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.
Result by Vote Type
The chart below dissects Referendum Result by vote type. The AEC Commissioner stated after a week of counting that the final turnout would be in the range 87-89%. The final figure pending roll reconciliation is 89.4%, down only slightly from 89.8% at last year’s Federal election.
The chart separates Ordinary Votes into Polling Day and Pre-Poll Ordinary votes. Postal votes have been counted and the final return rate for Postal Votes is 86.4%. All figures used here are as at 30 October after all votes should have been returned and counted. The final and official AEC figures may differ slightly once final checks and reconciliations are complete.
For someone like me who covers elections for a living, the most remarkable feature of the above graph is the eight percentage point gap between polling day votes and pre-poll ordinaries, and the even greater 11 point gap with postal votes. Given the greater volume of pre-poll and postal votes at recent elections, the emergence of such gaps greatly complicates the calling of election results. There is a traditional conservative lean in postal and pre-poll votes, but the lean varies inconsistently from election to election. A lesson from the Referendum result, and from the NSW election in March, is that calling the result of close elections is going to take longer than in the past. Especially close elections where Labor is leading narrowly.
The above chart also separately identifies four smaller categories of votes, Special Hospital Mobiles, Remote Mobiles, Other Mobiles and Provisional votes. Remote Mobiles includes mainly votes taken at remote indigenous communities, but also includes some remote mining and agricultural communities.
Referendum Results by Division versus 2022 Federal Election Results
The chart below shows referendum results by division in comparison to 2022 Labor two-party preferred results. Each line shows electoral division, state, holding party, Yes %, 2022 Labor 2-Party Preferred % and the gap between the two. (Gap = Yes% - ALP 2PP%)
(The data could have been shown with Coalition 2PP% and No%, but it is easier and more interesting to explain the smaller number of electorates that voted for change than the much larger number that voted for the status quo. The Coalition % and Nos % in the table below are simple 100 minus the percentage shown.)
I have identified several of the independent held divisions with the label 'TEAL' to aid clarity though no such party exists. As is clear from the chart, the so-called 'Teal' seats behaved very differently from other seats with an underlying Liberal two-party preferred majority. '*' indicates seats that changed party at the 2022 election.
You can sort the table by the columns across the top.