NSW 2019 – the results map for the north coast


Lismore has turned out to be one of Labor’s only gains at the recent state election. Labor outpolled the Greens on primary votes by 1.42%, which is expected to be enough to hold on after preferences, producing a two-party-preferred outcome of 51.5%.

The neighbouring seat of Ballina was also interesting, although it didn’t end up being close. Greens MP Tamara Smith increased her margin to 5%, thanks to a 1.8% swing.

I thought I would bring these two together on a map. The primary layer of the map shows the two-candidate-preferred vote in each seat (Labor in red, Greens in green, Nationals in blue). You can toggle to see the swings.

Firstly in Lismore, Labor’s win was entirely based on the Lismore council area, winning a majority in every booth in the Lismore urban centre, but not by a huge amount. This city makes up a majority of the seat’s population, so it’s not surprising it would look like this. The Nationals won a scattering of rural booths across the electorate, but there would be a quite a lot of Nationals voters in those light-red Lismore-area booths.

Tamara Smith in Ballina gained ground across the seat, but gained the most ground in the towns of Ballina and Brunswick Heads. The Greens appear to have hit a ceiling in the Byron Bay area, where the Nationals gained a small swing in two booths.

Smith still loses a number of the booths in Ballina Shire, with the Nationals still easily winning in the Alstonville area.

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  1. Ballina is a perfect example of how the right wing mainstream media’s blatant propaganda campaigns predicting the collapse of the Greens – in particular the NSW Greens in this case – should never be believed. Everyone was writing Smith off and saying that because CSG wasn’t a headline issue anymore that she was finished. The reality is now there for all to see. The voters in Ballina (of which I am one) are quite happy being represented by Tamara and the Greens thank you very much. She’s been a great local MP who hasn’t taken the seat for granted as it has been previously.

    What interests me most now is what this could possibly mean for the overlapping federal seat of Richmond. When Dawn Walker ran here at the last election before moving to the upper house she won a large swing for the Greens, put them within realistic striking distance of overtaking Labor and moving into 2nd within one electoral cycle, and at the same time saved the seat from falling to the Nationals (Labor’s Justine Elliott suffered a swing against her and would have lost the seat without the Greens’ preferences). I think that result, combined with the last two NSW election results in Ballina, points to a looming cliffhanger in Richmond. It’s definitely a three way contest now and will be one of those seats that will be fascinating to watch on election night.

  2. I should also add that, unlike the Labor and Nats candidates for Ballina who were considered to be relatively moderate compared with many others in their parties, Richmond MP Justine Elliott is part of the Labor Right faction and is rather conservative as far as Labor MPs go. This puts Elliot at a massive disadvantage in an area that is only becoming more left wing and progressive as time goes by. Elliott is also one of those little known major party backbenchers who hasn’t really made much of an impact in politics. To be fair, she has held Richmond for a long time which does help her local profile, but that could also be a huge negative if people decide that it’s time for someone new after 15 years.

    Who the Nats will run in Richmond and how they go is anyone’s guess. In Ballina they had a shocker, while in Tweed (which is also part of Richmond) they did ok. I don’t see them picking up anywhere near enough votes, if any, to get a majority on in the TPP count. They’ll probably still finish first on primary votes but should be well short of 50% +1 when preferences are distributed.

  3. Can you please do an analysis of the north coast seat of Clarence. Clarence and Lismore make up the bulk of the Federal seat of Page. Are there any conclusions or predictions you can make about the widely different result in Lismore and Clarence for the Page electorate in the Federal election?

  4. Getting quite desperate by calling this a good things for the greens, it’s a very different kettle of fish and if the Greens don’t do well in this seat, it’s game over.

    The ALP today ensure with their policy announcements that they will no doubt get the greens preferences as is the norm but in many seats will take away the primary vote from them, will be an interesting test this coming election, may well result in a change of leadership.

  5. The trouble for the Greens in Richmond is of course the state seat of Tweed where they had no improvement and makes up half the seat.

    But I would certainly be tipping Richmond to be in play in 2022 assuming Labor wins majority this May. Labor’s climate/environment platform announced today at first look appears to be a step BACK from what the Gillard government implemented which could leave 2010 style Labor to Green swings within the realm of possibility.

  6. Yep, there’s no doubt that the town of Tweed Heads itself is quite different from the southern part of Richmond. It’s amazing how quickly the political landscape changes in the space of a few minutes drive up or down the Pacific Highway. Tweed Heads votes very much inline with the Gold Coast, which isn’t really surprising since it’s practically a suburb of the GC. The only real difference is that the Nats run in northern NSW instead of the Liberals/LNP, which isn’t really much of a difference at all. What encourages me though from a Greens perspective is the apparent improvement in the Greens’ vote in the town of Ballina. As a town with a large number of elderly people (there are many aged care homes there) it doesn’t strike you as a place that would be turning Greener, but it is. The lived experience of having Tamara Smith as their MP may have helped show some voters there that the Greens aren’t the terrible party that the mainstream media often makes them out to be. People might also like the fact that they aren’t represented by either of the major parties. Even if the Greens aren’t their cup of tea they can see that they aren’t just taking the seat for granted. The increase in the Greens’ vote in Ballina may help to make up for their lack of support in Tweed Heads. It also needs to be remembered that the Greens actually don’t have to beat the Nats on primaries. It’s very similar to Melbourne Ports (I’ve forgotten it’s new name). The Coalition finishes ahead on primaries but doesn’t win because the combined Labor and Green vote is too strong. And while she’s nowhere near as bad as Danby, Elliott is from the same Labor Right faction as he is while representing a very left leaning area, just as Danby did until he saw the writing on the wall and fled for the exits before he was inevitably booted out. The Greens only need to overtake Labor and move into second in order to win Richmond. Tweed Heads voting for the Nats has not been enough to stop Labor from winning from second, so I don’t see why it would stop the Greens from winning from second either.

  7. Mark, how is it getting desperate to say that the Greens winning a seat that nobody tipped them to retain is a good thing for them? It’s just not. The Nats in particular were talking a big game before the NSW election saying they were confidant of winning Ballina back. They failed miserably, despite throwing the kitchen sink at the seat in terms of promises. Labor on the other hand were going on about how the NSW Greens were going to die or split in two or whatever their talking point was for the day. Again, their spin and propaganda wasn’t backed up by what happened on election day. The lesson: underestimate the Greens at your peril. Right wingers from Labor and the Coalition have literally been predicting the demise of the Greens for decades. It’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

  8. Oh and Mark, Labor releasing a half baked policy of 50% electric cars by 2030 is hardly going to win over many Green voters considering it’s actually a Greens’ policy, well half of it anyway. The Greens’ policy anounced last year is for 100% of new cars to electric by 2030. All Labor has achieved today was announcing a policy that’s only going to do half the job. Just as
    they did with marriage equality, a federal ICAC, a banking royal commission, the carbon price, negative gearing, etc… Labor is lagging well behind the Greens, as usual.

    Greens’ EV policy announcement last year: https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-13/ban-sale-of-cars-and-petrol-by-2030-greens/9541612

  9. Oh dear what a Green day it is. 100% electric cr is ‘doing the whole job’??? really? That wouldn’t be Black-and-white, dialectic thinking would it? And yes, Green will prefer labor as it a result because the Collision offer nothing on electric cars, and are killing the Murray-Darling and Gt Barrier reef.

  10. The Greens notably failed to break through into Ballina council even after Tamara Smith got elected , and they didn’t crack 20% in the Ballina booths in Richmond 2016.

    I don’t think the Greens brand means much outside the hippy towns, but Tamara Smith earned her sophomore surge. I think she would have been reelected even if she ran as an independent.

  11. John, as someone who actually lives in the Ballina electorate, let me assure you that the Greens’ brand is extremely strong here. My town is definitely not one of the “hippy towns” yet the Greens easily won the most first preferences here. People here like the Greens because it’s a very environmentally conscious area and also because they’re sick of being taken for granted by Labor and especially the Nats. Smith is extremely popular around here and even people who don’t vote for the Greens recognise that she’s been a very hard working local MP who has actually taken the seat seriously.

    McDougall, you seem to be suggesting that the Greens’ policy of 100% EVs by 2030 is not doing the whole job. What does that say about Labor’s half baked policy of 50%? Oh and Labor doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the environment considering Adani is happening on the watch of the QLD Labor government. Being not quite as bad as the Coalition is no reason to vote for Labor when there are far better alternatives, such as the Greens.

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