NZ 2020 – new electoral boundaries


Earlier this week I made a last-minute decision to do some analysis of the New Zealand election, including the new electoral boundaries.

I discovered that no-one appears to have actually calculated the vote shares for the new electoral boundaries drawn since the 2017 election. So I thought I would do that.

I have now finished my boundary file for the 2020 New Zealand election, and you can download it from my maps page, where you can also find the 2008-2011 and 2014-2017 boundaries.

I was hoping to also calculate the redistribution but the data is in such a format that I won’t get it done today, so I’m just publishing the maps. The following maps first show how the general electorates were redrawn, and the second map shows the changes to the Māori electorates.

The number of electorates has expanded from 71 to 72, which includes 16 South Island electorates, 49 North Island electorates and seven Māori seats.

About half the seats were unchanged, with 35 seats having no change to their boundary.

There were no changes at all to the general electorates covering Wellington and the southern half of the North Island, while a string of electorates stretching through Auckland did undergo some minor changes. There were also changes in most South Island seats.

If I manage to put together the calculations later today, I will be sure to put up a new blog post in the morning.

QLD 2020 – nominations close


Nominations closed yesterday for the Queensland state election. The number of candidates shot up to a record high, with more than six candidates running in the average seat.

There are a total of 597 candidates running across the 93 seats. This breaks the previous record of 453 who ran in 2017. While 2017 was the record number at the time, it only slightly exceeded the numbers in 1998, 2012 and 2015, and once you factor in the creation of four new electorates the average was about the same. 2020 is in a whole different league. Antony Green has more information about historical candidate numbers in his blog post.

I’ve updated my candidate spreadsheet with the final list. I’ll update each seat profile over the next few days.

Three parties are running full slates: Labor, the LNP and the Greens. One Nation is running in all but three seats. They have sat out the race in Callide, Hill and Traeger. The latter two are held by Katter’s Australian Party incumbents, but Callide does not feature a KAP candidate, or any other minor party apart from the Greens, and One Nation came second there in 2017, so it’s an interesting decision. There are two independents who I don’t know much about.

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is running 55 candidates, the Informed Medical Options Party is running 31 candidates, while Legalise Cannabis QLD is running 23. Civil Liberties & Motorists has 16 candidates, Katter and Animal Justice each have 13. Jason Costigan’s North Queensland First is running five candidates and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are running three.

I have attempted to identify the gender of each candidate and you can check my work in the spreadsheet, although there were four I could not identify due to lack of any information about them beyond their name.

Amongst the bigger parties, the proportion of women varied from 28% for the LNP to 46% for the Greens:

  • LNP – 28.0%
  • ON – 33.3%
  • ALP – 41.9%
  • GRN – 46.2%

Amongst the other parties, the UAP had the fewest women, running just 8 women and 47 men, while the Informed Medical Options Party is running five men and 26 women.

The number of candidates per seat varies from ten in Mermaid Beach and Mudgeeraba down to just four in Algester, Jordan, Stretton and Woodridge.

That’s it for now. Give me a few days before complaining about the seat guides being out of date. I’ll do one last check for candidate URLs before I do the update so if you want me to include yours comment below and I’ll add it to the spreadsheet before I do the final update.

NZ election – how thresholds could decide the majority


Labour has been doing very well in the polls in New Zealand, if a bit less well than they were earlier this year. It seems very likely that Labour will stay in government. But there are some scenarios where a majority of the country could vote for the current government parties, but the operation of the threshold under New Zealand’s mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system could see the right-wing opposition parties win a majority in parliament.

ACT 2020 – early voting halfway mark


Today is the halfway point of nineteen straight days of pre-poll voting in the ACT, and early voting is surging in popularity, as predicted.

Antony Green has been receiving daily updates on voting numbers from Elections ACT which he has been publishing in this blog post. I won’t bother replicating his excellent charts, but I just wanted to briefly comment on the numbers.

As of Tuesday, 23.7% of the total enrolment had already cast a pre-poll vote. This compares to 4.7% at the same point in 2016 and a total pre-poll turnout of 29.5%.

The numbers did drop a bit over the long weekend, but there was absolutely no pre-poll over the same long weekend two weeks out from the election in 2016. Numbers on Tuesday did pick up to be one of the biggest days.

One of the interesting trends is how consistent the numbers have been. You would normally expect more of a gradual climb in vote, but every weekday except for Friday (as well as Saturday) has registered between 7826 and 8738. Friday recorded over 11,000 votes while Sunday and Monday saw lower numbers. This may reflect that the vote is being spread out more evenly, which is encouraging, although if we’re going to get close to 80% turnout before election day we’ll need to see some uptick in the vote count in the remaining days.

Queensland candidate update


The candidate list continues to grow as we get closer to the Queensland election.

Nominations close at the end of next week, just in time for voting to commence the week after the ACT and New Zealand elections.

My list of candidates now includes 426 candidates. It might be a few days before all the latest updates flow through to the seat profiles (there’s 55 seats requiring updates) but you can see all of them on the spreadsheet.

So far I’ve identified 86 LNP candidates, 83 Labor candidates and 72 Greens. I presume all three parties will run a full slate of 93 candidates, so that’s at least 38 more candidates to come, bringing the total to at least 464, compared to 453 candidates in 2017.

The list also includes 44 One Nation candidates and 43 candidates for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. The Informed Medical Options party is next with 29 candidates. There are also 19 candidates for Legalise Cannabis Queensland, 13 for Katter’s Australian Party, 11 for the Motorists, 6 for Animal Justice, 5 for North Queensland First, and 15 independents.

On average there are 4.58 candidates announced for each seat. Nine candidates have been announced for Townsville (Labor’s most marginal seat) and eight for Whitsunday (the LNP’s most marginal, now held by North Queensland First).

Remarkably there are still no challengers announced for the LNP seat of Callide and the Labor seat of Woodridge.

Finally, here is the proportion of women running for the parties running the most candidates:

  • LNP – 29.1%
  • Labor – 39.8%
  • Greens – 48.6%
  • One Nation – 31.8%
  • United Australia – 14.0%
  • Informed Medical Options – 79.3%

Podcast #44: ACT election preview


Ben is joined by Kevin Bonham and Stewart Jackson to preview the upcoming election in the ACT.

This podcast is supported by the Tally Room’s supporters on Patreon. If you find this podcast worthwhile please consider giving your support.

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for “the Tally Room”. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.

Mapping the candidate vote in the ACT


In ACT elections, it’s not just the total vote for your party that matters. It’s also how that vote is distributed between your candidates, particularly if you are one of the major parties.

Kevin Bonham coined the term “Ginninderra effect” to refer to what happened in the electorate of Ginninderra in 2012, where Labor polled 2.39 quotas compared to 0.61 quotas for then-Greens leader Meredith Hunter, but won three seats. A slightly less dramatic but similar result took place in 2016, with Labor polling 2.48 quotas and the Greens polling 0.58, but Labor winning three seats.

Labor can win three seats in these scenarios because their vote is distributed relatively evenly amongst their candidates, in particular amongst their top three candidates. Vote exhaustion means the last few seats are usually decided with less than a full quota, so three evenly-positioned Labor candidates can outpoll a Greens candidate with a vote higher than Labor’s third quota share.

In this post I’m going to explore how the vote for different candidates for each major party varies across an electorate in a variety of ways.

Groom by-election coming up


Federal MP John McVeigh announced his retirement two weeks ago, triggering a by-election for his seat of Groom.

The electorate of Groom covers the city of Toowoomba in southern Queensland, as well as nearby rural areas to the west of the city.

I’ve just finished my guide to Groom, which you can read here.

The electorate is very safe for the LNP – McVeigh polled over 70% of the two-party-preferred vote in 2019. Labor outpolled One Nation on the primary vote, but not by that much – 18.7% to 13.1%.

We don’t have any confirmation about who will run, but it appears that there may be some complexity around whether a future Liberal National MP would sit with the Liberals or Nationals.

Groom was first held in the 1980s by Tom McVeigh, father of the recently retired MP. The elder McVeigh was a National, but the seat was won by the Liberal Party at the 1988 by-election.

The younger McVeigh was first elected to state parliament to represent Toowoomba South in 2012 before moving to federal politics in 2016. McVeigh has a history as a Young National in the 1980s, but sits in federal parliament as a Liberal.

The previous MP, Ian Macfarlane, had been elected four times as a Liberal prior to the LNP merger, but in 2015 he announced plans to switch to sit as a National. This plan was supported by local party members but was blocked by the state executive.

If Groom was to switch from a Liberal seat to a National seat it would change the balance between the two parties in federal parliament – ultimately a change in the proportion of seats within the Coalition could change the numbers of ministers each party holds – but it wouldn’t mean much for voters on the ground, who would be voting for the Liberal National Party. Having said this, the prospect of the seat switching to the Nationals seems to have ended with Matt Canavan withdrawing from the race.

It seems unlikely that Labor will run. It seems possible that One Nation could come in the top two, but they won’t be best placed to pick up Labor voters, so I wouldn’t be surprised if an independent does better. Either way I’d be surprised if this race was at all close.

ACT election – early voting opens


Voting opened today for the ACT election, with election day to be held on October 17.

Elections ACT is seriously embracing early voting this year, strongly encouraging voters to cast an early vote to assist with social distancing.

(Check out my guide to the ACT election.)

This new approach can be seen in the selection of polling places.

There were six pre-poll voting centres in 2016 – this year there are fifteen. There were 114 election day booths in 2016 – this year there will be just 82, including the fifteen being used before election day.

Antony Green recently posted about the plans for election night. Pre-polling will be electronic, which should allow for very quick counting of those votes. If the commission is correct and 80% of votes are cast before election day, we should have most of the votes counted before 7pm, and those 80% will be able to be distributed as part of an interim distribution of preferences on the night.

I will be liveblogging on the night so will be on the job early to watch this flood of results whenever they come in, and if there is time I might also touch on the results from New Zealand.

Launching the ACT 2020 election guide


Voting starts on Monday in the Australian Capital Territory election, with election day to be held on October 17.

Voters will be electing twenty-five members of the Legislative Assembly across five electorates using the Hare-Clark proportional voting system.

You can now read the guide to this election.

The current government is led by Labor’s Andrew Barr, with one Greens minister. The current Assembly includes twelve Labor MLAs, eleven Liberals and two Greens.

The Liberal Party is very close to winning a twelfth seat in Murrumbidgee. Indeed you can argue that the increase in the Liberal vote in this electorate has turned the second Greens seat into a notional Liberal seat. But it will be a lot harder for the Liberals to win a thirteenth seat to win a majority and form government (likely in Yerrabi in the north).

You can click through to read each electorate’s guide here:

You can also use the following map to click on any electorate, and then click through to the relevant guide.

I will be back in a week or so with an ACT election preview episode of the podcast, and I will be live-blogging on election night, so stay tuned.

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