victoria

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

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

Daniel Andrews resigns as Victorian Premier

Catching everyone by surprise today is the announcement by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that he will resign as Premier tomorrow.

Earlier this year Andrews passed John Cain Junior to become Labor’s longest serving Victorian Premier, and earlier this month he passed Rupert ‘Dick’ Hamer to become Victoria’s fourth longest serving Premier.

I doubt Andrews has been hanging around just to pass Hamer. If he had waited another week he would have passed Sir James McCulloch to become the state’s third longest serving Premier.

There are plenty of media stories analysing Andrews’ time in office, trying to explain the sudden departure and examining who might replace him. I don’t think there is anything I can add to the speculation and the political obituaries.

I’m posting here to direct everyone to my just published background piece on the by-election that must now be held in Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave. He won Mulgrave with a two-party margin of 10.2% last November. The seat should be safe for Labor, but you never know in a suddenly changed political climate.

Since its re-election last November, the Andrews government has been announcing and dealing with bad news, mostly in relation to the budget. The most spectacular backflip was the announcement that the state would no longer host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

You can find my profile for the Mulgrave by-election here.
Read More »Daniel Andrews resigns as Victorian Premier

Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in Victoria

In brief – Victoria will lose a seat at the next Federal election. After gaining a 39th seat for the 2022 election, a relative decline in Victoria’s population sees the state revert to 38 seats. The two year shut down of immigration combined with on-going internal migration of Victorians to other states is behind the state losing a seat.

But with only three years since the last redistribution, there are no hot spots of enrolment growth that make it obvious which seat will disappear. It seems most likely that a Melbourne seat will be abolished, maybe east of the Yarra given population growth is higher to the west. But as is always the case, abolishing a metropolitan seat will have major consequences for seats across large parts of Melbourne.

Why will there be a Redistribution?

One year after every Federal election, the Australian Electoral Commissioner is required to make a determination on how many House of Representatives members each state will elect at the next election.

Commissioner Tom Rogers will make that determination in the last week of July. The determination will be made based on the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly population statistics. The latest population figures by state and territory, for the fourth quarter of 2022, were published on Thursday 15 June.

The Commissioner has no personal choice in making the determination. The method is strictly defined in law. For states the Commissioner will apply the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution. For the Territories the Commissioner will use the formula set out in the Electoral Act. The Constitution also states that the Commissioner will use the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth”, a phrase the High Court and Parliament has determined will be the quarterly population statistics, that is Thursday’s ABS release.

(I’ve published a post explaining how seats are allocated to states and why they are changing at the next election.)

The published figures show Victoria will lose a seat, as will New South Wales. Western Australia will gain a seat. (see my related post on the Western Australian federal redistribution). The House of Representatives will be reduced from 151 to 150 seats at the next election.

Change in a state’ entitlement triggers a redistribution with new boundaries drawn to match the new allocation of members. In this post I will run through where the redistribution could have greatest impact on Victorian seats.

(Note: happy to add comments with people’s views on how the new boundaries might be drawn.)
Read More »Prospects for the Federal Redistribution in Victoria

ABS Population Statistics confirm WA to gain a new House seat, Victoria and NSW to lose seats

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released state population figures this morning that confirm a change in seat numbers for three states at the next Federal election.

New South Wales representation will be reduced from 47 to 46 seats, Victoria reduced from 39 to 38 seats, while Western Australia will gain a seat, increasing from 15 to 16 seats.

Other jurisdictions remain unchanged, Queensland with 30 seats, South Australia 10, Tasmania five, Australian Capital Territory three and Northern Territory two.

The next election will be for a 150 member House of Representatives, down one from the current 151 seats.

The current elected members per state remain unchanged until the next election, due between August 2024 and May 2025. Redistributions will take place in the three affected states to bring the number of electoral divisions in line with the change in allocated members.

The change in numbers will become official in the last week of July, one year after the first sitting of the current House of Representatives, when the Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers issues a formal determination of House representation by state and territory.

Commissioner Rogers has no personal choice in making the determination as the method is strictly defined in law. For states the Commissioner will apply the formula set out in Section 24 of the Constitution. For the Territories the Commissioner will use the formula set out in the Electoral Act. The Constitution also states that the Commissioner will use the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth”, a phrase the High Court and Parliament has determined will be the quarterly population statistics, that is today’s ABS release.

The precise calculations around how seats are allocated is explained inside this post.

Once the new numbers are officially announced at the end of July, redistributions to implement the changed seat numbers will get underway in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. Based on past redistribution timelines, the process of drawing new boundaries should be completed by early July 2024, in time for use at the next election.

The changes in Victoria and Western Australia reverse changed numbers that first applied at the 2022 election.

For NSW, the reduction to 46 continues a long term trend. When the parliament was increased in size in 1984, 51 of the 148 seats were in NSW. The state lost seats at the 1993, 2007, 2010 and 2016 elections.

The latest changes have come about because of changes in relative state populations. The populations of NSW and Victoria have been growing more slowly than other state, meaning both states declined relative to other states. In large part this has come about because of the two year halt to immigration, ending the usual large migrant inflow to the nation’s two largest states. Despite closing its state border in the same period, over three full years Western Australia has been a beneficiary of internal migration from other states.
Read More »ABS Population Statistics confirm WA to gain a new House seat, Victoria and NSW to lose seats

VIC22 – 2-Party Preferred Results and Swings by District

Inside this post I am publishing corrected two-party preferred (2PP) results, state-wide and by district, for the 2022 Victorian election.

The post is based on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC’s) published two-party preferred totals. At the moment the difference in my table is that I include corrected the two-party preferred totals for Brighton and Werribee.

These two corrected totals have been calculated from the data entered ballot paper files for both seats. The VEC did not publish a completed preference distribution for either seat but the correct 2PP can be calculated from the data files. I recently analysed the preference flows for seven districts where data entry was available, including for Brighton and Werribee.

In February the VEC intends to undertake formal preference distributions in districts where a distribution was not required. I will update the table and this post as the new figures become available.

As well as publishing two-party preferred totals, the post explains the VEC’s counting procedures that are responsible for me having a different state-wide 2PP, and also why there will be further changes when the VEC conducts the additional distributions in February.Read More »VIC22 – 2-Party Preferred Results and Swings by District

VIC22 – Werribee – Analysis of Preferences

Werribee was one of the seven districts where the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) conducted its re-check of election night votes by data entering ballot paper preferences into a computer system. Werribee had 15 candidates, and as explained in my Melton post, this presented difficulties for the VEC in conducting manual re-checks so data entry was used.

Werribee was of interest in 2022 after the second place finish of Independent Joe Garra in 2018. Werribee had a very safe 13.4% margin versus the Liberal Party, but slightly less safe 9.2% margin versus Garra. Labor MP Tim Pallas was saved from another challenge when Garra contested Point Cook after his home suburb of Werribee South was transferred to Point Cook in the redistribution. But a new Independent emerged in local car dealership owner Paul Hopper. In the end Hopper’s challenge fizzled and he finished fourth with only 5.9%.

With 15 candidates, Werribee saw a very high informal vote at 9.7% on a turnout of 85.6%. A very low 30.1% of votes were cast on polling day, 57.3% were Pre-polls, 8.2% Postal votes and 3.8% Absent votes.

The two major parties attracted 70.7% of the vote between them, Labor 45.4%% and the Liberal Party 25.3%. The other 29.3% was split across 13 candidates, none of whom passed 7%.

As with my previous posts on Northcote, Preston, Hawthorn, Brighton, Melton and Point Cook, this post will use of the electronic ballot papers to analyse preference flow statistics and also to look at the influence of candidate how-to-votes.

The key findings for Werribee are –

  • The Liberal Party how-to-vote, which switched in 2022 to recommend preference for the Greens ahead of Labor, resulted in 71.5% of Liberal voters following the recommendation and putting the Greens ahead of Labor. Note that Liberal preferences were not distributed.
  • For the 12 Point Cook candidates that registered how-to-votes indicating preferences, 25.6% of ballot papers exactly matched the how-to-vote of the chosen first preference party. Labor at 26.9% and the Liberal Party 34.6% were the highest concordance rates, with Independent Hopper third at 27.4%. Fewer voters for the plethora of minor parties and independents followed a how-to-vote.
  • In the two-party preferred count, a relatively low 53.1% of preferences favoured Labor over Liberal.
  • The full two-candidate preferred count finished as Labor 23,517 (60.9%) to Liberal 15,086 (39.1%), 0.4% higher for Labor than the VEC’s count derived from polling place results.

More detail with tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Werribee – Analysis of Preferences

VIC22 – Results by Vote Type and Vote Type by Electorate

During the Victorian election campaign, I had a daily updated post tracking the record rates of pre-poll and postal voting.

With the results now complete, it’s time for a post looking at the final pre-poll and postal vote rates as a percentage of the vote rather than of enrolment.

It is also possible to look at two-party preferred results by vote type, though these may change slightly with the Narracan supplementary election and some additional preference counts to be completed in the new year.

I have also included a chart showing the percentage of each vote type by district.

In summary, the swing against the Andrews government was much larger on election day than with pre-poll votes, and there was a swing towards Labor with postal votes.

In 2018 the gap between polling day results and for early votes meant that the Andrews government’s 2018 victory looked much larger on election night than it turned out to be once all the votes were counted.

So large was the pre-poll and postal gap in 2018 that I built that trend into the ABC’s 2022 election computer model. That the gap was much narrower means that with complete twenty-twenty hindsight, it would have been possible to make a clear election call earlier in the evening.

More comments and tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Results by Vote Type and Vote Type by Electorate

VIC22 – Point Cook – Analysis of Preferences

Point Cook was one of the seven districts where the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) conducted its re-check of election night votes by data entering ballot paper preferences into a computer system. Point Cook had 15 candidates, and as explained in my Melton post, this presented difficulties for the VEC in conducting manual re-checks so data entry was used.

Point Cook, previously known as Altona, was a closely watched seat in 2022 despite its very safe 12.3% Labor margin. Sitting MP for Altona and former senior minister Jill Hennessy was retiring, and new Labor candidate Mathew Hilakari had only recently moved into the area. Point Cook is a rapidly growing seat of new housing estates classed as outer suburban and one of the few western Melbourne seats thought to be at risk for Labor.

Dr Joe Garra was one of the 15 candidates. Garra is a local GP who had been campaigning for years on inadequate hospital facilities on Melbourne’s south-west. He had finished second to Labor contesting Werribee in 2018. He chose to contest Point Cook after his home suburb, Werribee South, was transferred from Werribee to Point Cook by the redistribution. He had a disappointing result, finishing third with only 6.9% of the first preference vote. He was passed by the Greens during the distribution of preferences.

With 15 candidates, Werribee saw a very high informal vote at 10.2%. Only 33.0% of votes were cast on polling day, 51.5% were Pre-polls, 10.2% Postal votes and 4.5% Absent votes.

The two major parties attracted only 64.7% of the vote between them, Labor 40.0%% and the Liberal Party 24.7%. But the other 35.3% was split across 13 candidates with no other candidate passing 7%.

As with my previous posts on Northcote, Preston, Hawthorn, Brighton and Melton, this post will use of the electronic ballot papers to analyse preference flow statistics and also to look at the influence of candidate how-to-votes.

The key findings for Point Cook are –

  • The Liberal Party how-to-vote, which switched in 2022 to recommend preference for the Greens ahead of Labor, resulted in 70.2% of Liberal voters following the recommendation and putting the Greens ahead of Labor. Note that Liberal preferences were not distributed.
  • For the 12 Point Cook candidates that registered how-to-votes indicating preferences, 22.9% of ballot papers exactly matched the how-to-vote of the chosen first preference party. Labor at 30.5% and Liberal 27.2% had the highest rate of ballot paper concordance with how-to-vote recommendations. Few voters for the plethora of minor parties and independents followed a how-to-vote.
  • In the two-party preferred count, a relatively low 51.9% of preferences favoured Labor over Liberal.

More detail with tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Point Cook – Analysis of Preferences

VIC22 – Melton – Analysis of Preferences

Melton was one of the seven districts where the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) conducted its re-check of election night votes by data entering ballot paper preferences into a computer system.

Melton had 14 candidates, and electorates with more than 12 candidates presented a counting problem for the VEC. After election night, all votes are manually check counted in bundles of 50 ballot papers, each bundle made up of first preferences for one candidate. After the counting of each bundle, bank note counters are used to quickly double check the number of counted papers in each bundle. The note counters verify the hand tally, NOT what’s written on the ballot papers.

Ballot papers with more than 12 candidates can’t fit into note counters. Hence why Melton (14 candidates), Point Cook (15) and Werribee (15) were data entered. The inability to use note counters would have substantially slowed down the amalgamation count where ballot papers are broken out of their polling place bundles and amalgamated ahead of the distribution of preferences. The distribution of preferences itself would also have been slowed.

Melton was a closely watched seat in 2022. It was the only seat in the state that had swung against Labor at the two previous state elections, and there had also been unusual swings against Labor in the area at May’s Federal election. Melton also attracted two noteworthy Independents in Dr Ian Birchall, who polled well in 2018, and Jarrod Bingham. When rolled in, it turned out neither had polled significantly, Birchall finishing third with 9.0% and Bingham fourth on 5.8%.

The two major parties attracted only 62% of the vote between them, Labor 37.7% and the Liberal Party 24.3%. But the other 38% was split across 12 candidates. In a seat with a low Green vote and with Independents campaigning against the government, Melton was a rare seat where preferences favoured the Liberal Party.

But the main threat to Labor in Melton was an Independent finishing second and sweeping up Liberal preferences, which in the end did not happen. That Bingham recommended preferences for the Liberal candidate ahead of Birchall further reduced the chances of the minor party vote coalescing. Too many candidates resulted in the anti-Labor vote dissipating in the distribution of preferences, as had happened in 2018.

As with my previous posts on Northcote, Preston, Hawthorn and Brighton, this post will use of the electronic ballot papers to analyse preference flow statistics and also to look at the influence of candidate how-to-votes.

The key findings for Melton are –

  • The Liberal Party how-to-vote, which switched in 2022 to recommend preference for the Greens ahead of Labor, resulted in 73.9% of Liberal voters following the recommendation and putting the Greens ahead of Labor. Note that Liberal preferences were not distributed.
  • For the 12 Melton candidates that registered how-to-votes indicating preferences, 27.0% of ballot papers exactly matched the how-to-vote of the chosen first preference party. The Liberals at 36.7% and Labor at 33.4% had the highest rate of ballot paper concordance with how-to-vote recommendations. The plethora of minor parties showed very little how-to-vote discipline.
  • In the two-party preferred count, a rare minority 44.5% of preferences favoured Labor over Liberal. The Greens polled only 4.6% of the vote but still delivered 80.3% of preferences to Labor despite fewer than one in ten Green ballot papers having the recommended how-to-vote sequence.

More detail with tables inside the post.Read More »VIC22 – Melton – Analysis of Preferences