Federal elections

2021 Federal Redistribution – Draft Boundaries for Western Australia

UPDATE 4 June – the AEC finalised the boundaries today with some minor nips and tucks. Data files have yet to be published, but the changes described in the final report do not suggests any significant changes to the new margins set out in this post. The new boundaries will be gazetted on 2 August, which perhaps gives a hint that the Prime Minister won’t be calling an election for Augsut.

Last year’s review of state representation in the House of Representatives recommended that Western Australia lose a seat, its representation falling from 16 to 15 members.

The draft boundaries are released at noon eastern time and I will update this post through the day with information on the new boundaries and estimated new margins.

In summary, the Liberal seat of Stirling is abolished and there is not much shift in margins for other seats.

The change in margins shown in the table below don’t show much shift in margins, but in going from 16 to 15 seats there are substantial changes in boundaries.
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2021 Federal Redistribution – Draft Boundaries for Victoria

Last year’s review of state representation in the House of Representatives recommended that Victoria gain a seat, increasing its number of members from 38 to 39 seats.

The short story is the seat of Corangamite has been re-named Tucker and becomes a more urban seat centred on southern Geelong.

There is a new seat called Hawke covering Melbourne’s outer west and north-west fringe including Sunbury, Melton, Bacchus Marsh and Ballan.

Most urban seats have had some boundary changes. The transfer of Springvale and Noble Park from Bruce to Hotham means the two seats more or less swap margins. Chisholm is slightly weakened for Liberal Gladys Liu and suburb swaps between Macnamara and Higgins opens an opportunity for the Greens to pass Labor and win Macnamara.

Read More »2021 Federal Redistribution – Draft Boundaries for Victoria

2019 SA Senate Election Part 2 – the Preference Distribution

Part 1 of my post on the 2019 SA Senate election analysed how voters completed their ballot papers under the new Senate system, how preferences flowed between parties and what was the impact of how-to-votes.

This post will be more descriptive in summarising the formal distribution of preferences. It highlights major exclusions and distributions during the count and comments on differences with how the count might have unfolded had the abolished group voting ticket system still been in place.
Read More »2019 SA Senate Election Part 2 – the Preference Distribution

2019 SA Senate Election – Ballot Paper and Preferences Analysis (Part 1)

This is my latest (and much delayed) post looking at the Senate’s new electoral system, how it worked at 2019 election, how voters completed their ballot papers, and what was the influence of how-to-vote material.

This post on South Australian is my first on a six-member Senate contest. The two previous posts in this series, on the ACT Senate race and the Northern Territory Senate race, dealt with elections for two Senators and were two-party preferred races.

At the start of 2020 I published two other posts with broad overviews of the 2019 result. The first looked at the breakdown of above and below the line voting and the number of preference completed. The second looked at measures of performance, why the new system produced different results to past Senate elections. In particular, it compared the 2019 result with the 2013 half-Senate election, the last conducted using the now abolished group voting tickets.

Part 2 of this post tracks the formal distribution of preferences for the South Australian Senate. The Part 1 post below provides a more detailed analysis of preferences based on examining the electronic ballot papers.
Read More »2019 SA Senate Election – Ballot Paper and Preferences Analysis (Part 1)

Candidates, Informal Voting and Optional Preferential Voting

In the final week of parliamentary sittings, Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath tabled the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM’s) inquiry into the conduct of the 2019 Federal election. (You can find the report here.)

One of the controversial proposals in the report, and one opposed by Labor and Green members of JSCEM, was a recommendation to move from full or compulsory preferential voting (CPV) to optional preferential voting (OPV) for House of Representatives elections.

The report provides few arguments in favour of OPV. The recommendation for OPV appears suddenly at the end of a brief discussion on informal voting, in particular noting the impact OPV’s use at NSW elections has on informal voting at Federal elections. Senate McGrath presented a different argument for OPV when tabling the JSCEM report in the Senate, referring to OPV as a measure “to maximise voter choice”.

I’ve written on OPV many time previously, and I would suggest reading this post I wrote in 2013 after a previous suggestion from the Coalition about introducing OPV.

Informal voting will always be higher under compulsory preferential voting because ballot papers with faulty numbering have few options for salvation available. This compares with OPV where ballot papers with incomplete, duplicate or missing numbers, or completed with a single tick or cross, can count for candidates to the extent that a voter’s intent is clear.Read More »Candidates, Informal Voting and Optional Preferential Voting

What’s in a Party Name?

UPDATE 2 February – The name change has been approved by by the WA Electoral Commission.

For a party that argues “Australian democracy is broken”, that claims to be “Australia’s most transparent political party”, the Flux Party of Western Australia has taken a breathtakingly cynical step ahead of next March’s Western Australian election.

As shown below, the party has proposed to change its name and hopes to appear on ballot papers in March as “Liberals for Climate”.

I can’t see this as anything else but an attempt to mislead voters into confusing Liberals for Climate with the Liberal Party. It is an attempt to boost the party’s Legislative Council vote and manipulate the group voting ticket system still used in Western Australia.

The question is, will there be enough objection to this cynical name change, and strong enough legal argument against it, to prevent “Liberals for Climate” appearing on next year’s ballot papers?
Read More »What’s in a Party Name?

Will Saving the NT’s Second House Seat Cost the ACT its Third Seat?

UPDATE: The legislation has been introduced and it does not fix the number of Territory seats at a minimum of two. It instead adopts my proposal to use the harmonic rather than arithmetic mean in determining seat entitlements for the territory. However, the harmonic only applies for quotients under three. That provision might need a re-visit if the Parliament ever increases in size. The statistical error provision has been repealed. The determination in July merging the NT into a single seat has been set aside and two seats restored. Legislating backwards for the harmonic mean was too difficult but under it the NT would have been entitled to two seats.

From the next determination, to take place after the next election, the new rules will apply to the territories. The NT will be entitled to a second seat if its quotient is above 1.3333 rather than the current 1.5. The ACT will be entitled to a third seat with a quotient above 2.4 rather than 2.5. As noted above, this new harmonic mean will not apply above three seats.

The legislation and notes related to it can be found at this link.

Minister’s Second Reading Speech here.

Original post

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2020 Groom By-election – Rates of Pre-Poll and Postal Voting

Voting for the Groom by-election has been underway today with few surprises expected in the result.

Groom is an ultra-safe LNP seat, held with a margin of 20.5%. The by-election has been caused by the resignation of LNP member John McVeigh. Only four candidates have nominated, well down on the 14 that contested the Eden-Monaro by-election in July. That Labor nominated a candidate in such as safe LNP seat was greeted with general surprise, while the Greens have opted out of contesting a Federal by-election for the first time in a quarter-century.

The LNP’s Garth Hamilton is expected to win easily and I won’t be providing any coverage of the results tonight. The best places to follow the results are the Australian Electoral Commission’s website, and via William Bowe at his Pollbludger site.

As I have for other elections this year, I thought it worth devoting a post to pre-poll and postal voting rates. With Covid-19 still around, you would have expected a high rate of postal and pre-poll voting. In fact the numbers are only slightly higher in Groom than at last year’s Federal election.

It gives me an opportunity to raise an issue about postal vote applications that should be addressed before the next Federal election. In short, there are serious questions as to whether we should still be allowing postal vote applications as late as the Wednesday before polling day. With Australia Post scaling back postal delivery times, what is the point of allowing application for postal votes too late for the postal vote pack to be delivered before polling day?
Read More »2020 Groom By-election – Rates of Pre-Poll and Postal Voting

Eden-Monaro By-election – Preferences and Commentary on the Result

The final data dump of results from the Eden-Monaro by-election has been published, including the distribution of preferences and data on preference flows by party. You can find all the data at the AEC website.

In this post I want to look at final flows of preferences, were there differences caused by when people voted, how did the count unfold on election night, and was it a good result for Labor?
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Eden-Monaro By-election – Regional and Vote Type Breakdown of the 2019 Result

To help in analysing the Eden-Monaro by-election results on Saturday night, I’ve broken down the 2019 results by region and by vote type.

In summary, the electorate has three broad regions. The largest by population is the Queanbeyan-Palerang council area with 32.0% of votes taken in 2019. The rural areas surrounding the ACT including Yass, Tumut and Cooma took 28.1%, while voting centres on the NSW far south coast took 25.9%.

Labor’s two-party vote versus the Liberal Party was strongest in Queanbeyan-Palerang (54.6% to 45.4%), then the South Coast (52.5% to 47.5%) and weakest in the rural areas (46.1% to 53.9%). The Liberal Party’s two-party vote was strongest in the reverse order to Labor’s, shown as the second figure in the bracketed numbers above.

Of first preferences support for minor parties, National support was weakest on the South Coast (2.5%) and strongest in the Yass-Tumut-Cooma area (11.1%).  Green support was strongest on the South Coast (10.0%).

Of all votes cast in 2019, only 50.6% were ordinary votes cast in polling places on election day. Another 35.4% were pre-poll ordinary votes cast during the campaign. There were another 5.8% of votes cast as pre-poll absent votes, 5.6% as postal votes, 1.9% as absent votes, and 0.7% as others including provisional and special hospital votes.

In descending order of Labor two-party preferred percent versus the Liberal Party, the results were absent (54.6% to 45.4%), polling places (52.8% to 47.2%), pre-poll absent (52.3% to 47.7%), pre-poll ordinary (48.9% to 51.1%)  and postal votes (42.9% to 57.1%). In summary, Labor won polling day, the Liberal Party won the pre-poll period, with Labor winning narrowly overall.

More detail can be found in this post below, with much more detail on the by-election, the candidates and polling place results at my ABC Eden-Monaro by-election guide.

Read More »Eden-Monaro By-election – Regional and Vote Type Breakdown of the 2019 Result