WA 2021 – election night

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4:38am – That’s it for this liveblog. I’ll be back later today with more considered and extensive analysis. Thanks for following along.

4:36am – About one third of the vote has been counted for the upper house so far. I assume this is the vote cast on election day, but at the moment I can’t see which booths are reporting. So things may change as the count progresses.

On current numbers Labor is projected to win 22 seats, along with six Liberals, four Nationals, two Legalise Cannabis, one Green and one Shooter.

There are a lot of seats in play, but not for Labor. Their majority is solid, and I think all 22 of those seats are probably solid. So there are questions about the remainder of the seats, but the result is locked in.

All those Labor seats are either won off a full quota or 99% of a quota on primary votes, so look pretty solid. Indeed they have a spare 0.69 of a quota in South West and 0.52 in East Metro that could turn into a 23rd or 24th seat if the vote climbs a bit.

The problem for the Greens (apart from their vote just going down a bit) is the lack of Labor preferences. Labor preferenced the Greens immediately in four regions, but that’s no good if the Labor surplus is too high and the Greens get knocked out first, or if Labor has no surplus. On current numbers has pretty much an exact quota in three regions: Agricultural, Mining and Pastoral and North Metro, although in two of those cases it would actually be the Shooters who would be first in line for Labor preferences.

In East Metro and the South West a similar scenario plays out. Legalise Cannabis picks up microparty preferences until they overtake the Greens. The Labor vote is high enough that they are still in the race at this point, and the Greens preferences elect Legalise Cannabis. If the Greens can climb ahead of Labor I think those two seats would go to the Greens, not Legalise Cannabis. There’s also a chance for the Greens to win without any help from Labor in North Metro – a slight increase in the combined Labor + Greens vote would see the second Liberal lose to the Greens.

In South Metro, the Greens are in a stronger position to win in part because Labor has about a quarter of a quota in surplus – which is handy but not enough to overtake the Greens.

The Liberal Party is currently winning no seats at all in Mining and Pastoral region, two in North Metro and one everywhere else. Three of these seats (in North Metro, South Metro and South West) are solid. The other three are off partial quotas and could be lost if the vote share shifts.

The Nationals have two solid seats in the Agricultural region, benefiting from both malapportionment and a concentrated vote. The Nationals seat in Mining and Pastoral is not solid – a relatively small swing from the Nationals to the Liberal Party could see this seat flip. In the South West region, a small drop in the Nationals vote could see their preferences instead elect the Australian Christians.

The Shooters were one of the best performers amongst the minor parties but still won their one seat in Mining and Pastoral off barely a quarter of a quota. They are polling 0.22 quotas in South West and about a third of a quota in Agricultural. They depend on a lot of other preference flows which could be disrupted by changes in the order of eliminaton. They are just behind One Nation at a key point in the count in Agricultural. I suspect if they could close that gap they would benefit from Legalise Cannabis preferences and could win.

3:45am – Just a quick update about the state of play in the lower house races. There was no reduction in the swing when the special votes were reported. If anything the swing was bigger. It now looks like a solid nine seats have fallen (eight Liberal and one National in Geraldton). There are four others in play: the Liberals are trailing in Carine, Churchlands and Nedlands. If they recover there, they will have five seats. Otherwise they could just be left with Cottesloe and Vasse. Meanwhile the Nationals are also trailing in North West Central and ahead in Warren-Blackwood. That leaves them with three other seats.

So the current count is:

  • Labor – 49 won, 4 leading, 1 trailing
  • Nationals – 3 won, 1 leading, 1 trailing
  • Liberal – 2 won, 3 trailing

I’ll be back in the next little while with a quick summary of the upper house, before some more thorough posts later in the day.

8:38pm – That’s it for now. I’ll be back in the morning with some posts and maps, and I’ll be trying to get out a podcast by the end of the day.

8:35pm – We still don’t have much in the way of actual preference counts, but the latest primary vote figures are impressive enough. Labor is sitting on 58.3% of the primary vote, which is a swing of 16.1%. The Liberal vote is down to 21.5%, along with 4.4% for the Nationals.

The Greens primary vote is down 1.3% to 7.5%, which may suggest the party may have some trouble in the upper house. It’s plausible this is about where they will end up due to Labor squeezing the Greens, but we may see some recovery once the large numbers of special votes are counted.

8:31pm – Let’s zoom out to the overall seat count. The ABC has called two seats for the Liberal Party (Cottesloe and Vasse) and three seats for the Nationals. The ABC computer has called Carine and Churchlands for Labor but I don’t think they can be called yet. The ABC also has the Nationals leading in Warren-Blackwood and trailing in North West Central. Nedlands is also still in play. This means the best case scenario for the conservative parties is that they would win five seats each, but I think it’s more likely that the Nationals will win four seats, and the Liberals will win three or four seats.

8:27pm – I’m going to go to bed soon and instead come back with a thorough analysis tomorrow morning. We don’t yet have any upper house figures but the Labor vote is high enough to give them a chance of winning four seats in a number of regions.

When I’m back tomorrow morning I will post some maps showing the scale of the swing (once we have more complete figures) and also put together analysis of the interim upper house results.

8:08pm – The results so far are surprisingly uniform. It appears that they have lost every seat on a margin of 8.2% or less. Their two seats on 10-12% (Carine and Churchlands) are too close to call, while the two seats held by margins of 14-15% (Cottesloe and Vasse) look like they will stay in Liberal hands.

8:06pm – Churchlands looks close but at the moment I would slightly tip the Liberal Party. The Labor primary vote is up by 17% to 38.2%, while the Liberal vote is down to 45.5%.

8:05pm – Worth noting that Labor is also in an election-winning position in Carine, with 40% of the primary vote off two booths. This would likely translate into a very narrow win, so I wouldn’t call it yet.

7:29pm – Labor is looking very good in South Perth too. So Labor is leading in all nine Liberal seats held by a margin under 10%, plus Geraldton.

7:12pm – Let’s look at Nationals seats. The first booth in North West Central has seen the Labor vote up 30% and the Nationals vote down almost 20% (plus a 4% swing against the Liberal). Too early to say but could fall. Roe and Central Wheatbelt look safe. No data from Warren-Blackwood or Moore.

7:06pm – Labor also leading on small samples in Hillarys and Scarborough. Which means the Liberal Party is trailing in every seat held by a margin of less than 10% (although we have no data from South Perth).

7:04pm – Finally some good news from the three safest Liberal seats of Cottesloe, Churchlands and Vasse. There are swings to Labor in these seats, but they don’t look to be enough to tip out the Liberal MPs. We don’t have data for Carine, so we could well see the Liberal team reduced to four seats if they don’t recover in any of the more marginal seats.

7:02pm – The Liberal Party holds Bateman by an 8.2% margin. Off four booths, the Labor primary vote is up 18% to 47%.

7:00pm – I’ve been moving up the pendulum. We have no data from Hillarys or South Perth, and just one tiny booth in Scarborough, but there is not one seat held by a margin of less than 8% where the Liberal candidate is on track to win.

6:59pm – In Nedlands, which has an 8.1% margin for the Liberal Party, on three booths Labor is leading the Liberal candidate on primary votes, but there’s a sizeable vote for an independent.

6:58pm – In Kalgoorlie, which the Liberal Party holds by a 6.2% margin, the Labor vote is up by 26.3% off four booths.

6:57pm – In Darling Range, where Labor won in 2017 before losing the 2018 by-election, the Labor primary vote is up by about 9% compared to the 2017 victory, with four booths reporting. Looks like a Labor gain or retain, depending on how you define it.

6:55pm – We have about six booths reporting primary votes from Geraldton, and Labor is up by about 18%, putting the Labor candidate well over 50%. Looks like a Labor gain.

6:52pm – Labor is leading in Riverton on primary votes, which is currently a Liberal seat with a 4.4% margin. There’s also a 14.4% swing to the Labor candidate in the first booth to report in Zak Kirkup’s seat of Dawesville.

6:42pm – Antony Green has called the election. He is seeing double-digit two-party-preferred swings in urban seats and a smaller swing in regional areas.

6pm – Polls have just closed in Western Australia, in an election which has seen a record number of voters choose to vote early and is expected to produce a landslide victory for the McGowan Labor government. I’ll be following the results as they come in, so don’t go anywhere.

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