While New South Wales is currently undergoing a process of considering metropolitan council amalgamations, Western Australia has recently reached the unsuccessful conclusion of a similar process – which ended with a number of overwhelming ‘no’ votes in local referendums and an abandonment of the process in February 2015. New Zealand, which already has much larger councils than in most of Australia, is also currently considering a number of council mergers.
Western Australia Archive
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.
|Wayne Barnett||Australian Christians||680||3.5||+3.5|
|Teresa Van Lieshout||Independent||265||1.4||+1.4|
2014 two-candidate-preferred result
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|
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.
Voters 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.
In 2015, New South Wales and Western Australia will both undergo redistributions to redraw federal electoral boundaries due to New South Wales losing its 48th seat and Western Australia gaining its 16th seat. Yesterday I looked at enrolment numbers in NSW seats, and how that redistribution might play out.
In Western Australia, boundaries will be drawn to create a sixteenth electorate. Each electorate will need to be within 10% of the quota, based on 2015 population, and within 3.5% of a quota based on projected population in three and a half years.
Based on April population, all but one of Western Australia’s existing seats is over quota, with Canning over quota by 14%.
The enormous northern electorate of Durack is just under quota, and will probably require no change.
Population growth has been greatest in the electorates of Brand, Canning and Pearce, as well as Fremantle. These four seats are all at least 10% over quota.
Overall, the three regional seats of Durack, O’Connor and Forrest are 9% over quota.
The five electorates south of the river are 44% over quota, while the six electorates north of the river are 39% over quota. The one seat to the east of the river, Hasluck, is 8% over quota.
The most likely outcome will see seats across Perth contracting in size, and effectively the seat of Hasluck will be broken in half, into two eastern seats, one in the north and one in the south, while there will be minimal changes in regional WA.
The Western Australian government has recently unveiled its latest plans to drastically reduce the number of councils covering the Perth area.
The latest model reduces the number of councils in Perth from 30 to 15, with only three councils left without boundary changes. One council outside Perth (Murray Shire) expanded to cover parts of a neighbouring council that had been abolished.
The changes varied from the original plan, in particular with a Fremantle council remaining separate from Melville.
I have produced a Google Earth map covering the proposed Perth boundaries, which you can view and toggle between the current boundaries and the proposed boundaries. Download it here.
Below the fold you can also see the inner-Perth boundaries, before and after the proposed changes.
Update: The result today saw Scott Ludlam (GRN) and Wayne Dropulich (Sports Party) elected instead of the PUP and ALP candidates who had won in the first count. The margin at the key point is 12 votes, a net turn-around of 26 votes. The case seems set to head to the Court of Disputed Returns.
Original post: After the AEC announced on Thursday that 1375 votes were missing in the WA Senate recount, many people quickly jumped to the conclusion that a WA Senate by-election was needed to resolve the situation.
This was slightly premature, as it was still possible that the recount would be decisive enough that those votes wouldn’t make a difference.
However after examining the latest numbers on the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room, I believe that there are two alternative methods of coming to a result that produce different winners, and this probably means that a by-election will be needed.
There are four booths where votes are missing, these are:
- Bunbury East (Forrest)
- Henley Brook (Pearce)
- Mount Helena (Pearce)
- Wundowie (Pearce)
However, it is not the case that all of the votes at these booths are missing.
According to the latest figures on the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room, 3445 votes have been counted at these booths (including informal votes). This compares to 4799 before the recount started. Confusingly, this adds up to 1354 votes missing. I don’t know why this diverges from the public figure of 1375, but I’m going to set that aside for now.
There are five parties that we need to track for the purposes of determining who will win.
The critical count that is decisive was the point where the Shooters and Fishers defeated the Australian Christians by 14 votes. This produced a victory for the second Labor candidate and the Palmer United Party. If this 14-vote margin was reversed, then the last two seats would have gone to the Greens and the Australian Sports Party.
Prior to this count, three others parties had been excluded and had passed on their above-the-line preferences to either the Shooters or the Christians. The Australian Independents and the Fishing and Lifestyle Party preferenced the Shooters, and the Climate Sceptics preferenced the Christians.
For these purposes I am ignoring all other parties and only looking at the net change in votes between the Shooters/AFLP/Aus Independents grouping and the Christians/Climate Sceptics grouping.
The disappearance of the 1354 votes at those four booths produced the following net change at those booths from pre-recount to post-recount.
|Shooters and Fishers||68||54||-14|
|Fishing and Lifestyle Party||24||23||-1|
The missing votes massively disadvantage the Shooters grouping – by a net 15 votes, which is enough to flip the result.
It should be noted that this is based on the assumption that there were no changes in the 3445 votes from those four booths that were counted, but this is unlikely. So the composition of the missing votes could be slightly different to what is listed above.
In the rest of the state, despite quite a lot of votes being challenged and anecdotal reports suggesting many votes had flipped, overall the Shooters grouping has lost only one seat relative to the Christians grouping.
This table lists the vote before and after the recount for the remainder of the state, with all votes at the four key booths excluded.
|Shooters and Fishers||13,565||13,573||+8|
|Fishing and Lifestyle Party||5,703||5,706||+3|
There appears to be two possible ways to produce a result using these votes:
- Only count those votes that have been managed to be recounted, with the missing votes excluded from the count, which will likely result in a very slim victory for the Christians, and thus for the Greens and the Sports Party.
- Substitute votes cast at the four booths where votes are missing for the count from prior to the recount, which will likely result in a slim victory for the Shooters, and thus for the ALP and the Palmer United Party.
It is also possible that changes to below-the-line votes that were previously counted as informal could shift the count, but it is clear that the result remains extremely close and likely to not produce a clear outcome. In such a scenario, the case for a statewide Senate by-election becomes quite strong.
The final boundaries for the next WA state election were finally released on Monday. After a couple of days of work on it I have now published my Google Earth maps of WA, and you can download them from my Maps page.
You might want to also look at the margins for the new seats calculated for Antony Green’s ABC Elections website.
This means that I have now updated all Australian federal and state electoral maps up to the latest maps provided. We are waiting on the final federal boundaries for South Australia, which are expected later this year. Following that, we won’t have any state redistributions until those for the state elections in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, who will go to the polls in 2014-15.
I had been hoping to put together a ward map of Western Australia for their elections this Saturday but this sadly won’t happen in time. I am planning on completing ward maps for the NSW, Victorian and Queensland council elections due next year but I don’t think I will go back and do them retrospectively for WA.
Moore covers most of Joondalup council area and a small part of Wanneroo council area. It is the northermost seat in the Perth area, along the coast.
Curtin is a safe Liberal seat in western Perth. Despite being named after the former Labor prime minister, the seat has never been won by the ALP. The Liberal Party has only lost the seat once, in 1996 when the sitting Liberal MP lost endorsement and won re-election as an independent. The seat was held by prominent Liberal Paul Hasluck from 1949 until his retirement in 1969 when he was appointed Governor-General. It has been held by Julie Bishop since 1998.
The seat covers affluent suburbs along the north shore of the Swan River to the west of the Perth CBD, and along the west coast.