Western Australia 2017 Archive


WA state election data posted

Following on from last month’s Western Australian state election, I’ve finished compiling data from that election and added it to the data repository for your use. The dataset includes polling place-level and seat-level data for the lower house and something similar for the upper house. There’s also complete candidate lists for both houses and a full list of polling places with addresses and lat/long information. There are a few pieces of data which are missing and this information is listed in the folder.

Check out the data.


WA election night live

10:47pm – I’m going to call it a night. One final point to note is that the ABC upper house results page has just flipped the final seat in Mining and Pastoral from One Nation to the Shooters.

10:35pm – South West (33% counted):

South West is currently electing two Labor MLCs and one each for Liberal, Nationals, Greens and One Nation. This is a loss of two Liberal seats to One Nation and the Greens.

While the current calculator is giving one of the seats to the Greens, Tom’s probabilities actually suggest there’s a 72% chance that seat will go to the third Labor candidate, and the Greens’ Diane Evers only has a 28% chance. I presume this is because the Greens are less than 1% ahead of Labor when Labor is knocked out and elects the Greens.

10:31pm – South Metro (32% counted):

Antony’s calculator is currently gifting three seats to Labor, two to the Liberal Party and one to the Liberal Democrats. This is a gain of one for Labor and the LDP, and a loss of one for the Greens and the Liberal Party.

The LDP result is not particularly robust: Geeklections gives the LDP only a 70% chance of holding that seat, with most of the remaining possibility going to the Daylight Savings Party.

The Greens also finish the count on 0.95 quotas, just behind the second Liberal: if the Greens vote increases in later counting they could come back and win.

10:28pm – North Metro (32% counted):

North Metro is currently producing a result of 3 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Greens. This would be a drop of one seat for the Liberal Party and one extra seat for the Greens.

This result isn’t vulnerable to small changes flipping the result. It is possible that, if the third Labor candidate overtook Family First, they would win the final seat instead of the Greens.

10:24pm – Mining and Pastoral (5% counted):

This is the least reliable, since the vast majority of votes are yet to be counted. Labor and the Nationals are each on track to win two seats, with the Liberal Party and One Nation each winning one. This is a gain of a seat for Labor and One Nation, and a loss of a seat for the Liberal Party and the Greens.

The margins of victory are not particularly tight, and the vote would need to shift quite a lot to produce a different outcome. But considering only 5% is counted, this is quite possible.

10:21pm – East Metro (28% counted):

Currently the seats are splitting three Labor, one Liberal, one Greens, one Fluoride Free WA. This would be a loss of two Liberal seats to the minor parties.

On the current vote, Tom Clement gives the Greens and Fluoride Free roughly 85% chance of winning their seats. There are some narrow paths to victory for the second Liberal candidate or the first One Nation candidate.

10:19pm – Let’s run through each upper house region in turn.

Firstly, Agricultural (35% counted):

Currently the seats break down as two Labor, two Nationals, one Liberal and one Shooter. This is a loss of one seat for the Liberal Party and a gain of one for Labor. At the moment it appears that the Shooters have a buffer of about one-fifth of a quota over One Nation, so this could change if One Nation’s vote grows in late counting.

10:10pm – At this point we know most of what we will know tonight regarding the lower house. By my count Labor has won at least 38 seats. The Liberal Party is on 11, and the Nationals are on five.

I have five seats listed as undecided. Kalgoorlie is very messy and we don’t even know which candidates are the top two, so it’s not possible to conduct an indicative preference count. The preference count has barely started in Pilbara, so it’s not clear if that seat will stay with Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, or flip to Labor.

There are three seats which are conventional Liberal vs Labor races. Labor is leading with 51% after preferences in Murray-Wellington and leading by a handful of votes in Jandakot. The Liberal Party is narrowly ahead in Geraldton.

9:31pm – It’s clear that the Western Australian upper house crossbench will be very diverse – Antony’s calculator (now with errors fixed) is giving seats to One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Fluoride Free WA and the Daylight Savings Party. It seems unlikely that Labor and Greens will reach a majority, but they won’t face a solid conservative bloc with an upper house majority.

9:23pm – Since there’s some problems with the ABC’s upper house results, I’d suggest looking at Tom Clement’s Geeklections site. Tom is taking the raw election results and running many simulations based on the preference tickets, and he is currently projecting the most likely outcome of 12 Labor, 9 Liberal, 5 Nationals and 3 Greens – which would leave Labor and Greens two votes short of a majority. But Tom’s website does more, showing the chances of each party winning in each region.

9:13pm – The upper house numbers are very confusing – it appears two seats actually going to the Shooters are being credited to Daylight Savings. But it’s worth noting that both Daylight Savings and Fluoride Free are currently projected to win seats. One Nation is currently leading for only one seat.

8:57pm – We’re starting to get some small numbers in from the upper house. Antony Green’s preference calculator gives the final seats to the Shooters in Agricultural and One Nation in the South West. In both regions, the calculator gives Labor an additional seat. It also appears that Labor and the Greens could win four seats between them in the East and South Metro regions – in both regions the combined Labor/Greens vote is over four quotas in the lower house, and is sitting at a similar level in the small number of upper house votes counted so far. It also appears likely that Labor or the Greens will gain a seat in the North Metro region. If the left wins an additional seat in all six upper house regions, that would give Labor and the Greens a majority.

8:21pm – I count 14 seats Labor has gained from the Liberal Party: Balcatta, Belmont, Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Darling Range, Forrestfield, Joondalup, Morley, Mount Lawley, Perth, Southern River, Swan Hills, Wanneroo and West Swan.

Labor is also leading in Burns Beach and Geraldton, and Kalgoorlie will take days or weeks to decide.

8:10pm – It’s too early to draw any conclusions about the upper house, but it’s interesting to look at lower house votes by upper house region. One Nation is polling less than half a quota in North Metropolitan and South Metropolitan (although they wouldn’t have run in every seat). One Nation is on about 60% of a quota in the East Metro and South West regions, and about three quarters of a quota in Mining and Pastoral and Agricultural. It suggests they are likely to pick up two seats, but none of those figures are conclusive enough to call any seats.

8:03pm – It’ll be interesting to see how the swing to Labor varies across the state – there was a theory that the party was performing better in the marginal seats. I’d like to wait for more preferences to be counted and to ultimately judge on the two-party-preferred swing, but Labor has definitely gained larger primary vote swings in more marginal Liberal seats. The Labor vote is up on average by 11.7% in Liberal seats with margins under 12%, compared to 7.85% in the other Liberal seats and 10% in Labor seats.

7:47pm – The Liberal Party has suffered a massive collapse in Bunbury – the ABC currently has it on 32%.

7:41pm – Sorry, this website is struggling with the traffic now. Been meaning to make some technical updates but house-moving has gotten in the way. I was just writing something about how interesting Kalgoorlie is – we really won’t know who will come in the top two until the count is finished, with One Nation preferences deciding who out of Liberal and Nationals will go on to face Labor.

7:27pm – The trend at the moment suggests that Labor is on track to gain all of the Liberal seats held on margins of less than 11%. Labor is recording large enough swings to win in Balcatta, Belmont, Collie-Preston, Forrestfield, Kalamunda, Morley, Perth, Southern River, Swan Hills, Wanneroo and West Swan, although in some cases this is based off a single strong booth. We have no results from the other three Liberal seats held by margins of under 11% – no seat in this range has a swing small enough to allow the Liberal Party to hold on.

7:16pm – We don’t have enough booths to call them yet, but it looks likely that Peter Abetz has lost in Southern River.

7:13pm – After five booths, it looks likely that Labor has gained Balcatta (7% margin). It also appears that Forrestfield is likely to fall.

7:06pm – Let’s discuss Collie-Preston. It’s an unusual seat, with extremely pro-Labor Collie paired with other pro-Liberal towns. The redistribution redrew the seat into a notional Liberal seat, after Labor’s Mick Murray was narrowly re-elected in 2013. We don’t have many booths yet, but it appears that there has been a small swing to Labor and a large swing away from the Liberal Party, which should be enough to re-elect Murray (which would count as a Labor gain).

7:02pm – We’re seeing sizeable samples from numerous country seats which is starting to give us an idea of support for One Nation. They’re on 13.6% in Kalgoorlie, 10.6% in Central Wheatbelt, 9.2% in Collie-Preston and 9.3% in Geraldton. If the party polls around 10% across the non-metropolitan region they’ll be a contender to win seats in each region – a full quota is roughly 14.3%.

6:59pm – We’re seeing a big drop in support for the Liberal Party in Geraldton, with that vote moving to One Nation and Labor. We don’t have a preference count there, since Labor came third last time, but it could well be in play.

6:50pm – Four early booths in Kalgoorlie suggest a significant drop in the vote for both the Nationals and the Liberal Party. The Nationals hold the seat with a 4.1% margin over the Liberal Party. Sitting Nationals MP Wendy Duncan has retired, and Labor appears to be performing quite well in a seat which used to be Labor heartland.

6:45pm – Central Wheatbelt is held by the Nationals by an 8.8% margin over the Liberal Party. It appears that there has been a drop in the Liberal vote and a strengthened Nationals vote, with One Nation polling a distant second, based on six polling places.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Western Australia. I’ll be posting results updates here, as well as contributing to the Guardian’s live blog. Don’t expect much for the next half hour.

The exit polls point towards a 12% swing to Labor, which would likely give them a majority.

It’s 9pm in Sydney where I am – I expect we should have a reasonably clear idea of who is winning (or if it’s very close, we’ll know that it’ll be very close) by around 7:30 WA time, and around 9pm WA time we’ll start to see a slowing down of the lower house results and the first upper house results. I expect the results will dry up by 11pm-midnight WA time, so for those of us on the east coast it could be a late night.


WA election – one day to go

I haven’t been posting much about the Western Australian election recently, but wanted to quickly touch base on the final day of the campaign.

I was in the Guardian last Friday writing about the campaign. Since then more polls have suggested enough of a swing to Labor to tip out the Barnett government.

There are a lot of conversations taking place in the comments sections for each seat – you can join the chat for your seat, or check out the ten most recent comments in the sidebar.

I’ll be on Backchat on FBI radio in Sydney tomorrow morning at 11am (8am WA time) and will be running a liveblog here and contributing to the Guardian’s liveblog when results come in tomorrow night.

In the meantime, please use this thread to post your predictions.


WA upper house preferences – Lib/Nat alliance cracks

Western Australia still uses the group voting ticket system for its Legislative Council – the system used for the Senate until 2013. Under this system, parties submit preference orders which are pre-filled for any voters who vote for that party above the line. These preferences were announced yesterday afternoon. I won’t bother to list every preference here, although William Bowe at Poll Bludger has the order of key parties.

The big story is One Nation’s deal with the Liberal Party. The deal apparently involves One Nation preferences for the Liberal Party in the lower house (helping them in races against Labor that will decide who forms government) in exchange for Liberal preferences to One Nation ahead of all the other contenders. Antony Green has written about the insights we can glean from how preferences flowed when One Nation first emerged in 1998.

Recent polling has suggested that One Nation is a serious contender for seats, regardless of preferences. The WA upper house is malapportioned in a way which gives significantly more seats to the regional areas where One Nation gains the bulk of their votes, and current polling puts them easily on track to win seats in the three non-metropolitan upper house regions. Liberal preferences could be a boost in those regions, and a Liberal surplus could also push One Nation over the line in the Perth area, particularly in East Metropolitan.

The right-wing vote in regional areas will be split four ways between Liberal, Nationals, One Nation and the Shooters, who currently hold two seats. In these areas, preferences between the two government parties have completely broken down. The Nationals have chosen to preference the Greens over the Liberal Party and One Nation, a decision which could help the Greens maintain their hold in Mining and Pastoral and regain a seat in the South West.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers have also done well out of preferences. The Shooters have been the only successful right-wing minor party in WA since the first decline of One Nation in the mid 2000s, but their vote would be under serious threat from the revived One Nation. The Shooters are gaining preferences above any other serious contender from One Nation, the Nationals, the Liberal Democrats and the Australian Christians. The Liberal Party is also putting the Shooters second behind the lead One Nation candidate.

There is no similar fracturing on the left side of the contest – Labor and Greens preferences flow directly to each other ahead of any of their right-wing challenges.

It will be extremely difficult for the left to gain a majority in the WA upper house, due to the significant anti-urban bias. But the splitting of right-wing preferences could bring them slightly closer, and the presence of a large number of One Nation MLCs will make any right-wing upper house majority very unstable.


Nominations close for WA state election

Nominations closed yesterday for the Western Australian state election, to be held four weeks from today.

415 candidates have nominated for the lower house. Labor, Liberal and the Greens have each nominated a full team of 59 candidates. The Micro Business Party (no I hadn’t heard of them either) have nominated candidates in 46 seats, with the Australian Christians running in 45. One Nation have 35 candidates nominated.

There are 31 independents, and Julie Matheson’s party is running twenty candidates.

Interestingly the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are running nineteen candidates. The Shooters have traditionally been an upper house-only party, although they broke that trend when they ran in (and won) the Orange state by-election in New South Wales last year.

There are on average seven candidates per seat. Only four candidates are running in the seat of Vasse, while ten candidates are running in Darling Range.

A record number of candidates are running in both houses, as documented by Antony Green. Antony’s data shows that the number of lower house candidates peaked at 375 candidates in 2005 (an average of 6.6 per seat).

The number of candidates in the upper house has also increased substantially, with twice as many groups as in 2013. This was partly caused by an increase in minor parties running full tickets across all six regions, including the Australian Christians, Daylight Saving Party, Family First, Fluoride Free Western Australia, Flux, Julie Matheson, the Liberal Democrats, the Micro Business Party and One Nation. It’s worth noting that Western Australia’s upper house still uses the group voting ticket system that was abolished last year for Senate elections, allowing for the type of preference harvesting once so critical to the Senate. Each group’s voting tickets will be published on Monday afternoon.

Candidate lists have been updated on all 59 lower house profiles and all six upper house regional profiles.


Where does One Nation get its votes in WA?

The Western Australian state election, to be held in March, will be the first electoral test of One Nation since they won four seats in the Senate in last year’s federal election.

Since the party hasn’t been a significant factor in recent state elections, we can’t use past results to judge where they are likely to win seats. The only data we have is the booth results from the Senate ballot from the last federal election.

I’ve taken those results and distributed them into the state electorates used in the upcoming election.

One Nation polled 4% in the Senate in Western Australia. In comparison, the most recent state Newspoll has One Nation on 13%, and other polls have put the party at over 10%.

This map shows the vote for each state electorate:

Unsurprisingly, One Nation does better in regional areas. The ten best seats are all outside of Perth, and every seat outside of the metropolitan region saw a One Nation vote of over 4%.

This gives One Nation a significant advantage in the Legislative Council race, since votes in regional areas are worth a lot more.

Approximately three quarters of the state’s population lives in the urban area, and this population is divided into three upper house regions, represented by 18 MLCs. The remaining quarter is also represented by 18 MLCs. If their vote holds at its current levels, One Nation’s concentrated regional vote could give them a swag of seats.

This table shows the One Nation vote in each upper house region at the 2016 election, and what that vote would be if it was scaled up from 4% to 13%.

Region2016 vote (4%)2016 vote adjusted 13%
East Metropolitan3.86%12.55%
Mining and Pastoral8.31%27.01%
North Metropolitan1.99%6.47%
South Metropolitan2.94%9.56%
South West6.51%21.16%

This is an imperfect way to project support – Senate votes have limited value – but if true this would suggest that One Nation would easily win three Legislative Council seats, with a good shot at winning a seat in East Metropolitan region too.

This reflects the results of the 2001 election, when One Nation won a seat in each of the three non-metropolitan upper house regions. In Perth, One Nation polled best in the east and worst in the north, and that pattern was still true in the 2016 Senate vote.

As for the lower house, One Nation never won any seats in Western Australia at its previous peak in 2001, but did come in the top two in multiple seats, most of which were regional seats held by the Nationals.

Here is the list of the ten seats with the highest One Nation vote at the 2016 federal election:

RegionMargin2016 vote (4%)2016 vote adjusted 13%
KalgoorlieNAT 4.1% vs ALP9.75%31.69%
PilbaraNAT 11.5% vs LIB9.39%30.52%
North West CentralNAT 9.6% vs LIB8.71%28.31%
Murray-WellingtonLIB 12.0%8.57%27.85%
Collie-PrestonLIB 3.0%7.97%25.90%
MooreNAT 5.9% vs LIB7.37%23.95%
GeraldtonLIB 10.9% vs NAT7.21%23.43%
BunburyLIB 11.8%7.01%22.78%
MandurahALP 7.7%6.87%22.33%
Central WheatbeltNAT 8.8% vs LIB6.77%22.00%

If the One Nation vote is as high as recent polling has suggested, the party could poll well over 20% in a few key seats and could be a contender, depending on how preferences flow.