In this post I’ll try and provide updates of election results over the next few days.
Counting resume at 10am Perth time each day.
Labor has won a smashing victory, polling more than 60% of the first preference vote and more than 69% after preferences. Labor also looks to have overcome the malapportioned electoral system for the state’s Legislative Council and is set to be the first Labor government in the state’s history to win a majority in the upper house.
Commentary reflects the live results being updated on the ABC Elections website.
And if you are looking for Legislative Council predictions, you can find them with the output from my Legislative Council calculator.
Saturday 20 March
I’ll close this post now. All seats have been decided though counting continues ahead of the formal distributions of preferences next week.
On Sunday I hope to write a separate post on the Legislative Council count where the predicted numbers are still bouncing around.
Churchlands – the eagle eyed may notice that there two-party preferred count in Churchlands is 552 votes short of the first preference count. While the Electoral Commission conducted an indicative preference count on the extra postal votes counted on Friday, it only counted first preferences for the additional Absent and Pre-poll votes. Those broke Labor’s way and I estimate Labor’s lead in Churchlands is a little over 300 votes rather than the 223 votes shown on the ABC and WAEC websites. The discrepancy will be resolved when the formal distribution of preferences is undertaken.
Full distributions of preferences will be conducted in every seat next week, starting with Carine, Churchlands, Collie-Preston, Hillarys, Nedlands, North West Central, Roe and Warren Blackwood on Monday.
Friday 19 March
9:45pm/6:45pm – another 50 pre-polls splitting slightly Labor’s way.
9:10pm/6:10pm – preference count is in and Labor’s lead in Churchlands has increased by 9 to 223. Around 500 Absents have been added on first preferences and I estimate these will increase Labor’s lead by around another 80 votes.
8:55pm/5:55pm – With Labor’s victory in Churchlands, the new Legislative Assembly will be Labor 53, Liberal 2, National 4.
8:40pm/5:40pm – Churchlands update. 274 postal votes added. First preferences only but they will produce a small increase in the Labor lead. There can be barely any votes left to count so it is safe to call Churchlands for Labor’s Christine Tonkin.
5:00pm Sydney/2:00pm Perth – there will be further counting in Churchlands starting at 8pm Sydney/5pm Perth time today. This will count all votes that have not been counted. On Monday a formal distribution of preferences in Churchlands and all other vaguely close seats will take place. Unless there was a serious error in the count uncovered, the distribution will confirm the counts as of close of counting tonight. Given close seats are keenly observed by scrutineers, it is unusual for more than am few vote’s difference to be discovered during the distribution of preferences.
Noon Sydney/9:00am Perth Run off my feet at the moment with the Federal redistributions. I’ll update Churchlands if any numbers arrive.
Thursday 18 March
9:30pm/6:30 – An observation on an odd feature of the results. In every region except South Metropolitan, Labor’s vote is higher in the Legislative Council than in the lower house. The count is further progressed in the lower house, and Labor’s upper house vote is inflated because no BTL votes are included in totals yet. You would normally expect Labor’s vote to be down in the upper house and I have no particular explanation of this phenomena.
5:45pm/2:45pm – I don’t think there will be any more counting in Churchlands today. I have been trying to find a number on votes still to count but have nothing official. I can’t see how there can be more than about 800 to count as a maximum.
3:35pm/12:25pm – On my numbers 4,410 postal have been counted out of 4,877 returns, and 7,366 pre-poll have been counted out of 7,449. Some of the returned postals never make it into the count, and the same comment applies to a smaller number of pre-polls. There may be some outstanding Absents, and there will be a small number of Provisionals. Both of these categoires will favour Labor. There can’t be more than three or four hundred outstanding votes to count. If that is the case, Labor will win Churchlands and gain a 53rd seat, the Liberal Party reduced to just two seats.
3:15pm/12:15pm – Another 372 Absent votes in Churchlands split more than 60% in Labor’s favour, so its candidate Christine Tonkin now leads Liberal MP Sean L’Estrange by 214 votes. The count is now up to 85.1% so there will be very few votes left to count.
2:15pm/11:15pm – Another thousand pre-poll votes added for Churchlands and they are bad news for Liberal MP Sean L’Estrange. Labor gained another 180 votes and Labor candidate Christine Tonkin now leads by 84 votes. The count is not at 82.7%.
1:15pm/10:15pm – to confirm the current position, Labor holds 52 seats, the Liberal Party 2 and National Party 4. The one seat remaining in doubt is Churchlands. If the Liberal Party can retain Churchlands it will hold 3 seats. If Labor wins it will be the McGowan government’s 53rd seat.
1:10pm/10:10am – the preference count for the Churchalnds votes arrived and Labor led by 7 votes, reducing the overall lead of Liberal Sean L’Estrange over Labor’s Christine Tonkin from 31 votes to 24.
12:55pm/9:55am – a batch of around 400 postal votes in Churchlands are more favourable for Labor suggesting that the lead of Sean L’Estrange will come down a few votes from the 31 he held overnight. Preference count on the additional votes yet to be published.
12:40pm Sydney / 9:40am Perth – further counting of absent votes in Nedlands have confirmed that Liberal MP Bill Marmion has lost to Labor’s Katrina Stratton. Two-candidate preferred for the extra thousand votes are yet to be reported but will further increase Stratton’s lead.
Wednesday 17 March
(Sydney time zone being used)
8:30pm – no late updates. So only the neighbouring Liberal seats of Nedlands and Churchlands remain in doubt, and that these two Liberal heartland seats are in doubt is a sign of the devastation inflicted on the Liberal Party at the 2021 election.
With 68.6% counted in Nedlands, Labor has extended its lead to 574 votes, Labor’s Katrina Stratton leading sitting Liberal MLA Bill Marmion 51.4% to 48.6%. My computer algorithm is on the cusp of giving the seat away but I might leave it for a little bit more counting on Thursday and let the program give the seat away.
Churchlands is up to 76.2% counted and the lead of Liberal MLA Sean L’Estrange has halved to 31 votes on today’s counting. As expected, Absent votes have favoured Labor and if the trend continues in tomorrow’s counting, Labor’s Christine Tonkin is expected to take the lead.
If Labor wins Churchlands then the new Legislative Assembly will be Labor 53, National 4 and Liberal 2. A Liberal victory would leave Labor on its current tally of 52 seats and give the Liberals 3.
The other seat decided to day was Warren-Blackwood where the trend on Pre-polls and Absents from yesterday continued today resulting in Labor’s Jane Kelsbie defeat sitting National MLA Terry Redman.
A remarkable feature of today’s count is that Labor’s state-wide first preference vote has passed 60%, reaching 60.2% with 70.8% of votes counted as a percentage of enrolment. My estimated Labor 2-party preferred vote is an extra-ordinary 69.4%, a swing of 13.9%. I would be surprised to find another victory on that scale in WA or any state’s history.
The 2011 NSW election saw the Liberal and National vote (with no three-cornered contests) on 51.1%. The SA Liberal Party win in 1992 was 52.8%. The LNP only polled 49.7% on its landslide Queensland win in 2012, Labor’s decimation owing much to competition from Katter’s Australian Party in north Queensland and optional preferential voting. The Kennett Liberal/National coalition polled 52% of the first preference vote in Victoria in 1992.
Under a different electoral system, the Liberal Party polled 54.1% of the vote at the 1992 Tasmanian election, Labor 51.9% in 2002 and the Liberal Party 51.2% in 2014.
So Labor’s landslide victory at the the 2021 WA election is out there in a league of its own in its scale.
3:30pm – back in the office. As expected from the first preferences, Labor won Warren-Blackwood after the preference count for the additional votes arrived. Labor also gained on Absent vote counting in Churchlands and Liberal Sean L’Estrange now leads by only 31 votes. Labor has moved further ahead in Nedlands and is on the verge of me calling a Labor victory. There hasn’t been any more counting since this morning though.
1:10pm – Unfortunately I have to be elsewhere for 2 hours. In my absence, I expect the ABC Election Computer to give away Warren-Blackwood when it gets a preference count update. The first preferences entered today favour Labor. I expect the Liberal lead in Churchlands to disappear and that Nedlands may be given away as well.
12:25pm – More first preference Absents added for Churchlands and Warren-Blackwood. When the preference count comes in, both will lean Labor’s way. Extra Absents for North West Central also slightly narrow National lead in North West Central.
10:00am – Some details on postal and pre-poll votes in the seats that still remain under watch.
For each seat I provide details on the Postal applications lodged, Postals returned, Pre-poll votes cast, and the number of Postals and Pre-polls counted to date. I also provide information on the Absent votes in 2017. Absent votes are votes cast on election day outside of a voter’s home district. The assumption being made about the 2021 election is that there will be fewer Absent votes as Pre-poll and Postal voting were both more available at this election.
Some of the numbers below are not precise. A postal vote may be returned but have an error with details on the envelope and so is never admitted be the count. Postals envelopes are processed in large numbers to create a batch for counting to avoid the secrecy of the ballot being breached. Something similar will occur with Absent votes while Pre-Polls have no identifying details but are still counted in large batches.
Postal return rate are as of Tuesday 16 March. Note that the % counted figures are of enrolment, so the figure will finish in the 85-90% range, except in North West Central where the turnout usually peaks under 75%.
- Churchlands – There were 7,072 postal vote applications, 4,653 have been returned (66%) and 3,710 counted. There were a total of 7,456 Pre-poll votes and 5,692 have been counted. There were 2,420 Absent votes in 2017 and the Liberal 2-Party vote was 53.3% compared to 64.1% on the day, 67.9% with Postals and 59.8% with Pre-polls. There have been 331 Absents counted so far in Churchlands recording 60.2% for Labor. In 2021 the Liberal Party has recorded 55.5% on Postal votes and Labor has won the Pre-polls with 50.6%. Liberal Sean L’Estrange on 50.1% currently leads Labor’s Christine Tonkin by 63 votes with 74.9% of the vote counted. If the Pre-poll and Absent vote trend continues, Labor will pull ahead in Churchlands.
- Nedlands – There were 6,580 Postal vote applications and 3.739 have been returned (57%) and 3,231 counted. There were 10,415 Pre-poll votes taken and 7,524 have been counted. In 2017 there were 3,603 Absent votes voting 52.8% Liberal 2PP compared to 58.4% on polling day, 64.5% Postal and 59.2% Pre-poll. Labor’s Katrina Stratton on 51.1% currently leads Liberal MLA Bill Marmion by 427 votes with 67.1% of votes counted. Liberal leads on the Postal count with 51.6% but Labor leads the Pre-polls with 52.0%. Unless the trend in today’s count changes, Labor will be far enough ahead by the end of today to win.
- Warren-Blackwood – There were 4,773 Postal vote applications and 2,610 have been returned (55%) and 2,183 counted. There were 8,485 Pre-poll votes taken and 7,447 have been counted. In 2017 there were 2,502 Absent votes voting 57.5% National 2PP compared to 63.1% on polling day, 68.6% Postal and 67.2% Pre-poll. Labor’s Jane Kelsbie on 51.2% currently leads National MLA Terry Redman by 522 votes. Labor trails on the Postal vote with 46.9% but leads the Pre-poll with 56.4%. There have also been 227 Absents counted that Labor won 62.0%. With most of the outstanding votes likely to be Pre-polls and Absents, Labor is strongly favoured to win. However, as was seen with the very strong Labor vote in the Pre-polls counted yesterday, where further Pre-polls and Absents came from will determine their vote. Votes take at the western end of the electorate by voters from Margaret River are displaying very different voting patterns compared to those from voters in the more rural east of the electorate.
- North West Central – I think the National’s Vince Catania will retain North West Central, but there is a strong chance his lead will narrow. Another point to remember is the seat has only half the enrolment of other electorates, just 10,993 voters, and generally has a turnout under 75%. There were 1,827 Postal vote applications and 823 have been returned (45%) and 695 counted. There were 2,346 Pre-poll votes taken and 2,125 have been counted. In 2017 there were 850 Absent votes voting 51.4% National 2PP compared to 57.1% on polling day, 67.3% Postal and 66.9% Pre-poll. National Vince Catania on 52.0% currently leads Labor’s Cherie Sibosado by 260 votes. Labor trails on the Postal vote with 43.1% and on Pre-poll with 41.3%. There have been 227 Absents counted which Labor won with 66.7%. Catania should win on Postal and Pre-poll counting, with the only wild-card being Absent votes continuing with the current Labor vote. I suspect the lead will narrow but Catania will still lead. In my three decades of covering WA elections, the electorate covering this part of the state has always produced the most difficult to pick result.
Tuesday 16 March
7:40pm – I have the suspicion that in the remaining doubtful seats, all ballot papers on hand have been counted for today.
7:15pm – an update for North West Central confirms the National lead at 264 votes. It is possible the National lead will narrow with further counting, but turning around the current lead is unlikely.
6:50pm – nothing on key seats in the last. Maybe the next update after 7pm/4pm in the west.
6:00 – apologies for mis-spelling count in my last update. I do try and keep this blog as family reading. Their will be an interruption to my updates for the next 45 minutes as head home.
5:40pm – Absents for Churchlands cut Sean L’Estrange’s lead from 127 to 63. Now ahead on 50.1% in what looks like the election’s closest finish. The preference count on the first Absents in Warren-Blackwood extended Labor’s lead by another 51 votes for Labor’s Jane Kelsbie is now on 51.2%.
4:40pm – First batch of 213 first preference absents entered for Warren-Blackwood and they look to extend Labor’s lead by another 20 votes or so. Traditionally Absents favour Labor in Warren-Blackwood so it is all bad news for Terry Redman.
3:45pm – First batch of 186 absents for Churchlands. First preferences Labor 79, Liberal 54, Greens 28, others 25. Probably wipe another 35-40 vote of L’Estrange’s lead.
3:45pm – The preference count for the last batch of pre-polls came in and Labor gained 47 votes in Churchlands to leave Sean L’Estrange ahead by only 129votes. And in Warren-Blackwood, the preference count for the last 425 pre-poll votes counted came through and it was another 65% Labor batch, Labor’s Jane Kelsbie now leading National Terry Redman by 471 votes with 51.1%.
3:20pm – Next batch of pre-poll primaries are in for Churchlands and they are likely to eat into Sean L’Estrange’s lead. Preferences in next update hopefully.
3:15pm – In Warren-Blackwood another batch of pre-polls have gone in and on first preferences they again look bad for Terry Redman. A preference count should come through in half an hour.
2:40pm – first batch of Absent votes in North West Central split 82-41 in Labor’s favour. There were 850 Absent votes in 2017 and they favoured the Nationals with 51.4% 2PP. Absent votes come bundled up from diffierent electorates and there is rarely a trend evident in them. Catania still tipped to win but his lead has been narrowed to 254, reversing the gains he made this morning on postals and pre-polls.
2:30pm – it now looks very tough for Terry Redman in Warren-Blackwood. There are about 1,500 pre-poll vote yet to be counted, and depending on where they are from, they may or may not be bad for Redman. All postals returned by Friday have now been counted. There were about 2,500 outstanding pre-polls, but possibly only half of these will be returned. Beyond that are Absent votes, but they are much more likely to favour Labor.
2:20pm – big turnaround in Warren-Blackwood where Labor polled 67% on a batch of 2,000 pre-polls. The high Green and Labor vote in the batch compared to the Nationals makes me think there were a lot of Margaret River votes in that batch. Labor’s Jane Kelsbie now has a lead of 344 votes, 50.8%, with 73.7% of the vote counted.
2:10pm – the counting of another 2,000 pre-poll votes in Churchlands has reduced the lead of Liberal Sean L’Estrange from 206 votes to 176.
1:15pm – National Vince Catania added another 40 votes to his lead, and ahead of 295 votes with 62.1% counted, he can be declared re-elected in North West Central. Labor’s Katrina Stratton added 61 votes to her lead in Nedlands and now leads by 427 votes with 67.1% counted, 51.1% after preferences.
Monday 15 March
10:15pm – only minor changes to the Legislative Council count. The count advanced a few percentage points in East Metropolitan, North Metropolitan and South West without making any significant change in predictions.
10:00pm – There has been a change in the provision of results data. The provision of indicative preference counts has been stopped in all seats except Carine, Churchlands, Nedlands, North West Central and Warren-Blackwood. The preference counts in all other electorates on the ABC website are now estimates.
7:45pm – nothing to add on the LC at this stage. Almost all the updates have been for the lower house today.
6:10pm – The preference count for the last Pre-count has come through for North West Central. National Vince Catania is now 255 votes ahead on 52.1% after preferences with 58.1% counted. North West Central has very different patterns of vote and always hard to rely on for uniform swings. I estimate there are 500 pre-polls and about 500 postals to come. There were 800 Absents in 2017 that favoured Labor. So while this has strengthened strongly for Catania during the day, I will leave it in the doubtful column. National in Warren-Blackwood has increased to 270 votes.
First batch of 2,363 pre-polls in Churchlands add half a dozen vote to the Liberal lead meaning it remains too close to call. Nedlands remains in doubt, Labor on 51.0% leading by 334 votes with 59.0% of the vote counted.
of and The preference count on this will widen the Nationals lead. Another 2,000 primary pre-polls added in Nedlands that will have little impact on the Labor lead.
5:10pm – Another 700 Pre-poll first preferences added for North West Central. The preference count on this will widen the Nationals lead. Another 2,000 primary pre-polls added in Nedlands that will have little impact on the Labor lead.
4:40pm – Preference count on second batch of Warren-Blackwood pre-polls narrow the lead of National Terry Redmond. Now leads by 215 votes, 50.6% with 65.4% of the two-party vote counted.
4:10pm – Preference count now in for North West Central pre-polls. National Vince Catania has taken the lead, now ahead by 83 votes, overturning former Labor lead of 81 votes.
3:10pm – first batch of Churchlands pre-polls cuts L’Estrange lead back to 146 votes. Additional pre-polls and first batch of postals for Nedlands narrow Labor’s lead by 76 votes but they still lead by 308 votes. First batch of Postals strengthen National position in Warren-Blackwood. Batch of primary votes for North West Central pre-polls favour the Nationals. Preference count likely on next update. Current Labor lead 81 votes may disappear with pre-poll preference count.
2:10pm – The Churchlands postal preference count has come through and L’Estrange is now 198 votes ahead with 50.6% after preferences with 53.7% counted.
1:40pm – More postal votes added for Churchlands. First preferences only but I estimate they put Liberal Sean L’Estrange back in the lead. The preference count might be in the next update. The bad news for L’Estrange is that Postals were stronger for him than the election day votes, but his vote was weaker on Pre-Polls and Absents which are yet to count. His lead today may be temporary.
Sunday 14 March
9:35pm (6:35pm) An extra-ordinary situation in East Metropolitan Region at the moment. My ABC calculator currently turns the ticket votes into Labor winning five of the six seats. I think they might fall short by the end of the count, but it reveals one of the odd dynamics of the Legislative Council count.
Often Labor and the Greens are competing for the same final seat, either Labor going for a third seat against the lead Green candidate, or as in WA in 2017, a fourth Labor candidate competing with the Greens. The difficulty of Labor’s primary vote being high enough to beat the Greens has usually been the opportunity for micro-party to trade preferences with one or the other party.
But in 2021, the Greens have a problem that Labor’s vote is so high it is reaching a fourth quota, but not high enough it can help the Greens win a fifth ‘left’ seat in any region. The Greens are being squeezed between a massive block of Labor votes, and a shrunken pool of micro-party preferences that aren’t much help against a block of Liberal and right-wing parties.
Current totals are above-the-line votes only, and in 2017 Labor had only 2.9% of below-the-line votes compared to 11.7% for the Greens. The Green vote may increase compared to Labor once BTL votes are included. But for Labor to be calculated as winning five seats with more than a third of the vote counted is remarkable.
9:15pm (6:15pm Perth) – very little counting completed over the last few hours. Only 7 electorates have reached 50% counted and only 8 electorates updated between 1pm and 6pm today. Small numbers updated to the Legislative Council count. Least progressed count I’ve ever worked on. Maybe everything is going to arrive as a big hit at the end of the day but I have no information on how the count was organised today.
4:40pm (1:40pm Perth) – I’m afraid lack of sleep is taking its toll so I won’t be doing any more updates for a few hours. If you want updates, I would point you the ABC’s election site which is all set up to take WAEC updates as they arrive.
The WAEC is counting pre-polls and postal votes for both houses today. They count votes in batches of 1,500-2,000 votes, so there are long periods when there are no updates. There’s usually a mad rush of updates all at once towards the end of counting each day. Both ABC systems accept the updates at all hours and update the website.
3:30pm (12:30pm Perth) – two missing two-candidate preferred counts have been added to Carine that have pushed Carine out of doubtful and it is now listed as a Labor gain, as was predicted on last night’s figures.
(Well, Sunday Morning for me in Sydney)
I’m going to monitor updates for another hour or two and provide some updates and comments.
We have a new results publisher so some comments on individual seats will be published with the results on the ABC Election results site.
I draw particular attention to the electorates of Albany, Armadale, Fremantle, Maylands, Moore, Perth and Roe where the WAEC has stopped releasing preference counts where it is unclear which candidate has finished second. In none of these seats does the suppression of preference counts cast any doubt over the winning candidate.
At the end of counting, I turned off the predictive tools in the ABC election computer so the results website is now based on the current count rather than projections based on polling places. This changed pushed four possible Labor’s gains back into doubt, and also pushed the National seat of Warren-Blackwood back into doubt.
Carine – Labor leads with 52.8% of the two-party preferred vote. 51.1% of the first preference vote has been counted but only 40.9% of the two-party vote. This is leaning strongly towards Labor and declaration votes counted so far have favoured Labor.
Churchalnds – Once projections were turned off, the Labor vote was only 50.2% with 48.1% of the primary and 2PP vote counted. Rightly remains in doubt. Trends in Absent votes would favour Labor, but the difference in 2021 is what happens with the hugely increased pre-poll vote.
Nedlands – Labor is on 51.5% with 44.3% of both the primary and 2PP vote. Labor is favoured here.
North West Central – Always a tough seat to call. Currently Labor leads with 51.5% after preferences. 40.3% of the first preference vote and 39.1% after preferences have been counted. A lot of counting to come, and it is a very diverse electorate which makes it difficult to make predictions.
Warren-Blackwood – National lead on 51.3% with 54.3% of the first preference vote and 51.6% of the 2CP vote counted.
On election night, these four seats were delivered to Labor based on projected trends. Without the projections, the probabilities round out that Labor will win 3 of the 4 and the Liberal Party 1, which is why the ABC result site now predicts that the Liberal Party will win three seats. The Liberal Party have won only two seats, and they may yet win a third, maybe even a fourth if the trends work out well for the party. But all these are probabilities worked out from a low count. Sunday’s counting will improve the projection.
The published Legislative Council regions are all running behind the lower house count, but it is worth making some comment on the level of Labor vote in the two chambers. The ABC’s Legislative Council calculators (you can find them here) are applying the registered preference tickets and predicting results.
In East, North and South Metropolitan Regions, the Calculators are predicting Labor will win four seats. The lower house results are about 10% more advanced than the Council, and in each region, Labor is maintaining a level of vote that would deliver four seats.
In Agricultural Region, Labor polls 42.8% and wins three seats with 36.3% counted in the current calculator output. In the lower house, 46.1% is counted and Labor’s vote is only 36.1%, suggesting the addition of pre-polls and postals will eat into Labor’s current vote.
In Mining and Pastoral Region, the lower house count is about about 4% more advanced and Labor’s vote slips below four quotas with the additional votes added.
In South West Region, the count is 15% more advanced and Labor’s vote is still over 52% but short of a fourth quota.
Counting will resume on Sunday with the addition of more lower house pre-poll and postal votes. The counting of Legislative Council pre-poll and postal votes will also begin.
If I manage to get much sleep, I will be back around midday on Sunday (Sydney time) for a resumption of count updates.