Federal elections

Proposed Federal Electoral Boundaries Released for Western Australia

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will release draft electoral boundaries for Western Australia on Friday, the time provisionally set for lunchtime AEST. Western Australia will be gaining a seat in the redistribution, the number of members to be elected at the next election increased from 15 to 16 seats.

Once the draft boundaries are released I’ll give a brief comment on the newly created seat, but it will take time and some serious number crunching to work out the full consequences of the new boundaries.

I’ve now double checked every discrepancy and my figures are final.

The major changes are that the new seat of Bullwinkel is a marginal Labor seat, Hasluck is made safer for Labor and Canning is made more marginal for the Liberal Party.

The new electorate is named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel AO MBE ARRC ED FNM FRCNA (1915–2000), a civilian and military nurse who was the sole survivor of the 1942 Bangka Island massacre and a prisoner of war. The name recognises her dedication to honouring victims of war crimes, service to nursing, and the community, in both her civilian and military service. This electoral division name also honours the contribution of military medical personnel and recognises those who were prisoners of war.

The table below of seats held by party will be updated during my various parses of the data.

Change in Seats Held by Party
Labor Liberal Independent Total
Old boundaries 9 5 1 15
New boundaries 10 5 1 16

Based on the two-party preferred results, including the underlying Labor-Coalition nature of the Independent held seat of Curtin, the changes in two-party preferred holdings are –

  • Old Boundaries 2PP: Labor 9, Liberal 6
  • New Boundaries 2PP: Labor 10, Liberal 6

A seat table comparing margins can be found inside the post.Read More »Proposed Federal Electoral Boundaries Released for Western Australia

Proposed Federal Boundaries Released for Victoria

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will release draft electoral boundaries for Victoria today, the time set as some time between 12:30 and 2:30. Victoria will be losing a seat in the redistribution, the number of members to be elected reduced from 39 to 38 seats.

Once the draft boundaries are released I’ll give a brief comment on which seat has been abolished, but it will take time and some serious number crunching to work out the full consequences of the new boundaries.

Update 7pm Friday After fixing problems with a changed numbering system for SA1s, I’ve tidied all the estimates. The summary is that the Labor seat of Higgins is abolished but the Liberal seat of Menzies becomes a marginal Labor seat. The Liberal seat of Deakin is weakened for the Liberal Party and Wills is weakened for Labor in a contest versus the Greens.

The Greens versus Labor margin for Melbourne is not right but I don’t have time work out the problem tonight. A better estimated margin has now been calculated for Melbourne. Other independent contests now have better estimated margins.

** Sunday update on Kooyong The re-drawn seat of Kooyong includes around 30,000 voters from the abolished seat of Higgins. This is around a quarter of the voters in the re-drawn Kooyong. This is an area where Independent Monique Ryan was not on the ballot paper in 2022 and if you do a straight vote transfer and then apply preferences, you get an Independent v Liberal margin of 0.8%, down from 2.9%. This is not a realistic margin as clearly Monique Ryan will attract votes in the area added from Higgins.

Compared to the 2022 Liberal 2PP margin versus Labor, the new boundaries produces a slight dip in the Liberal margin versus Labor. I suspect that movement slightly improves Ryan’s margin versus the Liberal Party, but there is no way to calculate a margin without coming up with an estimate of how Ryan will poll in the transferred parts of Higgins where she was not on the ballot paper in 2022.

I’ve removed my earlier margin from the table below because it is being quoted as suggesting the Liberal position in Kooyong has been significantly improved. That is not my opinion.

** Sunday update on Goldstein I’ve removed the estimated Independent margin for Goldstein for the same reasons. Transferring votes and re-calculating preferences gives a new Independent v Liberal margin of 2.7%, down from 2.9% on the old boundaries. The changes to Goldstein are smaller than for Kooyong. The Liberal 2PP margin dips on the new boundaries and I think the same may apply to the Independent versus Liberal margin.

Change in Seat Numbers

The table below of seats held by party will be updated during my various parses of the data.

Change in Seats Held by Party
ALP LIB NAT GRN IND Total
Old boundaries 24 8 3 1 3 39
New boundaries 24 7 3 1 3 38
With by-elections 25 6 3 1 3 38

Note: By-election line takes account of Labor winning Aston from the Liberal Party at an April 2023 by-election. Table does not take account of the decision by Monash MHR Russell Broadbent to resign from the Liberal Party and become an Independent.

Based on the two-party preferred results, including the underlying Labor-Coalition nature of Independent and Greens held seat, the changes in two-party preferred holdings are –

  • Old Boundaries 2PP: Labor 25, Coalition 14 (Liberal 11, National 3)
  • New Boundaries 2PP: Labor 25, Coalition 13 (Liberal 10, National 3)
  • Including by-elections: Labor 26, Coalition 12 (Liberal 9, National 3)

Seat tables can be found inside the post.Read More »Proposed Federal Boundaries Released for Victoria

Why There Won’t be an Early Federal Election in 2024

Early election speculation is like some creature from an Eagles song. You can stab it with your steely knives but you just can’t kill the beast.

In the first half of 2023, when the Albanese government was ahead in all polls and looking assured in its control of the levers of power, talk of an early election in late 2024 was plausible.

Redistributions along with local, state and territory elections made timing difficult, but there were narrow windows for an early election either side of the Queensland election in October 2024.

But that window appears to have been firmly closed. The failed ‘Voice’ referendum, further rises in interest rates and growing cost of living pressures have damaged the government’s standing. The government has looked less assured in steering the ship of state.

Yet last week there were new stories emanating from Queensland about the Coalition’s need to be prepared for an election this year.

In my opinion the prospects for an election in late 2024 have evaporated.Read More »Why There Won’t be an Early Federal Election in 2024

Final Wrap of the Dunkley By-election

The result of the Dunkley by-election was declared last month, but as usual it has taken a couple of weeks for the the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to finalise and release its full suite of election statistics on the by-election.

This post wraps up the final figures, looking at turnout, preference flows by candidate and result by vote type.

In short, the by-election saw a normal change in turnout, the pattern of vote by type was normal, and the pattern of preferences flows was normal. The by-election produced an overall swing of 3.5% which is on par with an average by-election swing.
Read More »Final Wrap of the Dunkley By-election

Update on Tasmanian nominations, Dunkley and Dunstan by-elections

It’s been a hectic week preparing for Saturday night’s coverage of the Dunkley by-election, as well as dealing with the close of nominations for the Tasmanian election and the Dunstan by-election in South Australia.

Here’s a pointer to what I’ve been up to.

Dunkley By-election – 2 March

Knowing that Google recommendations send thousands of people to my blog site whenever there is an electoral event, i’m putting a link here to my Dunkley coverage.

I will not be blogging Dunkley results at this site. I will be on the ABC News channel and iView on Saturday night covering the results. There will also be live results on my ABC Dunkley by-election page. This will include polling place results, a map of polling place results, and I also have a Commentary page where I will be doing… Commentary. If the count takes several days to resolve, I will be doing my vote updates and analysis on the Dunkley by-election Commentary page.

I’ve also been keeping up to date with the pre-poll and postal voting rates for Dunkley which you can find in this blog post.Read More »Update on Tasmanian nominations, Dunkley and Dunstan by-elections

Update on looming elections, by-elections and redistributions

March will be a big month for elections. It’s keeping me very busy.

The biggest election in terms of voter numbers is Brisbane City Council, followed by the Tasmanian state election.

There is also a Federal by-election in Dunkley, two Queensland state by-elections and one South Australian state by-election.

Over the horizon beyond Easter are the Cook federal by-election, and now an announcement on the start to the Northern Territory federal redistribution.

I have ABC websites and blog posts being updated on all these electoral events. This post is an opportunity to highlight the on-going work I’m doing on each of these events, as well as pointing out some of the most recent updates.Read More »Update on looming elections, by-elections and redistributions

Dunkley By-election – Tracking the Early Vote

In this post I will track the rate of pre-poll voting, postal vote application and postal vote return rates for the Dunkley by-election. Polling day is Saturday 2 March.

I’ll put headline figures here at the top of the post each day and graph daily voting rates inside the post.

Saturday 2 March (Final figures)

  • At the end of the pre-poll voting period, total of 29,928 pre-poll votes were taken representing 26.4% of enrolment. This compares to 30,395 votes or 27.2% of enrolment in 2022. The 2022 figure has been adjusted to exclude out-of-district pre-polls. There were 6,247 pre-polls taken on the final day compared to 5,159 on the same day in 2022.
  • A total of 21,983 postal vote applications were received representing 19.4% of enrolment. So far 15,434 postal votes have been returned representing 13.6% of enrolment or 70.2% of applications.
  • The number of pre-polls taken at the three Pre-Poll Voting Centres is Carrum Down 12,957, Frankston 12,468 and Mount Eliza 4,503.
  • In person pre-poll voting at in district centres has finished at 98.5% of the 2022 Federal election level. The final figure for the Aston by-election was 82.4% and for Fadden 78.5% so the pre-polls don’t point to a significantly lower turnout in Dunkley. I have excluded out-of-district pre-polls from the calculations as they only exist at general elections.
  • The overall turnout figure for the Aston by-election was 85.6%, down from 92.5% at the 2022 election, and for Fadden 72.5% down from 86.5%. The Dunkley turnout at the 2022 Federal election was 90.1%.

The total figures for Dunkley at the 2022 election were –

  • Adjusting for out-of-district pre-polls, there were 30,395 pre-poll votes taken in Dunkley at the 2022 election, representing 27.2% of enrolment or 30.2% of total votes.
  • There were 22,221 applications for postal votes representing 19.9% of enrolment. 16,625 postal votes had returned by polling day, a return rate of 74.8%. By the closing date for receipt of postal votes, 18,430 had been received, a return rate of 82.9%.
  • Returned postal votes represented 16.5% of enrolment. Postal votes admitted to the count represented 18.3% of the total vote in 2022.

Read More »Dunkley By-election – Tracking the Early Vote

Redistribution begins for Northern Territory Federal Boundaries

Today marks seven years since the Northern Territory’s current federal electoral boundaries were first gazetted. Under the ‘seven-year rule’ in Section 59 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, a redistribution of the NT’s federal boundaries must commence within 30 days.

The NT’s redistribution will differ from those currently underway in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The other state redistributions have been triggered by a change in seat entitlements under Section 24 of the Constitution. New South Wales and Victoria will both lose a seat, Western Australia gain a seat. The seat numbers will be unchanged at two for the NT redistribution.

Seven-year rule redistributions can be deferred if they commence within twelve months of the expiry date for the House of Representatives. The deferral deadline in 2024 is May, meaning seven-year rule redistributions due for Tasmania in November and Queensland in March 2025 will be deferred until after the next election.

But the Northern Territory redistribution will go ahead. With only two seats involved, the process of drawing boundaries will be easily completed before the next election is due. Unlike with change of seat number redistributions, there are no complications if an early election is called because the existing NT divisions would remain in place.

While unlikely to have major political implications, it is worth looking at the NT redistribution to examine how the NT briefly lost its second seat in 2020, and also to observe how the Australian Electoral Commission’s Indigenous enrolment drive before the 2023 referendum has increased remote enrolment.
Read More »Redistribution begins for Northern Territory Federal Boundaries

Victorian Federal Redistribution using Updated Enrolment Data

Last October, eagle eyed observers spotted that there was something wrong with enrolment projection data for Victoria released by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The projections were released as base data for the looming federal redistribution to remove one of Victoria’s 39 seats in the House of Representatives.

A 2023 decision by the Australian Electoral Commissioner under Section 24 of the Constitution had determined that NSW and Victoria would lose House seats and Western Australia gain a seat. The size of the House of Representatives for the next election will be reduced from 151 to 150 seats. I wrote a post at the time explaining the decision.

Victoria had gained an extra seat at each of the two previous elections. Both had been created in western Melbourne, Fraser before the 2019 election and Hawke ahead of 2022. The redistribution creating Hawke had been based on population data from before the 2020 arrival of Covid. With overseas immigration halted for two years, and internal migration to the outer states continuing, Victoria’s population declined relative to other states over the three intervening years.

But removing a seat won’t simply be a matter of abolishing Hawke or Fraser. As the projected enrolment data released last week shows, population growth in Melbourne’s north and west is faster than in Melbourne’ east and south-east. A seat must be abolished in Victoria and the corrected projected enrolment data indicates strongly that a seat will be abolished in Melbourne’s east.

The first projected enrolment data released last October had been prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The data was flawed in applying a uniform growth rate across the state. The corrected enrolment projections released by the AEC last week now have growth rates that vary across the state.

(Happy to post comments with people’s suggestions on where the changes will occur.)
Read More »Victorian Federal Redistribution using Updated Enrolment Data