Northern Territory Archive

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QLD, TAS & NT federal redistributions – estimates of margins

In recent months, federal redistributions have been completed for Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Queensland, with Queensland’s being finalised on January 5.

As far as I can tell, no-one else has published margin estimates for the five Tasmanian seats and the two NT seats. Antony Green has published his estimates of the Queensland margins here. You’ll see that my estimates don’t diverge by much – by 0.1% per seat on average.

I have recently been calculating my own redistribution margins as part of the process of transferring booths so that I can produce maps for the new boundaries as part of my guides. This time I decided to use a new methodology which should be more reliable and quicker.

The AEC publishes data on how many votes were cast at each polling place (and each method of special vote) from each SA1 – the smallest area used for Census data. The AEC also publishes a list of every SA1 and which electorate it has been moved into (and out of) for each redistribution.

Using these datasets, it’s possible to quickly take the results of each booth, split them up in proportion to how much of that booth’s voters have been redistributed, and calculate new totals.

This is superior to my old methodology, where I would move booths according to which seat they lie in. Unfortunately this did not take account of small shifts where no booth moved, or where a booth was right on the border. I would have to guess how much of the booth’s voters would’ve shifted. The new method uses the actual AEC data. It is also a better solution to moving special votes. I’ve traditionally taken an even proportion of all special votes, even though this includes a bunch of pre-poll booths which are distributed across a seat. In practice these pre-poll booths would likely take more voters from one area than another, so distributing their votes according to the actual homes of the voters is far superior.

As to the results of these redistributions, 12 Queensland electorates experienced no change at all. Not one of the 37 seats has changed party. The biggest change has taken place in Lyons, with the Labor margin strengthened from 2.3% to 3.8%. The second biggest effect was in Blair, where the Labor margin was cut from 8.9% to 8.1%.

The five most marginal seats in these three jurisdictions did not experience any change. There was no boundary change in Flynn, Longman, Forde or Herbert, and the minor change to Capricornia had no impact on the seat’s margin.

The full list of margins are below the fold. I look forward to using this new method to quickly calculate margins for the three remaining redistributions (Victoria, SA and ACT) when the draft boundaries are released in coming months.

Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s going on at the Tally Room

This blog has been pretty quiet since the conclusion of the NSW council elections. I’m working on a few different projects in the background and I just wanted to give a quick update.

Firstly, I’ve been working on a project to collect together all of the results of the NSW council elections to publish in an easy-to-use format for data analysis. This is part of a broader project to publish local and state election results in an easy-to-use format, since so many electoral commissions do not publish results (as well as candidate and booth lists) in accessible formats, unlike the AEC. Unfortunately I’ve hit a wall in scraping the data for the 2016 council elections, although the data for the 2011 and 2012 elections is ready. If you’re an expert on web scraping who can help me with this, drop me a line. Once this is done, I might do some high-level comparisons of the 2012 and 2016 election results.

The ACT election is due this Saturday, and I’ve got guides published for all five electorates which you can read here. I’ve got an article going up at the Guardian today about the election which is also worth a read. Unfortunately I won’t be around to do a liveblog on Saturday night, but I will return to do some overall analysis on the weekend.

Three by-elections are due in New South Wales in November and I’ve published guides for all three seats. This includes a guide to the Wollongong by-election, which was only recently written.

Beyond that, I’ve been making maps for a couple of recent redistributions. The Northern Territory is in the midst of a redistribution, whereby the urban seat of Solomon will lose some areas on the outskirts of Darwin and Palmerston to the seat of Lingiari. This is the first time since the territory was split into two electorates in 2001 that the boundaries will be changed. I’ve completed a map of the new boundaries which you can download from the maps page.

I am currently working on the new draft map for the South Australian state redistribution, and I’ll be publishing that probably next week, and once the draft boundaries are released for the Queensland state redistribution I will also make a map of those boundaries.

Then once all that’s done I plan to get into preparing the guide to the Western Australian state election, for early next year.

So I will pop up from time to time, but mostly I’ll be away in the background for the remainder of this year.

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NT redistribution – boundaries finalised

ntredist

The Northern Territory has been undergoing a redistribution for the 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly, and the final boundaries were released last week.

Quite substantial changes were made compared to the draft boundaries – it was basically an entirely new map. A number of seats that were renamed in the draft were restored to their original name.

Antony Green has calculated the margins for the seats here.

The overall trends were similar, with the creation of the new seat of Spillett straddling Darwin and Palmerston, and the abolition of one of the three seats in Alice Springs.

And you can download the Google Earth map here.

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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.

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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.

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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 placeCLP 2PP %ALP 2PP %Formal% of votes
Moulden Park58.2041.8082320.58
Rosebery63.7536.2572018.00
Woodroffe64.6435.361,31532.88
Other votes64.9435.061,14128.53
Two-party-preferred votes in Blain at the 2012 Northern Territory election.

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

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Anderson to support CLP

Just to follow up on today’s story, Northern Territory Labor defector Alison Anderson has announced she will become an independent and support a new Country Liberal government. This will be the first mid-term change of government, that I can think of, since John Curtin took office during the Second World War. The Assembly will begin sitting next Tuesday, and it appears the CLP will call a vote of no-confidence as soon as possible. They will then have 8 days to present a new government with majority support to the Administrator. I’m not sure of how this plays out constitutionally, but we should see a Country Liberal government by the end of August.

More from Ms Anderson:

The newly independent Member for MacDonnell, Alison Anderson, says next Tuesday’s Parliamentary session will be the greatest day in Northern Territory history.

Ms Anderson was the Territory’s Indigenous policy minister until earlier this week, when she quit in fury over a housing program and a newspaper article she thought was derogatory.