Fadden by-election live


11:31 – I’m finished for the night. We are still waiting for the two-party-preferred figures from Helensvale pre-poll centre and otherwise have all the results we’d expect tonight. The 2PP swing is sitting on 1.7% at the moment. Really quite modest.

I probably won’t be preparing any more content on Fadden but stay tuned for more election coverage soon. I’ve got another podcast lined up two weeks from now, and will be posting the first part of my federal election guide in the next few weeks. And I’ll be sure to update my federal by-election dataset to include Aston and Fadden once the Fadden results are finalised.

Thanks for tuning in.

10:53 – We might get slightly more results tonight but we’re getting close to the end so I thought I would wrap up the race.

At the moment, the swing to the LNP is sitting on 1.6%, but that may well change as the remaining votes are counted.

I don’t think the result is particularly remarkable, although I expect there will be attempts to swing it in both directions. Governments generally don’t do well in opposition by-elections, and a modest swing in the other direction is nothing to write home about.

The other story of interest is the Legalise Cannabis result. They are currently sitting on 7.88%, with the Greens down 4.1% to 6.4%.

That has been largely interpreted as Legalise Cannabis taking votes off the Greens, and I’m sure that’s partly true but I’m sure there are votes moving all over the place. Legalise Cannabis did not run for Fadden in 2022, but the party didn’t do this well in the seat for the Senate in 2022, so it does seem like a good result.

It seems like another chapter in the story of the emergence of minor parties of the left in general and Legalise Cannabis in particular challenging territory that the Greens once had to themselves.

Legalise Cannabis has already won seats to upper houses in three states and were the best-polling parties to not win a seat at the 2022 federal election.

I think there may be a story about seats like Fadden being better suited to a different type of left minor party than the Greens. I don’t think the Greens need to worry much about these other minor parties in their heartland areas, but I don’t think the competition is about to go away.

10:21 – The results for tonight are petering out, but I’ve got a map here showing the two-candidate-preferred swing and percentage. It shows really clearly where the swing was most heavily concentrated.

10:17 – In my by-election guide, I divided up Fadden into four sub-areas: centra, north, south and west.

The LNP has gained swings of over 3% in the north and centre, but only gained 1.1% in the west and actually lost ground at the southern end of the seat.

There was also a notable increase in turnout on election day compared to 2022, although it’s not clear to me if this will be enough to outweigh the drop in early voting turnout.

The pre-poll swing and turnout change is calculated just on the booths reported so far.

Voter group LNP swing Turnout change
North 3.2 20.8
Central 3.8 13.3
West 1.1 21.4
South -0.4 -13.4
Pre-poll 4.7 -25.0

9:50 – My map is not quite ready to post because there’s one booth that hasn’t yet reported, but there is a clear regional variation. Labor gained swings in the sparsely-populated northern end of the seat, while the biggest swings to the LNP were around Coomera. Swings to the LNP were smaller in the south.

9:32 – Most of the election day booths have now reported, and we’re starting to get some pre-poll booths on the primary votes. The picture is still fairly consistent.

8:14 – With sixteen booths reporting 2PP figures, the swing to the LNP is now 2.8%. I’m sure there will be a lot of spinning and counterspinning about how terrible this is for every party but a swing of this magnitude seems very unremarkable.

7:43 – There’s not a lot to report right now, to be honest. LNP win, check. Swing to LNP looks fairly certain, it will be interesting to see how big that swing is, and once the booths are all in I’ll knock up some maps. Apart from that, most of the interesting stories are about the minor candidates. The Greens are currently in a distant fifth.

7:29 – We now have primary votes for eleven booths, and the LNP has gained a positive swing in eight of them. Labor has gained a positive swing in six booths. This is still consistent with a small swing to the LNP.

7:22 – We now have four 2PP booths, and overall the swing is 1.1% to the LNP. The LNP has gained swings in every booth so far.

7:16 – There’s something strange going on with the AEC’s reporting of two-party-preferred votes on the public website, but according to the media feed we have two booths reporting, and a swing overall of 0.9% to the LNP.

7:13 – We now have four booths reporting primary votes, and we now have a 4.4% swing to the LNP on primary votes, and a small swing against Labor. Legalise Cannabis and One Nation remain well ahead of the Greens.

6:59 – We now have a more substantial booth in Studio Village. The LNP has polled 34.4%, which is a slight swing against them. Probably more interesting is that Legalise Cannabis polled 11%, and outpolled the Greens, who dropped from 15.5% to 7.5%. One Nation also polled 13.7%.

6:43 – I’m a bit busy adding the AEC’s estimates of the last-election 2PP numbers by booth, but we have one small booth (Alberton) in – the LNP is leading on almost 50% of the primary vote, with Labor and One Nation tied for second and Legalise Cannabis fourth. From a swing perspective, however, that’s a swing to all of those parties, so doesn’t tell us much.

6:20 – Fadden covers the northern end of the Gold Coast and was previously held by former minister Stuart Robert. The LNP holds the seat by a 10.6% margin. The by-election is being contested by thirteen candidates including Labor. It has been historically unusual for a government to contest an opposition by-election but three of the last four have been contested by both major parties, with Labor gaining Aston earlier this year and the then-Coalition government almost winning the Labor seat of Eden-Monaro in 2020.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in the Fadden by-election. I’ll be covering the results as they come in tonight, so stay tuned.

If you want something to read while we wait for early results, you can check out my by-election guide.

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  1. Impressive showing from ONP so far in Alberton but this also happens to be one of their strongest booths.

  2. Presence of the Legalise Cannabis Party has seemingly put a dent in the Greens so far. The absence of UAP has bode well for ONP.

  3. pimpama east booth is a bad result for labor on primaries. would’ve thought this area would be better for the government so that’s interesting

  4. Results are pretty good for Peter Dutton, a projected 3% swing towards the LNP. Given the thumping the Libs got in Aston, this for sure would be something very positive for them.

  5. Labor down on primaries is not a good look. How much effort did the Greens put in? Or are they planning to keep to their inner Brisbane knitting?

  6. Can read nothing from this. Labor cannot win less seats in qld. The Albanese government is on track for re election. If Labor had won on got a huge swing here it would have meant something.

  7. It’s saying something Legalise Cannabis has more votes than the Greens have. One Nation have also done quite well but it’s most likely due to the absence of the UAP.

  8. i’ve heard that the greens left most of the booths unmanned. without a senate seat to play for they’ve presumably got no incentive to put even the bare minimum effort in. nonetheless they should be concerned that half their vote evaporates as soon as legalise cannabis decide to put up a deposit. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, the greens massively underrate interest in prohibition reform.

  9. LNP treated Fadden as a marginal seat and even celebrated their victory as if they’d held a marginal seat. The absence of UAP surely has helped boost the LNP’s and One Nation’s primary votes. Labor treated it as a safe seat. Considering the federal opinion polling in QLD, Labor’s result was far from stellar.

    Legalise Cannabis was a bit of surprise. I think this is the first time LC have beat the Greens. The Greens have solid competition from niche parties e.g. LC, Sustainable Australia, Animal Justice. I’m not sure whether the Greens are crumbling in support or they couldn’t be bothered with Fadden or they’re consolidating their long-term efforts in winnable seats.

  10. While the LNP has retained the seat they can’t be entirely happy with such a small swing towards them. One would expect a much larger swing if Labor was seen to be on the nose by electors.

  11. I would love insights as to how on earth the LNP got a swing here despite the national polling, was it the voice being unpopular or the QLD governments unpopularity??

    I reject the “there’s usually swings away from gov at by” because of Aston and usually the government faces swings away at by-elections when they are struggling in the polls not when they are miles ahead.

    Eden Monaro, Aston, Griffith are all examples that SWUNG to the government of the day.

  12. Greens used to take every by-election seriously as a chance to raise awareness – they’d do a full social media run of their by-election candidate and would try to staff all the booths. They’d also get the occasional win.

    I guess at some point they stopped bothering. The Greens local group in Aston barely mentioned the candidate there, let alone Victorian and Australian Greens. Greens preselected very late in Fadden and the Gold Coast Greens volunteers have been focusing on Tweed. The fact none of the Greens by-election gains retained their seats would be a contributor, as would the fallout from not winning the winnable 2018 by-election.

    Furtive it’s right – the Greens aren’t going to go far if their vote collapses whenever literally any non right wing micro party or teal independent is running. They’re focusing on renters rights and housing, which is an issue that could potentially get them a majority of voters in some winnable seats, and they’re doing long term campaigning on that basis. But in the meantime they are doing very little to promote their work to legalise Cannabis (David Shoebridge put a bill to parliament) and for example missed the opportunity to present legalisation bills to the 3 state parliament’s where LC don’t have any seats.

    Still there is a fairly good case that if it’s not a winnable seat, of power and you want to send a message with your vote, a 1 vote for legalise Cannabis is a simpler and clearer message than a Green vote. The Greens tell people all the time to vote Green to send a message then preference Labor so it’s a bit rich to be upset when they’re outdone on that basis.

    At any rate Fadden is no big deal. If it still happens in Warrandyte where Greens could potentially win then there’s a very big problem.

    Greens should also worry about the next ACT and Tasmanian elections where Legalise Cannabis could get a chunk of their votes that don’t come back to Greens (though I understand the ACT has done as much as it legally can as a territory to legalise Cannabis). They mustn’t be too happy about the return of Jeremy Buckingham in NSW, which you can’t blame GVTs for, and that bodes poorly for SA and the new magnitude 37 WA upper house.

  13. @Daniel T: I think the most likely reason for the swing towards the LNP in Fadden is that Stuart Robert’s personal vote across the electorate was almost zero, in fact, even negative among some lifelong LNP voters. Journalist Mackenzie Colahan said on an ABC interview yesterday the vast majority of Fadden voters didn’t know who Stuart Robert was and he had to speak to around 10 or maybe even 15 people to find a local who have even heard of Stuart Robert. He also said he had spoken to some lifelong Fadden LNP voters who couldn’t vote LNP in the 2022 federal election because of Stuart Robert. Lack of the retiring MP’s personal vote is what makes Fadden different from Eden Monaro, Aston and Griffith, although in the case of Aston the swing towards Labor had less to do with loss of Alan Tudge’s personal vote and more to do with dissatisfaction with the state and federal Liberal parties. The QLD government’s unpopularity might have also played a role.

  14. I get the sense that Labor wouldn’t have even bothered running unless they felt they were a real chance to at least cause rumblings for the LNP: get a swing to them, generate some bad headlines for Dutton, boost the Labor brand locally for the state government, etc…..

    So in that context, they’d probably be disappointed with this result.

  15. Embarrassing result for labor and the greens. So much copium trying to justify a poor result in a seat with a retiring member.

  16. Legalise Cannabis finishing ahead of the Greens is saying something. I understand most of their voters are simply just people who really want to legalise recreational cannabis usage (to be clear I am highly supportive of medicinal marijuana, which is already legal nationwide, but not recreational use which is only legal in the ACT in Australia). I also get that the Greens are the “leftist, inner-city, woke greenie party” in the words of most of us (me included). Being raised in a conservative regional part of NSW and holding Coalition views I get that the Greens are poor outside the inner-city and hippie areas like Byron Bay, and I’m not surprised One Nation and informal votes outpolled the Greens (that happens in regional areas quite often, note that I’m also calling regional cities like the Gold Coast and anywhere outside the capital cities “regional” for the sake of making a point), but Legalise Cannabis?

    Legalise Cannabis is a bit of a weird party; they obviously support legalising weed but it seems that they mix the policies of the Greens and the cooker/freedom movement (e.g opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates), as well as some other weird stuff like supporting alternative medicine, etc. They really don’t have many other policies and are therefore considered a single-issue party. However, they are rising in popularity nationwide, mostly on the state level but even federally. At the 2022 federal election, they got over half a million votes in the Senate in total (precisely 3.33% of the vote), only just behind the UAP (who got 3.46%). They finished sixth nationwide and in NSW and Tasmania, fifth in Victoria, Queensland, WA and the NT, seventh in South Australia and the ACT. Despite this, they did much worse in the House of Representatives, only getting just over 6,000 votes. They now also have a seat in the NSW upper house and two each in the Victorian and WA upper houses, although they did not win a seat in the SA upper house, although they did poll over 2%. They also apparently have two councillors elected to the Rockingham City Council. They seem to perform much better in upper houses than in lower houses. This trend seems to have only started to kick off in recent years (i.e beginning in 2021, as somewhat evidenced by the fact that they got less than 1% of the vote at the 2020 Queensland state election). They also have a candidate in the Rockingham state by-election which is coming up later this month.

    It seems they have started some sort of trend, similar to parties like One Nation (which is sort of re-starting a late 1990s/early 2000s trend and now has two Senators, three NSW upper house seats, a Victorian upper house seat, a Queensland lower house seat and a SA upper house seat), the Liberal Democrats (who now have one upper house seat each in the NSW and Victorian upper houses) and of course the teals (though the teals seem to be much less successful on the state level, having only one seat in NSW and none in Victoria on the state level because voters in state seats that are in federal teal seats (some examples include Manly, Pittwater and Vaucluse in Sydney and Hawthorn and Kew in Melbourne) seem to keep voting Liberal and not for teals, I assume Cottesloe and likely Liberal gains in Churchlands, Nedlands, etc will be the same in 2025 in WA despite being those three seats I just mentioned are all at least partially located in the federal seat of Curtin, the only teal seat in Perth; I also assume the same thing for Clark in Tasmania on the state level or maybe Clark will vote Labor again).

    What do you guys think?

  17. Legalise Cannabis have been around for quite a while, but they only started to have any success when they changed their name from the less straightforward Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) in mid-2020.

    They’re a single issue party and have all the obvious problems and inconsistencies you’d expect from that, with no meaningful ideological line beyond their single issue. The WA MLCs are anti-vaxxers into a wide range of right-wing conspiracy theories, the Vic MLCs are pretty normal left-libertarian types (one is Fiona Patten’s former chief of staff, the other seems to be teal-ish in outlook?) and in NSW their MLC is Buckingham, an ex-Green. It might make for some strange scenes if candidates from the right and left of the party ever get elected to the same parliament.

    The main reason they’ve done much worse in lower houses than upper houses is they don’t tend to run in many seats in the lower houses. If you look at only the seats they have run in, it’s much more in line with their upper house results in general. They will probably continue to win seats in state upper houses, and may have a chance at a QLD Senate seat in the future if things align for them. If parliament is expanded, which seems reasonably likely within the next few elections, then that would mean they would be very likely to win a QLD Senate seat. A double dissolution would also make them very likely to win at least a QLD senate seat, and maybe one elsewhere too.

  18. I’m not sure you can say that the LC vote is naturally higher in QLD than in other states based on a single federal election cycle. They had a very good ballot position on the QLD Senate ballot. I suspect if we look at ballot order and LC vote at the Senate, VIC LC and WA LC elections, you’ll find a strong relationship, but I haven’t had a chance yet.

  19. There does seem to be a correlation, but more at the Vic election than the federal election – they also had fairly good senate ballot positions in Vic and Tas (5th) but it didn’t help anywhere near as much as Qld’s 3rd. There doesn’t seem to be very much of a correlation at the WA election.

    Getting another good ballot position would definitely be part of ‘if things align for them’, but I also think Queensland is probably their best chance of a senate seat in general. It seems possible they could slip through to a victory with a bit of luck & probably more resources, with there being a generally higher & often fairly volatile minor party vote there.

  20. @Babaluma at one point in counting the votes in Queensland the Legalise Cannabis Party almost took Pauline Hanson’s Senate seat in Queensland. Then she faced another small challenge from the Greens, despite the SBS at one point reporting it as she was on track to lose her seat. However, One Nation ended up getting like 2% higher than Legalise Cannabis did in Queensland. So she won’t have to face another challenge again until the election after next. Malcolm Roberts on the other hand will have to face a challenge at the next election, possibly being in the same position unless the One Nation vote rises or the Legalise Cannabis vote drops. I expect Lidia Thorpe to lose her seat in Victoria now she’s a radical, socialist, anti-Voice, leftist independent and not a member of the Greens. Even though there are (for some reason) inner-city woke lefties in Melbourne who might like her the fact that she’s anti-Voice would probably make her unelectable from even these voters, so she’ll probably get replaced by a Greens candidate. I mean, at least I hope she loses her seat. I don’t know how or why she was elected but she doesn’t deserve election and nobody can stand her; even the Greens have condemned her shitfuckery like the strip club incident, anti-Voice rhetoric, etc.

  21. So if any Senators lose their seats at the next election, I would expect Lidia Thorpe (explained above, to re-emphasise I really fucking hope she loses her seat if she’s up for election of course, if not then at the one she is up for election she must go) and David Van (because of the rape allegations and the fact that he left the Liberals, so I expect a Liberal or possibly a Labor candidate to unseat him if his seat is up for election).

  22. The low turnout rate is interesting to note. AEC says it’s 68% at the moment. It doesn’t include non-ordinary votes and uncounted postals. The AEC was concerned last Friday about the low turnout rate. The Aston by-election had an 86% turnout rate.

    Some posters previously mentioned the highly transient population e.g. renters, adults who have moved out of home for work/studies; dissatisfaction with the major parties; voter apathy and lack of political awareness. I think the ABC mentioned that many residents didn’t even know about the by-election.

    The Labor candidate admitted that she wouldn’t win. That would’ve turned off voters, especially Labor voters, who didn’t think their vote would count. You certainly don’t hear Greens or One Nation canditates admitting that they won’t win.

    The informal rate was nearly 7%. That’s not a surprise because of the above reasons as well as the super-long ballot paper with 13 candidates.

  23. Looks like allot of people will be getting sued for not voting, I have always been a proponent of abolish compulsory voting as it is against freedom, although you technically only need to get your name checked off, other than south American countries and a couple of asian ones, Australia is really the only modern western democracies that makes people vote.

    I feel it would be the coalition who would abolish it eventually if any of the 2 major parties did it. I don’t see Labor doing it. I assume it would also need to pass the Senate? It could probably count on the support of One Nation and Palmer and maybe Lambie but the left would probably oppose.

    Apparently people in Moncrieff tried to vote saying they weren’t aware there was an election on only to be turned around saying it is for Fadden and it was just a booth just outside the electorate, people are clearly turned off by politics which is further reason why it’s time to make voting a privilege rather than an obligation.

    Personally the government should issue pardons for the 32% who didn’t vote, that’s allot of people to send fines to as well.

  24. @Nether Portal,

    For a long time I thought the Greens would implode as they were basically nothing but a loose collection of often at odds special interest groups. I have come to realise that is not correct as there is a definite class based appeal to the Greens, though as we have seen in many elections/by elections over the last 7 or 8 years that appeal can be very soft and they can be easily attracted to the ‘new thing’, e.g. Teals. There have been a number of little parties that have spun off to retain their single interest status, cyclists were one, AJ are another, but both inherently fish in the same waters as the Greens. LC, and also Sex/Reason, do have a more libertarian appeal, but just as Sex Party morphed to Reason then morphed to irrelevance, LC has no obvious appeal once cannabis is legalised (probable but not certain at this stage).

  25. @SEQ the Qld school holidays only occupied 1 of the 2 weeks of the pre poll and thats not necessarily a reason for low turnout because people apparently have no money to go on holidays and those that do can easily do it when they get back. by elections traditionally have lower turnout. the aston by election resulted in about 10k fewer votes or 10%

  26. I just found out that at the federal election, Fadden’s turnout rate was 14th lowest – in the bottom 10% of all electorates. @SEQ Observer, you raised some interesting points pre-election. The natural disengagement and electoral problem of a transient population were magnified at the by-election.

    I noticed that at the NSW state election, Legalise Cannabis beat the Greens in several seats including Cessnock, Coffs Harbour and Blacktown. @John, I agree that LC can be a threat to the Greens in Tasmania/ACT, even if they don’t win. LC can potentially divert preferences away to Labor or Liberal. By the way, I prefer the name HEMP – Help End Marijuana Prohibition but it seems that it’s too long or too outdated.

  27. @vicliberal I won’t comment on “people apparently have no money to go on holidays”, but you’re forgetting the disruptive impact to people’s routines and attention that school-holidays have on people, particularly family units. The reality was that there was significant amounts of people on the ground in Fadden that had no clue there was an election on until the very last minute if at all. This is evident in the turnout figure.

    The Aston by-election turnout was 85.6% this was a 7% reduction (~7,000 voters) from 2022.

    Fadden’s turnout dropped by 21,971 voters, or around 19% between the by-election and 2022. This is three times more than Aston’s drop off.

    As an aside, the turnout at Aston’s by-election is typically what the turnout rate is in Fadden at a normal election.

    People are clearly just not as interested or engaged in politics in South East Queensland as in Victoria. I don’t blame them, there are many other great interests and distractions up here for people to direct their attention towards.

  28. @Votante, that’s great, I’ve been trying to find a nice easy list of the Federal divisions by turnout rate at the 2022 Federal Election to benchmark against these turnout rates. And to see how the rest of Queensland ranks. Do you happen to have the full list somewhere at your disposal?

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