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            Podcast #23 – Federal election first week


            Ben is joined by Shaun Ratcliff and Paddy Manning to discuss the latest federal polls, seats where independents are challenging the Coalition, and the conclusion of the NSW upper house count.

            Thanks to 2SER radio in Sydney for the use of their studio.

            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.

            NSW 2019 – Final upper house preference count


            The New South Wales election process came to a close this morning when the button was pushed for the New South Wales Legislative Council, triggering the distribution of preferences. This count took over an hour, seemingly longer due to more voters marking preferences, and resulted in parties of the centre-left making ground in the final counting to win an extra seat off the centre-right compared to what primary votes would suggest.

            In this post I will run through who has won, the shape of the new upper house, and how preferences impacted on the result.

            We knew all along that 17 seats would be decided on a quota, and the eighteenth seat has been clear for a while. The Coalition won eight seats, Labor six, Greens two, and one each for One Nation and the Shooters. This left three seats in play.

            The primary vote counts had One Nation, Labor and the Christian Democratic Party leading in the race for these three seats (in that order), followed by the Liberal Democrats, Animal Justice and Keep Sydney Open. The actual result saw Labor win the nineteenth seat, followed by Animal Justice and One Nation, with the Christian Democratic Party missing out.

            This leaves us with an upper house with 17 members of the Coalition and 14 members of Labor. There is a block of five right-wing crossbenchers: two Shooters, two One Nation and one Christian Democrat (Fred Nile). There is also a bloc of six centre-left crossbenchers: three Greens, two Animal Justice and ex-Green independent Justin Field.

            If the Coalition wins the support of all five right-wing members it has a majority, but it can’t afford to lose any of them. They could alternatively swap in the entire left bloc on more progressive legislation, or try to win over the AJP, Field or less likely the remaining Greens to substitute for one of the right-wing parties.

            It’s worth noting that, while the Coalition has a history of working with the Shooters in the upper house, for the last four years they have mostly worked just with Nile and his departed colleague Paul Green, while the relationship with the Shooters has deteriorated. I won’t try to predict how the Coalition will work with Mark Latham and his One Nation colleague Rod Roberts.

            The most interesting story out of today’s preference distribution was how preferences played a bigger role than in past upper house elections, and how this helped boost the left to win an extra seat over the right.

            Nomination checklists and ineligibility


            Nominations for the federal election will close next Tuesday, April 23. This is the first full federal election since a massive number of federal MPs lost their seats in 2017 and 2018 due to ineligibility, mostly due to citizenship. We’d expect about 1000 people to run for the House of Representatives (my list already has over 700), and approximately 500-600 candidates will run for the Senate. All of these people will need to jump through these hoops to prove they are eligible, and may well end up not really knowing if they are.

            Last Friday the Liberal Party announced that three of their Victorian candidates will be replaced because of potential incompatibility with section 44 of the constitution, making them potentially ineligible.

            All three were contesting unwinnable seats in Melbourne, and thus had no chance of actually getting elected, but in the current political environment it seems like the party judged they couldn’t risk the possibility that these candidates’ potential ineligibility would become a media story.

            This latest chapter in the section 44 saga clearly demonstrates that this clause will continue to be a problem, it can’t be resolved simply by ‘doing the paperwork’, and that the only solution is to amend the constitution.

            Book review – Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage


            I just recently finished?From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage by Judith Brett, and I thought it was an excellent read and would be of interest to the readers of this blog.

            I put together a book review for the website?Dictionary of Sydney, which has now been published, if you’d like to have a read.

            Federal election called


            Scott Morrison visited the Governor-General early this morning, calling the federal election for May 18.

            It’s unusual to call a federal election on a Thursday. It’s more typical for it to be called on a Sunday. There’s some good reasons why he’s going today, and they mostly revolve around a number of public holidays coming up in the next few weeks.

            Rolls will close at 8pm one week after the writs are issued. If they followed standard practice and issued the writs on the Monday 33 days out from the election, this would have resulted in the rolls closing at 8pm on Easter Monday, at the end of a four-day long weekend. Instead I expect the rolls to close at 8pm next Thursday, just before the long weekend.

            Nominations typically close on the Thursday of the second week of a five-week campaign. Those nominations are then declared, along with the ballot draws, on Friday, with voting to commence the following Monday. If this timing was used, it would result in nominations closing on Anzac Day. Issuing the writs four days early allows this nominations process to take place over Tuesday and Wednesday – in between Easter and Anzac Day. It’s still possible they could stick to Thursday and Friday, but I’d expect them to bring it forward.

            If you want to read more about the election, please check out?my federal election guide. It includes guides to all 151 House races and all 8 Senate races, each with their own comment section.

            You can use the following map to click through to a seat guide, or alternatively use the alphabetical list, the list by state or the pendulum.

            And if you find all this useful, please consider signing up as a donor via Patreon. I can only put together the detailed election guide that can be so useful thanks to the support of donors.

            That’s it for today. Please feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss the election announcement.

            NSW 2019 – upper house count nears its end


            We are now very close to the end of counting for the NSW Legislative Council. The original plan was to finish data entry on Wednesday, with the button to be pushed on Friday morning. This has now been pushed back to Monday morning.

            In this post I will run through the votes counted so far (which is most of them) and the possible role of preferences in deciding the final three seats.

            This post was originally going to start with an analysis of the votes counted so far and what is left to count. In this regard I built a small model which factored in how many of the votes in the ‘others’ pile had been counted and what was left in that pile, effectively allowing you to match up the two counts and simulate a much higher proportion of the vote counted. That model was in part inspired by the good work being done by Ross Leedham on Twitter. He has been diligently updating his model more regularly to give us a sense of the votes reporting each day.

            But so much vote-counting took place across Wednesday that we are now pretty close to the end. Over 90% of the counting has finished in 81 out of 93 seats, with the lowest vote-count being 79% in Newcastle. So at this point I think we might as well just look at the real figures for the check count. These are as of 10pm on Wednesday night.

            Group Percent Quotas
            Liberal/Nationals 35.21% 7.7461
            Labor 29.59% 6.5090
            Greens 9.57% 2.1058
            One Nation 6.92% 1.5226
            Shooters, Fishers & Farmers 5.52% 1.2137
            Christian Democratic Party 2.29% 0.5029
            Liberal Democrats 2.15% 0.4731
            Animal Justice 1.91% 0.4198
            Keep Sydney Open 1.77% 0.3895
            Sustainable Australia 1.45% 0.3183
            Voluntary Euthanasia 1.06% 0.2341
            Small Business 0.67% 0.1477
            Conservatives 0.59% 0.1300
            Flux 0.37% 0.0804
            Socialist Alliance 0.31% 0.0687
            Buckingham 0.27% 0.0587
            Osborne 0.15% 0.0327
            Advance 0.09% 0.0192
            Jansson 0.07% 0.0160

            So it’s pretty clear the first eighteen seats have been decided, largely as we expected the day after the election. None of the parties who were lumped in the ‘others’ pile polled well enough to be assured of a seat before the distribution of preferences.

            The Coalition has held eight seats, down from eleven, despite not quite making eight quotas on primary votes.

            Labor has won six seats, up from their existing five. The Greens have retained two, while One Nation and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers have each won one.

            Then there are three seats in play, with the following parties sitting around roughly half a quota competing for these seats:

            • One Nation #2 – 0.5226
            • Labor #7 – 0.5090
            • Christian Democratic – 0.5029
            • Liberal Democrats – 0.4731
            • Animal Justice – 0.4198
            • Keep Sydney Open – 0.3895

            This is where preferences come into play, and things become much more difficult to predict.

            Antony Green tweeted this morning that there appears to have been a big increase in how many people are marking preferences on their upper house ballots:

            The NSWEC divides votes into three categories: Single Above the Line (SATL) votes which just give a ‘1’ above the line, Random Above the Line (RATL) votes which have multiple preferences above the line, plus Below the Line (BTL) votes. The number of RATL votes has doubled from 15% to 28%, while there has been a 50% increase in BTL votes from 1.8% to 2.7%. This means that over 30% of voters have marked preferences, up from less than 20% in 2015.

            This means that candidates will need a vote closer to a quota to win a seat, and gives a better chance for trailing candidates to catch up.

            One Nation, Labor and the Christian Democratic Party are clearly the frontrunners for these last three seats. The Liberal Democrats are not far behind, so if they do well on preferences they could catch one of the others (likely the CDP). I don’t have a great deal of information on whether the LDP or CDP is in a stronger position to win.

            It seems likely that preferences will flow more strongly amongst progressive voters, whose parties largely cooperated on preferences. This suggests Labor should be in a good position to win.

            Animal Justice and Keep Sydney Open are outside chances, but I wouldn’t rule out one of them winning. They both swapped preferences with each other, and received preferences from the Greens and Sustainable Australia. These four parties have about 1.2 quotas left over. Yet many voters for these parties would have cast a vote without the aid of a how-to-vote, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of these preferences instead flow to Labor.

            We will find out the results on Monday morning, and I’ll be sure to be back with more analysis after that result.

            NSW 2019 – lower house swing map and new pendulum


            Counting has now concluded for the Legislative Assembly as part of the New South Wales state election – the Legislative Council will be concluded on Friday?Monday.

            In this post I am featuring a map of the two-candidate-preferred (2CP) vote across New South Wales at the booth level, as well as the 2CP swing where appropriate.

            I have also assembled the new NSW post-election pendulum, which tells us something about the challenge in front of Labor in 2023.

            NT redistribution – submissions released


            While I’ve been focused on the NSW state election I’ve missed the start of the Northern Territory’s redistribution of the 25 electorates for the local Legislative Assembly. This is the third in a series of three posts analysing the prospects for redistributions, with the last two covering the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

            Northern Territory electoral boundaries are redrawn every four years, and electorates need to fall within 20% of the quota (one-25th of the total electors). The new boundaries will apply at the August 2020 election.

            The following map shows the variance from the quota by seat. Green means over, red means under.

            The biggest deviation is in the Alice Springs area. There are only two electorates in the Alice Springs area, with the third Alice seat abolished after the 2012 election.

            Federal candidate list update


            EDIT: Thanks for all the updates I’ve received today. I’ve now updated the spreadsheet which is now up from 667 candidates to 679 (plus a couple of other candidates have been replaced). I will make these updates to the relevant seat guides as I get a chance.

            ORIGINAL: While I’ve been focusing on the NSW election, the list of people announcing for the federal election has been steadily increasing.

            So far I’ve compiled a list of 667?people running for the House of Representatives, with a lot of help from Nick Casmirri as well as others posting on this website. You can view the list here.

            The list includes Labor candidates for 149 seats out of 151 – the only seats lacking are Barker in South Australia and Wright in Queensland.

            So far we’ve identified 140 Coalition candidates in 131 electorates. Nationals and Liberal candidates are running against each other in the New South Wales seats of Eden-Monaro and Gilmore, the Tasmanian seats of Bass and Lyons, the Western Australian seats of Durack, O’Connor and Pearce, and the Victorian seats of Indi and Mallee. This leaves twenty seats with no Coalition candidate.

            We have identified 122 Greens candidates, and 137 candidates for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

            One Nation has announced 21 candidates so far, alongside 18 for the People’s Party and 11 for the Australian Christians.

            31 candidates are running for other parties, along with 38 independents.

            This is an average of 4.4 candidates per seat, with a median of 4 candidates. Nine candidates have been announced for Mallee, with eight each in Longman and Pearce.

            There are three seats with only two candidates: Fraser and Maribyrnong in Melbourne, and Fowler in Sydney. All are safe Labor seats.

            If the election is held on May 18, nominations will probably close on April 25. That’s about two and a half weeks from today. In comparison, last election I had identified 772 candidates as of nominations day, and it ended up increasing to 994 candidates. This suggests to me we are likely headed for a similar number of candidates.

            You can post in the comments if you identify any candidates who are missing, and I’ll do one or two more updates before nominations close and there will then be one last update.

            WA state redistribution – starting numbers


            While we’re all focused on the federal election and the recent NSW state election, a number of redistributions have been kicked off for Western Australian state elections and the territory Legislative Assemblies in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. I’ve already analysed the likely outcomes for the ACT redistribution, and I’ll be back later this week with an analysis of the NT redistribution.

            I’m just going to quickly run through the process, timeline and what the current population numbers tell us about likely changes.

            Western Australia redraws its electoral boundaries after every election. Electorates must fall within 10% of the average population as of the redistribution. There is an exception for for districts covering an area of more than 100,000 square kilometres. In these Large Districts, a number of ‘notional’ electors can be added to the actual electors when calculating the quota – this number is arrived at by multiplying the square kilometres by 1.5%. This means there are six seats which (at least on current boundaries) are not required to have as large a population.

            The following map shows how much each seat currently diverges from the quota, based on this election data. Seats over quota are coloured green, while those under are coloured red. Those which diverge by more than 10% are in a brighter colour.

            You can see that, in the Perth area, outer suburban seats are all over quota, a number of them well over quota. There are some Perth seats in the mid-range suburbs which are under-quota, but none of them are massively under quota.

            On the other hand, a majority of the large rural seats are far under quota, while a handful are slightly over quota.