Cook by-election live


9:06 – I’m going to wrap up here. This was a very comfortable Liberal victory, with a primary vote currently sitting on 62.7%.

8:28 – They have finished counting the primary votes for all election-day and pre-poll booths, and the Liberal Party is on 62.6% of the primary vote, with the Greens second on 16.7%. They don’t appear to have counted any postal votes yet, and the turnout is on 74.4%. I would thus expect the turnout to be in the low 80s, which would be at the lower end of by-election turnouts in the last decade but not particularly remarkable. Of the 14 by-elections held between 2017 and Dunkley last month, the average turnout was 81.1%, and the median was 84%. I suspect it will be somewhere between those two numbers.

7:42 – The Liberal primary vote has dropped a little bit, but nothing significant has changed.

With 32 primary vote booths reporting, Kennedy is on 61%, with the Greens second on 17%.

With 21 booths reporting preference counts, Kennedy is on 70.6%.

6:57 – Just in case there was any doubt, the Liberal Party’s Simon Kennedy has won this by-election.

I will continue to liveblog but I admit I won’t be as diligent as I might be for a more interesting election.

With three booths reporting preference counts, Kennedy is on 73.2%.

6:53 – The AEC is conducting a preference count between Liberal and Greens, but since that count wasn’t conducted in 2022, we can’t do matched swing. Thus we only have the raw figure, not a projected figure. After one booth, Kennedy is on almost 69%.

6:51 – We’ve now got primary votes from four booths, and Simon Kennedy is on 65.7%, a swing of 12.5%.

The Greens are currently coming second with 15.3%, followed by three others all on about 5%.

Remember there is no Labor candidate, and the ALP polled 25% in 2022. So that’s a big chunk of the electorate looking for somewhere else to go. So far, some of them are going to the Greens, and quite a lot to the Liberal Party.

6:00 – Polls have just closed in the southern Sydney seat of Cook for the federal by-election. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of former prime minister Scott Morrison.

The seat is expected to stay in Liberal hands, but we will be watching as results come in tonight.

There was some discussion of turnout being down, with less people voting at pre-poll. But there was a big surge in pre-poll turnout yesterday, putting the by-election closer to normal trends.

I expect we’ll start getting results in about an hour. If you want something to read until then, check out my guide to the by-election.

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  1. Some strong results north of the Georges River too. If this territory is ceeded at the redistribution it would be bad for labor

  2. Without a good independent candidate eg.
    Well known teal and no
    Labor candidate this result is meaningless… the liberal party retains a seat Labor has not won since 1974

  3. There’s just no viable other candidate for those who don’t want to vote Liberal. If Labor was in this it would make more sense in terms of analysis and given they contested Fadden knowing they’d lose last year and still did it I wonder if they will regret not going for Cook given that there are still whatever few ALP voters left that would’ve voted if they had a candidate but voted Liberal because they didn’t like the Greens or the others.

  4. Maybe some measure of how to calculate a actual swing from this pseudo swing… I am not sure how. But start with the extra primary vote to the libs about 8%. This result reflects the fact that the alp vote will exceed the green vote under most circumstances in most seats

  5. Tried comparing left and right votes assuming no leakage 2022 and this by-election… get right vote about 7 to 8% higher. This is meaningless.

  6. Noticed that the booths in St George seem to be stronger for the Libs this time compared to the Sutherland ones despite Sutherland usually being the much stronger area for the Libs. Could be a little bit of parochialism in the Shire over Simon Kennedy being parachuted in after losing Bennelong which is quite far away. Either way, the St George booths could be much better for Labor especially if they get redistributed into Banks or especially Barton.

  7. Good morning everyone. I would first like to send my condolences out to everyone affected by the Bondi Junction stabbing yesterday.

    I would also like to again congratulate Simon Kennedy on becoming the new member for Cook.

  8. I think it’s disgusting Labor couldn’t be bothered to field a candidate.
    They have much larger resources than us Greens, yet we make an effort to put up at least a paper candidate in evrery seat in NSW, in order to give people an opportunity to votes for us. I worked on a Sylvania booth all day for the Greens. So far we have 28.6% of the vote two party preferred.

  9. I wish there was a single thread for these – @Ben could you not do the live stream of results at the top of the by election page rather than a new page?

    Anyway, I think the one thing we can take from the result, and I think some other recent by elections, is that when Labor don’t run their voters don’t rush off to vote for the Greens, many won’t vote and others, maybe more than vote for the Greens, vote for the Liberals.

    I do wonder what would happen if Labor put the Greens below the Libs on their HTV – I suspect for every voter they lost to the Greens (and where would those preferences flow?) they would not lose to the Libs at least as many who are put off by the Greens. I think that is mostly what the Greens voters above are complaining about, not that Labor didn’t stand, but by not standing it shows up how little love there is for the Greens from Labor voters. I doubt this will happen, as at the member/volunteer/MP level they are much closer to the Greens.

  10. In cases where there is no Labor candidate in a Liberal held seat and there is a by-election it is not the cases that all Labor voters/supporters will vote Greens or another left-wing minor party such as AJP, Reason, Socialists some obviously will do that. We saw that in Cook and we saw that at the Warrandyte by-election as well. By the same token if it is a Labor held seat and there is a by-election where there is no Liberal candidate it is not the case that all Liberal voters would vote for a right wing minor party such as Family First, Libertarians or One Nation many will actually simply just vote Labor.

  11. I think MLV raises some good points. There’s large parts of Labor’s base that are ambivalent or even negative about the Greens, or don’t even identify as left wing/progressive, and won’t go out of their way to vote for them despite being happy to vote Labor and follow the HTV. I think more ambivalence than disdain in Cook. It’s Hunter and regional QLD seats where Labor is more at risk from associating with Greens.

    I am afraid of Labor using the nuclear option but it won’t stop Greens from hanging on in their Senate seats, Melbourne and probably Griffith (now Max is in and close to a household name). So no gains for Labor, but it will turn Brisbane and Ryan blue and create discontent in the volunteer base. And I don’t think they are losing that many votes over preferencing Greens – most Labor voters are very happy to put the LNP last (and vice versa, when the HTV recommends it), and the seats most at risk of political realignment, lower middle class outer suburban seats, probably don’t HATE the Greens. The horse has already bolted in regional QLD and Hunter has enough Newcastle in it to firm up for Labor even as they lose the coal vote.

  12. @ John
    I think there maybe some Labor voters that wants to preference L/NP ahead of the Greens such as Jewish voters, Coal miners and some religious socially conservative voters who may not like the Greens due to LGBT/Abortion policy etc. However, i dont know how big that vote is. In a seat like Cook which is fairly wealthy i dont know how many of those demographics there are so it is really a mute point. More religious voters in Cook will just vote Liberal anyway. However, it may drive a backlash against Labor in seats such as Grayndler, Cooper, Sydney etc especially with the Liberals led by Dutton if they seen to help the Libs win government. Even in a seat like Higgins it maybe deeply unpopular with Labor voters and see them knocked out of the 2CP.

  13. @len i think labor isnt gonna bother wasting resources this close to another general election if they decide to go in august there isnt much point contesting 2 elections in 4 months as the non incumbent in a seat they had no hope in hell of winning

  14. @John, I thought a lot of those lower middle class outer suburban seats had very low Greens first preferences, suggesting they are not at all popular in those areas. In fact, I think a lot of those seats are much closer to regional/rural seats than urban seats (not all obviously).

    @Nimalan, I am not really talking about those smaller parties, a more apt comparison on the right would be not all Lib voters would vote Nats if there was no Liberal to vote for, and vice versa.

  15. @MLV
    The Greens are not a sister party for the Labor party and there are certainly not in permanent Coalition like the Libs and the Nats. The Labor party aims for majority government except maybe the ACT which is different as in most cases it is rare for the Libs to win government outright without the Nats so the Nats and Libs are closely aligned run joint campaigns and volunteers are willing support each other which is not the case for ALP/Greens so the relationship between Labor and the Greens is more like Libs and Family First/Libertarians rather than Libs/Nats.

  16. @nimalan the libs did have enough seats in 2013 with 81 seats (80 + solomon which is considered a liberal seat) and they dont need to win outright because they are effectively one party hence why at elections libs and nats hand out for each other. the relationship between labor and greens is similar the relationship the libs and nats have in WA where they are not in a coaltion but the nats are never gonna back labor as the greens will never back the libs its more of an informal coalition.

  17. Nimalan, a better comparison would be the LNP and One Nation – One Nation are considered a more right-wing party compared to the LNP (similar to the Greens being more left wing compared to Labor) but are also more popular compared to parties like Family First/Libertarian. Also, One Nation has some ‘protectionist’ type policies which the Greens can also support.

  18. @yoh an the nationals are more right wing then the liberals and are mmore protectionist. one nation arent even a minor party at the moment and are effectively part of the “crossbench” one nation however is not really a threat to the coalition exclusively either. and are atm only really have power in qld federally and nsw at a state level but it might be intersted to know how theyd do if qld had an upper house. they are becoming more prominent thought as 20 years ago they were considered to be rascists but nowadays they are attracting more votes. greens votes usually break 90-10 to labor wheeras one nation doesnt break nearly as close.

  19. @ Yoh An
    Agree LNP and One Nation are a better comparison that Libs and Nats to the relationship between Greens and Labor. One Nation is more popular with the self-employed, Small Business and rural wing of the Coalition they are often hated by the Urban affluent, free market and better educated wing of the the LNP so if there was a by-election in the electorate of Moreton for example and the LNP did not run many Liberal voters may have voted Labor or even Greens over One Nation. Good point Family First/Libertarian are not as popular generally although they are right wing minor parties.

  20. @ John
    I agree it is possible for the Libs to win outright without the Nats but is rare. Malcolm Fraser did that twice and John Howard did it in 1996. However, in 2013 the Libs did not win outright even if you count Solomon as a Liberal seat. The Libs won 58 seats, CLP 1 and the LNP 22. However, 6 of the 22 LNP members were Nationals so the Libs actually won 75 one seat short. Great point about WA Nats as you mentioned.

  21. @nimalan they dont have to it makes no difference since the coalition is one party effectively the nats would never be left out i the cold because the have a formal agreement which effectively says theyre one party and so they would never vote against confidence or supply. the liberals dont have to negotiaite with the nationals in order to pass legislation in the same way labor does with the greens. and the nationals would never vote against the liberals unlike the greens or labor needs to pass legislation. lib/nat run on one ticket in the senate whereas labor will never be able to pass legislation without the greens if the coalition decides to oppose it

  22. I think the reason why One Nation couldn’t breed otherwise LNP voters like The Greens did for otherwise ALP voters can be attributed to an older demographic meaning they are more likely to vote for palatable bread and butter policies than ideology which is the issue that minor and crossbench parties are currently lacking in Australia.

  23. @ John
    I agree with you Libs/Nats in most states apart from WA are one party effectively so most Liberal voters will vote Nats if there is no Lib candidate and vice versa. You are correct Labor cannot pass legislation without Greens if Coalition decides to oppose it. While sometimes Nats and Libs may disagree such as Net zero in most cases they will find an accommodation so it is an enduring relationship. The LNP may need to negotiate with ONP, UAP, JLN etc if Labor/Greens oppose legislation though.

  24. @nimalan the only time that happens is because in VIC and federally they have a handshake agreement not to contest a sitting members seat because really they would just be running against themselves and the nats dont run candidate in metro seats and in NSW they have designated seats due to OPV and not wanting to split the vote. although i think this is hurting them in places like Ballina and given the urbanisation of tha seat would recommened the ants giving the libs a shot at it. also for unknown reasons the libs havent run a candidate in hunter or Richmond when they should be giving voters there another choice other then the NAts

  25. @MLV: There’s a difference between antipathy and just being unpopular. There are parts of Australia that see the Greens as a threat to their livelihoods or outright evil.

    That’s different to socially conservative (but not particularly motivated by it in voting), working class, home owner dominated areas where Greens just haven’t cut through on their core campaigns or had cause to target the areas. Greens can do much better in those areas just by the virtue of them being within a winnable Greens seat (compare the northern halves of Wills and Cooper to Callwell and Scullin, or the eastern half of Griffith to Bonner).

  26. @John examples of areas who hate Greens:

    * All rural towns that aren’t hippie
    * People in the outback and the bush
    * Regional cities and towns that aren’t with under 100,000 people unless they’re named Ballina, Byron Bay, Lennox Head or Mullumbimby (plus some others)
    * Conservative parts of cities (e.g The Hills and Sutherland in Sydney)


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