Victoria Archive

Victorian local government election review – the rest of the story

Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about the Independent Local Government Electoral Review Panel in Victoria, chaired by former federal Liberal MP Petro Georgiou. In particular I focused on recommendations to modify the local government franchise, by extending the right to vote to all permanent residents (ie. non-citizens) living in the local government area, removing the second vote for businesses in the City of Melbourne, and generally simplifying and clarifying the process for non-residents to gain the right to vote in all council elections.

The review’s reports, however, covered much more than the franchise, so I thought I would return to the topic and summarise some of the most interesting recommendations, below the fold.

There are two reports – stage 1 and stage 2. I have listed the recommendation number for those recommendations I have discussed.

Read the rest of this entry »

City of Melbourne to end double votes for business?

While the NSW Governments and the Shooters and Fishers push ahead with legislation to institute the “Melbourne model” of two votes for each business and corporation paying rates and owning property in the city, an independent review of Victorian local government has recommended an end to the very same practice.

The independent Local Government Electoral Review Panel, chaired by former federal MP Petro Georgiou, has released two lengthy reports after a year of consultations and discussion papers. The panel’s two reports cover a wide variety of issues, and I will return at a later date to consider the report in full, but the report is particularly interesting in recommending significant changes to voting rights for local council elections.

The report is recommending that all permanent residents be given the right to vote in the local council where they live, even if they are not a citizen, and is recommending a significant simplification of the process by which non-residents gain the right to vote.

The report points out that the current process of enrolment fails tests for equity and transparency, for example:

The right to vote can be transferred from one party to another. Under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1989, other than those commercial tenants who are on the council’s rate records, if a commercial tenant wants to apply to vote as a ratepayer, they need the landlord’s consent. The
landlord can then choose whether or not to transfer their vote to a tenant. This is inequitable and anachronistic.

The potential for chaos has also been exposed under the proposed bill for the City of Sydney, as revealed by Sean Nicholls in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday:

The information provided was it would mean any landholder who pays rates in the City of Sydney will get a maximum of two votes, regardless of the number of businesses operating in the building they own.

Those businesses would not be entitled to vote unless the ratepayer nominates them as one of the two eligible voters.

Currently all business owners who pay more than $5,000 a year in rent have the right to vote but are not automatically enrolled.

As a result, thousands of business owners who meet the rent threshold and are eligible to vote would lose the right under Mr Borsak’s bill.

Giving certain individuals or corporations the power to choose which of their tenants is given the right to vote opens the process up for further abuse.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Currently the City of Melbourne is the only council in Victoria where businesses are given two votes, but the process is needlessly complicated across the state, as seen in this diagram produced by the Review’s secretariat (right).

The Review’s report has significant implications for the political debate in New South Wales around voting rights for the City of Sydney.

The fact that a committee led by a former Liberal MP, and appointed by a Liberal state government, is so sceptical of double voting for businesses should demonstrate the folly of extending the experiment to NSW.

If these reforms are implemented, the business vote will be significantly reduced in City of Melbourne elections. At the moment, non-resident voters make up almost 60% of the electoral roll for the City of Melbourne.

In addition, the enfranchisement of permanent residents in council elections would be a significant step forward, and I think a positive step towards voting rights being extended to all those who a permanent members of a community, not just those who have achieved citizenship.

Victorian redistribution draft boundaries map finished

Following on from the completion of the NSW draft boundaries map a fortnight ago, I have now finished the Google Earth maps of the new draft boundaries for the Victorian state redistribution.

Electoral maps have been posted for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. I’ve also updated the time-series map, which can be toggled to show the results for the 2002, 2006 and 2010 elections, to include the 2014 draft boundaries.

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The draft boundaries have seen significant changes to electoral boundaries in northern and western Victoria. One seat was abolished in Eastern Metropolitan, with a second seat north of the river (Ivanhoe) shifted into the East Metro upper house region.

A seat was also abolished in Northern Victoria, with Yan Yean shifted from North Metro upper house region to make up for the abolition.

Two Western Metropolitan region seats were transferred into Northern Metropolitan region, with two new electorates created to make up the difference.

Numerous other seats were renamed or redrawn in different ways, but the two seats created in the west of the city, and the two seats abolished in the east of the city and in the north of the state, were the major shifts.

When you look at the statistics, it appears the Electoral Boundaries Commission has erred on the side of making less changes.

Region 2013 quotas 2018 quotas
Eastern Metropolitan 11.0641 10.6346
Eastern Victoria 11.0950 11.2220
Northern Metropolitan 10.8402 11.3532
Northern Victoria 11.0579 11.1974
South-Eastern Metropolitan 10.9054 10.6503
Southern Metropolitan 10.7620 10.3533
Western Metropolitan 11.1873 11.4729
Western Victoria 11.0881 11.1164

The Southern Metro and South East Metro regions have been drawn with substantially less than 11 quotas, despite a projected decline up to the 2018 election. Southern Metro in particular has been drawn with 10.76 quotas in 2013, and projected to cover only 10.35 quotas in 2018.

The Eastern and South Eastern regions are also projected to be more than one third of a quota short of eleven full quotas by 2018. Adding up these three regions on the south side of the river, and you are 1.36 quotas short of the full 33 quotas in 2018.

Meanwhile, Eastern Victoria, Northern Victoria, Western Victoria and Western Metro have been drawn with more than 11 quotas despite projected growth over the next five years. These four regions are already 0.43 quotas over the average, and this is projected to increase to over a full quota by 2018.

The Commissioners have sensibly drawn North Metro with less than a full 11 quotas. North Metro is projected to grow by over 40% of a quota by 2018.

Overall, the Victorian Commissioners have gone for an opposite approach to the NSW Commissioners – minimising changes at the cost of likely creating substantial variations from the average by the 2018 election.

NSW and Victorian redistribution updates

Last Thursday, the Victorian Electoral Boundaries Commission released the draft boundaries for the Victorian state redistribution. These boundaries are expected to cover the 2014 and 2018 state elections.

Antony Green has produced his estimates of the margins for all eighty-eight electorates.

In short, two Nationals and one Liberal seat were abolished. A new Liberal seat and two new Labor seats were created. Four other marginal Labor seats have flipped to be notionally Liberal or National.

On paper, the Nationals have lost one seat and Labor have lost two, with the Liberal Party gaining three. However the swing for Labor to win government has been reduced. On current boundaries, the ALP needs to win two seats with a swing of 1.2% to form a majority government. On new boundaries, the ALP will need to win four seats, but only need a 0.4% swing.

New South Wales is also in the process of redrawing its boundaries.

Two weeks after draft boundaries were released for the New South Wales state redistribution, I have finally completed the Google Earth map of the state.

You can download the map here.

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I’ve previously blogged about this redistribution, and Antony Green has already posted a similar analysis to the one he did for Victoria. In addition, he has released a more detailed research paper with estimates for margins and primary votes for all 93 electorates.

I have also done one extra bit of analysis, looking at which parts of the state have been drawn under- or over-quota.

The Commissioners were required to fit electorates to two quotas: within 10% of the average for the number of voters as of February 2013, and the estimated number of voters as of April 2015.

Region 2013 quotas 2015 quotas
Central Sydney 10.8169 10.8921
Hunter & Central Coast 14.0397 13.9789
Northern NSW 6.9952 6.9832
Northern Sydney 11.0712 11.0423
South-East NSW 9.1528 9.1280
Southern Sydney 5.1172 5.0696
South-West Sydney 10.8176 10.8978
Western NSW 10.2230 10.1182
Western Sydney 14.7664 14.8897

The Commissioners have clearly chosen to draw seats larger than the average in regions with a declining population (Northern Sydney, South-East NSW, Southern Sydney, Western NSW), and draw smaller seats in regions with a growing population (Central Sydney, South-West Sydney, Western Sydney). The Hunter, Central Coast and the north of the state have been drawn very close to the quota.

These numbers reflect the approach of the ALP, rather than the Nationals who advocated using the loose quota rules to draw less-populated electorates in regional areas. The Liberal Party and the Greens proposed boundaries that stuck very closely to the quota.

The Commissioners only drew three districts that diverge from the 2015 quota by more than 3.5%, and thus would have been prohibited under the previous rules. One of these seats is the far-western Barwon, that is declining in population rather quickly. The other two are Shellharbour and Wollongong in the Illawarra region. Both are also declining, and have been drawn to be above the quota.

UPDATE: Edward Boyce in comments has pointed out an error. In addition to the three seats that have been drawn more than 3.5% over the quota, the Western Sydney seats of Camden and Riverstone, which are both growing very fast, have been drawn more than 3.5% under quota.

UPDATE 2: My error: the former threshold was 3%, not 3.5%, and eleven electorates vary by more than 3%.

Lyndhurst by-election results wrap-up

Update: results now include prepoll figures that came in late on the night. The Greens have overtaken the Sex Party, coming fifth. The DLP have overtaken Hung Vo for third place.

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Lyndhurst’s by-election will certainly see Labor candidate Martin Pakula elected, but the results were more interesting than expected. The swing against Labor currently sits on 14.5%.

Results from polling places and postal votes have been counted, with early votes and provisional votes yet to come.

On the current figures, the Family First candidate is coming second, followed in quick succession by independent candidate Hung Vo, and the DLP, the Greens and the Sex Party.

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Martin Leahy SXP 2,632 8.5 +8.5
Nina Springle GRN 2,910 9.4 +3.2
Hung Vo IND 3,017 9.7 +6.1
Bobby Singh IND 620 2.0 +2.0
Stephen Nowland FF 4,389 14.1 +9.3
David Linaker IND 1,353 4.4 +4.4
Martin Pakula ALP 12,698 40.9 -14.6
Geraldine Gonsalvez DLP 3,422 11.0 +9.8

The result is disappointing for Labor. Despite the fact that they should comfortably retain the seat, they lost a huge chunk of their vote in a race with no high-profile opponent and no Liberal candidate at all.

The increase in vote for the independent and two right-wing minor candidates isn’t surprising, as 27.8% of the vote had to flow somewhere in the absence of the Liberal Party.

In these circumstances, it’s not surprising that these voters largely favoured Family First and the DLP over the Greens.

The Greens would be disappointed coming fifth or sixth in the seat, but despite being overtaken by other candidates, the result was still an increase in the Greens vote. Currently the Greens are up 2.8%, and only went backwards in one booth.

On the night the notional two-candidate-preferred count was conducted between Labor and the Greens, which was made redundant by the order of candidates on primary votes. While Family First are likely to come second, we won’t know that until the official distribution of preferences is conducted.

Click below the fold to look at a series of maps, featuring first preference maps for the six top polling candidates. For Labor, the Greens, the DLP and Family First, and for Hung Vo, I’ve also included swing maps.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lyndhurst by-election live

8:23pm – All ordinary votes have come in, with prepoll and postal votes yet to come. Labor’s vote is sitting just over 40%. Sex Party and Greens preferences will ensure Labor wins, but it’s a big loss. I’m going to come back later tonight with some maps and analysis of the results, but that’s it for now.

7:49pm – We have twelve booths in so far. Labor is just under 40%, followed by Family First on 16.6%. Then Vo, the Greens and the Sex Party.

7:19pm – We now have six booths in. While the Greens are up, the old Liberal vote seems to have flowed to a number of right-wing candidates including the DLP and Family First, and the Sex Party is performing strongly with the donkey vote. The ALP vote is down 17.9%, but Labor is still far out in front.

7:06pm – Hung Vo polled less than 5% in Southvale in 2010, this time over 21%. Presumably all Liberal votes.

7:04pm – First booth in is Southvale. Labor’s vote dropped by 24% to 35.6%.

6:31pm – I’ll be live-blogging the results over the next hour as results come in from the Lyndhurst by-election. No-one is predicting any trouble for the ALP’s Martin Pakula in maintaining the seat.

Victorian redistribution: round one

The four parties represented in the Victorian parliament have all put in submissions for the redistribution leading up the 2014 election.

These boundaries were last drawn prior to the 2002 election, and in some areas seat populations have diverged quite dramatically from the average.

Generally the Labor and Greens proposals suggest a substantial amount of changes, while the Liberal and Nationals proposals try to avoid significant changes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lyndhurst by-election guide posted

Click through to the guide.A by-election will be held in the safe Labor seat of Lyndhurst on 27 April. The seat should be easily retained by Labor, and is unlikely to be very interesting.

I’ve now written a guide to the by-election, which you can read (and comment on) here.

Melbourne by-election live

10:47pm – CORRECTION – My calculations were miscounting absentee votes from last time. Now that I have fixed this, and added in prepoll votes (which helped the Greens, but not enough) it seems likely that Labor will win on postal votes, unless the Greens do very well on them. Having said that the gap is barely 200 votes so who knows.

9:49pm – And here are same vote maps showing the two-party-preferred votes. I’m signing off for the night.

Results of the 2012 Melbourne by-election, showing which party won each booth.

Results of the 2012 Melbourne by-election, showing two-party preferred vote for the party that won each booth.

9:45pm – With all but one booth reporting, Labor leads with 50.14% on raw votes. However my projection has the Greens ahead with 50.57% once you factor in the same swing for the remaining votes to come.

9:22pm – So with ten booths reporting preferences, Labor leads with 50.37%. However the swing suggests the projected 2PP will be much closer, around 50.0. It’s basically a dead heat.

8:45pm – Sorry, eleven booths.

8:39pm – With twelve primary vote booths in, the trend is clear. 6.6% swing to the Greens, 2.2% swing against Labor. Sex Party on 7%, Nolte on 5.8%, Mayne on 4.3%.

8:34pm – Three booths now have reported preferences. Swing of 6.34% from Labor to Greens. Worth noting that while the VEC is reporting 52.8% to the Greens overall, these three booths are relatively good for the Greens so that number will be lower if this swing is replicated.

8:32pm – We now have nine booths in. The swing to the Greens on primary votes is 6.5%. There’s a swing of 3.1% against Labor. This is on primary votes.

8:22pm - William Bowe is projecting a two-party-preferred split of 50.3%. This assumes that all minor party voters went 70-30 to the party that their how-to-vote favoured. However the largest minor party so far is the Sex Party. Their how-to-votes favoured Labor, but they are notoriously independent voters and are expected to favour Greens more than the how-to-vote would suggest.

7:56pm – On the first two booths, Labor is up 0.5% and Greens up 6.1%.

7:49pm – With North Melbourne East and Parkville reporting, there’s a swing of 6.11% to the Greens. 4.98% at Parkville and 7.3% at North Melbourne East.

7:12pm - Nick Carson (I believe a Greens scrutineer) on Twitter is reporting that the Greens won the RMIT booth 489-300. If this is two-party-preferred, that’s 61.98% for the Greens, a swing of 13.37%.

6:22pm – Still no results. There are fourteen booths, compared to 15 in 2010. Three of the booths from last time have been abolished, with two new booths created. I’ll be attempting to provide a swing based on which booths have come in, and as the night goes on I plan to provide some maps showing the results. For the time being you can see the maps showing the results in 2010 at my guide to the by-election.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Melbourne. There are fourteen booths to be counted, as well as extra votes.

5:48pm – Polls will be closing in twelve minutes in Melbourne. I will be covering the results as they come in right here at the Tally Room.

New maps posted

The blog has been quiet for a while. Partly this has been due to me being very busy with other projects and with my day job, but the main reason has been due to me doing my work on this website behind the scenes.

Over the past two months I’ve produced maps of the election results for all 89 Queensland state electorates for the 2009 state election. This is part of my plan to produce a guide to the upcoming Queensland state election, as I have done for the last state elections in New South Wales and Victoria, and last year’s federal election.

Over the last week I’ve been working on a different project. Maps have now been posted on the blog’s maps page for two jurisdictions. The new boundaries that will be used in Victoria for the next federal election have been posted, along with the draft boundaries for South Australia. The Victorian maps are the result of a redistribution which was concluded at the end of 2010. The South Australian redistribution is expected to be finalised in the next few months.

In the next few months the calculation will be made as to whether any states or territories gain or lose seats at the next election. It doesn’t appear likely that there will be any change in seat numbers, so there isn’t expected to be a redistribution in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory, as all of these states held redistributions before the 2010 election. A redistribution is due next year in the Australian Capital Territory, which should be a relatively simple endeavour. I’ll keep you posted.

Update: I have now finished the redistribution for the NT Legislative Assembly, which will face an election on the new boundaries next year. I have also checked the timetable for the ACT redistribution, and it appears it won’t commence until January 2013, leaving an open question of whether it will be finished in time for the federal election. I also realised that I had improperly marked the two previous sets of ACT federal boundaries, so these have been fixed.