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SA 2014 – boundary issues

South Australia’s election produced a result that has sparked a lot of interest: despite the Liberal Party winning a majority of the two-party-preferred vote (and by even more than in 2010), the Liberal Party has won less seats than the ALP, and we appear to have narrowly avoided the Labor government holding an outright majority.

It’s not an uncommon outcome, in South Australia and elsewhere in the country. The ALP has formed government in South Australia despite losing the statewide vote three times in the last 25 years: in 1989, 2002 and 2010, and in two of those cases the ALP won an overall majority.

In federal politics, the 1990 and 1998 elections both saw the sitting government maintain power despite losing the vote (Labor in 1990, and the Coalition in 1998).

Following Saturday night’s result, multiple Liberal figures have come out to complain about the outcome and to vaguely criticize our existing electoral system which allows such an ‘unfair’ result.

Tony Abbott described South Australia’s election laws as ‘extraordinary’, ignoring the fact that Saturday’s outcome could just as easily happen under federal electoral law.

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WA Senate by-election – preferences announced

Each group running in the WA Senate by-election submitted their group voting tickets on Saturday, which will direct preferences for above-the-line votes cast for each group. With the state elections in South Australia and Tasmania, I’ve only now had time to analyse the preferences lodged. You can download the Group Voting Tickets here (PDF).

Each Group Voting Ticket covers all 77 candidates running in the election, but for the purposes of my analysis I have looked at only 33 candidates – the third Liberal candidate, the second Labor candidate and the first candidate for every other group running. I have also excluded the two ungrouped independents.

All of my analysis focused on where each party preferenced a group of ten parties that all polled over 1% at the 2013 election in Western Australia. There’s no guarantee that these ten parties are the only parties to stand a chance of winning election, but their chance is greatest.

After speculation about the ALP not preferencing the Greens, the outcome is a tad anticlimactic and is unlikely to hurt the Greens. The ALP preferences, in order, the Secular Party, the Animal Justice Party, the Sex Party, the independent Save the ABC group, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, HEMP, and then the Greens. It is very unlikely that any of those parties will remain in the count long enough to challenge the Greens and benefit from Labor preferences.

There is a wide variety in how parties have preferenced.

On the left, the Greens received preferences directly from Wikileaks, the Socialist Alliance and the Pirate Party. The Save Our ABC group and the Sex Party preferenced the ALP before the Greens, while the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Sustainable Population Party and Animal Justice Party all split their preferences evenly between Labor and the Greens. Surprisingly, Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) placed the Greens very low, behind the Shooters, the ALP and the Palmer United Party, amongst many others. The Secular Party preferenced the Sex Party and then the Greens, amongst parties with a significant chance.

The Republican Party and the Mutual Party, both with names that suggest a progressive agenda, both preferenced the ALP and Greens poorly and placed the Liberal Democratic Party high.

A block of parties preferenced tightly, including the LDP, the Republican Party, the Mutual Party, the Outdoor Recreation Party and Smokers Rights, all placed the LDP highly and otherwise mostly placed microparties in the top half of their preference order.

The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, Freedom and Prosperity Party (formerly the Carbon Sceptics), Australian Voice, Building Australia Party, PUP, HEMP and the Australian Sports Party all placed the Shooters most highly amongst the top ten parties.

We’ll have to wait for others to do a deeper level of analysis to know what tiny parties have accrued enough preferences to stand a chance of winning, in the way that the Australian Sports Party did. However one measure of this can be seen by averaging the rank that each party achieved on each other party’s preference list.

As a score from 1 to 33, the parties with the best average preferences are the Australian Democrats (10.6), the Mutual Party (10.9), and the Australian Sports Party (11.7). The parties with the worst average preference ranking are the Smokers Rights Party (23.3), the Socialist Alliance (23) and Rise Up Australia (22.1).

Over the fold, I’ve summarised the key preferences for all 33 groups. You can also download all of the Group Voting Tickets in spreadsheet form here.

Update: Edited to reflect that the Voluntary Euthanasia Party split their preferences evenly between the Greens and Labor, not going to Labor entirely as previously written.

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SA 2014 – The close races

There are six seats that sit on margins of less than 2% at the current point in the counting, I will run through each of these electorates and summarise the situation.

In short, the results suggest that it is not possible in five of these six seats for the declaration votes to swing sufficiently to change the current lead. Only in Mitchell is it conceivable, but the most likely outcome is that the Liberal Party will win in Mitchell.

Seat Lead Dec votes 2010 Dec votes 2010 margin Margin needed for lead to change Swing needed for lead to change
Adelaide LIB by 368 5,129 LIB 55.5% ALP 53.5% 9.0%
Colton ALP by 521 4,041 ALP 52.7% LIB 56.5% 9.2%
Elder ALP by 571 4,703 ALP 53.2% LIB 56.1% 9.3%
Hartley LIB by 415 4,761 LIB 51.0% ALP 54.4% 5.4%
Mitchell LIB by 148 4,700 ALP 52.5% ALP 51.6% -0.9%
Newland ALP by 564 4,241 ALP 51.8% LIB 56.7% 8.5%

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SA 2014 – results wrap

At the end of the night, the election result in South Australia is extremely close, and we don’t know who will be forming government.

At the moment, the ABC has called the result in 46 out of 47 electorates, and these seats break down along these lines:

  • ALP – 23
  • LIB – 21
  • IND – 2

The electorate of Mitchell is the closest seat, with the Liberal Party leading by 148 votes at time of writing.

However, there are ten electorates with margins of less than 1000 votes: with each major party leading in five. If there is a substantial shift in these seats, either side could form a majority government.

Altogether, the ALP is leading in ten electorates by a margin of less than 6%, which gives you a sense of how Labor managed tonight’s result. Despite losing the two-party-preferred result by a handy margin, the ALP is leading in the seat count and has a shot at forming majority government.

While the Liberal Party holds three seats by over 70% and a further ten with margins between 60% and 70%, the ALP holds only nine seats with margins over 60%, and none with margins over 70%. This means that the ALP doesn’t ‘waste’ as many votes in safe areas – instead focusing their vote in areas where they can make a difference. I’ll return to the topic of South Australia’s electoral system in coming days.

I’ll also come back to the close races in the coming days, but as a summary, these seats are:

  • Adelaide – LIB by 368 votes
  • Ashford – ALP by 721 votes
  • Bright – LIB by 865 votes
  • Colton – ALP by 521 votes
  • Dunstan – LIB by 701 votes
  • Elder – ALP by 571 votes
  • Hartley – LIB by 415 votes
  • Light – ALP by 686 votes
  • Newland – ALP by 564 votes

There was a swing towards the ALP in nineteen seats, despite the statewide trend. The swing against the ALP ranged up to over 11% in Stuart and over 21% in Chaffey, and on the other hand the ALP gained 4.5% in Hammond.

In the upper house, it appears the most likely outcome at the moment is:

  • LIB – 4
  • ALP – 4
  • XEN – 1
  • FF – 1
  • GRN – 1

The Shooters and Fishers are not out of the game, possibly at the expense of either the Greens or the final Labor candidate, but the Greens vote has been rising as the number of votes counted has increased.

Finally, I’ve posted below an image of the new electoral map of Adelaide. Mitchell is marked in white, and the two other seats the Liberals have gained off the ALP (Bright and Hartley) are in a darker shade of blue.

SA2014-result

TAS 2014 – results wrap

Tasmanian voters elected a Liberal government tonight, but a number of seats are still up for grabs.

In four out of five electorates, the Liberal Party has gained a third seat. In two additional electorates, another seat is yet to be decided. In some other cases, it is clear which party will win a seat but it is not clear which particular candidate will end. In Denison, the party balance will remain steady at 2 Labor, 2 Liberal and 1 Greens.

At the moment, the number of seats per party is:

  • LIB – 14-15
  • ALP – 6-8
  • GRN – 3-5
  • PUP – 0-1

I’ll run through each electorate in turn to explain the situation.

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SA and TAS live

11:17pm – I’m going to leave the results there for the night. A wrap-up of the South Australian results will be up shortly, including some analysis of the key races and the Legislative Council, where it appears that the three incumbent crossbench MLCs have held their seats, with an outside chance for the Shooters and Fishers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more analysis.

Until then, I leave you with this map of the new South Australian electoral map.

Results of the 2014 election in Adelaide. Labor seats in red, Liberal seats in blue, independent seats in yellow, undecided seats in white. Seats won by the Liberal Party off the ALP in dark blue.

Results of the 2014 election in Adelaide. Labor seats in red, Liberal seats in blue, independent seats in yellow, undecided seats in white. Seats won by the Liberal Party off the ALP in dark blue.

10:31pm – We’re getting an increasing amount of votes being counted in the Legislative Council, and the Greens vote has been climbing. Mark Parnell was previously switching between winning the final seat and missing out, but is now winning the ninth seat. That’s on almost 45% of the vote.

10:24pm – At 10:30 I’ll be posting my summary of the results from Tasmania. From then on this post will only deal with South Australia. In short, two seats in Tasmania remain up for grabs, and the Liberal Party holds 14 seats.

10:15pm – We’re starting to see substantive figures from South Australia’s Legislative Council. With 30% counted, Antony Green’s Senate calculator is predicting 4 Liberals, 4 Labor, 1 Family First, 1 Shooter and John Darley of the Xenophon team.

There’s a very close race between the fourth Labor candidate and the lead candidates for the Greens and the Shooters and Fishers for the final two seats.

10:00pm – On my latest figures, the ALP has 23 seats in South Australia. The Liberals have 21, and there are two independents. In Mitchell, the race is extremely close. If Labor wins, they will form majority government. If the Liberal Party wins, they will need both independents to form government.

9:37pm – I’m off writing up the results wrap for Tasmania, but just quickly on South Australia: Labor is now leading in 24 seats, which would give them a majority.

9:05pm – Updated seat count in South Australia:

  • ALP – 20, leading in three more.
  • LIB – 19, leading in three more
  • IND – 2

So if those six close seats split in that way, there will be a hung parliament.

8:44pm - The Greens vote in Braddon has fallen below the PUP vote, while the Labor vote has climbed to 1.4 quotas. The final Braddon seat is now a four-way race between a fourth Liberal, a second Labor, Greens or PUP.

8:42pm – Two of those marginal seats have moved into the Labor column for a topline figure of 21 Labor, 19 Liberal, 2 independent and 5 too close to call in South Australia. Those five close seats are:

  • Adelaide
  • Ashford
  • Bright
  • Mitchell
  • Wright

8:33pm – Let’s look at Tasmania again. A majority of votes have been counted in four out of five electorates. The ALP has lost a seat to the Liberal Party in Bass, and another in Franklin. In Braddon, the Liberal Party has won a third seat off the ALP, and the final seat is a race between a fourth Liberal, and the Greens and the Palmer United Party. In Lyons, the Liberal Party has gained a third seat. The ALP and Greens are competing for the final seat. The possible range now is:

  • LIB – 14-15
  • ALP – 6-7
  • GRN – 3-5
  • PUP – 0-1

8:21pm – I’ve done some estimates on the South Australian results so far, and I have got:

  • 19 – ALP
  • 18 – LIB
  • 2 – Others
  • 6 – Too close to call
  • 2 – No results so far

One of the two seats with no results is Stuart, which will be a safe Liberal seat. There’s a serious prospect of a hung parliament at this point.

8:13pm – Labor minister Grace Portolesi has lost her Adelaide seat of Hartley.

7:52pm – In Denison, the ALP has dropped back and the Greens have climbed, and it seems there is still a prospect of a second Green to win.

7:45pm – The ABC has projected that the ALP has lost its bid to gain back Adelaide, it’s best prospect of a gain in South Australia, despite Labor gaining a swing towards them.

7:38pm – We have almost one third of the vote in Lyons, and the Liberal Party has won a third seat. It looks likely that the Greens’ Tim Morris will win, but it’s still possible that the ALP’s David Llewellyn could win his seat back.

7:36pm – In Franklin, 12% has reported and the Liberal Party is over three quotas, and the Greens have a quota. With Lara Giddings not far short of a quota in her own right, David O’Byrne is left with only 0.4 quota, and is likely to lose his seat.

7:33pm – In Braddon, by contrast, over 15% of the vote is in and the Liberal Party are in the best position to win the last seat, which would give them four seats. The Liberal Party is on 3.7 quotas, compared to 0.54 for the Greens.

7:30pm – 16.5% of the vote has reported from Bass, and the prospects of a fourth Liberal seat have faded, with the Liberal vote down to 3.5 quotas, and the Greens vote over 0.8 quotas.

7:29pm – The Labor vote is rising in Denison and has almost reached two quotas, and thus the chances of the Greens to win two in Denison, and to overtake Labor, are almost dead.

7:20pm – Let’s take a look at South Australia. There is a swing to the Liberal Party and away from the ALP, but by much less than in Tasmania.

7:15pm – Just looking at current figures, I estimate the following range for each party in Tasmania:

  • LIB – 14-17
  • ALP – 5-6
  • GRN – 2-6
  • PUP – 0-2

Remember that these numbers are likely to shift against the Liberal Party.

7:10pm – My standard disclaimer of ‘it’s far too early’ applies, but in Franklin, Premier Lara Giddings is just ahead of David O’Byrne, and it’s certainly a possibility that Labor will only have enough votes to elect one MP. Worth watching.

7:08pm – Looking at the Tasmanian results, it appears the Liberal Party is in a very strong position to win, and could win as many as 17 seats.

6:53pm – Unfortunately the Tasmanian Electoral Commission doesn’t provide booth-level results on its website so we’re relying on the ABC to know how representative our sample is. The TEC does provide a media feed, but refused to provide it when I asked a few weeks ago. Apparently it’s only for ‘accredited media’.

6:46pm – Antony Green suggests that Braddon’s result, while favouring the Liberal Party so far, should result in the Liberal Party staying about 50% and thus winning three seats. That will be the first Liberal gain, of three needed.

6:43pm – We have small figures for Lyons and Braddon, and in both places the Liberal Party are well over three quotas, but these numbers are still small.

6:39pm - So far, a tiny proportion of the vote has been counted in Tasmania, and Labor’s vote is down by 15% and the Liberal vote up by almost 12%. The Greens vote is down by about 6%. Far too early to make assumptions.

6:30pm AEDT - Polls have just closed in South Australia, and closed half an hour ago in Tasmania. I’ll be staying with you throughout the night covering election results in both states, as we expect to see ageing Labor governments lose to Liberal oppositions. I’ll be posting updates timestamped with Australian Eastern Daylight Time, which is the timezone where I reside, and the timezone in Tasmania. Sorry South Australians. Stick with us and we should have the first results soon.

NZ election date announced for 20 September

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday that the next New Zealand election will be held on September 20.

I’ll be providing a full guide to the election, but won’t be able to start until the new electoral boundaries are finalised in April.

In the meantime, this chart shows the polling trend since the beginning of 2012.

NZ Polling 2011-14

The Labour vote climbed through the first half of the term, but has stabilised since early 2013.

While the National Party has consistently remained ahead of Labour, the National Party’s potential allies are all bouncing along with a tiny vote, while the Green Party has stayed above 10% in most polls, meaning that a number of polls have put Labour and the Greens in a position to form government.

Four small parties (United Future, ACT, Maori Party and Mana Party) have been consistently polling very small figures, and will only be able to stay in the Parliament if they win electorate seats, and may not poll enough to win any additional list seats.

New Zealand First are polling more strongly, but without an electorate seat will need to win 5% to enter Parliament. New Zealand First have only passed the 5% threshold in two out of six polls so far this year.

WA Senate candidates announced

Nominations were declared this afternoon for the Senate by-election in Western Australia.

77 candidates have nominated, an increase from 62 who ran in last September’s election.

These candidates are running in 33 groups, as well as two ungrouped independents. All but one of the groups is being run by a political party.

In comparison, 27 groups and one ungrouped independent nominated for the 2013 election.

Along with the major party candidates, the major candidate announcements have included prominent euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke running for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. The Wikileaks Party has also had trouble with candidate selection, with Julian Assange unable to stand and with 2013 candidate Gerry Georgatos withdrawing at the last moment.

The Nationals have also had a change of lead candidate, with prominent former footballer David Wirrpanda being replaced by Shane van Styn, who stood in Durack in 2013.

The best spots on the ballot went to the Wikileaks Party and the Nationals. The ALP has the first position of any party who won a seat in any of the counts in the 2013 election. The Liberal Party drew column R, and the Greens drew group AA.

The following table provides the name of the lead candidate for all groups. With the exception of the two major parties, no other party has a serious prospect of getting any candidate other than their first candidate elected. I have also provided the first few candidates for the two major parties.

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WA Senate guide posted

Nominations will be announced later today for the remarkable Senate by-election in Western Australia, due to be held on April 5.

With final nominations being announced today, candidates and parties will have until midday tomorrow (WA time) to lodge their group voting ticket, which will determine how above-the-line preferences will flow.

I’ve now completed a guide to the Senate by-election. It includes a front page detailing the results, the preference flows at the last election, the history of WA’s Senate delegation, and an assessment of the by-election. The guide will also include the list of lead candidates and some analysis of the group voting tickets once they have been registered.

In addition, I’ve produced a page for each of the 15 federal electorates. While the same candidates will be running across the state, each individual seat has different voting patterns, and each page includes maps, booth breakdowns and the results within that electorate. You can click through to those seat pages on the right-hand sidebar, or from the main page.

At the upcoming election, we’ll be watching to see if the Liberal Party’s vote drops far enough, and the vote for Labor and the Greens climbs high enough for the centre-left to win three seats, and whether preferences flow in a way that can produce a result that will alter the balance of the Senate. Polling suggests it is possible, but is by no means certain. This guide helps you understand where each party’s vote is most strongly concentrated.

There is also likely to be a huge number of minor parties running, and quite possible one of those parties could garner enough preferences to win a seat, either from the Liberals or from the centre-left.

SA and TAS 2014: Prediction time

South Australia and Tasmania goes to the polls for their state elections on Saturday.

I’ll be covering the results from 6:30pm AEDT.

This is your opportunity to post your predictions for the election results.

You can also read more about each electorate, and join each electorate’s discussion thread, at the election guides: