Late counting – day two


I’ll be posting a ‘late counting’ summary post at the end of each day.

At the moment there are five seats which are worth tracking. Three are close races between Labor and Liberal: East Hills in southern Sydney, and Gosford and the Entrance on the central coast. The other two are National/Greens races in northern NSW: Lismore and Ballina.

Unfortunately this has taken me a while to work on, so at this point I’ve only produced analysis for East Hills, Gosford and Lismore, and will add in The Entrance and Ballina tomorrow morning and include them in future analyses.

Currently my projections result in the Liberal Party’s lead in East Hills to narrow to about 160 votes, and to end up 439 votes ahead in Gosford, where Labor is currently leading.

Elsewhere: Antony Green analyses Ballina and Lismore and explains technical issues with his website, and Kevin Bonham’s analysis of the Lismore count.

East Hills

Counted so far15,16249.43%15,51450.57%2,425

So far in East Hills, we have two-party-preferred votes only for election-day ordinary votes.

In addition, just under 3000 iVotes, 2500 postal votes and 5,561 pre-poll votes have been counted for primary votes, but not for two-party-preferred. It seems that all iVotes and pre-poll votes have been counted, but I estimate an additional 1000 postal votes.

In addition, I’m estimating an additional 400 declared institution, new enrolment and provisional/silent votes, and approximately 3800 absentee votes (based on the 2011 results).

If that’s the case, I’ve then projected that the Liberal lead will narrow from 352 votes to 161 votes.

Considering all of this, Labor could well still win this seat, if the remaining votes favour Labor more strongly than the projection assumes.


Counted so far14,22850.58%13,90049.42%2,944

We have two-party-preferred votes in Gosford for all election-day ordinary votes, as well as the Sydney Town Hall pre-poll. We have primary votes, but not 2PP votes, for the Gosford pre-poll, the Terrigal pre-poll, declared institutions, iVotes and 1700 postal votes.

I’m expecting another 1700 postal votes, and a lot of prepoll votes at Woy Woy (I’m estimating 5500) and about 3600 absentee votes.

At the moment, Labor candidate Kathy Smith is leading by 328 votes, but I expect Liberal MP Chris Holstein to take the lead by 439 votes by the end of the count.

I expect that the Liberal Party will be advantaged by about 600 votes when preferences are distributed for the pre-poll, postal and iVotes counted so far. The Liberal Party is leading Labor by about 900 primary votes for this batch, so this sounds about right.

I then expect Holstein to gain another 160 votes with the remaining postal and pre-poll votes, and when absentee votes are included.


Counted so far17,66142.02%11,30326.89%10,85925.84%
Projected 2CP22,04449.16%22,79750.84%

There’s been a lot of confusion today about the race in Lismore.

It’s now clear that the NSW Electoral Commission will not be conducting corrected two-candidate-preferred counts in Lismore and neighbouring Ballina, which would probably clarify how close these two seats are. The NSWEC chose to conduct a count on election night between the major parties, despite the Greens outpolling Labor in 2011. That’s always a hard choice to make, but it’s frustrating that the Electoral Commission is proceeding directly to the check count, particularly since the Easter break will delay the final result until well into next week.

Unlike in the past, the NSWEC will for the first time be using a similar technique for lower house counts as they have used for years for the Legislative Council: all ballots will be data-entered into a computer system, and the distribution of preferences will be calculated by “pushing the button”. With a break for the Easter long weekend, we expect these processes to be finished in the middle of next week.

In addition, more confusion was sown by technical problems with the ABC Elections system, which switched back to a Nationals/Labor count. This will be corrected tomorrow morning.

In today’s counting, the Greens lead over Labor has narrowed, while the Nationals have extended their primary vote lead substantially. We now have all election-day votes and iVotes, as well as pre-poll votes from Kyogle, Lismore, Murwillumbah and Sydney Town Hall, and just under 900 postal votes.

We should expect to see about 3600 absentee votes, about 1600 pre-poll votes from Tenterfield, another 1600 postal votes and some small bundles of other votes.

After adding all these votes to the projection, there’s very little change to current percentages. The Nationals go up slightly, and Greens and Labor go down slightly. At this point, the Greens will be about 0.9% ahead of Labor, and should stay in the count.

The second big question is whether sufficient preferences will flow to the Greens to win them the seat.

The experience of the count in Prahran in 2014 suggests that the preference flow from Greens and minors to Labor is about the same as from Labor and minors to the Greens in a three-cornered contest. If anything, the Greens benefit slightly more from Labor preferences.

On election night, Labor was gaining 62% of Greens and other preferences, with the Nationals gaining 8% and 30% exhausting. If you apply that formula to the projected count (which is very similar to the current count), you get the Greens winning by 753 votes, or 50.84%.

Of course, it is hard to know whether preferences will flow this way. Lismore is a very different seat to Prahran, and Labor preferences may not flow as strongly (although Antony pointed out a similar preference split in Noosa in the recent Queensland state election). On the other hand, Labor ran strongly on encouraging voters to number every box, and those votes are unlikely to have flowed to the Nationals. Hopefully in coming days we will be able to gather information from scrutineers about actual preference flows to the Greens and Nationals, as we will be waiting until the middle of next week to have this question answered.

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  1. Thank you for the up date. Its not the news I was hoping for. I only have myself to blame I because i failed to go out and campaign against Holstein. On Saturday. I with a bit more effort I’m sure I could have influenced a few hundred more voters to put Holstein last. Edward James on the long paddock.

  2. Re: east hills…Ben have your projections above factored in that the Libs have the sitting member this time?
    Re: Lismore…Labour voters in Lismore would surely be a very different mix to Labour voters in Prahran or Noosa. The differences between the Labour and green voter demographics will also be greater so I don’t see any reason to reverse correlate the alp preference flows to that of the greens.

  3. The sitting member factor in East Hills is not relevant – we’re looking at actual votes flowing at the moment.

    I have heard from scrutineers that Labor votes are breaking in a similar way to the numbers I used.

  4. Lismore is a pretty unique place. I wouldn’t put it in the same basket as a lot of other country seats.

    Worth noting that Labor’s candidate for Lismore, Isaac Smith, conceeded yesterday.

  5. Sorry I’ve been busy & haven’t had a chance to check up on the progress of the Lismore count so I’m glad Ben has been on the case. I saw a message where it was being suggested there was only a 40% flow of Labor preferences to the Greens but I haven’t had a chance to verify if the basis of that was actual scrutineering. I’d expect Ben’s info sounds more reliable. Labor actually seem to be getting close to the Greens, presumably the Greens will stay in 2nd but Tenterfield prepoll will probably favour Labor, not sure about the rest but wouldn’t be surprised if absentees don’t favour the Greens as comparatively strongly as usual given that voters outside of the seat may not have felt the same protest vote urge.

  6. Ben when you have finished your great work here The ACT draft boundaries for the new five electorate system have just been released. I am sure you will find something of interest there.

  7. Re: East Hills: a local member whose been (presumably) working the community for four years should, all other things being equal, get a higher percentage of green an independent preferences than the unknown party candidate he was last time. Am i missing something here?

  8. At 11am this morning, Lismore looks like this:

    Grn Nat Lab
    Ordinary 29.2% 1.0% 39.8% 25.7% 2.8% 1.5%
    Prepoll 20.0% 1.0% 48.7% 26.1% 2.9% 1.2%

    Total 26.6% 1.0% 42.3% 25.9% 2.8% 1.4%

    Looks like Lab might overtake Greens – and the Nat’s primary position is looking stronger

  9. In Lismore the ALP doubled its vote almost exclusively at the expense of the Nat’s. It is unlikely therefore that those new ALP voters will follow party discipline on preferencing. Subsequently it is likely that the ALP prefs will flow at less than the 60% needed to get The Greens across the line. If the ALP edges ahead in the primary vote they are more likely to get across because the Greens preference flows are more disciplined :-/

  10. Actually the experience from Prahran is that Labor voters are more disciplined than the Greens, and preference more strongly. Noosa 2015 also suggests that a sufficient preference flow is possible. I was speaking to a scrutineer this morning and just looking at the very poor Tenterfield pre-poll booth they were getting about the preference flow the Greens need to win.

  11. Exhausted votes will be interesting to analyse in Gosford. Jake Cassar, independent, had an open ticket. I heard one of his very few booth workers say, Vote 1 Jake, choose your own preferences, but there was a lot of discussion on local facebook about only voting 1 for Jake and exhausting. Jake was pretty adamant he wasn’t a “life support system for a dysfunctional party [Labor]” but if more of his votes exhaust than Holstein wins by, then he has in effect acted as a life support system for an unpopular local Liberal MP.

  12. Day 3, the Liberals appear to have claimed East Hills. The Nats are just ahead in Lismore by 252 votes against the Greens – they should hold on.

    However, its on the Central Coast where its getting exciting. In The Entrance, the ALP candidate is ahead by 163 votes or 50.2% 2PP. Bear in mind, that there is no advantage to either side here.

    In Gosford, the ALP is ahead by just 37 votes and its here in Gosford that you have a sitting member factor.

    Figures are at 7pm 31/3/15.

  13. Whole I’m wondering how the vote will pan out in the seat of Gosford. My thoughts turn to disputing the legality of some candaites campaigns Has there ever been a value in terms of votes ascribed to core flutes illegally nailed to power poles? Many people will recall Mr Vince Graham CEO of Networks NSW made it quite clear he would bill the owners of any core flutes found on poles, fifty dollars for each core flute his employees have to remove. Edward James on the long paddock.

  14. I just noticed Greens Kate da Kosta has posted a comment. What a shame when after watching Frackman at local Avoca picture show last week. I asked Gosford Greens councilor Morris if she would help me. Her responce was NO! You are supporting Labor. Well Kate when you write about life support systems. Keep in mind just how many politicians fall by the way side because they are willfully blind! Edward James on the long paddock. 0419357337

  15. Doug. People were warned by Ray Hadley well before the 28 of March about handing out for the colourful Peter Jones. It seems he may have betrayed the trust of those who manned polling booths in NSW. There has been a radio call out for anyone who knows the NLT Bega candiate reported to be a chef working in Sydney to call in. Are we watching another election turn into a political circus. Edward James on the long paddock

  16. Update from the ABC on Gosford – Holstein is now ahead by 5 votes! This seat could be decided by a double digit result

  17. I must be missing something here, but what’s the big deal about the No Land Tax candidates?

    Plenty of parties run token candidates with no connection to the seat they’re contesting, and no interest in running an active campaign….even major parties have done this in their opponents’ safe seats.

  18. Even major party paper candidates you get a photo and know a little bit about them. Almost every No Land Tax candidate is completely anonymous.

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