booths yet, but it appears that there has been a small swing to Labor and a large swing away from the Liberal Party, which should be enough to re-elect Murray (which would count as a Labor gain).

7:02pm – We’re seeing sizeable samples from numerous country seats which is starting to give us an idea of support for One Nation. They’re on 13.6% in Kalgoorlie, 10.6% in Central Wheatbelt, 9.2% in Collie-Preston and 9.3% in Geraldton. If the party polls around 10% across the non-metropolitan region they’ll be a contender to win seats in each region – a full quota is roughly 14.3%.

6:59pm – We’re seeing a big drop in support for the Liberal Party in Geraldton, with that vote moving to One Nation and Labor. We don’t have a preference count there, since Labor came third last time, but it could well be in play.

6:50pm – Four early booths in Kalgoorlie suggest a significant drop in the vote for both the Nationals and the Liberal Party. The Nationals hold the seat with a 4.1% margin over the Liberal Party. Sitting Nationals MP Wendy Duncan has retired, and Labor appears to be performing quite well in a seat which used to be Labor heartland.

6:45pm – Central Wheatbelt is held by the Nationals by an 8.8% margin over the Liberal Party. It appears that there has been a drop in the Liberal vote and a strengthened Nationals vote, with One Nation polling a distant second, based on six polling places.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Western Australia. I’ll be posting results updates here, as well as contributing to the Guardian’s live blog. Don’t expect much for the next half hour.

The exit polls point towards a 12% swing to Labor, which would likely give them a majority.

It’s 9pm in Sydney where I am – I expect we should have a reasonably clear idea of who is winning (or if it’s very close, we’ll know that it’ll be very close) by around 7:30 WA time, and around 9pm WA time we’ll start to see a slowing down of the lower house results and the first upper house results. I expect the results will dry up by 11pm-midnight WA time, so for those of us on the east coast it could be a late night.

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WA election – one day to go

I haven’t been posting much about the Western Australian election recently, but wanted to quickly touch base on the final day of the campaign.

I was in the Guardian last Friday writing about the campaign. Since then more polls have suggested enough of a swing to Labor to tip out the Barnett government.

There are a lot of conversations taking place in the comments sections for each seat – you can join the chat for your seat, or check out the ten most recent comments in the sidebar.

I’ll be on Backchat on FBI radio in Sydney tomorrow morning at 11am (8am WA time) and will be running a liveblog here and contributing to the Guardian’s liveblog when results come in tomorrow night.

In the meantime, please use this thread to post your predictions.

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Queensland redistribution – first draft released

The first draft of Queensland’s new state electoral map was released this morning, after a broad outline was leaked last night.

The redistribution is the first in almost a decade, and the redistribution will see four additional seats created in the Assembly. The combination of these factors has meant that the changes are quite dramatic.

Five new seats have been created, while two inner-city seats have been merged.

At least three prominent MPs face a significantly tougher task in winning re-election. Labor minister Steven Miles and LNP frontbencher Scott Emerson represent neighbouring seats of Mount Coot-tha and Indooroopilly. The two seats have both been abolished and replaced by the seat of Maiwar – a seat with a margin of approximately 2.8% for the LNP. They now face the choice of a tough contest or looking for a safer seat elsewhere.

Shane Knuth, a member of Katter’s Australian Party, represents Dalrymple in north Queensland. That seat has been broken apart, with a majority of the seat going into the new seat of Hill – but only 60% of that seat is areas previously contained in Dalrymple.

There are eighteen seats, including Hill and Maiwar, where the incumbent MP currently represents less than 70% of their new seat’s population.

The five new seats are Bancroft, in northern Brisbane; Bonney, on the Gold Coast; Jordan, in the Ipswich area; Macalister on the Gold Coast-Logan boundary and Ninderry on the Sunshine Coast. Some would count Hill as a new seat, but I think it’s an obvious successor to Dalrymple.

Numerous seats have been renamed, with the Commission moving away from the norm where state electorates are named after localities. The Commission instead chose to name a dozen seats after distinguished Queenslanders, following the practice of the Australian Electoral Commission, who traditionally name seats after people. The range of individuals selected for this honour are more diverse than those with federal electorates named in their honour – less politicians, and a lot more women.

This map shows the old and new Queensland state boundaries – red represents the 2009-2015 boundaries, while green represents the draft boundaries released today. Below the map I’ve also posted my own estimates of the margin in each seat. I’m sure others will do more precise analysis, but I thought I should nail my colours to the mast and post my own estimates.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Data update – Tasmanian upper house dataset

A few months ago I published a limited data repository, containing booth lists, candidate lists and election results at the booth level for a variety of state and local elections. At the time I talked about how most state electoral commissions fell short of the AEC when it comes to publishing complete and easy-to-use election datasets.

I’ve been most frustrated by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission, on two fronts. Firstly, they publish the booth-level vote data in a very unfriendly manner: upper house results are published as PNG image files. Lower house primary votes are published as PDF files, and distributions of preferences as image files. The image files look very nice, unless you want to copy them into a spreadsheet and perform deeper analysis.

Secondly, the TEC is terrible at publishing booth lists which can be matched to the results. They publish a list of premises used for each election, including the suburb, but often there are more than one booth in a suburb. The results data contains a unique booth name, but for at least a decade now the TEC has rarely if ever published the booth data in the correct format allowing the matching of those addresses to the actual vote data.

For three years from 2013 to 2015 I published guides to the Tasmanian upper house elections, which are held every May for a small part of the state. This included the tedious task of tracking down the complete data to match addresses to vote data. I’ve decided to finish this task, and have been able to put together a booth list with unique booth names for the last ten years of upper house elections from 2007 to 2016. This can then be matched to the vote data at the booth level. The booth list also includes latitude and longitude for every ordinary booth.

Download the data here.