WA Senate 2014 Archive


WA Senate 2014 – Liberal Party wins final seat

After the closeness of the 2013 election, we were all ready for a close contest in 2014, but that hasn’t eventuated. At the end of election night, the ALP’s Louise Pratt looked like she had a chance of overtaking the Liberal Party’s Linda Reynolds in the race for the final seat. After a full week of additional counting, Reynolds’ lead has grown, and she will be winning the final seat, for a total result of 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green and 1 Palmer United Party.

Last Sunday, the day after the election, I wrote about the likely shifts in votes, which I predicted would help Reynolds win the final seat. The following day, I also outlined possible scenarios last Monday which could see Louise Pratt gain the lead. We now have a much clearer picture about how the result has gone.

According to the ABC Senate calculator, it now predicts Reynolds to win the final seat by a margin of 0.036 quota. In this post, I’ll run through some of the reasons why this has happened, and why Louise Pratt’s chances have disappeared. Read the rest of this entry »


WA Senate – how Pratt could win

Yesterday’s post predicted that the most likely outcome in the WA Senate election is that Liberal candidate Linda Reynolds will widen her lead over the ALP’s Louise Pratt, thanks to a large batch of postal votes yet to be counted.

I still think this is the most likely outcome, but since posting yesterday a number of points have been raised that I think are valid, and suggest ways that Pratt could perform better than my projection (which was very similar to William Bowe’s at Poll Bludger).

It is possible that the Liberal Party may suffer more serious leakage from party tickets, as Reynolds is relying on more preferences than Pratt. However if Pratt and Ludlam have performed strongly on below-the-line votes, more of these votes could be ruled informal in coming weeks, and this could partially cancel out any leakage benefit.

There is a scenario where a slightly higher Palmer United vote results in an earlier election, and frees up more votes to flow to the ALP. It is also possible that Friday’s story about Joe Bullock pushed down the election-day vote, which may mean our projections are too pessimistic when trying to predict Labor’s share of postal votes.

I explain these theories in more detail below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


The next day – preference flows and postal votes

At the time of writing, the result of yesterday’s Senate re-run in Western Australia is still up in the air, but is much clearer and easier to understand than the 2013 result.

The first two Liberal candidates (David Johnston and Michaelia Cash) and the lead Labor and Greens candidates (Joe Bullock and Scott Ludlam) will win their seats with a full quota of primary votes.

Dio Wang of the Palmer United Party sits on 0.87 quotas, and should have little trouble winning a seat.

The final seat is a race between the third Liberal candidate, Linda Reynolds, and the second Labor candidate, Louise Pratt.

At the time of writing, the ABC Senate calculator gave the final seat to Reynolds by 0.07% of the vote, which is just over 600 votes. Of course, we all now understand that this isn’t the end of the story. The addition of declaration votes is likely to increase Reynolds’ lead.

In this post I will run through what votes are left to be counted, how they might skew the result, and what preferences Reynolds and Pratt will be relying on in their race.

Read the rest of this entry »


WA Senate by-election: results live

10:15pm – I’m going to sign off here for the night. I’ll be back with another post tomorrow. As a summary, here are the key points:

  • There has been a large swing against both the ALP and the Liberal Party, with the two major parties polling well under 60% of the primary vote.
  • There have been large swings towards the Greens and the Palmer United Party, including positive swings in every electorate.
  • The first two Liberal senators and the lead Labor and Greens candidates have polled a full quota, while the Palmer United Party is close enough to be very likely to win.
  • The final seat looks likely to be a race between the Liberal Party’s Linda Reynolds and the Labor Party’s Louise Pratt. At the time of writing, Pratt leads on the ABC Senate calculator, but a lot of votes remain to be counted, and Pratt’s lead is extremely slim.

10:10pm – And Louise Pratt of the ALP has now gained the lead on the ABC Senate calculator, which just demonstrates how tight this race is.

10:01pm – Both the Liberal Party and the ALP have suffered negative swings in all 15 electorates. The Greens and the Palmer United Party gained positive swings in all 15 electorates. The swing to the Greens was weakest in the very rural electorates of Durak and O’Connor. The Greens achieved swings of 8% or over in the inner-city seats of Fremantle, Perth, Swan and Tangney.

9:57pm – In terms of the geographic spread, I’m probably going to stop updating my figures at this point, since the ABC data is very good-quality. I’ll come back tomorrow with some more analysis of the swings and geographic balances. For now I’ll just focus on some broad trends.

9:46pm – We have just under 40% of the vote counted, and there’s a pretty clear pattern. The Liberal Party has won two seats,the ALP, the Greens and the Palmer United Party, and the final seat is a race primarily between the Liberal Party’s Linda Reynolds and the ALP’s Louise Pratt. At the moment, Antony Green’s Senate calculator has Reynolds winning by a margin of 0.02 quota, which is definitely vulnerable. That will be the race to watch.

9:40pm – The Greens have overtaken the ALP in both Curtin and Tangney.

9:02pm – The PUP vote ranges from 4.4% in Curtin to 17.6% in Brand. Swing ranges from 2.3% in Perth to 10.2% in Brand.

8:54pm – Let’s look at the vote for the larger parties in each electorate. The Greens vote varies from 6.8% in O’Connor to 27.1% in Perth. Swings from +0.1% in O’Connor to +13.9% in Perth.

8:39pm – Antony Green’s projections suggest the Greens aren’t that far behind Labor overall.

8:22pm – The swing against the ALP ranges from 0.5% in Curtin to 10% in Tangney.

8:20pm – It seems pretty clear that five of the six seats will go to two Liberals, one Labor, one Green and one Palmer, with the last seat seemingly a race between the ALP and the Liberal Party.

8:18pm – My projections are as follows:

  • LIB – 2.25 quotas increases to 2.32
  • ALP – 1.09 to 1.36
  • GRN – 0.92 to 1.20
  • PUP – 0.89 to 0.84
  • NAT – 0.94 to 0.41

7:47pm – Antony Green is matching results to booths from last time, and he suggests a trend that has the Liberal Party only just over two quotas, with the ALP on about 1.5 quotas, the Greens over a quota and PUP just under a quota.

7:45pm – Out of seven electorates that have reported votes so far, the Greens are up in five seats. This includes an increase of 6% in Pearce and Stirling, and 14.3% in Brand. Bear in mind that we don’t know if the booths reporting so far are representative of the entire electorate.

7:41pm – My model, which weights the vote in each electorate according to the number of votes polled in 2013, halves the National vote from 19.2% to 9.5% and increases the ALP vote from 13.8% to 19.5%. It also increases the Greens vote from 7.7% to 12.1%. Bear in mind we still have no votes from eight urban seats, and this model will become more useful once all 15 seats have reported votes.

7:39pm – We now have over 8000 votes – which is 0.62% of the votes recorded in 2013. In O’Connor that ratio is over 4%, with most of the other seats conservative and rural.

7:05pm – We have votes now from five conservative seats: Canning, Durack, Forrest, Pearce and O’Connor. This is enough to see that O’Connor is well over-represented. The vote reported in O’Connor is at 0.8% of the 2013 vote, which is a much larger ratio than any of the other seats.

6:49pm – So far we’ve got less than 200 votes, most from O’Connor and a small number from Pearce.

6:44pm – Sam Dastyari on ABC News 24 claims that a sample of large booths suggest a drop of 15% in turnout.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Western Australia, and I’ll be covering the results here on the website.

I’ll be using a new model to try and track how the results are flowing in, and to take account of trends that are not uniform between seats. In short, I will be scaling up each seat’s vote to 80% of the turnout at the 2013 election, which will weight votes more heavily from seats where they haven’t reported. This isn’t perfect, as voting patterns will vary within each electorate, and my model won’t be able to match booths individually to get a more precise sense of the swing.

I’ll be tracking how the results are going in each seat, and what sort of swings we are looking at. I’ll then be relying on Antony Green’s Senate calculator to get a sense of how those primary votes will translate into a result.


WA Senate election day

Polls have just opened in Western Australia for the unprecedented special election for all six WA senate seats that were meant to be filled at least year’s Senate election.

In the last few days of the campaign, we have seen Newspoll release their quarterly breakdowns, which include figures for each state, and is the only recent federal poll showing figures for Western Australia. This poll had Labor down to 29%, the Liberal Party up to 46%, and the Greens up substantially to 15%.

Reports of internal polling suggest the Greens performing strongly, with Labor polling poorly and in serious danger of not polling two quotas, with Louise Pratt’s seat certainly in danger.

Some journalists are reporting Liberal sources as being confident of retaining their three seats, while others suggest the Liberal Party will struggle to win a third seat.

The Palmer United Party has dominated advertising spending in WA, with the Greens also outspending the major parties, according to a report from advertising monitoring company Ebiquity. This led the Prime Minister to accuse Clive Palmer of attempting to ‘buy’ the election.

Today’s news was dominated by reports of a speech given by Labor’s lead candidate, Joe Bullock, late in 2013, in which he criticised his party, its members and made comments about his fellow Labor candidate Louise Pratt.

Please use this thread as an opportunity to post your own predictions for tonight’s election results, and as an open thread to post news from the polling places of Western Australia.

William Bowe at Poll Bludger yesterday predicted a strong result for the Greens’ Scott Ludlam, with both Labor and Liberal struggling to reach their second and third quotas respectively.

I think that makes a lot of sense. The Greens have run a strong campaign and are polling strongly, while Labor has not recovered much or any ground since the 2013 election, and could go back further.

I predict that the Liberal Party will win two seats, the ALP and Greens one. For the final two seats, it’s likely they will fall to Labor and Palmer, with an outside chance for the third Liberal.

What do you think?


SA and TAS 2014 – campaigns conclude

Today we saw the conclusion of the count in Tasmania’s electorates, with all five electorates now finalised.

Results in Franklin and Bass were reasonably decisive, with Labor MPs David O’Byrne and Brian Wightman losing their seats to the Liberal Party.

In Lyons, former Labor MP David Llewellyn won back his seat, while the Greens’ Tim Morris lost his seat to the Liberal Party.

In the northern seat of Braddon, the ALP’s Brenton Best narrowly missed out for the final seat and the Greens’ Paul O’Halloran also lost his seat, resulting in an unprecedented four seats for the Liberal Party, a result not seen since the reduction in seats in 1998.

In the southern seat of Denison, there was no change to party representation, but the ALP’s second seat was left open with the retirement of Graeme Sturges, and all four non-incumbent Labor candidates were in with a chance. Madeleine Ogilvie narrowly won the seat ahead of Julian Amos.

This produced a final result of 15 Liberal, 7 Labor and 3 Greens. This is a solid majority for the Liberal Party, and also results in loss of parliamentary party status for the Greens.

In South Australia, the election night result of 23 Labor, 22 Liberal and 2 Greens held through late counting. After independent MP Bob Such was admitted to hospital for an indefinite period, independent MP Geoff Brock decided to support the ALP to continue in government, recognising that both independents would need to support the Liberal Party to achieve stable government.

This is the last word for the South Australian and Tasmanian elections for this blog. I’ll be covering the Western Australian Senate by-election next Saturday, April 5, and you can read the guide for the by-election (including sub-pages for all 15 electorates in Western Australia), and comment on any of the pages.

Beyond that, I’m close to finishing my maps for all 88 Victorian electorates for the November state election. On April 17, the final boundaries for the New Zealand general election will be released, and I will start work on that election guide, and I plan to have both ready to go well in advance of those elections.

While I work on these projects, you may notice less activity on the Tally Room, but be assured that I will be working hard in the background to get ready for the next campaign.


WA Senate by-election – preferences announced

Each group running in the WA Senate by-election submitted their group voting tickets on Saturday, which will direct preferences for above-the-line votes cast for each group. With the state elections in South Australia and Tasmania, I’ve only now had time to analyse the preferences lodged. You can download the Group Voting Tickets here (PDF).

Each Group Voting Ticket covers all 77 candidates running in the election, but for the purposes of my analysis I have looked at only 33 candidates – the third Liberal candidate, the second Labor candidate and the first candidate for every other group running. I have also excluded the two ungrouped independents.

All of my analysis focused on where each party preferenced a group of ten parties that all polled over 1% at the 2013 election in Western Australia. There’s no guarantee that these ten parties are the only parties to stand a chance of winning election, but their chance is greatest.

After speculation about the ALP not preferencing the Greens, the outcome is a tad anticlimactic and is unlikely to hurt the Greens. The ALP preferences, in order, the Secular Party, the Animal Justice Party, the Sex Party, the independent Save the ABC group, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, HEMP, and then the Greens. It is very unlikely that any of those parties will remain in the count long enough to challenge the Greens and benefit from Labor preferences.

There is a wide variety in how parties have preferenced.

On the left, the Greens received preferences directly from Wikileaks, the Socialist Alliance and the Pirate Party. The Save Our ABC group and the Sex Party preferenced the ALP before the Greens, while the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Sustainable Population Party and Animal Justice Party all split their preferences evenly between Labor and the Greens. Surprisingly, Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) placed the Greens very low, behind the Shooters, the ALP and the Palmer United Party, amongst many others. The Secular Party preferenced the Sex Party and then the Greens, amongst parties with a significant chance.

The Republican Party and the Mutual Party, both with names that suggest a progressive agenda, both preferenced the ALP and Greens poorly and placed the Liberal Democratic Party high.

A block of parties preferenced tightly, including the LDP, the Republican Party, the Mutual Party, the Outdoor Recreation Party and Smokers Rights, all placed the LDP highly and otherwise mostly placed microparties in the top half of their preference order.

The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, Freedom and Prosperity Party (formerly the Carbon Sceptics), Australian Voice, Building Australia Party, PUP, HEMP and the Australian Sports Party all placed the Shooters most highly amongst the top ten parties.

We’ll have to wait for others to do a deeper level of analysis to know what tiny parties have accrued enough preferences to stand a chance of winning, in the way that the Australian Sports Party did. However one measure of this can be seen by averaging the rank that each party achieved on each other party’s preference list.

As a score from 1 to 33, the parties with the best average preferences are the Australian Democrats (10.6), the Mutual Party (10.9), and the Australian Sports Party (11.7). The parties with the worst average preference ranking are the Smokers Rights Party (23.3), the Socialist Alliance (23) and Rise Up Australia (22.1).

Over the fold, I’ve summarised the key preferences for all 33 groups. You can also download all of the Group Voting Tickets in spreadsheet form here.

Update: Edited to reflect that the Voluntary Euthanasia Party split their preferences evenly between the Greens and Labor, not going to Labor entirely as previously written.

Read the rest of this entry »


WA Senate candidates announced

Nominations were declared this afternoon for the Senate by-election in Western Australia.

77 candidates have nominated, an increase from 62 who ran in last September’s election.

These candidates are running in 33 groups, as well as two ungrouped independents. All but one of the groups is being run by a political party.

In comparison, 27 groups and one ungrouped independent nominated for the 2013 election.

Along with the major party candidates, the major candidate announcements have included prominent euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke running for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. The Wikileaks Party has also had trouble with candidate selection, with Julian Assange unable to stand and with 2013 candidate Gerry Georgatos withdrawing at the last moment.

The Nationals have also had a change of lead candidate, with prominent former footballer David Wirrpanda being replaced by Shane van Styn, who stood in Durack in 2013.

The best spots on the ballot went to the Wikileaks Party and the Nationals. The ALP has the first position of any party who won a seat in any of the counts in the 2013 election. The Liberal Party drew column R, and the Greens drew group AA.

The following table provides the name of the lead candidate for all groups. With the exception of the two major parties, no other party has a serious prospect of getting any candidate other than their first candidate elected. I have also provided the first few candidates for the two major parties.

Read the rest of this entry »


WA Senate guide posted

Nominations will be announced later today for the remarkable Senate by-election in Western Australia, due to be held on April 5.

With final nominations being announced today, candidates and parties will have until midday tomorrow (WA time) to lodge their group voting ticket, which will determine how above-the-line preferences will flow.

I’ve now completed a guide to the Senate by-election. It includes a front page detailing the results, the preference flows at the last election, the history of WA’s Senate delegation, and an assessment of the by-election. The guide will also include the list of lead candidates and some analysis of the group voting tickets once they have been registered.

In addition, I’ve produced a page for each of the 15 federal electorates. While the same candidates will be running across the state, each individual seat has different voting patterns, and each page includes maps, booth breakdowns and the results within that electorate. You can click through to those seat pages on the right-hand sidebar, or from the main page.

At the upcoming election, we’ll be watching to see if the Liberal Party’s vote drops far enough, and the vote for Labor and the Greens climbs high enough for the centre-left to win three seats, and whether preferences flow in a way that can produce a result that will alter the balance of the Senate. Polling suggests it is possible, but is by no means certain. This guide helps you understand where each party’s vote is most strongly concentrated.

There is also likely to be a huge number of minor parties running, and quite possible one of those parties could garner enough preferences to win a seat, either from the Liberals or from the centre-left.


WA Senate: Court on the verge of calling new election

High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, brought out the first part of his judgement in the case of the Western Australian Senate election from 2013.

His findings included that:

  • The 1370 voters whose votes were lost were effectively “prevented from voting”,
  • That it was not possible to combine the results from the original count for the 1370 missing votes with the results from the recount for the rest of the state,
  • That Scott Ludlam and Wayne Dropulich (who won the final two seats in the recount) were not duly elected, and it was not possible to determine who was duly elected, and
  • That the “only relief appropriate is for the election to be declared void”.

Justice Hayne has not issued a ruling ordering that the election is to be declared void, but all commentators seem to agree that the judgements he has made today leave only the option of a fresh Senate election.

The Court will issue further rulings on Thursday 20 February, when Justice Hayne is expected to rule on whether a fresh election is called.

If the election is voided this week, the earliest possible date for an election will be March 29. Other possible dates will be in April and May. An election will need to be held by May to ensure the result is concluded prior to the new Senate taking office on July 1.

The choice of election date will be effected by two weeks of school holidays in April, which includes the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends.

The Governor of Western Australia will need to issue the writs for the upcoming election. Due to a lack of a precedent, it is unclear who will give advice regarding an election date. In the case of by-elections in the House of Representatives, the writs are issued by the Speaker, rather than by the Governor-General, and the Speaker’s membership of the governing party usually gives that power influence over the selection of the date.

In Senate elections, the date is determined by the Prime Minister advising the Governor-General, and then the state Governors issuing writs. It is unclear whether Prime Minister Abbott or Premier Barnett would be in a position to give advice to the Governor as to the date of the election.

Current polling suggests that the Liberal Party may struggle to again elect three Senators at a new election in WA. The quarterly state breakdown of Newspoll’s federal polling for the last quarter of 2013 saw the Liberal Party two-party-preferred vote in Western Australia drop to 50%, down from over 58% at the federal election.

If the primary votes in the poll were reflected in the Senate result, the ALP and the Greens would be able to elect three candidates between them, with the Liberal Party competing with minor parties for the final seat.

Both possible outcomes of the September election saw the ALP and Greens lose one seat between them: such a new result would mean that neither party of the left would lose a seat in WA, with both Scott Ludlam and Louise Pratt holding on.

In contrast, the third Liberal senator-elect, Linda Reynolds, was comfortably elected in September but would be in serious danger of losing at a by-election.

It will be a fascinating race to watch.