Antony Green

Antony Green - Election Analyst

Summary of Candidates and Parties Contesting the 2023 NSW Election

A total of 852 candidates have nominated for the NSW election, down from 914 in 2019. In the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, nominations are down from 568 in 2019 to 562 in 2023, while the Legislative Council is down from 346 candidates to just 290 in 2023.

The record number of lower house candidates was 732 candidates in 1999, and the record for the Legislative Council was 394 in 2015.

The number of columns on the Legislative Council ballot paper has risen from 21 to 22, both totals including one ‘Ungrouped’ column. Of the 21 groups on the 2023 ballot paper, six have nominated fewer than 15 candidates which means these six groups will not have an ‘above the line’ group voting square. It is effectively impossible for a group to elect a member without a group voting square.

At this stage I only have Assembly total numbers. Details of candidates will not be released until ballot paper proofing is complete.
Read More »Summary of Candidates and Parties Contesting the 2023 NSW Election

The Political Impact of Optional Preferential Voting – NSW 2019 Preference Flows

As mentioned in my previous post, New South Wales is the only Australian jurisdiction that uses optional rather than compulsory or full preferential voting for single member lower house elections. It is also the only state that data enters all lower house ballot papers and publishes the data for outside research.

Optional preferential voting (OPV) means that voters do not have to number a preference for every candidate on the ballot paper. A ballot paper requires only a first preference to be formal. All further preferences are optional.

If during the distribution of preferences, a ballot paper for distribution has no preference for a candidate remaining in the count, the the ballot paper is put aside as having “exhausted” its preferences. Exhausted ballot papers have no direct involvement in determining the winning candidate, but they have an indirect role in altering the winning post a candidate must pass to win. As explained below, OPV works in favour of leading candidates over trailing candidates.

This can be explained by comparing the maths of full versus optional preferential voting.

  • Under full preferential voting, the winning candidate must achieve 50% of the formal vote after the distribution of preferences. The winning post of the votes needed to win is set at the start of the count and does not change.
  • Under optional preferential voting, the winning candidate must receive a majority of the votes remaining in the count, that is the formal vote minus exhausted preferences. The winning post is lowered with each exhausted preference making it easier for the leading candidate to win by making it harder for the second placed candidate to catch and pass the leader.

The chart below shows the two-party preferred preference flows for minor parties and Independents at the 2019 NSW election.

I'll explain the political implications of the above graph inside the post. But if you want more detail of the preferences flows by electorate by candidate, or by party by electorate, you can find all the details in this pdf document I've prepared.
Read More »The Political Impact of Optional Preferential Voting – NSW 2019 Preference Flows

Preference Completion Categories – 2019 NSW Election

New South Wales is the only Australian jurisdiction that uses optional rather than compulsory or full preferential voting for single member lower house elections. It is also the only state that data enters all lower house ballot papers and publishes the data for outside research.

Over the next few days I’ll publish more information on lower house preference flows, but this first post concentrates on preference completion rates.

For this analysis, all ballot papers have been categorised into one of three categories.

  • Single – ballot papers that counted with only a single preference.
  • Full – ballot paper with all squares filled completing a formal sequence of preferences.
  • Partial – formal preferences between 2 and (Max Candidates -1).

Overall 64.3% of ballot papers counted as 1-only votes and had no further preferences. 23.7% of ballot papers counted with all preferences correctly completed, and a further 12.0% had partial preferences. The median number of preferences completed was 1, the average 2.4.

The rate of completion varied substantially by party and also varied from electorate to electorate. This variation in rate is clearly related to published and distributed how-to-vote material. As I don’t have access to the how-to-votes, this post won’t include analysis based on recommendation.

But if you want to see the numbers by electorate by candidate, or by party by electorate, you can find all the details in this pdf document I’ve prepared.

Read More »Preference Completion Categories – 2019 NSW Election

New Publication on NSW Legislative Council Elections

In December 2022 the NSW Parliamentary Library published a background paper I prepared on the 2019 NSW Legislative Council Election. To keep it timely, the Publication also included an Appendix on prospects for the 2023 Legislative Council Election.

Inside this post I’ll run through the contents of the publication and also publish the statistical highlights section with references to parts of the paper.

The paper can be found in full at this link.

More on the contents inside this post.

Read More »New Publication on NSW Legislative Council Elections

Fifteen Parties Registered to Contest the 2023 NSW Election

Fifteen parties are registered to contest the 2023 NSW election on 25 March including two that have undergone late name changes.

The rules in NSW for registering political parties were substantially toughened after the farcical “tablecloth” ballot paper at the 1999 Legislative Council election.

NSW parties require 750 members for registration, and all members relied upon for registration must provide a signed Declaration of Party Membership, a substantially tougher requirement than is necessary to register a Federal party. Parties must also pay a $2,000 fee and provide substantial detail on the workings of their constitution. Parties also undergo reviews to ensure they maintain the required membership.

Importantly for the coming election, NSW requires parties be registered for 12 months before they can access to the benefits of party registration. The main benefits registration gains are the ability to centrally nominate candidates, and having a party name printed next to party candidates on ballot papers.

So the 15 names listed inside this post are the only parties eligible to have their names printed on ballot papers for the 25 March election.Read More »Fifteen Parties Registered to Contest the 2023 NSW Election

VIC22 – 2-Party Preferred Results and Swings by District

Inside this post I am publishing corrected two-party preferred (2PP) results, state-wide and by district, for the 2022 Victorian election.

The post is based on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC’s) published two-party preferred totals. At the moment the difference in my table is that I include corrected the two-party preferred totals for Brighton and Werribee.

These two corrected totals have been calculated from the data entered ballot paper files for both seats. The VEC did not publish a completed preference distribution for either seat but the correct 2PP can be calculated from the data files. I recently analysed the preference flows for seven districts where data entry was available, including for Brighton and Werribee.

In February the VEC intends to undertake formal preference distributions in districts where a distribution was not required. I will update the table and this post as the new figures become available.

As well as publishing two-party preferred totals, the post explains the VEC’s counting procedures that are responsible for me having a different state-wide 2PP, and also why there will be further changes when the VEC conducts the additional distributions in February.Read More »VIC22 – 2-Party Preferred Results and Swings by District

VIC22 – Werribee – Analysis of Preferences

Werribee was one of the seven districts where the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) conducted its re-check of election night votes by data entering ballot paper preferences into a computer system. Werribee had 15 candidates, and as explained in my Melton post, this presented difficulties for the VEC in conducting manual re-checks so data entry was used.

Werribee was of interest in 2022 after the second place finish of Independent Joe Garra in 2018. Werribee had a very safe 13.4% margin versus the Liberal Party, but slightly less safe 9.2% margin versus Garra. Labor MP Tim Pallas was saved from another challenge when Garra contested Point Cook after his home suburb of Werribee South was transferred to Point Cook in the redistribution. But a new Independent emerged in local car dealership owner Paul Hopper. In the end Hopper’s challenge fizzled and he finished fourth with only 5.9%.

With 15 candidates, Werribee saw a very high informal vote at 9.7% on a turnout of 85.6%. A very low 30.1% of votes were cast on polling day, 57.3% were Pre-polls, 8.2% Postal votes and 3.8% Absent votes.

The two major parties attracted 70.7% of the vote between them, Labor 45.4%% and the Liberal Party 25.3%. The other 29.3% was split across 13 candidates, none of whom passed 7%.

As with my previous posts on Northcote, Preston, Hawthorn, Brighton, Melton and Point Cook, this post will use of the electronic ballot papers to analyse preference flow statistics and also to look at the influence of candidate how-to-votes.

The key findings for Werribee are –

  • The Liberal Party how-to-vote, which switched in 2022 to recommend preference for the Greens ahead of Labor, resulted in 71.5% of Liberal voters following the recommendation and putting the Greens ahead of Labor. Note that Liberal preferences were not distributed.
  • For the 12 Point Cook candidates that registered how-to-votes indicating preferences, 25.6% of ballot papers exactly matched the how-to-vote of the chosen first preference party. Labor at 26.9% and the Liberal Party 34.6% were the highest concordance rates, with Independent Hopper third at 27.4%. Fewer voters for the plethora of minor parties and independents followed a how-to-vote.
  • In the two-party preferred count, a relatively low 53.1% of preferences favoured Labor over Liberal.
  • The full two-candidate preferred count finished as Labor 23,517 (60.9%) to Liberal 15,086 (39.1%), 0.4% higher for Labor than the VEC’s count derived from polling place results.

More detail with tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Werribee – Analysis of Preferences

Electoral Pendulum for the 2023 NSW Election

With just 11 weeks to go until the NSW election on 25 March, I thought it was time to publish the Electoral Pendulum that I am advising the ABC to use for the election.

Since the 2019 election there has been a redistribution of electoral boundaries, five by-elections and a number of members who have left the party for which they were elected.

The pendulum inside this posts tries to account for the numerous changes. I’ve also summarised the 2020/21 redistribution, and provided notes on alternate margins for seats.

Depending on nominations, there may be one or two seats where I change the margin between now and March.

The Coalition won the 2019 election with 48 seats to Labor 36 with nine members on the crossbench, three Greens, three Independents and three Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. (Three SFF in total, not one of each.)

As I explain in the post, accounting for redistributions, by-elections and defections, the starting point for the 2023 election is Coalition 46 seats, Labor 38 and nine on the crossbench, three Greens and six Independents. Majority government requires 47 seats.

With the increasing number of NSW seats that are no longer major party contests, talking about the uniform swing each side needs to win is becoming less meaningful. The Coalition holds five seats on margins under 4% and Labor six. The nine crossbenchers will be trying to retain their seats, and there will be new Independents nominating, especially in safe Liberal seats.

Labor needs nine seats on a daunting swing of 6.2% for majority government, but can hope to form government with support from the crossbench if it can gain five seats to finish with more seats than the Coalition, though the presence of at least three Greens may open the possibility that Labor could form government with fewer seats than the Coalition.

Premier Perrottet and his predecessor Glady Berejiklian have managed to govern for more than two years without a clear majority in the Legislative Assembly. It is one of the rare occasions in recent years where a Coalition government has successfully managed a hung parliament. The size of the crossbench, and the chance it will increase in size on 25 March, mean the result of the election may only be the starting point for the formation of the next NSW government. Read More »Electoral Pendulum for the 2023 NSW Election

VIC22 – Results by Vote Type and Vote Type by Electorate

During the Victorian election campaign, I had a daily updated post tracking the record rates of pre-poll and postal voting.

With the results now complete, it’s time for a post looking at the final pre-poll and postal vote rates as a percentage of the vote rather than of enrolment.

It is also possible to look at two-party preferred results by vote type, though these may change slightly with the Narracan supplementary election and some additional preference counts to be completed in the new year.

I have also included a chart showing the percentage of each vote type by district.

In summary, the swing against the Andrews government was much larger on election day than with pre-poll votes, and there was a swing towards Labor with postal votes.

In 2018 the gap between polling day results and for early votes meant that the Andrews government’s 2018 victory looked much larger on election night than it turned out to be once all the votes were counted.

So large was the pre-poll and postal gap in 2018 that I built that trend into the ABC’s 2022 election computer model. That the gap was much narrower means that with complete twenty-twenty hindsight, it would have been possible to make a clear election call earlier in the evening.

More comments and tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Results by Vote Type and Vote Type by Electorate