By-election Archive

Jeff McCloy resigns – yet another by-election

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jeff McCloy, resigned his position this morning, after recent ICAC revelations that he had donated money to a number of Hunter-based Liberal MPs despite being a property developer and thus not being permitted to donate money. Two of the beneficiaries of his money have already resigned from Parliament, triggering by-elections in the NSW state seats of Newcastle and Charlestown for October 25.

McCloy’s resignation will trigger yet another by-election for the City of Newcastle.

newcastle2014To give you a sense of the geography, the following map shows the existing NSW state electorates (which will be used for the two state by-elections) with the boundaries of the City of Newcastle overlaid as a green line.

The electorate of Newcastle lies entirely within the City of Newcastle. The electorate of Charlestown is mostly in the neighbouring City of Lake Macquarie, but the suburb of Kotara is contained within the City of Newcastle and the electorate of Charlestown.

In addition, most of the Labor electorate of Wallsend, and parts of the Labor electorate of Cessnock and the Liberal electorate of Port Stephens are contained within the City of Newcastle.

It’s appealing to consider the possibility of rolling together the lord mayoral by-election with the two state by-elections, but it does have the potential to cause confusion.

If that was to happen, some Charlestown voters would be voting for the lord mayor, while most weren’t, and there would be a large number of Newcastle residents voting for a new mayor but not for a local member.

In terms of precedent, I can’t think of a recent example of a directly-elected mayor of a major Australian city resigning mid-term and triggering a by-election during the term.

Frank Sartor resigned as Lord Mayor of Sydney in 2003 when he was elected as a Labor state MP, but Lucy Turnbull filled the role until the coming election after being elected by the council. I’m not sure if that was due to the fact that the by-election would have been held so close to the coming council election. In the case of Newcastle, McCloy has resigned not even halfway through his four-year term.

In terms of scale, the Newcastle lord mayoral by-election is about the same size as a federal by-election. 85,000 formal votes were cast for Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 2012, which is about the same as the number of votes in federal electorates in 2013. For this reason, I’m considering doing a profile for that race, as well as for the two state by-elections. They will be my first priorities once I finish my guide to New Zealand 2014 this week.

Two NSW by-elections after MPs resign over ICAC donations scandal

Voters in two electorates in the Hunter region of New South Wales will be voting in by-elections in coming months, less than a year out from the next New South Wales election.

These by-elections were triggered yesterday by the resignations of Tim Owen, Member for Newcastle, and Andrew Cornwell, Member for Charlestown. Both members recently resigned from the Liberal Party over revelations around the acceptance of donations from property developers, including the now-Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jeff McCloy.

Revelations yesterday around Owen lying to ICAC in recent days regarding whether he had returned a donation from McCloy ended with both MPs resigning from Parliament yesterday.

Newcastle covers the Newcastle city centre and areas around it, and Charlestown lies immediately south, covering parts of the Lake Macquarie area.

Over the next two weeks I will be posting guides to both by-elections. Labor has already preselected candidates for these electorates who are already out campaigning. Both seats were traditional Labor seats that were shock losses at the 2011 election, and it’s hard to see how the Liberal Party could retain the seats at the by-elections, particularly considering the circumstances that caused the by-elections.

Chris Davis resigns from Stafford

Stafford1-2PPLast Friday, embattled former LNP minister Chris Davis resigned his seat of Stafford in the Queensland state parliament.

Davis had served as Assistant Minister for Health for the last two years, but had come into conflict with the Premier and senior ministers over a number of issues, and was sacked as a minister two weeks ago after speaking against government policy.

Last Thursday, Davis voted with Labor, KAP and PUP members of Parliament against the Newman government’s laws demolishing restrictions on donations and election spending in Queensland, and followed that up by resigning from Parliament the following day.

Stafford was won by Davis off the ALP in 2012 with a 14% swing, and he was left with a 7.1% margin. Stafford covers parts of the northern suburbs of Brisbane. After the ALP won the Redcliffe by-election this year, Labor’s candidate Anthony Lynham would have to be favoured to win a Stafford by-election.

While there has been speculation about Campbell Newman not calling a by-election, and leaving the seat vacant for the next nine-ten months until the general election, that would be unprecedented, and it seems most likely that Newman will follow convention and call a by-election.

I’ve prepared a guide to the Stafford by-election, which you can click through at the following link.

Read the guide to the Stafford by-election

Blain by-election results live

8:09 – And that’s it for tonight. Short and sweet election night.

8:07 – One last point to raise before finishing this liveblog. If you assume that the Greens vote mainly flowed to Labor, it seems that roughly half of the AEU candidate’s vote flowed to the CLP, which is worth 4-5% of the total vote. The independent candidate was not friendly to the ALP with his preferences. If all of those votes had flowed to Labor, either as preferences or as primary votes, the ALP would’ve won. Of course we don’t know if those votes would have gone to Labor or CLP in the absence of the independent, or how much the how-to-vote card effected preference flows.

7:44 – Meanwhile, an election ten times the size of Blain is taking place to elect a new mayor of Willoughby in northern Sydney, after the death of the previous mayor. The four leading candidates have all polled primary votes between 16% and 23%.

7:39 – The swing to the ALP ranged from 8.2% in Rosebery to 11.6% in Moulden Park. The ALP won 53.4% in Moulden Park, but lost in the other two booths, with the CLP polling around 55% in both places.

7:34 – Votes from the Darwin pre-poll centre and all three election-day booths have all come in now, with the CLP leading with 53.2% of the vote. It seems very unlikely they could lose from this point.

7:17 – We now know more about those preference flows. At Palmerston pre-poll, 44 preferences flowed to the ALP and 43 preferences flowed to the CLP. Overall this gave the CLP 54.8% after preferences, a swing of 10.5%. This is nowhere near enough to see Blain won by the ALP.

7:13 – Antony Green is saying that if the trend at Palmerston pre-poll is reflected elsewhere, then the CLP will likely hold that seat. It sounds right to me, although we’re yet to see where the AEU candidate’s preferences flow.

7:05 – Bear in mind that there are more candidates running than in 2012. Most of that swing against the CLP didn’t go to the ALP, who only gained a swing of 4%.

7:00 – We’ve got the pre-poll votes from Palmerston, which has seen an 18.5% swing on primary votes from the Country Liberal Party. 9.3% has gone to the AEU’s candidate, who I understand to be preferencing the CLP.

6:05 - Polls have just closed in the by-election for the Northern Territory electorate of Blain, covering southern Palmerston.

Blain is on paper a safe Country Liberal seat, and the CLP needs to retain the seat to continue to hold a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

There are only three polling places plus special votes, so this by-election shouldn’t take too long to count.

In addition to Labor and the Country Liberal Party, other candidates include an independent endorsed by the NT branch of the Australian Education Union, and Greens and Citizens Electoral Council candidates.

Blain by-election – NT majority on the line

One of the smallest Australian elections will be coming up this Saturday, April 12, in the Northern Territory electorate of Blain.

Blain covers the southern suburbs of Palmerston, the major town that lays outside of Darwin. The seat was held since the 1999 by-election by Terry Mills. Mills had served as Country Liberal (CLP) leader from 2003 to 2005, and then again from 2008 until 2012, when he led the CLP back into government.

Mills lost the Chief Minister’s position to Adam Giles in March 2013, and in February 2014 he resigned from the Assembly.

In the last few weeks, the Northern Territory CLP government has suffered a crisis amongst its parliamentary ranks, one that could see the government lose its majority if it loses the Blain by-election.

Last week, three members of the CLP caucus, all indigenous members representing outback electorates, resigned from the CLP as the conclusion of a long-festering internal party conflict. At the 2012 election, a shock result saw Labor’s previously-safe outback seats almost entirely wiped out, while the ALP held on in the Darwin area.

Following the three resignations, the CLP only holds twelve seats in the 25-member Assembly. A win in Blain will protect the government’s majority, whereas a loss will force the CLP to seek an arrangement with independent Gerry Wood to stay in power.

Due to the small size of the electorate, I didn’t produce a full-sized guide to the electorate. At the 2012 election, just under 4000 formal votes were cast in Blain, and Mills won 63.2% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Antony Green recently outlined the history of swings in recent by-elections. While it is possible that Blain could fall to the ALP, it would require a substantial swing that is not unheard of, but is not that common.

Results by polling place

Polling place CLP 2PP % ALP 2PP % Formal % of votes
Moulden Park 58.20 41.80 823 20.58
Rosebery 63.75 36.25 720 18.00
Woodroffe 64.64 35.36 1,315 32.88
Other votes 64.94 35.06 1,141 28.53
Two-party-preferred votes in Blain at the 2012 Northern Territory election.

Two-party-preferred votes in Blain at the 2012 Northern Territory election.

Redcliffe results wrap

Last night’s by-election was a thumping victory for the ALP’s Yvette D’Ath. The result was largely in line with expectations, with the Liberal National government polling much more poorly than they did at the 2012 election, and due to the circumstances of the by-election.

These are the figures at the end of election night, including all ordinary booths and prepoll votes. Most outstanding votes will be postal votes.

At the time of writing, the ALP’s swing of just over 16% was slightly larger than the swing to the LNP in 2012, putting D’Ath’s result about even with the ALP’s result in the seat in 2009.

The result was decisive, but it was hardly a shock result. The result does not necessarily mean that the LNP can’t win the seat in 2015. While governments often reclaim seats they lose at by-elections, Redcliffe is not a blue-ribbon Liberal seat and was held by the ALP prior to the huge landslide in 2012. Having said that, D’Ath’s margin is still quite small after such a large swing, and she will need to strengthen her personal vote to stop any backslide in 2015.

Primary vote results as of 9:34pm – 13/13 booths reporting

Candidate Party Votes % Swing Projected
Andrew Tyrrell Independent 177 0.74 +0.74 0.74
Sally Vincent Family First 586 2.46 -2.07 2.34
Len Thomas Independent 2,513 10.57 +10.57 10.57
John Marshall Greens 950 3.99 -2.73 3.89
Gabriel Buckley Independent 230 0.97 +0.97 0.97
Yvette D’Ath Labor 10,375 43.63 +12.87 43.98
Talosaga McMahonl Independent 317 1.33 +1.33 1.33
Liz Woollard Independent 279 1.17 +1.17 1.17
Kerri-Anne Dooley Liberal National 8,353 35.13 -14.11 35.15
Total formal votes 23,780

Two-party-preferred results as of 9:34pm – 13/13 booths reporting

Candidate Party Votes % Swing Projected
Yvette D’Ath Labor 11,748 56.19 +16.29 56.39
Kerri-Anne Dooley Liberal National 9,161 43.81 -16.29 43.61
Total in count 20,909

There were thirteen booths used on election day.

The ALP won ten of these booths, and the LNP won three. The two-party-preferred vote for the ALP peaked at just under 65% in Kippa-Ring. The LNP won a slim majority in Kippa-Ring North and Scarborough North, and a solid 62.8% majority in Bally Cara.

The ALP gained double-digit swings at all booths, ranging from 11.3% in Bally Cara and Kippa-Ring North to 22.4% at Kippa-Ring.

The outstanding minor candidate was independent Len Thomas, running in opposition to the Newman government’s anti-bikies laws. Thomas polled over 10% of the vote, with his vote peaking at 13.2% in Frawley.

The Greens came fourth, with their vote dipping below 4%.

The following booth breakdown uses the same booth breakdowns used for the pre-by-election guide.

Voter group IND % ALP 2PP % ALP swing Total votes % of ordinary votes
South 10.15 60.23 +18.29 5,636 32.64
Scarborough 12.15 48.10 +14.61 4,065 23.54
Redcliffe 9.67 59.15 +16.51 3,930 22.76
Kippa-Ring 10.26 57.34 +16.45 3,634 21.05

The ALP won solid majorities of 57-60% in three of the four regions. In Scarborough, the LNP held on with a 52% majority, winning two of the three booths in the area. The ALP won the two largest booths in the Scarborough area, but with slim margins.

You can also view maps below, showing the two-party-preferred vote by booth and the vote for independent candidate Len Thomas.

Two-party-preferred votes at the 2014 Redcliffe by-election.

Two-party-preferred votes at the 2014 Redcliffe by-election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Len Thomas at the 2014 Redcliffe by-election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Len Thomas at the 2014 Redcliffe by-election.

Redcliffe by-election live

Labor wins Redcliffe by-election.

Primary vote results as of 9:34pm – 13/13 booths reporting

Candidate Party Votes % Swing Projected
Andrew Tyrrell Independent 177 0.74 +0.74 0.74
Sally Vincent Family First 586 2.46 -2.07 2.34
Len Thomas Independent 2,513 10.57 +10.57 10.57
John Marshall Greens 950 3.99 -2.73 3.89
Gabriel Buckley Independent 230 0.97 +0.97 0.97
Yvette D’Ath Labor 10,375 43.63 +12.87 43.98
Talosaga McMahonl Independent 317 1.33 +1.33 1.33
Liz Woollard Independent 279 1.17 +1.17 1.17
Kerri-Anne Dooley Liberal National 8,353 35.13 -14.11 35.15
Total formal votes 23,780

Two-party-preferred results as of 9:34pm – 13/13 booths reporting

Candidate Party Votes % Swing Projected
Yvette D’Ath Labor 11,748 56.19 +16.29 56.39
Kerri-Anne Dooley Liberal National 9,161 43.81 -16.29 43.61
Total in count 20,909

8:23pm – The final ordinary booth, Scarborough North has finished reporting. My projection has Labor with a swing of over 16%, although I’m expecting Labor’s vote lead to increase with special votes. This is where I’ll leave the results for tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow with maps and a breakdown of the vote.

8:00pm – We now also have most of the 2PP booths reporting, and it seems conceivable that the ALP swing could reach upwards of 17%.

7:58pm – We now have all of the ordinary votes, while we still wait for special votes. The ALP is on track for a swing of 12.8%, with the LNP suffering a 14.7% swing.

7:40pm – We now have five booths after preferences, plus prepoll, and Labor has a solid lead and a massive swing.

7:37pm – A result of over 62% in Bally Cara has pulled down the figures but the booth is very strong for the LNP and the ALP vote will pick up.

7:33pm – With some prepoll 2PP votes now reporting, my model has Labor on a swing of 14.5%.

7:30pm – We’ve finally got the first booth’s two-party-preferred vote in, at Woody Point South. The ALP polled 59.1% after preferences. I estimate the LNP won about 58% in the booth in 2012.

7:12pm – We still have no results after preferences, but the trend is very strong – with seven booths and some prepoll votes in, the ALP has a +11.5% swing, and the LNP is suffering a swing of over 14.5% against them. Len Thomas, an independent, is third with just under 10%, while the Greens vote has shed a third, dropping to 4%.

6:59pm – Another large swing in Frawley, with Labor up 9.5% and the LNP down 18%. Big vote for independent Len Thomas on 12.8%.

6:58pm – The total turnout in Humpybong was 80.5% of that in 2012.

6:54pm – Humpybong had the highest Labor primary vote in the electorate in 2012, with 33.2%, with many others in the low 30s. The ALP vote is now over 44%.

6:52pm – First booth of Humpybong has reported, with a swing of almost 11% to the ALP and over 11% away from the LNP. If that trend continues, the ALP should narrowly win.

6:49pm – Still waiting for the first results. I’ve decided to produce a projection based on my estimate of the two-party-preferred vote at each booth. My figures were out by no more than 0.1% per booth from Antony Green’s, so I feel comfortable using them to give us a rough projection.

6:28pm – It appears that two-party-preferred votes are being published, so I’ll do my best to include them.

6:00pm - Welcome to the live results from the Redcliffe state by-election. There are 12 regular booths in Redcliffe, and we will be covering the results over the next few hours.

Unfortunately the Electoral Commission of Queensland does not usually produce two-party-preferred votes by polling place, so I will have to produce a projection solely based on primary votes, unless something changes tonight.

Redcliffe nominations close: eight candidates running

Redcliffe3-ALPNominations closed yesterday for the state by-election in the Queensland seat of Redcliffe, scheduled for 22 February.

Eight candidates have nominated. The major party candidates are Yvette D’Ath for the ALP and Kerri-Anne Dooley for the Liberal National Party. D’Ath held the federal seat of Petrie from 2007 until last year’s federal election, when she lost her seat to the LNP. Kerri-Anne Dooley ran for Family First in Redcliffe in 2012, coming fifth with 4.5% of the vote.

Six other candidates are running. Two candidates represent the registered Greens and Family First parties, and four others have nominated as independents. One of these candidates is running for Liberal Democratic Party, who are not registered for Queensland state election.

Read the full guide to the Redcliffe by-election.

Eleven candidates: Griffith nominations declared

With nominations declared on Friday, eleven candidates are off and running for the Griffith by-election on 8 February.

The federal seat was vacated by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd following his party’s defeat at the 2013 election.

These eleven candidates include candidates from Labor, the Liberal National Party and the Greens, along with candidates for six other political parties, and two independents.

One surprising nomination comes from comedian Anthony Ackroyd, known for his Kevin Rudd impersonation. Ackroyd is running for the Bullet Train for Australia party.

  1. Timothy Lawrence (Stable Population Party)
  2. Geoff Ebbs (Greens)
  3. Christopher David Williams (Family First)
  4. Karel Boele (Independent)
  5. Anthony Ackroyd (Bullet Train for Australia)
  6. Anne Reid (Secular Party)
  7. Terri Butler (Labor)
  8. Melanie Rose Thomas (Pirate Party)
  9. Travis James Windsor (Independent)
  10. Ray Sawyer (Katter’s Australian Party)
  11. Bill Glasson (Liberal National)

Click through to read the Tally Room guide to the Griffith by-election.

Elections in 2014 – South Australia and beyond

After the Christmas break, the Tally Room is back – and starting the new year by covering the South Australian state election, to be held in March.

I have started work on the Tally Room guide to the SA election, with profiles of sixteen key electorates now posted. Click on the links below to click through to the electorate profiles.

You can also click on the most recent electorate profiles in the box on the right-hand side of the website, as well as going through to the full lists of electorates.

I’ll be featuring one electorate on the front page of the website (as well as on the Tally Room’s Facebook and Twitter channels) starting next Monday.

If you’re interested, please go through and start reading now. The first ten comments have already been posted on various electorate pages.

I will also be covering the Griffith federal by-election, due to be held on February 8, and the Redcliffe state by-election whenever that is held. The conversation will continue on both of those by-election profiles.

The Tasmanian state election is expected to be held at the same time as the South Australian election on March 15, and I will be doing a full guide to that election as well.

We are expecting a statewide Senate by-election in Western Australia later this year, if the Court of Disputed Returns throw out the result of that state’s 2013 half-Senate election.

Also this year we are expecting a general election in New Zealand later this year, a state election in Victoria in November, and elections for two seats in the Tasmanian Legislative Council in May, and I plan to cover all three.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride.