WA 2013 – Seats to watch

1

There are a number of Legislative Assembly seats that are too close to call and deserve further attention. In addition, the race for the final seat in each Legislative Council region is unlikely to be resolved for a number of days.

Belmont – Labor by 154 votes

Held by 6.7%. Former Labor leader Eric Ripper retired. WAEC

Collie-Preston – Labor by 62 votes

Held by Mick Murray by 3.8%. All booths, plus some prepoll and postal have been counted. WAEC

Midland – Labor by 142 votes

Held by Michelle Roberts since 1996, margin of 8.3%. WAEC

Eyre – Nationals by 74 votes

Held by Liberal MP Graham Jacobs, the Nationals are narrowly ahead. All booth votes and some postal and prepoll votes have been counted. WAEC

Kimberley – No two-party preferred count

Held by the ALP’s Carol Martin, who  has retired. The primary vote count is split four ways:

  • Bloom (Liberal) – 2169 – 26.48%
  • Maher (Greens) – 2120 – 25.88%
  • Farrer (Labor) – 1770 – 21.61%
  • Pucci (Nationals) – 1708 – 20.85%

Until the count is finished, it’s not possible to determine which two candidates are in the top two.

The main votes yet to be counted come from remote communities and absentee votes – which could favour Labor and Greens. Unless there is a surge in Nationals votes it seems likely the party will come fourth, and their preferences will flow more strongly to the Liberal Party than Labor preferences will flow to the Greens, so this seat will likely go to the Liberal Party.

East Metropolitan

With 39.78% of the vote counted, the first five seats look locked in: three for the Liberal Party and two for Labor. The last seat is a contest between the ALP’s Amber Sanderson and the Greens’ Alison Xamon.

The key point in the race follows the exclusion of Family First. Three candidates remain:

  • Sanderson (Labor) – 14,771
  • Australian Christians – 12,822
  • Xamon (Greens) – 10,812

Xamon is excluded, and her preferences easily elect the Labor candidate. However the Greens are preferencing Labor, so if the Greens could close the 3959-vote gap with Labor, and Labor fell behind the Australian Christians, the Greens would win on Labor preferences.

If the Australian Christians are knocked out, their preferences would split between the two left-wing candidates. Family First and the Australian Christians’ preferences flow to Labor, but the Shooters and Liberal preferences flow to the Greens. On current figures, 51.9% of Christians preferences flow to the Greens. This means that, if the Australian Christians were knocked out, the party leading would win.

North Metropolitan

With 49.74% of the vote counted, all six seats are currently being allocated on primary votes: the ALP wins just over two quotas, and the Liberal Party wins just over four quotas.

Examining the preferences left over at the end of the count, the Greens are 6527 votes behind the Liberal Party at the key point in the count. This is due to the Greens gaining favourable preferences, including from the Shooters and Family First. Only the Australian Christians preferences the Liberals.

Alternatively the Greens also benefit from strong preference flows against the ALP. The gap between the first Greens candidate (Poustie) and the second Labor candidate (Ravlich) is 7019 votes after preferences. Again, only the Australian Christians preference the ALP ahead of the Greens.

It is difficult to know how the vote count will shift without seeing which polling places have reported so far. The Greens could conceivably close a 6-7000 vote gap with one or the other of the major parties, but it is unlikely.

South Metropolitan

With 42.2% of the vote counted, the first five seats are locked in: three Liberal and two Labor. The final seat currently is on track to be won by the Greens’ Lynn MacLaren, and her closest rival is the fourth Liberal candidate.

The Greens start on 0.63 quotas, which climbs to 0.83 quotas thanks to preferences from the Shooters and Fishers and some independents.

The Greens are leading the ALP by over 7500 votes when Labor is eliminated, and the Greens defeat the Liberal Party on Labor preferences. The Greens margin over the Liberals is currently 11,730 votes.

While this looks very big, Antony Green has pointed out that, if the upper house vote matches the lower house vote, the Greens will likely fall behind Labor, and Greens preferences will elect a third Labor MLC.

South West

With 41% of the vote counted, the Liberal Party has definitely won three seats, and Labor has definitely won two. Labor is sitting just under 2 quotas, and it is very hard to see how Labor won’t win two.

At the moment, the race for the final seat is between Family First and the Nationals.

Antony Green’s calculator currently has Labor winning when Giz Watson of the Greens is excluded. This large surplus of Labor and Greens votes flows entirely to Family First, and they win an easy victory over the Nationals.

However, this is the end-point of a long sequence of lucky breaks for Family First.

Family First is the seventh-highest polling group in South West on current figures. They manage to benefit from a small number of independent preferences that push them ahead of the Christians. They then proceed to win preferences from the Christians, and successively leapfrog and then gain preferences from the Shooters and Fishers and the Liberal Party, until they eventually overtake the Greens.

At a number of successive points, Family First is only a few votes away from being eliminated: 290 votes ahead of the Christians, 1141 votes ahead of the Shooters and Fishers, 636 votes ahead of the Liberal Party. If Family First is knocked out at the stage where they are up against the Liberal Party, their preferences flow overwhelmingly to the National, who is elected.

Agricultural

With 51.5% of the vote counted, the Nationals and Liberals have each won two seats, and Labor has won one.

The Shooters and Fishers are sixth on primary votes: behind Labor, Liberal, National, The Greens and Max Trenorden’s independent ticket. They are in fourth place after the election of the first five candidates, sitting behind National, Greens and Trenorden. The Shooters quickly overtake the Greens, and then overtake Trenorden with a large flow of preferences from Labor.

The Shooters and Fishers then benefit from preferences from the Australian Christians and the Greens, reaching this key point:

  • Mazza (Shooters) – 6,131 votes
  • Sounness (Nationals) – 3,835 votes
  • Trenorden – 2,885 votes

All of Trenorden’s preferences favour the Shooters, and the easily win over the Nationals, by a margin of 5181 votes. While it is conceivable that Trenorden could overtake the third National (current gap of 980 votes), the Nationals preferences would likewise elect the Shooters candidate. It is hard to see how the Shooters don’t win, unless the current party totals shift by a large margin.

Mining and Pastoral

With 51.5% of the vote counted, the Nationals and Liberals have each won two seats, and Labor has won one.

Throughout the count, the Labor and Greens candidates don’t gain any preferences, while all the right-wing preferences gradually build up with the Shooters and Fishers.

At the key point, the votes are:

  • Parkes (Shooters) – 4,139 votes
  • Chapple (Greens) – 3,427 votes
  • Murie (Labor) – 2,970 votes

The Labor candidate is knocked out, and his preferences give an easy win to the Greens. The margin for the Greens over the Shooters is 2,258 votes.

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