2022 Federal Electoral Pendulum

With redistributions of electoral boundaries now complete for Victoria and Western Australia, it is time to publish an updated electoral pendulum for the 2022 election.

The redistributions have abolished the WA Liberal seat of Stirling and created the new notionally Labor held seat of Hawke in Victoria. (See my previous posts on the redistributions, in Victoria here and Western Australia here.)

Compared to the 2019 election result, the changes reduce the Coalition from 77 to 76 seats and lift Labor from 68 to 69 seats. In the 151 member House of Representatives, 76 seats are needed for majority government.

As well as the web formatted pendulum inside this post, I’ve prepared a well laid out printable ‘pdf’ version with seats listed in double-sided A4 format. You can find it at this link.

The Political Landscape

The abolition of Stirling in Western Australia leaves the Morrison government defending 76 seats at the next election, the minimum number needed for majority government. Labor holds a notional 69 seats, so needs a net gain of four seats from the Coalition to hold more seats in the House, and a net seven seats for a bare majority government. Between the Coalition losing one seat and Labor gaining seven lies minority government.

The Morrison government’s success in defending its own seats in 2019, and Labor’s collapse in Queensland, has produced a slightly lop-sided pendulum. Labor needs a uniform swing of 3.1% to gain four seats and 3.3% to gain seven. Yet Labor is defending 13 seats on a margin of up to 3%.

Labor’s two-party preferred vote in 2019 was 48.5% to the Coalition’s 51.5%. Assuming a uniform swing, Labor on paper needs a national 51.8% of the two-party preferred vote to win, but that high figure is in part due to Labor’s poor result in 2019.

But I wouldn’t assume a uniform swing. The Coalition goes into the next election holding 23 of the 30 seats in Queensland and 10 of 15 in Western Australia, that’s 33 of 48 seats in the two big resources states. The last year has seen Labor government’s re-elected in both states, in Western Australia by a landslide of gargantuan proportions. Any slippage from the Coalition’s current strong position in both states would cost the Morrison government its majority.

Earlier this year, unnamed sources were quoted as suggesting the Coalition could compensate for losses in the north and west with gains in NSW. The Coalition holds 22 of 47 seats in NSW, and Labor is defending 10 seats on margins under 5%, seven of them outside the Sydney basin. With the Berejiklian government riding high earlier this year, and the state having avoided Victoria’s lockdowns under Labor, prospects looked good for the Coalition.

But how quickly the political landscape has changed. With Sydney in lockdown, and the Berejiklian government pointing at Canberra as responsible for the slow pace of vaccination, the Prime Minister has had to change his rhetoric on lockdowns. The Commonwealth government helping NSW has been necessary, economically for the nation and politically for the government, but isn’t viewed favourably by voters in other states.

Especially in Victoria, criticised in mid-2020 for not lifting restrictions as quickly as other states, and then criticised when the Andrews government imposed an even tougher lockdown to stamp out infection. Victorian voters see a difference between the criticism of Victoria’s lockdowns last year and reactions to the on-going outbreak in Sydney. The tag “Prime Minister of NSW” for Scott Morrison has entered political language, which will put the government on the defensive south of the Murray.

But the election could yet be nine months away, and as the last year has shown, you should never get too far ahead in predicting the future.

Notes on the Pendulum

The new pendulum includes estimated margins for all seats as the starting point for discussing the 2022 election. The most marginal seats for Labor and the Coalition are at the top of the list, safe seats towards the bottom. Seats held by independents and minor parties are shown in a block at the bottom right of the pendulum.

I know this chart is upside down compared to how a clock pendulum works, but no-one has come up with a replacement for the traditional term ‘electoral pendulum’.

Some may quibble I have picked the wrong year for the election. In June I published a blog post on when the next federal election can be held. In the six weeks since that post was published, prospects for an election in late 2021 have diminished with outbreaks of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Sydney and elsewhere.

The pendulum is based on 2019 election results, adjusted for the redistributions in Victoria and Western Australia. The pendulum doesn’t take account of the Eden-Monaro by-election result or the resignation from the Liberal Party of Craig Kelly, member for the southern Sydney seat of Hughes.

Coalition seats in Queensland were won by the LNP, but all seats are shown as Liberal or National held based on which Coalition party room successful LNP candidates joined after the election.

Margins are based on two-party preferred results in contests between the Coalition and Labor in 142 seats. Two-candidate margins are shown for the six seats won by minor parties and independents in 2019, and the final three seats are shown with Labor versus Green margins. (Cooper and Wills in Melbourne, Grayndler in Sydney.)

There were six other non-2PP contests in 2019. These were Cowper (NSW 6.8% NAT v IND), Farrer (10.9% LIB v IND), New England (14.4% NAT v IND), Wentworth (1.3% LIB v IND), Maranoa (22.5% NAT v ONP) and Kooyong (5.7% LIB v GRN). These margins are only relevant if a non-major party contestant emerges for the election so two-party preferred margins have been used for each seat on the pendulum.

Party codes are Liberal (LIB), National (NAT), Labor (ALP), Greens (GRN), Centre Alliance (CA), Katter’s Australia Party (KAP), Independent (IND) and One Nation (ONP).

I will update the pendulum if necessary when the AEC publishes its redistribution estimates ahead of the election. I may also amend margins depending on the pattern of Independent contests.

As already mentioned, I’ve prepared a well laid out printable ‘pdf’ version with seats listed in double-sided A4 format. You can find it at this link.

The 2022 Electoral Pendulum

Coalition Seats (76) Labor Seats (69)
Margin Electorate (State) Margin Electorate (State)
0.4 LIB Bass (TAS) 0.2 ALP Macquarie (NSW)
0.5 LIB Chisholm (VIC) 0.6 ALP Lilley (QLD)
1.4 LIB Boothby (SA) 0.8 ALP Eden-Monaro (NSW)
3.1 LIB Braddon (TAS) 0.9 ALP Cowan (WA)
3.2 LIB Reid (NSW) 1.0 ALP Corangamite (VIC)
3.2 LIB Swan (WA) 1.2 ALP Blair (QLD)
3.3 LIB Longman (QLD) 1.5 ALP Dobell (NSW)
3.7 LIB Higgins (VIC) 1.9 ALP Moreton (QLD)
4.2 LIB Leichhardt (QLD) 2.6 ALP Gilmore (NSW)
4.2 LIB Robertson (NSW) 2.7 ALP Dunkley (VIC)
4.6 LIB Casey (VIC) 2.8 ALP Greenway (NSW)
4.6 LIB Dickson (QLD) 2.9 ALP Griffith (QLD)
4.7 LIB Deakin (VIC) 3.0 ALP Hunter (NSW)
4.9 LIB Brisbane (QLD) 3.1 ALP Solomon (NT)
5.0 LIB Lindsay (NSW) 3.2 ALP Perth (WA)
5.2 LIB Pearce (WA) 3.5 ALP Parramatta (NSW)
5.5 LIB La Trobe (VIC) 4.1 ALP Richmond (NSW)
5.6 LIB Flinders (VIC) 4.4 ALP Shortland (NSW)
5.9 LIB Hasluck (WA) 5.0 ALP Paterson (NSW)
6.0 LIB Ryan (QLD) 5.2 ALP Lyons (TAS)
6.3 LIB Banks (NSW) 5.3 ALP McEwen (VIC)
6.4 LIB Kooyong (VIC) 5.5 ALP Lingiari (NT)
6.9 LIB Monash (VIC) 5.5 ALP Werriwa (NSW)
6.9 LIB Sturt (SA) 5.5 ALP Burt (WA)
6.9 LIB Bennelong (NSW) 5.9 ALP Jagajaga (VIC)
7.0 LIB Menzies (VIC) 6.1 ALP Macnamara (VIC)
7.4 LIB Bonner (QLD) 6.4 ALP Oxley (QLD)
7.8 LIB Goldstein (VIC) 6.4 ALP Isaacs (VIC)
8.4 LIB Herbert (QLD) 6.4 ALP Rankin (QLD)
8.4 LIB Petrie (QLD) 6.5 ALP Hindmarsh (SA)
8.6 LIB Forde (QLD) 6.6 ALP McMahon (NSW)
8.7 NAT Flynn (QLD) 6.7 ALP Brand (WA)
9.3 LIB North Sydney (NSW) 6.9 ALP Fremantle (WA)
9.4 NAT Page (NSW) 7.3 ALP Bruce (VIC)
9.5 LIB Tangney (WA) 7.5 ALP Bean (ACT)
9.8 LIB Hughes (NSW) 8.2 ALP Adelaide (SA)
9.8 LIB Wentworth (NSW) 8.2 ALP Wills (VIC) v GRN
10.1 LIB Aston (VIC) 8.4 ALP Macarthur (NSW)
10.2 LIB Wannon (VIC) 8.8 ALP Kingsford Smith (NSW)
10.2 LIB Bowman (QLD) 8.9 ALP Bendigo (VIC)
11.6 LIB Canning (WA) 8.9 ALP Holt (VIC)
11.6 LIB Moore (WA) 9.4 ALP Barton (NSW)
11.9 NAT Cowper (NSW) 9.7 ALP Makin (SA)
12.2 LIB McPherson (QLD) 10.2 ALP Hawke (VIC)
12.4 NAT Capricornia (QLD) 10.3 ALP Ballarat (VIC)
12.7 LIB Fisher (QLD) 10.3 ALP Maribyrnong (VIC)
13.0 LIB Hume (NSW) 10.3 ALP Corio (VIC)
13.1 NAT Wide Bay (QLD) 10.6 ALP Fenner (ACT)
13.2 LIB Mackellar (NSW) 10.9 ALP Whitlam (NSW)
13.3 NAT Calare (NSW) 11.2 ALP Hotham (VIC)
13.3 LIB Grey (SA) 11.9 ALP Kingston (SA)
13.4 LIB Fairfax (QLD) 12.2 ALP Franklin (TAS)
13.5 LIB Durack (WA) 12.4 ALP Chifley (NSW)
13.9 LIB Curtin (WA) 12.4 ALP Lalor (VIC)
14.2 LIB Fadden (QLD) 13.0 ALP Gellibrand (VIC)
14.5 NAT Hinkler (QLD) 13.4 ALP Cunningham (NSW)
14.6 LIB Forrest (WA) 13.5 ALP Watson (NSW)
14.6 LIB Wright (QLD) 13.8 ALP Newcastle (NSW)
14.6 NAT Dawson (QLD) 14.0 ALP Fowler (NSW)
15.2 NAT Lyne (NSW) 14.1 ALP Spence (SA)
15.4 LIB Moncrieff (QLD) 14.3 ALP Gorton (VIC)
15.4 LIB O’Connor (WA) 14.6 ALP Cooper (VIC) v GRN
15.6 LIB Berowra (NSW) 14.7 ALP Blaxland (NSW)
15.7 NAT Mallee (VIC) 16.3 ALP Grayndler (NSW) v GRN
16.6 LIB Bradfield (NSW) 17.1 ALP Canberra (ACT)
16.7 NAT Gippsland (VIC) 18.1 ALP Fraser (VIC)
16.9 NAT Parkes (NSW) 18.7 ALP Sydney (NSW)
17.6 NAT New England (NSW) 19.6 ALP Calwell (VIC)
18.6 LIB Mitchell (NSW) 21.7 ALP Scullin (VIC)
18.9 LIB Barker (SA)
19.0 LIB Cook (NSW) OTHERS (6)
19.5 NAT Riverina (NSW) Margin Electorate (State)
19.8 LIB Farrer (NSW) 1.4 IND Indi (VIC) v LIB
20.0 NAT Nicholls (VIC) 5.1 CA Mayo (SA) v LIB
20.5 LIB Groom (QLD) 7.2 IND Warringah (NSW) v LIB
25.4 NAT Maranoa (QLD) 13.3 KAP Kennedy (QLD) v LNP
21.8 GRN Melbourne (VIC) v LIB
22.1 IND Clark (TAS) v ALP

13 thoughts on “2022 Federal Electoral Pendulum”

  1. Hi Antony,

    Every Australian federal election has the 2PP quite close to 50-50 making for a close race between Liberal and Labor. However I cannot understand why Labor has so many more marginal seats than Liberal but still are a fair way from a majority. You would think that forming government means you’d need to win/steal marginal seats from the other side which would make you have a lot of marginal seats yourself. It surprises me how much of an up hill battle it is for Labor to win back 7 seats with a swing of 3.3 towards them while themselves having 15 seats under that same swing against them.

    My second thought is that if Labor is only just winning all these marginal seats, that means they are using less labor voters to secure federal seats. However if the 2PP is still quite close to 50-50, where are all the other labor voters? I would think to at least expect them to be in super strong safe labor seats, however the liberals appear to have more safe seats than labor as well.

    1. There was a slight swing against Labor on the TTP of 1.17% in 2019 so if you take that into account the marginal seat count evens up a bit.

    2. A lot of Labor voters are dispersed in Coalition seats. Case in point note all the country towns of Labor voters surrounded by Coalition voting farms. Historically federal Labor has always had trouble winning elections even with the popular vote.

      Coalition Wins (Without TPP)
      1940, 1954, 1961, 1969, 1998

      Labor Wins (Without TPP)

      COMMENT: National 2PP analysis prior to 1958 is ropey given it is only since 1958 that every seat has been contested by both Labor and Coalition candidates. A better description of what you say is that Labor’s problem prior to the 1980s was too much of its vote locked up in safe seats. The imbalance between total 2PP and swing often comes down to the ability of governments to retain marginal seats through targetted policy and campaigning and through the personal vote for sitting government MPs. Opposition MPs and candidates don’t have the same advantage at close elections that comes from being in government.

    3. I had thoughts on similar lines to you, Caleb, but could not have articulated them as clearly as you did.
      Thank you.

    4. Great work, as always – and an incredibly useful resource. Thanks Antony. Only quibble I have is with the date of the footnote in the PDF! (#pedant)

      COMMENT: Fixed. I’m suffering a bit by working at home where printing stuff for a final check is slower and avoided.

    5. Whichever Party wins he next election will do so with an overwhelming majority. And within that large, overarching swing there will be significant non-uniform swings in approximately 18-25 seats. Swings of between 7% and 11%. There’ll be some huge swings against sitting members in ‘safe’ seats, turning many of them into ‘marginal’ ones. The major swing to some members in already ‘safe’ seats will serve to turn them into having the widest margin of safety ever recorded for that electorate.

      1. I believe you are onto something – as it stands, a uniform swing sees Labor flip 17 to 19 seats: seven in Victoria, five in Queensland, three or four in WA, one in South Australia, and one or both in Tassie.

        Further, the full electoral impact of the COVID crisis in NSW has not yet been assessed (it will be really nasty), while Queensland’s LNP branch is in absolute shambles, and Labor’s colossal landslide in WA killed the Coalition’s chances there.

    6. The interesting one to watch in Victoria will be Kooyong, I don’t think Mr Frydenberg will have an easy win there given the Andrews bashing over lockdown followed by recent pro lockdown statements after favourite NSW’s luck ran out.

    7. Is the new Victorian seat of Hawke a modern day equivalent of the seat of Burke which existed North West of Melbourne until 2004?
      It’s where Brendan O’Connor started his federal political career.
      From my memory the boundaries seem roughly similar.

      COMMENT: Just checked against old maps. The last incarnation of Burke, used at the 1996, 1998 and 2001 elections, included Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Sunbury. It did not extend west to include Ballan, but ran north west to include Gisborne, Macedon and Kyneton.

    8. I’m wondering about the margin for Wentworth. I can see why it’s 9.8% against Labor but would it change if there was another high profile independent standing in 2022? Or is that impossible to calculate?

      COMMENT: You can use the Liberal margin versus Kerryn Phelps if you like. It is an approximate for any Independent who did run, but any new Independent would need high the profile of Phelps to capture the same vote. The basic rule of thumb I would use is that if the Independent can’t get 25% of the first preference vote they will struggle to win.

    9. I tried to subscribe to your site. It has now been well over an hour since I did so and I have yet to receive the promised email. Nothing in my spam folder either.

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