The Tally Room Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:49:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 6127899 Groom by-election coming up Tue, 29 Sep 2020 00:30:11 +0000 Federal MP John McVeigh announced his retirement two weeks ago, triggering a by-election for his seat of Groom.

The electorate of Groom covers the city of Toowoomba in southern Queensland, as well as nearby rural areas to the west of the city.

I’ve just finished my guide to Groom, which you can read here.

The electorate is very safe for the LNP – McVeigh polled over 70% of the two-party-preferred vote in 2019. Labor outpolled One Nation on the primary vote, but not by that much – 18.7% to 13.1%.

We don’t have any confirmation about who will run, but it appears that there may be some complexity around whether a future Liberal National MP would sit with the Liberals or Nationals.

Groom was first held in the 1980s by Tom McVeigh, father of the recently retired MP. The elder McVeigh was a National, but the seat was won by the Liberal Party at the 1988 by-election.

The younger McVeigh was first elected to state parliament to represent Toowoomba South in 2012 before moving to federal politics in 2016. McVeigh has a history as a Young National in the 1980s, but sits in federal parliament as a Liberal.

The previous MP, Ian Macfarlane, had been elected four times as a Liberal prior to the LNP merger, but in 2015 he announced plans to switch to sit as a National. This plan was supported by local party members but was blocked by the state executive.

If Groom was to switch from a Liberal seat to a National seat it would change the balance between the two parties in federal parliament – ultimately a change in the proportion of seats within the Coalition could change the numbers of ministers each party holds – but it wouldn’t mean much for voters on the ground, who would be voting for the Liberal National Party. Having said this, the prospect of the seat switching to the Nationals seems to have ended with Matt Canavan withdrawing from the race.

It seems unlikely that Labor will run. It seems possible that One Nation could come in the top two, but they won’t be best placed to pick up Labor voters, so I wouldn’t be surprised if an independent does better. Either way I’d be surprised if this race was at all close.

]]> 2 40253
ACT election – early voting opens Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:02:05 +0000 Voting opened today for the ACT election, with election day to be held on October 17.

Elections ACT is seriously embracing early voting this year, strongly encouraging voters to cast an early vote to assist with social distancing.

(Check out my guide to the ACT election.)

This new approach can be seen in the selection of polling places.

There were six pre-poll voting centres in 2016 – this year there are fifteen. There were 114 election day booths in 2016 – this year there will be just 82, including the fifteen being used before election day.

Antony Green recently posted about the plans for election night. Pre-polling will be electronic, which should allow for very quick counting of those votes. If the commission is correct and 80% of votes are cast before election day, we should have most of the votes counted before 7pm, and those 80% will be able to be distributed as part of an interim distribution of preferences on the night.

I will be liveblogging on the night so will be on the job early to watch this flood of results whenever they come in, and if there is time I might also touch on the results from New Zealand.

]]> 0 40256
Launching the ACT 2020 election guide Sat, 26 Sep 2020 01:00:04 +0000 Voting starts on Monday in the Australian Capital Territory election, with election day to be held on October 17.

Voters will be electing twenty-five members of the Legislative Assembly across five electorates using the Hare-Clark proportional voting system.

You can now read the guide to this election.

The current government is led by Labor’s Andrew Barr, with one Greens minister. The current Assembly includes twelve Labor MLAs, eleven Liberals and two Greens.

The Liberal Party is very close to winning a twelfth seat in Murrumbidgee. Indeed you can argue that the increase in the Liberal vote in this electorate has turned the second Greens seat into a notional Liberal seat. But it will be a lot harder for the Liberals to win a thirteenth seat to win a majority and form government (likely in Yerrabi in the north).

You can click through to read each electorate’s guide here:

You can also use the following map to click on any electorate, and then click through to the relevant guide.

I will be back in a week or so with an ACT election preview episode of the podcast, and I will be live-blogging on election night, so stay tuned.

This work is made possible by the support of the generous people who support this website via Patreon. If you find this useful, please consider signing up as a donor via Patreon.

]]> 6 40230
Victorian council elections – mapping federal results to wards Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:00:27 +0000 I haven’t seriously attempted to wrap my head around who is running in the Victorian council elections, which councils are dominated by one faction or the other, and which seats are in play.This is primarily because the VEC does not publish party affiliations for candidates, and until this year Labor has been sitting out of contesting the elections.

I don’t believe the Liberal Party has ever formally contested Victorian council elections, which mostly just leaves the Greens running formally. The use of postal voting also reduces my ability to use mapping to tell the result of the elections.

Still that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done to map out the political balance of each council.

In this post, I have matched the election results at the 2016 and 2019 federal elections to the new 2020 ward boundaries. I’ll focus in on one council (Darebin) which I think is interesting, and I’ll post a statewide map and a spreadsheet so you can do your own analysis.

You can view the dataset here. I’ve included estimates of the two-party-preferred vote and the two-candidate-preferred vote, as well as primary votes for Labor, the Greens, the Liberals, Nationals and (in 2019) United Australia.

This map is zoomed in on Melbourne but shows the two-party-preferred vote across the whole state in 2019, and can be toggled to show 2016.

Darker shades indicate a two-party-preferred vote of over 60%. You can clearly see which areas are solid for one major party or the other in federal politics.

There’s far too much data here for me to try to summarise, but feel free to dive into an area you know well and comment below with how you interpret this information.

I thought I would just pause and look at Darebin, in Melbourne’s inner north.

This council largely covers the same area as Cooper (formerly Batman), which was a very close seat between Labor and the Greens in 2016, but had swung hard to Labor in 2019 after Ged Kearney won the seat at a by-election.

It’s also a council divided between Greens councillors and those aligned with the ALP, and it’s a council which had its voting system forcibly changed from three wards of three to nine single-member wards. This table shows the two-candidate-preferred vote for Labor and the primary vote for the Greens in 2016 and 2019.

Ward ALP 2CP ’16 ALP 2CP ’19 GRN prim ’16 GRN prim ’19
Central 53.8 66.6 33.8 19.3
North Central 58.1 68.0 28.4 17.4
North East 61.4 67.9 24.3 15.8
North West 62.1 69.4 24.9 14.8
South 40.4 60.4 47.7 26.8
South Central 45.3 63.1 42.8 23.7
South East 45.8 63.4 41.8 23.3
South West 42.5 61.5 45.6 25.1
West 53.5 65.6 33.8 19.8

At the 2016 election (mapped out in my 2018 by-election guide), Batman was split down the middle along Bell Street, with the Greens dominating the south and Labor dominating the north. You can see that in these wards. The four southern wards were won by the Greens, while Labor won the other five, only winning narrowly in Central and West wards which effectively straddle the middle of the council.

This divide narrowed at the 2018 by-election, with Labor gaining big swings in the south and the Greens gaining small swings in the north. You can then see Ged Kearney’s consolidation of her vote in 2019 in the table. The Greens primary vote in their southern heartland collapsed in 2019, dropping from votes in the 40% range down to votes in the mid-20s.

So what does this tell us about 2019? Firstly, it seems very likely to me that all nine wards on Darebin will be won by either Labor or Greens. Compare that to the current council elected under proportional representation. The Greens won four seats in 2016 compared to two for Labor, along with three independents (one of whom was a former ALP member, and one was a former Greens member). It is possible some independents could be strong enough to win, but it will tend to favour a strong binary.

But the high vote for Kearney isn’t likely to translate into the vote for Labor in the local council. It seems likely to me that the Greens will retain the four wards with the word “south” in their name, with Labor winning the North East and North West wards, and likely North Central as well, and the balance of the council will be decided by what happens in the Central and West wards. It will be an interesting council to watch.

Finally, I have made this map showing the Labor vs Greens 2CP at the 2016 and 2019 elections for the wards of Darebin and Moreland councils, which are the only wards where that 2CP was used across the ward.

]]> 2 40190
Victorian councils 2020 – how did the wards changed? Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:30:47 +0000 In yesterday’s post I looked at which Victorian councils were effected by the changes to the ward redistribution process earlier this year. In this post I’m going to look at how the wards changed in the fourteen councils which experienced a change.

Fourteen councils have changed their ward structures. Two councils (Mansfield and Swan Hill) were switched from a mix of single-member and multi-member wards to an undivided structure. This is exactly what the representation review recommended in Swan Hill, but the review had recommended no change to the structure in Mansfield.

Council 2016 wards 2020 wards
Banyule 1 x 7 1 x 9
Bayside 3-2-2 1 x 7
Boroondara 1 x 10 1 x 11
Cardinia 4-3-2 1 x 9
Darebin 3-3-3 1 x 9
Greater Dandenong 3-3-3-2 1 x 11
Kingston 3-3-3 1 x 11
Manningham 3-3-3 1 x 9
Mansfield 2-1-1-1 5 undivided
Maroondah 3-3-3 1 x 9
Murrindindi 1 x 7 1 x 7
Nillumbik 1 x 7 1 x 7
Swan Hill 4-1-1-1 7 undivided
Whitehorse 2-2-2-2-2 1 x 11

Twelve other councils were confirmed as using single-member wards only.

Four of those twelve councils were already using single-member wards. Boroondara and Murrindindi were set to switch to multi-member wards (two or three councillors per ward) but this was overridden by Somyurek’s new powers. The review recommended an increase in councillor numbers in Boroondara, and this change was carried out, so the existing ten wards were redrawn into eleven wards.

Banyule and Nillumbik underwent reviews which recommended a continuation of the existing single-member system, although the Banyule review recommended the creation of two new seats.

The remaining eight councils did not use single-member wards in 2016 but have been moved to this structure for 2020. All of these councils underwent representation reviews which confirmed the existing multi-member ward structures for 2020, but those reviews were cancelled by minister Somyurek.

The reviews recommended a continuation of the existing councillor numbers and ward structures in Bayside, Cardinia, Darebin, Greater Dandenong, Manningham and Maroondah. The new single-member ward systems will maintain the existing councillor numbers on each of these councils.

The reviews recommended an increase in council numbers in Kingston from nine to eleven, and in Whitehorse from ten to eleven. These extra seats will still be created, just as single-member wards.

Every other council in the state will go to the 2020 election with the same wards as in 2016.

Finally, this interactive map will let you compare the 2016 and 2020 wards in these fourteen councils. I’ve zoomed in the map to show the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, but you can zoom out as far as Swan Hill. It’s a bit cluttered but you can toggle on and off layers or zoom in further to get a clear picture in whatever area you’re most interested in.

You can also download the 2016 and 2020 ward maps from the maps page.

]]> 0 40187
Victorian councils 2020 – the impact of the Somyurek changes Tue, 22 Sep 2020 23:59:28 +0000 Nominations closed yesterday for Victoria’s local government elections. Ballot papers will be sent out by mail in early October, with the votes being counted from October 24.

I’m not across the complexity of who is running so I won’t try and be across the candidates, but what I do now are the ward boundaries.

I posted a number of times earlier this year about the Victorian Labor government’s plans to change the rules around ward redistributions to push councils back towards single-member wards. The plans were pushed through parliament by the soon-to-be-disgraced local government minister, Adem Somyurek. He then used his newfound ministerial powers to switch a number of Victorian councils from multi-member wards to single-member wards, and prevented a number of others from switching in the other direction.

In particular I posted an analysis showing how the structure of Victorian local government elections has shifted away from single-member wards since 2004.

I have now finished my ward boundaries file for the 2020 Victorian council elections, which you can now download from my maps page. I’ve now posted full ward boundaries for the last four local government election cycles in the three biggest states, dating back to 2008.

In this post I’ll show some maps showing how many councillors each ward elects across the state, how the ratio of councillors to wards varies from place to place, and which councils were impacted by Somyurek’s changes. I’ve also updated the charts I posted in March to show the change in trajectory from the recent “reforms”.

Firstly, the changes. The Victorian Electoral Commission summarised which councils were changed here. Victorian councils undergo ‘representation reviews’ once every two terms, and only those councils who underwent reviews in 2019 and 2020 have been impacted.

For seventeen councils, Somyurek simply cancelled the current review, which means the 2016 boundaries will stay in place. None of these councils currently use single-member wards. Ten councils were not divided into wards, although reviews had recommended a switch to wards for four of those ten councils. The other seven use multi-member wards, and in some cases a part of the council is elected from single-member wards. With the exception of Casey, which is currently run by an administrator and won’t have an election this year, the rest are all rural.

There are two other rural councils where Somyurek changed the voting system from wards to an undivided council: Mansfield and Swan Hill. The representation review had recommended that decision for Swan Hill. These are also rural.

In the case of another twelve councils, Somyurek overrode the process to impose single-member wards. Four of these twelve councils were already using single-member wards, although the representation review had recommended a switch to multi-member wards in Boroondara and Murrindindi. With the exception of Murrindindi, the rest of these councils are in the Melbourne area.

This first map shows, at the ward level, which councils were switched by Somyurek’s decision.

All of the urban councils affected by these changes are in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, which as we will see has created a significant difference in how councils are elected between the east and west. I don’t think we can chalk this difference up to a conscious decision by Somyurek: this simply reflects which councils were up for review in 2019-20.

These changes had a noticeable impact on the average ratio of councillors to wards across the state. This next chart is an update of a chart I posted in March, and it shows how the trend since 2004 has seen the ratio trending upwards as wards have been merged to create multi-member wards. This trend has been significantly turned around since Somyurek’s changes.

I’ve also mapped out this ratio of councillors to wards per local government area, and you can see that western Melbourne councils have much more councillors per ward than in the east, which has real impacts on how these elections run. If you want to see proportional representation in Melbourne councils, head west.

In March I also charted the number of councils using each electoral structure, and I have also updated this chart. You can see that the number of councils using single-member wards has doubled from eight to sixteen, with a noticeable decline in the use of multi-member wards.

And finally, this last map shows the number of councillors for every ward in the state. Undivided councils have five, seven or nine councillors, and I have merged these categories together.

I will be back with some analysis of the ward changes tomorrow, and am hoping to also do some other analysis of how federal election results map out on ward boundaries. I don’t plan on doing proper coverage of the results, but I will post an open thread on election day.

]]> 2 40183
Podcast #43: Queensland election preview Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:00:57 +0000 Ben is joined by the University of Queensland’s Chris Salisbury and Glenn Kefford to preview next month’s Queensland election.

This podcast is supported by the Tally Room’s supporters on Patreon. If you find this podcast worthwhile please consider giving your support.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

]]> 1 40179
QLD 2020 – candidate update Fri, 11 Sep 2020 01:02:21 +0000 I launched my guide for the Queensland state election on Tuesday, and as part of that guide I have been compiling a list of candidates running in the election.

Over three hundred candidates have been identified so far, although the list shrunk slightly this week when three Palaszczuk government ministers announced their retirement.

Coralee O’Rourke, who holds the Townsville-area seat of Mundingburra, announced her retirement earlier in the week, and then yesterday Anthony Lynham and Kate Jones announced their retirements from their seats of Stafford and Cooper.

My list currently includes 309 candidates.

View the list here.

This includes 81 LNP candidates, 74 Labor candidates, 43 Greens and 38 One Nation candidates. Other parties running include Informed Medical Options (18), Legalise Cannabis (13), United Australia (13), Katter’s Australian Party (12), Animal Justice (6) and North Queensland First (5).

A total of 453 candidates nominated in 2017, so this is roughly on track when you consider the number of candidates likely to announce over the next month. I’d expect another hundred or so candidates from the four big parties.

I have recorded the gender of each candidate and will return to that topic in the future. At the moment 188 men and 121 women have been identified as candidates. 43% of Labor candidates are women, compared to 28% of LNP candidates. This is a slight improvement for Labor and about the same for the LNP, compared to the final candidate list in 2017.

At the moment there are on average 3.3 candidates running per seat. Seven candidates are running in Townsville and Whitsunday.

There are also four seats with just one candidate. The incumbent MP is the only candidate so far in Callide, Logan and Woodridge, while in Stafford there is only an LNP candidate following Dr Lynham’s retirement yesterday. Of course, all of these races should end up being healthy contests between at least three candidates.

I will continue to update this candidate list up until the close of nominations. I will regularly update candidate lists on individual electorate profiles as new candidates emerge but it won’t be the highest priority for me as I work on some other projects. If you find a candidate that hasn’t been listed you can contact me or post as a comment on their seat. Rest assured I will take note of the candidate announcements in the comments and add them to the public list and the seat guides as time allows.

]]> 6 40155
Podcast #42: all about redistributions Tue, 08 Sep 2020 22:00:36 +0000 Ben is joined by William Bowe from the Poll Bludger and new guest Michael Maley, formerly of the Australian Electoral Commission, to talk all about redistributions: how they work now, how they used to work and how they have changed over time.

This podcast is supported by the Tally Room’s supporters on Patreon. If you find this podcast worthwhile please consider giving your support.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

]]> 9 40141
Victorian councils update – some campaigning allowed Tue, 08 Sep 2020 06:22:41 +0000 The Victorian government today announced some rule changes from the end of this weekend which will allow some local government election campaigning which doesn’t pose a risk of spreading disease.

These changes do make it easier for campaigns to get a message out, but I still don’t think it justifies the decision to proceed with the local government elections on the original schedule.

I blogged about this issue yesterday morning, but since then the government has announced that from the end of Sunday night it will become legal to letterbox leaflets, and to deliver posters to be put up by supporters.

The rules are still very strict. The only activities permitted are putting leaflets in letterboxes or delivering posters to supporters, or delivering leaflets and posters to supporters to deliver to others. You can only do so during the two hours exercise permitted under the regulations coming in to force next week.

This is probably all that can be done consistent with the current restrictions, and I’m not here to pass judgement on whether those restrictions are appropriate for the current situation.

But I still think the better option would have been to postpone the election until early next year. It may be possible to conduct limited campaigning and allow people to cast votes, but that is not the same as a free and fair election. The election process isn’t just about casting a ballot, but rather includes all of the surrounding rituals.

A story in the Age from Bianca Hall and Rachel Eddie in August quotes from local government minister Shaun Leane as seeking the advice of chief health officer Brett Sutton as to whether the elections could go ahead, and that Sutton had advised that “no compelling public health grounds” existed to prevent the elections from proceeding.

With due respect to Dr Sutton, he is not an expert in elections procedure, and I think Sutton and other responsible officials in Victoria have understated the importance of freedom of movement and activity in holding a free and fair election.

While a number of elections have been held in Australia during this pandemic, none of them were held in a place with such severe restrictions as Melbourne has at the moment.

Nevertheless we are here now and the elections will be proceeding, with candidates permitted to put up posters and deliver leaflets, but not much else.

]]> 5 40144