The Labor leadership contest is approaching the end game, which is more than can be said for the election counts for Fairfax and the WA Senate.
Developments of various kinds in the field of vote-counting:
• Labor’s month-long leadership election campaign is finally drawing to a close, with caucus having determined its 50% share of the total vote yesterday and around 25,000 rank-and-file ballots to be counted on Sunday. Reports suggest that Bill Shorten has won at least 50 out of the 86 votes in the party room, receiving the undivided support of a Right which had been polarised during the Gillard-Rudd stand-off. By contrast, David Crowe of The Australian reports that Left members including Warren Snowdon, Brendan O’Connor, Kate Lundy, Laurie Ferguson, Maria Vamvakinou, Julie Owens and newly elected Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters have failed to fall in behind Albanese. Tea-leaf reading from party sources quoted around the place suggests Bill Shorten will do best if a large number of votes are received from his relatively strong states of Victoria and Western Australia, with most other states (together with the ACT, which punches above its weight in terms of ALP membership) considered strongholds for Albanese.
• ReachTEL published a poll yesterday of 891 respondents in New South Wales and Victoria showing Anthony Albanese favoured over Shorten by 60.9-39.1 in New South Wales and 54.0-46.0 in Victoria. Each had slight leads over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister in Victoria and slight deficits in New South Wales. Results on voting intention confirmed the general impression from the limited national polling in finding no honeymoon bounce for the new government.
• Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has ordered a recount of above-the-line votes for the Western Australian Senate, which will change the result of two Senate seats if a 14-vote gap between the Shooters and Fishers and Australian Christians parties is reversed. Also under review are votes declared informal the first time around, which is always a grey area. Tireless anonymous blogger TruthSeeker has performed good work in identifying count peculiarities potentially significant enough to turn the result, including a popular favourite known as the “Waggrakine discrepancy”.
• The Fairfax recount limps with the Clive Palmer camp apparently challenging any vote that doesn’t go its way, thereby requiring it to be sent for determination by the state electoral officer in Brisbane. AAP reports the result “won’t be known for at least another week”.
UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes relates that ReachTEL has let rip with its first post-election poll of national voting intention, and it continues an unbroken run of such polling in plotting a position for the Coalition south of what it achieved at the election, however slightly. Coming off a large-even-for-ReachTEL sample of 3600, it shows the Coalition with a two-party preferred lead of 52.1-47.9, compared with roughly 53.5-46.5 at the election, from primary votes of 45.4% for the Coalition (45.6% at the election), 35.3% for Labor (33.4%) and 8.6% for the Greens (unchanged). Tony Abbott’s performance is rated good by 40.5% and poor by 40.2%.