The Legislative Council result at the moment looks like a big victory for Labor and the small parties, and a bad result for the Greens and the Coalition, but the impact of late counting and below the line votes is yet to be made clear.
We only have about 40-50% of the vote counted so far, and the remaining votes could change the result. Lower house results do suggest the Liberal Party has done relatively well on the pre-poll votes, so we could see the Libs come back a bit as the counting continues.
Labor is currently on 40.8%, which is a swing of 7.4%. The Liberal/Nationals vote has dropped by 7.9%, to just over 28%.
The Greens have suffered a 1.6% swing down to 9.2% – the worst result for the party under the Legislative Council voting system introduced in 2006. Meanwhile the vote for other parties has increased from 19.7% to 21.7%.
Let’s start by looking at the predicted seat outcomes from the two prediction tools I’m following.
Antony Green’s calculator takes all primary votes for each group cast so far and conducts a preference distribution based on the party’s group voting tickets, and it estimates that Labor will win 19 seats, the Coalition will win 10, and the Greens will win one. The calculator also predicts ten other crossbenchers.
Tom Clement at Geeklections, who calculates probabilities for each party to win seats, has produced a similar result. Labor and the Greens are still on 19 and 1 respectively, while he has predicted 12 seats for the Coalition and eight other crossbenchers.
The predicted crossbenchers at the moment include:
- East Metro – Transport Matters
- East Victoria – Antony Green predicts Aussie Battler, Geeklections predicts Shooters, Fishers & Farmers
- North Metro – Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
- North Victoria – both methods predict Liberal Democrats, while Antony Green also predicts Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
- South-East Metro – Transport Matters
- South Metro – Sustainable Australia
- West Metro – Antony Green predicts Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Geeklections predicts Aussie Battler
- West Victoria – both methods predict Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, while Antony Green also predicts Animal Justice Party
If you follow Antony Green’s calculator, that would be four seats for Derryn Hinch’s party off 3.37% of the statewide primary vote, which was the highest vote for any of the small parties.
We’ll have to wait for the vote-count to increase, and this could easily change a number of these outcomes, but we should also discuss the below the line vote. At the time of writing, the below the line vote is 9.7% of the total formal vote, compared to just over 6% in 2014 and 4% in 2010. It does suggest a growing trend of voters choosing to control their own preferences and opting out of the discredited group voting ticket system.
There are some interesting trends in terms of who has voted below the line. When you look at the fourteen parties who’ve cooperated in preference deals (the cabal), these parties have tended to have higher rates of below-the-line voting than Labor or the Coalition. This applies in all eight regions, where the combined vote for the 14 cabal parties had a higher below-the-line vote than the combined vote for the rest (most of which was votes for the major parties and the Greens, as well as the Socialists and some independents).
Micro-party candidates, particularly those from really small parties like Transport Matters and Aussie Battler, will need strong preference flows from the rest of the cabal to have a chance of winning – high below the line voting rates could mess that up, as you’d expect below the line votes to scatter, both to other cabal parties but also to the bigger parties. Voting data from the 2016 Senate election suggested that the bigger parties did relatively well from voter-determined preferences.
Considering this rate, and the small numbers of votes which could significantly change the outcome, I don’t think we can rely on the calculators, but they are a useful start.
This table shows the below the line rate for the parties, as well as their share of the total upper house vote at the moment.
|Party||LC %||BTL rate|
|Hudson 4 NV||0.2||13.3|
It’s particularly remarkable that a majority of Reason voters voted below the line, while we also saw very high rates for the Greens, Voluntary Euthanasia and Animal Justice – all progressive parties. Even amongst right-wing parties the rate increased. Only the Coalition had a BTL rate lower than the statewide average in 2014.
Now I’ll quickly run through the state of some of these races:
I was going to run through the state of each LC race but it’s pretty complex so I’ll simply refer you to Kevin Bonham’s blog post. I plan to return to this topic as the vote-count progresses.