By-election Archive


Podcast #8 – Wagga Wagga results and Banks

I’m joined by Ben Spies-Butcher and Amanda McCormack to discuss the Wagga Wagga by-election, the state of NSW politics six months before the state election, and the federal seat of Banks.

We also discussed Ann Sudmalis’ retirement announcement and Kerryn Phelps’ candidacy announcement.

Links to things discussed in the show:

You can subscribe 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.


Wagga Wagga – results wash-up

Last night’s result was extremely bad for the Liberal Party. We won’t know who has won for sure for a few days or even a week, but it looks most likely that independent candidate Joe McGirr has won, and Labor probably has the next best shot at winning.

I’ve got a piece going up in the Guardian today analysing the broader significance of the result, but I’d just quickly note that this result follows up on large double-digit swings from the Nationals to the Shooters at by-elections in Orange, Cootamundra and Murray, which saw one of those seats fall. We have to assume that the coalition is on track for a big thumping in its rural heartland in March.

In this post I want to cover what the voting patterns were (including a map and a booth breakdown) and then how the preferences could shake out.

Read the rest of this entry »


Wagga Wagga by-election live

Primary votes

Seb McDonagh (SFF)445610.010.0
Julia Ham (LIB)1120725.1-28.5
Joe McGirr (IND)1145025.625.6
Ray Goodlass (GRN)12852.9-1.8
Tom Arentz (CDP)8531.9-0.4
Paul Funnell (IND)483410.80.9
Dan Hayes (ALP)1064223.8-4.7

Two-party-preferred votes

Julia Ham (LIB)1118547.7-14.8
Dan Hayes (ALP)1227052.314.8

12:11 – Okay, not long ago we got the primary votes for the Wagga Wagga pre-poll centre. Following this point the NSWEC took down the two-party-preferred count, presumably because they’ll be running a Liberal vs McGirr 2CP count. While there is no guarantee that Labor couldn’t jump from third into second on minor candidate preferences, that 2CP count would give us a good sense of who will win. It seems likely McGirr will win that count.

That’s it for tonight, I’ll return tomorrow with some maps and analysis.

11:00 – If you found this work useful, please consider signing up as a donor on Patreon. It helps fund the work I do on this website as well as the podcast, which will cover this result in our next episode.

10:21 – We’re just waiting for one more booth tonight – Antony Green estimates there’s 12,000 votes at the Wagga pre-poll centre, and we should see these votes tonight. They’ll give us a much better idea of the result.

9:09 – We now have 2748 pre-poll votes reported for both primary and two-party-preferred votes. I expect more pre-poll votes, whereas my projection model compares these votes to the total pre-poll vote from 2015, so I’ve turned off the projections. The pre-poll swings so far have been slightly less bad for the Liberal Party than the election-day votes.

8:52 – We now have all ordinary election-day primary votes and are close to having two-party-preferred votes from all of the same booths (just two outstanding). Labor has taken a small but clear lead on the two-party-preferred vote, but that doesn’t tell us anything about how preferences would flow in a McGirr vs Liberal or McGirr vs Labor count.

8:41 – Labor has now taken a narrow lead on the 2PP count, but McGirr remains the favourite to win. Let’s wait for the pre-poll and iVotes before making any further conclusions about McGirr’s chances.

8:25 – If Labor were to come third and the final count was a Liberal vs McGirr race, it’s hard to see McGirr losing. He will be attracting Labor, Greens, Shooters and Funnell preferences, with only the CDP (on 1.9%) favouring the Liberal candidate.

8:11 – The two-party-preferred count remains close with the Liberal Party leading, but it seems pointless since McGirr seems set to make the top two.

7:58 – Nick Casmirri has pointed me to the ABC Elections website which includes the how-to-votes. Independent Paul Funnell has directed preferences to Joe McGirr. The Shooters have directed preferences to Labor, then McGirr, with the Liberal Party last. This would suggest that the Liberals are likely to stay in third place with most preferences splitting between Labor and McGirr, and then Liberal preferences will decide the outcome. The Liberal how-to-vote advises a ‘just vote 1’, but you’d assume they would favour McGirr, who has to be considered the favourite now.

7:53 – And the Liberals have now fallen into third. If the Liberals stay in third, I would presume that McGirr would do better than Labor from Shooters/Liberal preferences, but it won’t get resolved tonight.

7:47 – Alright we now have a lot more of the vote, including a lot of votes from urban Wagga Wagga, and the Liberal Party is in serious danger of falling into third place. The anti-Liberal primary vote swing is now over 30%, while the swing to Labor on the 2PP vote is up to 12.1%, which is almost enough for Labor to win. It appears that urban Wagga Wagga has swung particularly severely against the Liberal Party, with only 21% of the vote in these booths so far.

7:21 – We now have a lot more votes, and it’s clear that the Liberal Party will poll under 30%, and quite possibly falling behind McGirr on the primary vote. We have five booths reporting 2PP figures, and Labor is managing a swing of only 8% which isn’t close to enough to win, so it seems like the Liberal Party will face more danger if McGirr can make it to the top two.

7:04 – I’ll be away for a minute, but we’ve just got our third 3PP booth, suggesting that Labor isn’t doing well enough to win if they end up facing off against the Liberals, but the primary vote swing against the Liberals remains around 28.7%, which is brutal. We still have nothing at all from urban Wagga Wagga.

7:00 – You think you’ve seen the worst anti-Liberal swings and then your expectations are exceeded. There’s a 36% primary vote swing against the Liberal Party at Lockhart Central. We still have no results from urban Wagga.

6:58 – The Liberal primary vote is looking a bit better after Pleasant Hills and Collingullie, where they only suffered swings around 21%, so they are currently projected to top the primary vote, but not much ahead of Labor or McGirr.

6:55 – Pleasant Hills looked better for the Liberal Party on the 2PP, which has pushed the 2PP swing to Labor under 10%. Again, samples are too small.

6:52 – 21% swing against the Liberal Party at Pleasant Hills, which is their best result so far. Worth noting that we have no results from the Wagga Wagga urban area yet.

6:48 – Booth #3 is Uranquinty. The Liberal primary vote dropped from 53.3% to 20.6% – a swing of over 30%. Joe McGirr polled almost 30%.

6:46 – We now have a two-party-preferred count from Talbingo and Labor has won the booth narrowly – 50 votes to 48, with 22 votes exhausting. This translates into a 15% swing, which would translate into a Labor win if this applied to the whole electorate (which you shouldn’t do). Of course we don’t know who will make the top two – if McGirr comes in the top two the 2PP count won’t matter.

6:40 – The second booth – another small one – is Yerong Creek. We’ve seen another swing of over 28%, with McGirr polling 26.5%. Far too early to say whether McGirr or Labor’s Hayes is a contender but the Liberals are doing very poorly. These two booths are both relatively good booths for the Liberal Party so the projected result pushes down the Liberal vote and lifts the Labor vote.

6:30 – We have one small booth (Talbingo) where there was a 28% swing against the Liberal candidate.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in the Wagga Wagga by-election. I’ll be updating this occasionally through the night.


Darling Range – results wrap

Yesterday’s by-election in the Perth seat of Darling Range was undoubtedly a disappointment for Labor, with a swing of 9% after preferences, producing a reasonably comfortable victory for Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden.

A Reachtel poll last week predicted a 54-46 result in favour of Labor, which was out by about 7%. While it’s just one poll, it’s more evidence that we don’t really have the ability to do good accurate polls in Australia (at least for the budgets available to media organisations).

In one way the result wasn’t that surprising. Labor’s sitting MP was forced out in absurd embarrassing circumstances, and then the party had to change candidates shortly before the election. But on the other hand Labor is a new state government performing reasonably well, and statewide polling suggests the party is on the up at a state and federal level. These strong fundamentals made it plausible that the party could have withstood its local problems and held on.

I don’t think we can say anything more generally about the state of Labor in Western Australia based on this one by-election. The circumstances were too strange.

I’ve analysed the results at the booth level (thanks to William Bowe for tracking them down – they’re not yet available on the WAEC website).

Firstly, this booth breakdown divides the booths in the same way I did for the pre-election guide. The ‘central’ area mostly aligns with Armadale council area while the ‘south’ mostly aligns with Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

The Liberal Party did much better in the north and south than they did in the centre. Labor’s vote held up better in Armadale, just barely losing. Labor also won close to half of the pre-poll.

The sparsely-populated north was already favourable to the Liberal Party in 2017, so it’s unsurprising that the swing was smaller there. The south had the biggest swings to the Liberals, which explains the divergence in the vote between the centre and the south.

Booth breakdown

Voter groupLIB 2PP %LIB 2PP swingTotal votes% of votes
Other votes58.1+13.92,0528.6

Below the fold I have posted a map showing the two-party-preferred vote per booth. You can toggle this map off and instead show the swing map. Labor only gained a swing towards them in one booth, increasing their vote by 2.8% at Kelmscott Primary School. I think this is probably explained by the closure of the neighbouring Clifton Hills Primary School booth after a garbage truck crashed into the school on Thursday. Clifton Hills Primary was much more pro-Labor than Kelmscott Primary in 2017.

Read the rest of this entry »


Darling Range by-election live

Primary votes – 18/20 booths reporting

Russell Goodrick (WAP)13895.85.8
Anthony Pyle (GRN)13965.8-1.9
Jehni Thomas-Wurth (AJP)7883.33.3
Alyssa Hayden (LIB)823434.44.0
John Watt (FF)1020.40.4
Rod Caddies (ON)18677.8-0.9
Tania Lawrence (ALP)769032.1-9.4
Eric Eikelboom (CHR)11284.70.3
Stuart Ostle (SFF)10814.50.3
Doug Shaw (IND)1400.60.6
George O’Byrne (IND)1310.50.5

Two-party-preferred votes – 18/20 booths reporting

Alyssa Hayden (LIB)1275053.39.1
Tania Lawrence (ALP)1116946.7-9.1

Sunday, 8:43am – We saw another batch of pre-poll votes after I went to bed last night which brought the latest margin down to 53.3%. I’ll be back later this morning with deeper analysis.

8:51 – Okay I’m going to end the liveblog now. We haven’t received any more primary votes but it looks like most two-party-preferred votes have been counted, and Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden is sitting on slightly less than 54% of the 2PP vote. She should win comfortably. This is about 8% better than the Reachtel poll predicted, and a swing of almost 10% compared to last year’s election. I’ll hopefully return with a map tomorrow if we have 2PP figures by booth, and possibly provide some more analysis on the result (which we’ll also discuss in this week’s podcast). If you’ve found my analysis of this by-election useful, tonight and over the last few weeks, maybe you could consider signing up as a donor via Patreon?

8:03 – We now have every election-day booth, as well as sizeable numbers of pre-poll and postal votes. I can’t imagine there’s many primary votes left to count. On the 2PP count, we have about 10,000 formal votes (about half of the primary vote count) and the Liberal Party’s Alyssa Hayden is still over 57%. I still don’t have any booth data for the 2PP count so I think I’ll probably call it a night soon and come back tomorrow to do a map once this data is available.

7:54 – Judging by Antony’s list of booths reporting 2PP figures, I reckon there could be a difference of about 2% in the swing between the booths reporting so far and those to come. But the Liberal Party is on 58.7%, so this would still represent a swing of about 12%.

7:51 – We are now just waiting for one ordinary booth on the primary vote, plus two types of special votes, and the swing against Labor has dropped back a bit. So we probably should also expect the 2PP swing to drop back, but it’s hard to see the Liberal Party losing at this point. I would probably call the seat if I could conduct my booth comparison, but alas.

7:41 – It’s worth noting that Reachtel’s recent poll put Labor on 54% after preferences in Darling Range. On current numbers this was off by about 12-13%.

7:32 – I don’t have a two-party-preferred count by booth, so I can’t run my model, but we have a seat-wide total which is about 1/3 of the primary vote total so far and it has Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden on 58% after preferences.

7:18 – The swing against Labor isn’t too harsh in Mundaring but is over 15% in Oakford. Interesting that we haven’t seen a two-party-preferred count yet but it’s worth noting that the Shooters, Christians and One Nation are on over 18% between them, compared to 8.5% for clearly centre-left minor parties. So Labor can’t rely on preferences to overcome a primary vote deficit.

7:09 – We have three more booths and the trend is similar. Labor suffered a 19.7% swing at Marri Grove, although they barely lost ground at Pickering Brook.

7:04 – The latest booth is Serpentile Jarrahdale Community Recreation Centre, and Labor has suffered a whopping 18.7% swing on primary votes there. If the current trend continues, it’s hard to see Labor winning.

6:51 – We’ve just received two more booths. Labor has suffered swings of 8.2% and 11.7% at Armadale Primary School and Bruno Gianetti Hall respectively. The Liberal Party also lost ground, suffering swings of about 1% in each booth. Overall Labor is currently projected to suffer a swing of just over 8%, but the Liberal Party is also expected to suffer a swing.

6:45 – By the way, for the booth matching I’m not currently including last election’s pre-poll votes.

6:44 – Okay we now have the results from Karragulleen District Hall which produced a swing of 3.3% to the Liberal Party, a 7.2% swing against Labor, a 2% swing against the Greens and a 2.4% swing against One Nation. Definitely suggests the Liberals will recover some ground, but not clear if it’s enough to win.

6:31 – We have 66 formal votes reporting from one small pre-poll booth. I won’t update my table yet because the inclusion of these votes will trigger the booth-matching against the entire pre-poll vote. The Liberal Party is on 42.4% in this small batch, with Labor on 28.8% and the Greens on 13.6%.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in the state by-election in the Western Australian seat of Darling Range. I expect we’ll start to see results in about half an hour. I’ll be running a booth-matching model tonight. For now the results tables are at the bottom but I’ll move them to the top once there is something useful within. In the meantime, why not take a read of my guide to this by-election?


Five (5!) federal by-elections on their way with latest s44 blow

The High Court this morning ruled that Senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible to sit in the Senate, making her the 13th federal politician to be undone by section 44 of the constitution in this current parliamentary term. The Court clarified that, while there is room for a person with dual citizenship to be eligible to sit in the parliament if they have taken ‘reasonable steps’, that is only excusable if it is not possible for them to renounce their citizenship. And delays are not enough to invoke that exception.

So Gallagher is out, because her British citizenship was not renounced in time. It also meant that it was no longer tenable for four lower house MPs to stay in parliament.

Labor MPs Justine Keay, Susan Lamb and Josh Wilson, along with Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie, all resigned from parliament this afternoon, triggering by-elections in four different states. This is in addition to the Perth by-election, called following Labor MP Tim Hammond’s retirement last week. Presumably all five will be held on the same date.

Four of these five seats are held by Labor. It will be up to the government as to which seats they contest. Presumably they will contest some and avoid others. The Greens may also have ambitions in Perth or Fremantle, but both are probably out of reach.

I’ve now posted the seat guides for all five races. In Braddon, Longman and Perth, where I had already posted guides for the general election, those pages have now become by-election guides, including all of the pre-existing comments. The comments are now open:

This will be a busy period, just when we were expecting some quiet time before three big elections coming up at the end of this year and early next year, so if you’d like to support this website’s work please consider signing up as a patron.


Darling Range by-election coming up

I discovered last night that a by-election is pending for the WA state seat of Darling Range.

Labor candidate Barry Urban won the seat in 2017 with a massive 18.9% swing. He subsequently quit the party after he was exposed wearing a medal (for police service overseas) which he had not been awarded. He is expected to resign from parliament as early as today.

Read the guide

The guide is now up, and I’ll update it with candidate information when that comes. Remarkably, it appears that Labor, despite holding the seat, plans to abandon the seat to the Liberal Party.

If you wish to comment, please do so on the guide, where the conversation has already started.


Tim Hammond resigns, triggering by-election in Perth

We are inching ever closer to a potential federal election, but some news today means we will soon have a federal by-election, in a seat no-one expected.

First-term Labor MP Tim Hammond, who represents the federal seat of Perth, announced he would retire less than two years after winning the seat, apparently for family reasons.

The earliest possible by-election date would be in June 2018.

I’ve conveniently already published my guide to the federal seat of Perth for the general election. So that guide has now been redirected to be the guide to the by-election. A new guide, adding in the results of the by-election, will become the Perth guide for the general election at a later date.

Hammond held Perth by a 3.3% margin at the 2016 election. His predecessor, Alannah MacTiernan, had served one term in parliament, succeeding former senior minister Stephen Smith in 2013.

It’s likely that Labor would win such a by-election, but it would be silly to rule out the possibility of Labor losing to a strong Liberal candidate.

Read the guide to the Perth by-election


Batman by-election – read the guide

Federal Labor MP David Feeney has just announced that he will be resigning from his seat of Batman after failing to prove that he had renounced his British citizenship, and won’t be contesting the subsequent by-election.

It is expected that the race will be between five-time Greens candidate Alex Bhathal and ACTU president Ged Kearney.

You can read the Tally Room guide to this by-election here.


Northcote by-election results live

10:25pm – As my last contribution for tonight, here is a map of the booth results and the Greens swing (which can be toggled).

8:23pm – I’m gonna turn off for a little while and will come back once most of the votes have reported.

8:22pm – With seven booths reporting preferences, the Greens have won six. Labor held on with 53.3% in Darebin Parklands, but that was a swing of almost 21.8%.

8:20pm – Six booths have reported preferences. The Greens are on 55.3%, but are projected to increase that to 60.7% as the remaining booths come in.

8:18pm – Just back from dinner now. 10 out of 14 booths have reported the primary vote. The Greens polled 48.3% of the primary vote so far, and my model suggests it will creep up to about 49.3%.

7:49pm – Four 2CP booths have reported, and the Greens are on 56% of the vote after preferences. This is a swing of 17.8% in these four booths, and you’d expect that Greens vote to grow as bigger booths report.

7:47pm – We’ve now got six votes reporting primary votes, and the swing to the Greens remains above 14%, which would put them on track to win a majority of the primary vote.

7:43pm – 14% primary vote swing to the Greens in Preston South. It’s worth noting the best Greens areas have not yet reported – it’s possible they will not gain as large swings there.

7:39pm – 21.5% swing to the Greens after preferences at Alphington North.

7:33pm – We now have preferences from Alphington and Darebin Parklands and the swings are just as big. A 14.7% swing in Alphington and a 21.8% swing in Darebin Parklands. Between these two booths it’s a swing of 16.8%, which would project to a Greens 2CP just over 60%.

7:29pm – Another big swing to the Greens of almost 15% in Alphington. Overall swing to the Greens is sitting on 14.8% after four booths.

7:23pm – Alphington, in the south-east, saw another double-digit swing to the Greens. The Greens gained 10.7% for a total of 43.6%, while Labor dropped 5.3%.

7:22pm – Off two booths, the Greens are up 15.25%, and Labor is down 9.6%. It’s worth noting both booths are in the north of the seat, which is one of the more pro-Labor areas. It suggests the Greens are making inroads in Labor’s better areas.

7:21pm – The second booth, Bell, is substantially bigger than Darebin Parklands, and has a similar pattern. 13.6% swing to the Greens, 7.8% swing away from Labor.

7:13pm – If this swing played out across the seat, the Greens would end with about 51% of the primary vote. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Greens only polled 33% in this booth, but it was a poor booth in 2014. It’s possible they are picking up ground in their worst booths but not gaining as much overall.

7:09pm – First booth in is Darebin Parklands, and we’ve seen a 15% swing to the Greens on primary vote and an 11.3% swing away from Labor.

6:40pm – Polls closed 40 minutes ago in the Northcote by-election. I’ll be analysing the results here as they come in over the coming hours.