It’s now been two weeks since polls opened, and we are now getting very close to a conclusion of the House of Representatives count.
There is only one conventional seat still in play, which is Herbert. There will also be news today in Melbourne Ports which may either make the seat a serious seat in play or make it a clear Labor seat.
The Liberal National Party, at the time of writing late on Friday night, led by 12 votes in Herbert.
There are 200 absent votes outstanding. Labor has won 51.5% of these votes so far. If the remaining votes break the same way, Labor will gain six votes.
There are 399 prepoll votes outstanding. The LNP has won 53.5% of these votes so far. If the remaining votes break the same way, the LNP will gain 27 votes.
There are at least 44 postal votes remaining, with yesterday being the deadline for postal votes to be received. The LNP won 56.6% of the postal votes counted so far. Assuming there are no postal votes to be processed, 56.6% of the remaining votes would give the LNP an additional five-vote lead.
There are 446 provisional votes outstanding. Many provisional votes turn out to be not valid, and thus are not counted. If there are the same number of valid votes as in 2013 (320 votes), then there would be 154 votes. Labor won 60.8% of those votes cast so far, and if this continues this would give Labor a 30-vote lead.
So that’s 36 votes gained by Labor amongst absent and provisional votes, and 32 votes gained by the LNP amongst prepoll and postal votes. That’s a change of four votes in favour of Labor, which would leave the LNP with a lead of four votes.
“This is too close to call” seems a massive understatement.
Up until now we haven’t had any information about whether the Greens are gaining enough preferences to overtake Labor for second place, apart from vague scrutineer reports. If the Greens overtake Labor, the current Labor-Liberal two-party-preferred count would become redundant, and either Liberal or Green will win the seat off Labor.
I’ve heard that the AEC will today be conducting an indicative three-candidate-preferred count between Labor, Liberal and Greens in Melbourne Ports to identify which candidates are in the top two. If Labor does not reach the top two, presumably we will need a fresh two-party-preferred count between Liberal and Greens to determine who is leading in the race to win the seat.
I expect that we’ll know more before the end of the day.