by-elections

2024 Northern Tablelands By-election

In NSW the Minns government will face its first electoral test on June 22 at the Northern Tablelands by-election.

Or to be more correct, could have faced its first by-election test because Labor looks unlikely to nominate a candidate. Based in the state’s rural north, Northern Tablelands is the Coalition’s safest seat, the Nationals polling a huge 83.8% of the two-party preferred at last year’s state election. At the 2011 election, the Labor vote was so low its candidate lost their deposit!

The only interest will be if an Independent candidate nominates, trying to tap into local Independent support that saw Richard Torbay win Northern Tablelands at four elections from 1999 to 2011 and helped Tony Windsor win the Federal seat of New England in the same period.

I’m publishing a profile of the by-election on my personal blog as I will be overseas for the by-election and not have access to the ABC website. I will try and update this page while overseas. I will not be providing result commentary on 22 June as I will be otherwise engaged in Budapest.

2024 Northern Tablelands By-election

Party Status: Very Very Safe National 33.8%

Date – Saturday 22 June 2024

The by-election has been caused by the retirement of National Party MLA Adam Marshall.

The by-election writ will be issued and rolls close on Friday 31 May. Nominations close Thursday 6 June with announcement of candidates and draw for ballot position on Friday 7 June. Postal vote application open Monday 20 May, Pre-Poll voting starts Saturday 15 June. Further information on the by-election can be found at the NSW Electoral Commission’s website.

Read More »2024 Northern Tablelands By-election

Live Coverage of Brisbane City Council, Inala and Ipswich West By-elections

ABC Results site is now live here.

Updated Tuesday 19 March 5pm AEDT

The tables below summarises the result. There are updates on latest figures being logged inside the post.

Results Summary

Inala by-election Labor retain
Ipswich West by-election LNP GAIN
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner re-elected
Brisbane Wards LNP retain majority

Brisbane Council – Wards Won by Party

LNP ALP GRN IND Doubt
Wards won 17 5 2 1 1
Leading 1 .. .. .. ..

Brisbane Wards – Councillors Elected

Ward Margin and Incumbent Result
Bracken Ridge LNP – Sandy Landers Re-elected
Calamvale LNP – Angela Owen Labor GAIN
Central LNP – Vicki Howard Re-elected
Chandler LNP – Ryan Murphy Re-elected
Coorparoo LNP – Fiona Cunningham Re-elected
Deagon ALP – Jared Cassidy Re-elected
Doboy LNP – Lisa Atwood Re-elected
Enoggera LNP – Andrew Wines Re-elected
Forest Lake ALP – Charles Strunk Re-elected
Hamilton LNP – Julia Dixon Re-elected
Holland Park LNP – Krista Adams Re-elected
Jamboree LNP – Sarah Hutton Re-elected
Macgregor LNP – Steven Huang Re-elected
Marchant LNP – Danita Parry Re-elected
McDowall LNP – Tracy Davis Re-elected
Moorooka ALP – Steve Griffiths Re-elected
Morningside ALP – Lucy Collier Re-elected
Northgate LNP – Adam Allan LNP ahead
Paddington LNP – Clare Jenkinson Greens GAIN
Pullenvale LNP – Greg Adermann Re-elected
Runcorn LNP – Kim Marx Re-elected
Tennyson IND – Nicole Jonhston Re-elected
The Gabba GRN – Trina Massey Re-elected
The Gap LNP – Steve Toomey Re-elected
Walter Taylor LNP – Penny Wolff Re-elected
Wynnum-Manly ALP – Sara Whitmee LNP gain


Read More »Live Coverage of Brisbane City Council, Inala and Ipswich West By-elections

Queensland By-elections since 1992

As well as voting in the Queensland local government elections this weekend, voters in the Labor-held seats of Inala and Ipswich West will vote at state by-elections to elect new MPs.

“Informed sources” are making predictions of big swings. There are hints from Labor at possible seat losses, from the LNP about falling short of the required swing. The sort of expectations management now common ahead of important by-elections.

The results of both by-elections, and the Brisbane City Council election, will be watched closely. On Saturday night you can follow my coverage of the elections at the ABC’s Brisbane City Council and By-elections live results site. I’ll also be joining Steve Austin on ABC Brisbane local radio analysing the results.

The election night dissections will be followed by the reports of the auguries on Sunday. What will they be able to divine about the fate of the Labor government and new Premier Steven Miles at the state election set for October?

The Inala by-election (preview here) is to select a replacement for former Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Inala has been Labor’s safest seat for three decades and its margin of 28.2% looks insurmountable.

At greater risk further along the Warrego Highway is Ipswich West (preview here). Former member Jim Madden has been followed by controversy before resigning and the seat’s margin of 14.3% is half that of Inala. It is a seat that both the LNP and One Nation have held in the past.

Looking back at Queensland by-elections since 1992, they provide a mixed bag of results to measure against this weekend’s results. There have been 21 by-elections since 1992, eight resulting in the incumbent party being defeated. Twelve of these by-elections were two-party preferred contests like this weekend’s pair, and six saw incumbents defeated.

In summary –

  • Of the 12 two-party preferred by-elections, the average swing against the government of the day was 6.5%.
  • The seven by-elections while Labor was in government saw an average swing of 5.0% against Labor government.
  • The five by-elections while the LNP was in government produced an average swing of 8.5% against the LNP government.
  • Of the seven by-elections in government held seats, the average swing against the government was 10.1% Five were in Labor seats in Labor governments and an average of 6.9%, the two LNP seats while the LNP governed averaging 18.2%.
  • The Beattie Labor government lost three seats after big swings at by-elections between 2005 and 2006. Labor lost Chatsworth in 2005 after a 13.9% swing, Redcliffe the same day with an 8.4% swing, and Gaven in April 2006 after an 8.3% swing. Despite the losses, Labor re-gained all three seats at the 2006 election.
  • The Newman LNP government lost two seats to huge swings at by-elections in 2014, losing Redcliffe to a 17.2% swing, and Stafford shortly after to an even bigger 19.1% swing. Both results accurately predicted the result of the next state election in January 2015.

Read More »Queensland By-elections since 1992

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

Background on Federal By-election Swings

Federal politics will soon kick into gear for 2024 with campaigning for the Dunkley by-election, likely to be held in late February or early March.

The by-election has been caused by the sad death of former Labor MP Peta Murphy, who succumbed to breast cancer at the end of 2023. It will be the third by-election since the election of the Albanese government in May 2022.

You can find more on the seat of Dunkley and the by-election in my seat profile on the ABC Elections site.

The by-election will be a test for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party, keen to retain what is a marginal seat despite its on-paper electoral buffer of 6.3%.

It will also be a challenge for the Liberal Party and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. After the Liberal Party’s historic loss at last April’s Aston by-election, the opposition needs a good result in Dunkley to confirm recent improvement in opinion polls.

But there are arguments for and against whether Dunkley will be a good test of the national electoral mood.

Being fought in Victoria, currently Labor’s strongest state, can Dunkley be viewed as representative of the national electorate? The 2022 federal election reduced the Liberal Party to just eight of 39 Victorian seats, since cut to seven seats by the Aston loss. Only two of those seats, Deakin and Menzies, are entirely suburban.

The Liberal Party has also performed badly in Victorian state politics, losing six of the last seven state elections. There was a swing to the Coalition at the November 2022 state election but the Liberal Party lost seats and has since been dealing with internal party recriminations.

Arguing for the by-election’s importance, Dunkley is the sort of outer-suburban seat the Liberal Party needs to start winning if it hopes to overcome the loss of once blue ribbon Liberal seats to Independents.

Dunkley includes some newer housing estates where interest rate rises have bitten. Across the electorate there are families who are feeling the effects of inflation.

Based on national opinion polls, there is not enough movement to predict the Liberal Party will win Dunkley.

But by-elections are an opportunity for voters to send a message when the government’s fate is not in play. Will the anti-government swing common at by-elections be large enough to deliver victory to the Liberal Party?

The swing needed is 6.3%, and Labor achieved a 6.4% swing the other way to win Aston. Covering the full period since Federation, the average anti-government swing is a little under 4%.

More recently there have been 52 by-elections since the election of the Hawke government in 1983. Of those, 28 were traditional two-party contests between Labor and the Coalition, the type of contest we will see in Dunkley.

Across the 28 two-party by-elections, the average anti-government two-party preferred swing was 3.5%. It was 4.7% against Labor governments in 17 contests, and 2.3% against Coalition governments in another 11.

Of the 28 by-elections, 15 were in government held seats and 13 in seats held by an opposition party. The average swing against government in government held seats was 5.4% compared to only 1.2% in Opposition held seats.

At the eight by-elections in Labor seats during Labor governments, the average swing was 8.2% compared to 2.3% in seven similar contests during Coalition governments.

The Labor Party had an astonishingly good result in Aston, in contrast to poor first term by-election results for Labor governments led by Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd. Under both Hawke and Rudd, Labor was further ahead in polls than the Albanese government at the time of its Aston victory.

Not that average swings are a useful measure given the wide variety of swings at by-elections. Swings are more about the time specific circumstances of a by-election and are not always comparable with an average calculated over several decades.

Larger swings than required in Dunkley afflicted the Hawke government at third term by-elections in 1988. The Adelaide and Port Adelaide by-elections, fought on the now forgotten issue of timed local calls for home phones, cost the government Adelaide and produced a double digit swing in Port Adelaide. Another double digit swing struck at the Oxley by-election later the same year. Labor’s position in all three seats was restored at the 1990 election when the Hawke government was narrowly re-elected.

Not so with the 16.2% swing that delivered a rare Liberal win in the ACT at the 1995 Canberra by-election. Labor recovered Canberra at the 1996 election, but it was a pallid highlight amidst the wreckage of the Keating government’s defeat.

Going further back in time to June 1975, the famous Bass by-election produced a Liberal gain after a 14.3% swing, accurately predicting the Labor Party’s fate under Gough Whitlam later in the year.

The biggest anti-government swing under a Coalition government was in the Brisbane seat of Ryan in March 2001. Labor won the seat after a 9.7% swing. John Howard famously described the result as not a repeat of Bass and Canberra, and the Howard government recovered Ryan and was re-elected to office at the 2001 election.

So will the by-election produce an average anti-government swing and see Labor retain Dunkley, or will we see larger swing that delivers victory to the Liberal Party?

Either way, the Dunkley by-election will set the frame for politics in the first half of 2024.

For more on the Dunkley by-election, see my profile of the electorate and candidates at the ABC website.

And for more on by-elections and results, read on in this post.
Read More »Background on Federal By-election Swings

NT Fannie Bay by-election set for 20 August

Voters on the NT Legislative Assembly seat of Fannie Bay will go to the polls on Saturday 20 August following the resignation of MP and former Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

I’m unfortunately on the wrong side of the world to cover the by-election. I don’t have access to the ABC’s election site to publish a preview and will be busy cycling round Italy’s Lake Como on the day results are being reported. Understandably I’m sticking to my bike.

To fill the gap, I’ve pulled together a brief profile of Fannie Bay here on my personal site. No guarantee that I’ll have time to offer further commentary before the election.

All the official information on the by-election can be found on the NT Electoral Commission’s Fannie Bay by-election website. This includes details on when, where and how to vote.

A date for WA’s North West Central by-election has now been named – Saturday 17 September. I’ll publish information on this by-election next week when I return to Australia. Details on the by-election can be found on the WA Electoral Commission’s website. Read More »NT Fannie Bay by-election set for 20 August