By-election Archive

Charlestown and Newcastle results wrap

Newcastleresults1-ALPYesterday’s twin by-elections in the Hunter region of New South Wales saw Labor regain two seats it had lost at the 2011 election – seats traditionally considered to be heartland Labor territory.

The results were never in significant doubt, but the results in the two seats are quite interesting.

In Newcastle, Labor is expected to win, but currently sits on less than 37%. Most of the remaining vote is split between an independent Liberal and a Greens candidate, and preferences are not expected to flow. On election night, a preference count was conducted between Labor and the Greens, but independent candidate Karen Howard came second, so a new count will need to be undertaken to confirm Labor’s victory.

In Charlestown, immediately south of Newcastle, the Labor result was much clearer. Labor won 49.7% of the primary vote, with the Greens second on 14.1%. After the distribution of preferences, Labor has won 70.4% of the two-candidate-preferred vote, an easy win.

Charlestown was an easy win, but it’s hard to compare that result to a general election due to the absence of a candidate to pick up the Liberal mantle. In Newcastle, Karen Howard appears to have won most of the Liberal vote from 2011, so it is possible to run a comparison. In Newcastle, the Labor vote increased by 6.3%, and the Greens vote increased by 5%. Karen Howard polled 10.4% less than the Liberal Party. If you assume Howard is a stand-in for the Liberal Party, the by-election points to Labor improving its position since the last state election, but not by enough to win the next state election. It should be noted, however, that by-elections are not good measures of statewide performance – last year’s Miranda by-election produced a much more emphatic swing to Labor. Polls suggest that Newcastle was more in line with statewide performance, but a by-election is not the best way to measure that performance.

In this post, I will break up the votes in each electorate into sub-areas, and post a series of maps illustrating the result, all over the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Charlestown and Newcastle – live results

Charlestown – Primary vote results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Luke Arms Independent 4,696 12.25 +12.25
Marc Sky Independent 1,024 2.67 +2.67
Jane Oakley Greens 5,404 14.09 +5.66
Suellen Wrightson Palmer United 2,433 6.35 +6.35
Jodie Harrison Labor 19,045 49.67 +20.76
Luke Cubis Independent 1,333 3.48 +3.48
Arjay Martin Independent 599 1.56 +1.04
Brian Tucker Christian Democratic 1,753 4.57 +2.39
Veronica Hope Independent 2,056 5.36 +5.36

Charlestown – Two-candidate-preferred vote results

Candidate Party Votes %
Jane Oakley Greens 6,887 29.58
Jodie Harrison Labor 16,395 70.42
Total votes in final count 23,282
Exhausted 7,212 30.98

Newcastle – Primary vote results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Steve O’Brien Socialist Alliance 1,054 2.61 +1.02
Tim Crakanthorp Labor 14,895 36.95 +6.33
Michael Osborne Greens 8,005 19.86 +5
Jacqueline Haines Independent 2,917 7.24 +7.24
Jennifer Stefanac Palmer United 1,295 3.21 +3.21
Karen Howard Independent 10,610 26.32 -10.36
Milton Caine Christian Democratic 805 2.00 +0.87
Brian Buckley Clare Independent 731 1.81 +1.81

11:09pm – Just an update – due to the time, I’m going to post a summary of the results tomorrow morning.

10:25pm – The NSWEC is releasing two-candidate-preferred votes between Labor and the Greens in Newcastle, but this will not be the final result as the Greens came third. It is slightly interesting to see (the Greens won a single booth at Newcastle East PS), but it doesn’t reflect the overall result – it seems unlikely we will see a 2CP count between Crakanthorp and Howard tonight. I’m going to finish this blog now, and come back in a little while with maps and overall summaries.

10:22pm – We have now also gained prepoll, postal and iVote ballots for Charlestown, confirming a solid Labor win with a swing of over 20%. Small batches of other votes will continue to be added but most of the vote has been counted, and I have turned off my projections to simply reflect the raw results at this point.

10:18pm – The addition of prepoll, postal and iVote ballots in Newcastle has slightly lowered the projections for Labor and the Greens and increased the projected vote for Karen Howard, but Labor’s Tim Crakanthorp will still win.

9:42pm – And we now also have all primary votes for election-day booths in Newcastle. The ALP is on 37%, Karen Howard is on 26%, and the Greens are on 20%.

9:35pm – We now have all votes from ordinary election-day booths in Charlestown. I’m guessing we will see some special votes counted tonight, but the result is pretty clear now. The ALP has fallen below 50%, but will still win easily. The Greens have come second, with a primary vote just under 15%. After preferences, the ALP wins 70.4% of the two-candidate-preferred. Labor won the 2CP vote in every booth, with the Greens cracking 40% of the vote after preferences in two booths.

9:19pm – Not much to report, beyond adding extra booths. Labor is winning in both seats.

8:23pm – Two more small booths reported in Newcastle – no significant change.

8:16pm – I can’t see how Labor doesn’t win Newcastle. They are now leading on primary votes, but the booths that have been reported so far are less favourable to Labor, so they should increase their lead. Whether the second spot goes to Karen Howard or the Greens’ Michael Osborne, Labor shouldn’t be seriously challenged on preferences.

8:04pm – Results are coming in very fast now, and I’ve just updated my Charlestown numbers. Labor still above 50% on primary votes, with almost half of the booths reporting. Labor on over 77% of the two-candidate-preferred vote off two booths. We have no comparison for a Labor-Greens 2CP in Charlestown so I don’t have any swing or projection.

7:51pm – We now have eight booths reporting from Newcastle, and the story is not as clear as in Charlestown. Labor is just under 33%, with Howard on 30% and the Greens on 21%. I expect Labor’s vote to increase to about 38% and Howard’s to fall to 25%, so Labor should easily win with Greens preferences. It’s not entirely out of the question that the Greens could come in the top two, so don’t expect two-candidate-preferred votes for a little while, but Labor should win.

7:48pm – We’ve just had a surge of polling places reporting in Charlestown (seven so far) and Labor is now over 52% of the primary vote. I project this to drop to about 51.6% but still it’s an easy win for Labor in Charlestown.

7:38pm – I’ve added a results table for Charlestown at the bottom of the post, but bear in mind that the projections are completely disconnected from reality until we get booth results for somewhere that was used in 2011. Newcastle will be available shortly.

7:26pm – Still no more substantial results from Charlestown.

7:23pm – We now have a second booth for Newcastle, which is Merewether Heights, and again Karen Howard has topped the poll, with 41.5% of the vote. If you compare her vote to the 2011 Liberal vote, this is a swing of 16.3% against her, but very impressive for an independent. Labor is second on 22.9% (+6.9%) and the Greens third on 17.3% (+6.8%).

7:09pm – First booth for Newcastle is also New Lambton South, and the primary vote was won by conservative independent Karen Howard, with 37.7%. Labor is second on 32.9% and the Greens third on 16.2%. In comparison, the Liberal Party won 47% of the primary vote there in 2011, compared to 21.6% for the ALP and 14.6% for the Greens.

6:54pm – Another small booth in Charlestown at the northern end not used last time – New Lambton South PS. Labor on 35.9%, Greens 25.1%

6:34pm – Hamilton South was not used in Charlestown in 2011, so no swing available.

6:30pm – First booth in Charlestown is very small – Hamilton South Public, at the northern end of the seat. Labor on 44.3%, Greens second on 18% followed by independent Hope third on 11.5%. Still working on my spreadsheet so will come back with more data shortly. Only 67 votes cast at that booth.

6:00pm – Welcome to live coverage of the results of the NSW state by-elections in Charlestown and Newcastle. We should start to get results shortly before 7pm.

Vasse 2014 – results and maps

Last night’s Vasse state by-election in Western Australia was narrowly won by the Liberal Party, after a large surge in support for the Nationals. In 2013, the ALP came second and the Liberal Party easily won with 71.2% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Labor did not run in yesterday’s by-election, and most of Labor’s vote flowed to the Greens, who came close to doubling their vote.

2014 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Libby Mettam Liberal 8,665 44.4 -12.9
Peter Gordon Nationals 5,573 28.5 +21.2
Michael Baldock Greens 3,496 17.9 +7.9
Peter Johnson Independent 853 4.4 +4.4
Wayne Barnett Australian Christians 680 3.5 +3.5
Teresa Van Lieshout Independent 265 1.4 +1.4
Labor 0 0.0 -12.4
Independent 0 0.0 -11.0
Family First 0 0.0 -2.0

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Libby Mettam Liberal 10,435 53.4
Peter Gordon Nationals 9,088 46.6

Most of the vote was won by Liberal, Nationals and Greens, and the patterns of this vote is quite interesting, including the pattern of swings.

A majority of the vote in the electorate lies in the town of Busselton. The remaining rural booths were split between those in the Busselton council area (as “North”) and those in the Augusta-Margaret River council area (as “South”). I have split the booths into the same areas as I used for the by-election guide.

Interestingly, the Nationals vote was highest in Busselton, with 32.7%. The Greens outpolled the Nationals in rural booths overall, and outpolled the Nationals at six out of nine booths outside of the Busselton urban area.

The Liberal Party’s primary vote was highest with 45% in northern rural booths, with 40% in Busselton and 39.4% in the two booths in Augusta-Margaret River.

The Greens vote was highest in the two small booths at the southern end of the electorate, and then in the rural booths to the west of Busselton. There are six polling places in rural parts of Vasse where the Greens polled over 20%, but there are also two booths to the south-east of Busselton where the Greens polled less than 10%. The Greens vote in Busselton was 15.3%, and most booths were close to the average.

Looking at the Liberal/National two-candidate-preferred vote, the Liberal Party won the two-candidate-preferred vote in the northern and rural booths. They won seven out of nine booths outside of Busselton.

In Busselton, the Nationals won 51% of the two-candidate-preferred vote. The Nationals won the two larger booths, with the Liberal Party winning the two smaller booths. The Nationals margin of victory was larger in the booths where they won than in the Liberal booths, giving them a majority of the vote.

It’s also worth examining the swing against the Liberal Party on primary votes. The swing against the Liberal Party was much higher in Busselton and a number of booths to the south-east of Busselton.

Voter group GRN % NAT % LIB % LIB 2PP LIB swing Total votes % of votes
Busselton 15.32 32.68 39.96 49.01 -19.41 6952 46.65
North 23.39 23.37 44.90 55.18 -11.18 5399 36.23
South 29.63 26.07 39.38 50.14 -6.16 1097 7.36
Other votes 15.28 21.47 55.88 63.50 -1.90 1453 9.75
Two-candidate-preferred votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Two-candidate-preferred votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Liberal primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Liberal primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Nationals primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Nationals primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Greens primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Greens primary votes at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Liberal primary vote swings at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Liberal primary vote swings at the 2014 Vasse by-election.

Vasse and Casuarina – belated results

Apologies for my absence tonight, I was busy and unable to cover the results in the two by-elections held today: Casuarina in the Northern Territory, and Vasse in Western Australia.

Polls closed just over two hours ago in Vasse, and it appears that the Liberal Party has narrowly held on against the Nationals after significant swings away from the Liberal Party.

We have all primary and two-candidate-preferred votes in, except for those cast early in person.

The Liberal Party is sitting on 52.7% of the two-candidate-preferred vote, up against the Nationals. For most of the count, we had no 2CP figures due to the Nationals and the Greens both in with a chance of coming second, but most of the 2CP vote came in a short time ago after it became clear that the Nationals had outpolled the Greens. In 2013, the Liberal Party won 71.2% of the two-party-preferred vote against Labor.

The Liberal Party has suffered a swing of 14% on primary votes, dropping from 57.3% to 43.3%. The Nationals vote increased from 7.3% to 27.7%. The Greens vote also increased from 10% to 19.3%. Labor did not run in the by-election, and an independent who polled 11% in 2013 also did not run, freeing up over 20% of the vote to be picked up by other candidates.

Swings against the Liberal Party by booth varied wildly. The Liberal Party vote increased by 9% at Rosa Brook, and otherwise the swing against the Liberal Party ranged from 1.4% in Dunsborough to 26.5% in Yoongarillup.

I’ll return tomorrow morning with booth maps showing the results of the Vasse by-election.

In the NT Legislative Assembly electorate of Casuarina, the ALP suffered a swing but held on. Northern Territory seats are very small, and the results in Casuarina were only broken down into two polling places, as well as prepoll and postal votes. The Country Liberal Party narrowly won the postal votes (by two votes) and the prepoll votes (by three votes). Labor won 55% in Nakara and 56.9% in Tiwi, for an overall Labor margin of 55.1%. This is a swing of 4.2% to the Country Liberal Party. I probably won’t return to any more coverage of Casuarina.

Guide to Vasse by-election posted

Vasse1-2PPVoters in the WA town of Busselton and surrounding areas will be going to the polls later this year in a by-election for the state electorate of Vasse, after the resignation earlier this week of former Liberal leader and Treasurer Troy Buswell.

Buswell resigned as Treasurer in March after a recent mental health breakdown, and revealed that he was living with bipolar disorder.

Vasse is a very safe Liberal seat and should be safely retained by the Liberal Party. A date has not been set yet, but the by-election should take place later this year, with a WA state election not due until March 2017.

You can now read the guide to the by-election, including 2013 election results and maps of the electorate.

Read more

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.