Federal elections

Submissions Published for Victorian Federal Redistribution

Victoria is currently undergoing a redistribution of federal electoral boundaries that will reduce the state’s representation from 39 seats to 38.

This has come about due to Section 24 of the Constitution which determines state representation in the House of Representatives. I published a post in June explaining how the allocation of House of Representatives seats to states is assessed one year into each term or parliament.

Using the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution, it was determined that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat for the next Federal election, while Western Australia will gain a seat. The size of the House of Representatives will be reduced from 151 seats to 150.

The change in numbers has triggered a redistribution in all three states. In the last month I have published posts looking at the major party proposals for New South Wales and Western Australia. Both posts include links to earlier posts looking at how projected enrolment numbers will drive the redistributions in each state.

With today’s release by the AEC of submissions to the Victorian redistribution, it is time to look at what the major parties have suggested for Victoria. For background on how the Victorian redistribution might unfold, you can read my previous post on the projected enrolment data.

I had planned to write a summary of the various submission yesterday but the submissions were not published until evening. I will update this post with key suggestions made in the party submissions. You can find all 63 lodged submissions at the AEC website. The submissions are now open for comment by the public as set out on the AEC website.

You will note there is no Liberal Party submission. I understand the party missed the deadline for submission, but you can find what they proposed to submit on the Victorian Liberal Party’s website. Having missed the suggestions deadline, the Liberal Party will submit it as part of the Comments process before the Commissioners draw draft boundaries.
Read More »Submissions Published for Victorian Federal Redistribution

Submissions Published for WA Federal redistribution

Proposals for the re-draw of WA’s federal electoral boundaries closed on Friday with submissions published today by the Australian Electoral Commission today.

There are 21 submissions in all. Understandably the greatest interest is in the proposals submitted by the Liberal and Labor Parties.

Both parties create a new seat based on the Darling Range in Perth’s east. The Liberal submission is for a new seat named Court that extends east into rural areas. Labor’s proposal is for a new seat called Farmer that runs south west into the Perth metropolitan area.

(I published a post several months ago on how the redistribution might unfold based on enrolment numbers.)

And the two submissions adopt different strategies in key parts of the Perth metropolitan area.

Note – maps taken from party submissions. The Liberal Party submission included maps of all proposed divisions. The Labor Party’s submission only included a map of the proposed Farmer.Read More »Submissions Published for WA Federal redistribution

The Changing Pattern of Results by Vote Type

With counting complete, the Australian Electoral Commission has returned the writ to the Governor-General formally declaring “The Voice” referendum defeated.

The final count has confirmed what was observed on election night, that there was a massive difference between how people voted in person on polling day compared to votes cast in the two weeks of early voting.

My professional interest in this difference is the impact the growing and variable gap between polling day and early votes has on when we know results on election night.

As I outlined in a previous post, 83.8% of votes were cast on polling day at the 1999 Republic referendum. In 2023 the figure was close to half at only 43.7%.

There has been a huge increase in pre-poll voting since its availability was first liberalised in 2010. Over the 13 years since, the number of polling day votes has declined. While pre-poll voting centres are counted and reported on election night, the larger number of votes taken per centre compared to polling places means pre-polls generally report later in the evening. At recent by-elections, all polling places have reported their results before the first pre-poll centre reported.

With pre-poll counting revealing different trends, and unreliably different trends as well, it means that close elections will take longer to call on election night.

Pre-poll and postal voting has always had a conservative lean compared to election day voting, but never have we seen a gap as wide as at the referendum.

When non-polling day votes made up less than one-in-five votes, you could factor in the last election’s postal and pre-poll trend safe in the knowledge there were not enough votes to shift a result more than a few percentage points.

With early votes now outnumbering polling day votes, an early prediction based on polling day votes can be significantly shifted. That is shown clearly by the referendum.

At the 2022 Federal election, the Labor two-party preferred vote declined 1.6 percentage points between the tally of polling day votes and the final count. That was high by past election trends.

But the shift was even greater at the referendum. The Yes% shifting down a remarkable 3.8% between the tally of polling day votes and the final result.

The table below breaks down the referendum Yes vote by vote type and compares it to the same categories for Labor’s two-party preferred vote at last year’s Federal election.

Vote By Type – 2022 Federal Election and 2023 Referendum Compared
Percent of Total Votes Percent of Vote
Vote Type 2022 2023 ALP 2PP Yes “Swing”
Polling Day Ordinary 45.1 43.7 53.7 43.7 -10.0
Pre-Poll Ordinary 33.3 35.3 50.6 35.4 -15.2
Postal 14.3 11.0 49.1 33.1 -16.0
Pre-Poll Declaration 3.6 4.3 53.3 44.7 -8.6
Absent Votes 3.2 4.4 57.4 48.9 -8.5
Other vote types 0.5 1.3 59.1 47.7 -11.4
Total .. .. 52.1 39.9 -12.2

Read More »The Changing Pattern of Results by Vote Type

NSW Redistribution Submissions – which seats could be for the chop.

As outlined in a previous post, NSW is set to lose a seat at the next Federal election.

The AEC has released submissions to the redistribution that will reduce the state from 47 to 46 seats. In this post I’ll run through some of the major features of party proposals. You can find the submissions at this link.

Read More »NSW Redistribution Submissions – which seats could be for the chop.

Projected Enrolment Data released for the Victorian Federal Redistribution

The next step in the re-draw of Victoria’s federal electoral boundaries has begun today with a call for submissions and the release of base enrolment data.

Victoria is losing a seat at the next Federal election, the state’s representation reduced from 39 to 38 seats.

Victoria gained a 39th seat ahead of the 2022 election, but a decline in the state’s relative population compared to other states will see Victoria revert to 38 seats. One of the state’s 39 seats is to be abolished, but it is unlikely to be the new seat of Hawke first contested in 2022.

The two year immigration halt caused by Covid, combined with on-going internal migration by Victorians to other states, is why the state is losing a seat.

Of the state’s 39 seats, 14 are below the permitted variation from projected enrolment quota. Thirteen of these seats cover parts of Melbourne and all will need to gain voters. Seats in regional Victoria are mostly within the permitted variation and will be largely untouched by the redistribution.

(I’m happy to publish comments on how people think the redistribution will unfold. Read on into the post for my thoughts.)Read More »Projected Enrolment Data released for the Victorian Federal Redistribution

The Voice Referendum Results by Vote Type and Electoral Division

10 November – The AEC has carried out its final adjustments to the roll to take account of deaths, re-instated voters and several other causes of adjustment. This reduced national roll by around 5,000 voters and lifted the final turnout figure from 89.92% to 89.95%.

In this post I’m publishing several charts dissecting the referendum result by Vote Type and by electoral division. The post includes a table of Referendum Yes percentages and comparison columns for Labor two-party preferred percentage from the 2022 election, plus the gap between these two figures.

The electorate table shows how much lower the Yes% vote was in many traditional Labor seats. The seats where the Yes% was higher are clustered in seats won by Greens and ‘teal’ Independents at the 2022 election, and also several Liberal seats gained by Labor.

The ‘gap’ column shows a similar pattern to the 1999 Republic referendum. Both the 1999 and 2023 referendums saw Yes support distributed very differently from two-party preferred patterns at the preceding Federal election. The 1999 referendum pattern was also very different to the 2001 Federal election, which suggests the 2023 referendum is unlikely to be a guide to voting patterns at the 2025 Federal election.

That’s with the possible exception of the result in seats lost by the Liberal Party in 2022. Of the 17 Liberal seats that voted for the Republic in 1999, only five were won by the Liberal Party in 2022. The other twelve seats are now held by Labor, the Greens and ‘teal’ Independents. Eight of these seats voted for The Voice in 2023.Read More »The Voice Referendum Results by Vote Type and Electoral Division

Projected Enrolment Data Released for Redistribution of WA Federal Electoral Boundaries

Projected enrolment data has been relased for Western Australia that provides a better picture of how the Federal redistribution will unfold in the state.

Western Australia is to gain a seat, increasing its representation from 15 to 16 seats. It restores a 16th seat to the state after a seat was removed in the previous redistribution three years ago.

Read More »Projected Enrolment Data Released for Redistribution of WA Federal Electoral Boundaries

How Referendum Results Relate to Levels of Party Support

The Voice Referendum is being put by and overwhelmingly backed by the Albanese Labor government. It is opposed by the National Party and is opposed by large parts of the Liberal Party including Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. It is largely supported by the Greens and ‘teal’ Independents, and opposed by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

It is a pattern of party support that suggests referendum night results might follow traditional party divides. This is despite the referendum being held away from a general election, away from a campaign with how-to-votes advocating a vote for or against the government as well as for or against the referendum.

To examine the role of partisanship in referendum voting patterns, I look back at two very different referendums and the relationship between Labor/Coalition election voting by electoral division, and Yes/No referendum results.

The first is the Simultaneous Elections referendum held in conjunction with the 1984 Federal election. With both Labor and Coalition how-to-votes having clear Yes and No referendum recommendations, there was an extremely strong relationship between two-party preferred results by division and Yes/No referendum results.

But the second case, the 1999 republic referendum, was a very different campaign and produced results with a much weaker link between party voting and Yes/No results. Held separately from a general election, the republic referendum was not combined with the partisanship inducing vote for or against the government. The Republic referendum is also unique in being the only referendum put by a Prime Minister who advocated a No vote.

Like The Voice referendum, the Republic was backed by Labor and generally opposed by the Coalition, though with some significant Liberal supporters of a republic. The result produced a confusing mosaic of results where safe Liberal seats voted Yes and safe Labor seats voted no.

As I outline in this post, you can explain more about the pattern of Republic referendum results by looking at the social status of electorates rather then the level of Labor or Coalition support at the previous year’s Federal election.

So are these high social status Republic supporting electorates the ‘elites’ campaigned against in 1999 and so often mentioned again in The Voice campaign? The majority of voters have more interest in getting by day to day than worrying whether ‘The Voice’ will improve the position of First Nations Australians. Does railing against ‘elites’ tap into resentment against those with more time and money to worry about such issues?

Having covered the 1999 Republic campaign and written on the results at the time, I see strong similarities with the current Voice referendum. And on Saturday night I expect to see a very similar pattern of results, with Yes results strongest in high social status metropolitan seats irrespective of whether they are Labor, Liberal, Green or Independent held.

A quick technical point before the post. Most of this post is written comparing Labor two-party preferred percentages by electoral division to Yes percentages at referendums. It could have been written comparing Coalition 2PP% to No% and produce the same findings. You just have to choose one of the two methods of measure, and focussing on the smaller number of Yes voting divisions is easier to measure and explain.
Read More »How Referendum Results Relate to Levels of Party Support

Would Creating Extra Senators for the Territories change the House of Representatives

A report from ABC Darwin overnight again raises the question of whether the Albanese government will increase the number of territory Senators.

Special Minister of State, Senator Don Farrell, referred to a looming report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. The story was last reported around a month ago.

Both the ACT and NT currently elect two Senators. They are elected for maximum three year terms, with their terms tied to the electoral cycle of the House of Representatives.

This differs from state Senators who are elected for fixed six-year terms with each state having a constitutionally protected equal number of Senators.

Currently each state elects 12 Senators with half (six) elected every three years. (All 12 are elected at double dissolution elections.) The number of Senators per state was set at six in 1901, increased to 10 in 1949 and the current 12 in 1984. Two Senators for each territory were added in 1975.

The question I’m usually asked about an increase in territory Senators is whether this would cause an increase in the size of the House of Representatives.

The short answer is no, as I’ll explain in this post.Read More »Would Creating Extra Senators for the Territories change the House of Representatives