Australia 2010 Archive


Intermission – NSW Senate results

Voters are going to the polls today in Western Australia today – and those of us not in WA are simply left waiting until we have some results later tonight.

In the meantime I’ve been learning how to use a few new tools to display data, one of which is a Google Fusion Table.

As an example, I made this map showing NSW federal electorates. The colours show the relative vote for the Greens in the Senate, and if you click on each seat it shows the vote for the major parties and the Greens in that electorate for the Senate.

I’ll be back from 9pm Sydney time (6pm Perth time) tonight covering the election results.


Liberal wins going to High Court?

Another barrier has been put in front of Tony Abbott forming a minority government.

A constitutional provision prohibits anyone holding “an office of profit under the crown” from being elected to the federal Parliament.

In the 1990s, this  saw two cases where members of the House of Representatives lost their seats: Phil Cleary lost the seat of Wills after a 1992 by-election before winning it back at the 1993 election, and Jackie Kelly lost the seat of Lindsay after the 1996 election before winning it back at a by-election.

There has yet to be a case to determine whether this criteria covers local government councillors. While many councillors get elected to state parliaments, the last local councillor I can think of who was elected to federal Parliament was Mark Latham, who resigned as Mayor of Liverpool shortly after being elected to Parliament in 1994.

Last Saturday, three local councillors were elected as Coalition members of Parliament. Palmerston Deputy Mayor Natasha Griggs was elected as the Country Liberal Party’s Member for Solomon. Campbelltown councillor Russell Matheson was elected as the Liberal Member for Macarthur, and Mackay Regional Councillor George Christensen looks on track to win Dawson for the Liberal National Party.

It is entirely unclear whether such a High Court case would succeed. If it did succeed, the candidates would be very likely to win by-elections with swings towards them. Even still, it injects an element of unpredictability and instability. Without those three seats, Abbott would be unable to govern in a minority government.


Newly updated maps

I have gone through all of my Google Earth maps available for download from the blog for 2010 federal election boundaries, and updated the colours to the latest election results, assuming that seats in doubt such as Brisbane and Hasluck do not change hands.

I have also decided to colour all Liberal National seats in Queensland as blue, rather than attempting to distinguish between which party they will be representing in Canberra, due to the fact that the LNP is running under a single banner. Below I’ve posted the overall maps of seat results in the areas around Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

You can download these maps and manipulate them yourself by visiting the Tally Room maps page.

Sydney and surrounds.

Melbourne and surrounds.

Brisbane and surrounds.


New counts in Denison and Grayndler

I spent today in the AEC’s counting centre in Sydney where the AEC was conducting a new two-candidate preferred count between the ALP and Greens, due to the Greens outpolling the Liberal Party on primary votes. On the first day, the AEC completed the count in twelve of those polling booths, with another forty yet to be counted. New counts are also being held in the Melbourne seat of Batman, where the Greens also overtook the Liberal Party, and in Denison, where independent candidate Andrew Wilkie is expected to overtake the Liberal Party on Greens preferences.

In the seat of Grayndler, the Greens have won three of the twelve booths counted so far, with Labor ahead in the other nine. It’s worth noting, however, that most of these booths are in the western part of the seat, which is generally weaker for the Greens. While the AEC currently has the ALP on 55.2% of the two-candidate preferred vote, my analysis shows that the current preference flows from the Liberals and smaller parties would produce a result of around 54.5%, and this is likely to fall further as more booths in the eastern part of the seat are registered. Overall, this means that Grayndler will now be a marginal seat, with a smaller margin than Lindsay Tanner had in Melbourne after the 2007 election.

Out of the three booths that the Greens have won: two are very close to the Newtown area, with very high Greens votes. The third, Dobroyd Point, is a strongly Liberal-voting area at the northern edge of Ashfield council, close to Sydney Harbour. In that booth, the Liberals came first on primary votes, and a large majority of those votes flowed to the Greens after the Liberal was eliminated.

Polling booths in Grayndler. Red booths won by ALP, green booths won by the Greens, white booths yet to be counted.

The more interesting race is in Denison, where polling booths flowed in this afternoon, alternatively producing predictions of a Wilkie victory or a win for the ALP’s Jonathan Jackson.

When counting finished for the day, votes had been counted in 28 of 56 polling places. Those booths seemed to have been selected according to alphabetical order.

At the moment, the ALP’s Jackson is ahead in the count, with 50.64% of the two-candidate-preferred vote.

Yet it appears to me that the remaining booths are concentrated in areas where Wilkie has performed more strongly. I divided the booths in Denison into six areas, the same six areas I used to analyse the previous election’s results in my seat profile. In the northern City of Glenorchy, the ALP has polled over 62% of the two-candidate-preferred vote. Wilkie is winning the vote in City of Hobart area and those booths at the southern edge of the seat. In the northern areas, we are waiting on results from booths which cover about 9000 votes, while in the south we are waiting on booths covering about 14000 voters. This suggests that Wilkie has more votes to gain in his strong areas than Jackson does in his.

Indeed, Wilkie has won every single booth in the City of Hobart and the southern edge of the seat, and Jackson has won every booth in Glenorchy. Yet 57% of the population of Denison lives in the areas won by Wilkie, and there are more of those votes yet to be counted.

In addition, there are over 6000 votes yet to be counted in both Hobart (where Wilkie is currently at 58%) and Sandy Bay (where he is at 64%).

Bearing all of this in mind, you would expect that Wilkie will come out on top from the ordinary votes yet to be counted, although it is yet to be seen whether this will be decisive enough to give him victory, or Wilkie would still require a strong performance on postal and absentee votes.

Polling booths in Denison. Red booths won by ALP, yellow booths won by Andrew Wilkie, white booths yet to be counted.


The State of the Senate

Remarkably, the result in the Senate is much more clear-cut than the result in the House of Representatives.

The Greens are on track to win a Senate seat in all six states, giving them a total of nine seats. This clean sweep is a feat never achieved by the Democratic Labor Party or the Democrats, the only ever minor parties to ever win substantial numbers of Senate seats.

The Democrats achieved their best ever Senate result in 1996, when they won five Senate seats, electing a Senator in all mainland states, but losing to Bob Brown in Tasmania. The Democrats also reached their peak number of senators after the 1998 election, when they elected four senators to join the five elected in 1996, giving them a total of nine. The Greens have now matched that total.

The Greens polled over a quota in both Tasmania and Victoria. In Victoria, the Greens polled just over a quota, but in Tasmania the Greens polled over 20%, and the second Green reaches almost half a quota before being excluded.

In terms of other minor parties, it is less clear. In South Australia, Family First candidate Bob Day trails the Liberal Party by 0.45% at the key exclusion point, and earlier in the night was in a position to win the seat. If Family First can gain ground, they will likely win the final seat on Liberal preferences, but it seems most likely the Liberal Party will win the seat.

In Victoria, Antony Green’s Senate calculator is currently giving the final seat to John Madigan of the Democratic Labor Party. The DLP polled over 2% of the primary vote, and gathers preferences until, at the key point, the DLP overtakes sitting Liberal Senator Julian McGauran and wins the seat on Liberal preferences.

Having said that, at an earlier point, Madigan only outpolls Family First Senator Steve Fielding by 0.07% of the vote, and if Family First was to overtake Madigan at that point, Fielding would likely be re-elected. At the point where Madigan overtakes McGauran, he only does so by 0.66%. It is possible McGauran could win the seat.

In the states of New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, the result was the same: three Coalition, two Labor, and one Green. In Tasmania, the ALP has managed to win three seats, to two for the Liberal Party and one for the Greens. In Victoria, the ALP has gained two seats, the Liberals one, the Nationals one and the Greens one, with the final spot going to the DLP, Family First or the Liberals.

Overall this produces a result of 34-35 Coalition, 31 Labor, 9 Greens, as well as Nick Xenophon and possibly Steve Fielding or the DLP’s John Madigan. Regardless of who wins the final seat, the Greens will have sole balance of power, with Xenophon and any other minor party senators unable to influence legislation.


The State of the House

At the moment, it appears that the Coalition parties have won or are ahead in 73 seats, Labor in 72, Independents in four, and the Greens in one.

It appears that five seats are yet to be decided. In the Hobart seat of Denison, former Greens member and independent candidate Andrew Wilkie can be expected to get a strong preference flow from the Greens and Liberals, but this is still unclear, and Possum believes that he will not be able to win the seat.

In the seats of Corangamite, Lindsay, Brisbane, Boothby and Hasluck, the result will not be known for several days:

  • Corangamite – Western Victorian seat, sitting ALP member Darren Cheeseman is leading by 1189 votes.
  • Lindsay – Western Sydney seat, sitting ALP member David Bradbury is leading by 1017 votes.
  • Brisbane – Inner Brisbane seat, sitting ALP member Arch Bevis is trailing Liberal National candidate Teresa Gambaro by 858 votes.
  • Hasluck – Eastern Perth seat, sitting ALP member Sharryn Jackson is trailing Liberal candidate Ken Wyatt by 363 votes.
  • Boothby- Adelaide seat, sitting Liberal member Andrew Southcott is leading over Labor candidate Annabel Digance by 814 votes.

If all five of these seats go to the Coalition, it will produce a result of 75/70/4/1 in their favour. Alternatively, if all five go to Labor, it will produce a result of 75/70/4/1, or possibly 76/70/3/1 if Andrew Wilkie is defeated in Denison.

So while it is a possibility that either party could win half the seats in the House, there is no possibility of a party winning the 76 which guarantees a majority, short of an extremely good performance by Labor in Brisbane, Hasluck and Boothby, which would be very unlikely.

In two other seats apart from Denison, we’ve seen major parties lose seats to smaller parties:

  • Melbourne – Greens candidate Adam Bandt has won with 36.1% of the primary vote and 55.7% of the two-party preferred vote.
  • O’Connor – This seat has been radically redrawn to cover a massive area in Western Australia. Sitting Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey has been defeated by Nationals candidate Tony Crook. Crook polled 29.7% of the primary vote to Tuckey’s 37.6%, and he won 54.2% of the two-party preferred vote on Labor and Greens preferences.

It’s worth noting that the Western Australian branch of the Nationals currently holds no federal seats, and has a tradition of independence from the Liberal Party. They have previously said that they would not sit in the joint party room, and Crook cannot necessarily be counted as another Coalition seat, even though he is counted amongst the 73 Coalition seats.

The ALP won two seats off the Coalition last night, both in Victoria:

  • La Trobe – Eastern outskirts of Melbourne. Sitting Liberal MP Jason Wood has been defeated by Labor candidate Laura Smyth, who is on 50.8%.
  • McEwen – Northern Victoria. After narrowly losing the seat in 2007, Labor candidate Rob Mitchell has won the seat with 55.3% of the two-party preferred vote.

The Coalition has retained all five seats that were made notionally Labor in the redistribution, namely Gilmore, Macarthur, Dickson, Herbert and Swan.

They also gained nine seats won by the ALP in 2007:

  • Solomon – Darwin. Sitting Labor MP Damian Hale has lost to Country Liberal Party candidate Natasha Griggs, who is on 53.2%.
  • Bennelong – Northwestern Sydney. Sitting Labor MP Maxine McKew has lost to Liberal candidate John Alexander, who is on 53.8%.
  • Macquarie – Outer Western Sydney. This seat was redrawn to include the Hawkesbury area. Sitting Liberal Member for Greenway has gained the seat, defeating Labor candidate Susan Templeman and winning 51.1% of the two-party preferred vote.
  • Bonner – Brisbane. Sitting Labor MP Kerry Rea has lost to Liberal National candidate (and former Member for Bonner) Ross Vasta, with Vasta polling 53.1% of the two-party preferred vote.
  • Dawson – Central Queensland. Labor candidate Mike Brunker defeated by Liberal National candidate George Christensen, who is on 52.2%.
  • Flynn – Central Queensland. Sitting Labor MP Chris Trevor has lost to Liberal National candidate Ken O’Dowd, who is on 53%.
  • Forde – Southern fringe of Brisbane. Sitting Labor MP Brett Raguse has lost to Liberal National candidate Bert Van Manen, who is on 51.6%.
  • Leichhardt – Far North Queensland. Sitting Labor MP Jim Turnour has lost to Liberal National candidate Warren Entsch, who held the seat from 1996 until his retirement in 2007, and is on 54.5%.
  • Longman – Sunshine Coast and Caboolture. Sitting Labor MP Jon Sullivan has lost to 20-year-old Liberal National candidate Wyatt Roy, who is on 52.4%.

Six of these nine seats were in Queensland, along with two in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory.


10 days to go: Senate poll strong for Greens

Roy Morgan has released their first polling of the Senate race, showing a very strong vote for the Greens.

The poll shows the ALP on 40%, the Coalition on 36%, and the Greens on 15.5%. On a state level, the Greens are polling strongly in all states, the best results being 18% in Western Australia and 17% in New South Wales, followed by 16.5% in South Australia, 14% in Victoria and 13% in Queensland, all enough to elect a Senator with a small amount of preferences in Victoria and Queensland.

In Tasmania, the Greens are on 21.5%, easily enough to elect one Senator but not enough to give them a chance of a second. In the ACT, Morgan’s poll has the Greens even with the Liberals on 27%, which would give them the seat on Labor preferences.

Overall, the result would produce a Senate with ten Greens, 33-34 Labor senators, and 31-32 Coalition senators, with Family First’s Steve Fielding losing his seat.

It has been widely argued that it is impossible to do Senate-specific polling. Many make decisions on how they vote based on the House of Representatives, and designs of ballot papers make the decision-making process very different. Having said that, there is still value in examining the effectiveness of this poll.

Despite criticisms in the past, Morgan’s Senate polls in 2007 saw the Greens bounce around between 8.5% and 9.5%, before settling on 9% in October 2007: almost exactly what the Greens polled in the Senate in 2007.

When examining the state breakdowns, they follow a different pattern to recent state breakdowns produced by Nielsen, although the major party votes follow similar patterns.

In terms of the major party vote, the ALP is up in Tasmania, about even in Victoria and South Australia, and down in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

In terms of the Greens vote, recent Nielsen polls have had the Greens polling highest in Victoria and Western Australia. I haven’t noticed a massive difference in the Victorian and New South Wales campaigns from the Greens, although the  Victorian campaign has focused more on the race in Melbourne than the Greens NSW have on Sydney. Even still, the consensus has been that, for a number of reasons, the Victorians are expected to achieve a higher vote. We’ll have to wait and see if the Morgan poll is right, and Lee Rhiannon is going to easily win election.

This poll also predicts the Greens winning the seat currently held by the Liberals in the ACT. The Greens vote level is similar to a poll commissioned by the ACT Greens that put Lin Hatfield-Dodds on 26%.

While overall the figures are extremely positive for the Greens and should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s worth noting that the 15% for the Greens is not that far above the 13% received in this week’s House of Representatives polls. If you assume the Greens will poll slightly higher in the Senate, 15% is not that far off.


12 days to go: former leader edition

Following a few days of campaign cameos by John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Mark Latham, Malcolm Fraser and John Hewson, two new polls today both have the ALP with slim leads.

The Newspoll in the Australian has the ALP back to an election-winning lead with 52% to 48%. The Galaxy Poll in News Limited tabloids has the ALP ahead on 51%. Both polls have the same primary votes of 42% for the Coalition, 38% for Labor and 13% for the Greens.

A Nielsen poll on Saturday had the Coalition ahead on 50.6% of the two-party preferred vote. The Coalition is on 44% primary, with the ALP on 36% and the Greens on 13%.

There is a clear trend in recent polls, with the Greens consistently polling around 13%, and the two-party preferred vote being tightly divided between the two parties.

In terms of the election guide, I have been going through and updating the candidate lists for each seat to the final ballot order, and have done all but a handful of seats (those beginning with ‘T’ and ‘W’).

I’m also going to be appearing on 2SER at 8am today, and for the following two Mondays, to discuss the election campaign.


Seat profile #146: Moore

Moore is a safe Liberal seat in northern Perth. Apart from a period in the 1980s, the seat has been dominated by the Liberal Party. The seat has been held by Mal Washer since 1998.

Moore covers most of Joondalup council area and a small part of Wanneroo council area. It is the northermost seat in the Perth area, along the coast.

Continue reading…


Day 19: Below the line voting insurance

Since the Group Voting Tickets were announced on Sunday, there has been wide-ranging discussions about how people can vote below the line. There has been a campaign for Victorian voters to put Stephen Conroy last, and a group has set up a website that allows voters to produce their own personal how-to-vote card.

One point I thought I should emphasise. If you vote both above and below the line, then the below the line vote will be counted. But if your below the line vote is found to be informal, the above-the-line vote will be counted. So if you are worried about voting informal below the line (quite a high risk in a state like New South Wales, with 84 candidates running), you can vote both above and below the line to give yourself insurance.