tip off

Griffith by-election live

Live coverage of the Griffith by-election count, featuring booth-matched swing calculations and result projections.

Sunday

While Terri Butler’s 2.3% buffer at the end of the night is enough to secure her victory, Bill Glasson can at least claim the uncommon feat of delivering a by-election swing to the party in government. The current margin represents a 0.7% two-party swing to the Liberal National Party compared with the September election result, which is likely to widen a little further on postals.

Commentators around the place have been scrambling to place the result into historical context, mostly with reference to the long record of federal by-elections. A general paucity of swings to governments is easy to spot, but closer examination shows how much swings can vary according to the circumstances of the by-election, and how unreliable a guide they can be to a government’s future electoral performance. The last pro-government swing federally was achieved when Carmen Lawrence moved from state to federal politics in Fremantle in 1994, and it was followed by a shellacking for the Keating government at the next general election two years later. The most recent state example I can think of is the Peel by-election in Western Australia in February 2007, when Alan Carpenter’s Labor government boosted its margin 18 months before being dumped from office.

Given the array of circumstances that can bring by-elections about, an effort should be made to compare like with like. Griffith is part of a long tradition of by-elections held when a member of a defeated government decides opposition isn’t for them. Unfortunately, those involved tend to be senior figures representing safe seats which the opposing party doesn’t bother to contest. During its first term, Rudd Labor only took the field when Peter McGauran departed in the seemingly winnable seat of Gippsland, only to cop a bloody nose for its trouble. Few were surprised Labor stayed out of the fray in Higgins (Peter Costello), Bradfield (Brendan Nelson), Mayo (Alexander Downer) and Lyne (Mark Vaile). Labor likewise went undisturbed during John Howard’s first term at by-elections to replace Paul Keating in Blaxland and John Langmore in Fraser.

The one by-election held during the parliament elected in December 1975 was occasioned by the death of Rex Connor, with the remainder of Labor’s diminished caucus staying put. It was a different story early in the life of the Hawke government, as Malcolm Fraser (Wannon), Doug Anthony (Richmond), Billy Snedden (Bruce), Jim Killen (Moreton) and Tony Street (Corangamite) headed for the exit at a time when forfeiting a by-election was still thought poor form. The last useable example in anything resembling modern history is the Parramatta by-election of 1973, which brought Philip Ruddock to parliament.

From this field of seven, the only result to match Griffith is Richmond in 1984, when Labor picked up a slight swing upon the retirement of Doug Anthony. No doubt this reflected an unlocking of the loyalty accumulating to brand Anthony, which between father Larry and son Doug had occupied the seat for an unbroken 46 years. Even so, the other Hawke government by-elections weren’t far behind, with the exception of Bruce where voters seemed to take a shine to Liberal candidate Kenneth Aldred for some reason. Coincidentally or otherwise, the two worst swings, in Gippsland (a 6.1% swing against Rudd Labor in 2008) and Parramatta (a 7.0% swing against Whitlam Labor in 1973) were suffered by the two shortest-lived governments of the modern era.

However, Griffith looks quite a bit less exceptional if the eight state results I can identify going back to the early 1990s are thrown into the mix. Four swings in particular dwarf those in Griffith, the two biggest being at by-elections held in country seats in New South Wales on May 25, 1996. Results in Clarence and Orange provided a fillip to Bob Carr’s year-old Labor government and a severe blow to the Nationals, perhaps reflecting the party’s recent acquiescence to the Howard government’s post-Port Arthur gun laws. On the very same day, Labor had an historically mediocre result against the Liberals in the Sydney seat of Strathfield, and finished third behind the Democrats in the Liberal stronghold of Pittwater.

The third and fourth placed results are from early in the life of the Bracks government in Victoria, when Labor pulled off rare victories in Jeff Kennett’s seat of Burwood in 1999 and Nationals leader Pat McNamara’s seat of Benalla in 2000. Also higher up the order than Griffith is the Elizabeth by-election of 1994, held four months after Dean Brown’s Liberal government came to power in South Australia. This may have indicated the popularity of outgoing member Martyn Evans, soon to be Labor’s federal member for Bonython, who had been designated as “independent Labor” for most of his ten years as a state member. Rob Borbidge’s Queensland government of 1996 to 1998 did less well, with the looming Liberal collapse in that state foreshadowed by swings to Labor in the Brisbane seats of Lytton and Kurwongbah.

All of this is laid out in the chart above, which ranks swings to the government (positive at the top, negative at the bottom) from the eight federal and eight state by-elections just discussed. Red and blue respectively indicate Labor and Coalition governments, the lighter shades representing state and the darker representing federal. Stats enthusiasts may care to know that the model y=10+44.3x explains 38% of the variability, where y is the government’s eventual longevity in office measured in years and x is the swing to the government across 15 observed by-elections. For what very little it may be worth, the positive 0.5% swing in Griffith associates with 10.3 years in government.

Saturday

# % Swing 2PP (proj.) Swing
Timothy Lawrence (SPP) 570 0.8% +0.7%
Geoff Ebbs (Greens) 6,890 10.2% +0.3%
Christopher Williams (FFP) 651 1.0% +0.3%
Karel Boele (IND) 458 0.7%
Anthony Ackroyd (BTA) 526 0.8%
Anne Reid (SPA) 379 0.6% +0.1%
Terri Butler (Labor) 26,356 39.0% -1.6% 52.5% -0.5%
Melanie Thomas (PPA) 1,051 1.6%
Travis Windsor (Independent) 585 0.9%
Ron Sawyer (KAP) 694 1.0% +0.4%
Bill Glasson (Liberal National) 29,456 43.6% +0.9% 47.5% +0.5%
FORMAL/TURNOUT 67,616 71.2%
Informal 2,093 3.0% -1.8%
Booths reporting: 42 out of 42

Midnight. Finally got around to adding the Coorparoo pre-poll voting centre result.

9.22pm. Or perhaps not – Coorparoo pre-poll voting centre still to report, which is likely to amount for a lot – 5859 votes cast there at the federal election.

8.51pm. Morningside 2PP now in, and I’d say that’s us done for the night.

8.36pm. Camp Hill reports 2PP, leaving just Morningside. Glasson and LNP reportedly not conceding, but 2.4% leads (which accounts for the fact that the LNP is likely to do better on postals – Labor’s raw lead is 3.3%) don’t get overturned on late counting.

8.29pm. That’s all the fixed booths in on the primary vote; the outstanding ones referred to in the table are special hospital booths that may not actually exist (but did in 2013). Camp Hill and Morningside still to come in on two-party, and then I think we’re done for the night. It’s been a pretty quick count.

8.03pm. Two more booths a slight move to the LNP.

8.00pm. Four more booths in and a slight tick in Labor’s favour on the swing projection.

7.53pm. One more primary result and a number more on two-party preferred, it remains unclear who will end up with bragging rights to the negligible swing. What is clear though is that Terri Butler is over the line.

7.45pm. Thirty-two of 43 booths reporting, and the picture of a status quo result is unchanged.

7.36pm. A big rush of results that taxed my data entry chops to the limit has produced very little change to the projection, which essentially looks like no swing at all.

7.26pm. Coorparoo Central was a tricky one from a booth-matching perspective, as it’s a “merger” of two booths from the 2013 election.

7.25pm. Coorparoo Central, Greenslopes, Morningside South and West End in on the primary; Buranda West and Norman Park South on two-party. Upshot: a bit more breathing space for Terri Butler, who will be difficult to pull in from here.

7.19pm. The informal vote seems to be down pretty solidly.

7.18pm. I note that none of the booths from the electorate’s north-western latte belt have reported yet.

7.15pm. Bulimba, Carina Heights, Greenmeadows and Norman Park find Labor still with its nose in front, despite a slight swing against. Annerley has also reported a two-party result, so I’ve switched on preference projections based on the booths that have reported so far. This finds Labor’s share of preferences up 6% on 2013.

7.12pm. Annerley, Bulimba Heights and Norman Park South booth results provide better news for Labor, with Butler now pulling into a projected lead. However, I’m still going off 2013 preferences here, as only two very small booths have reported two-party results.

7.03pm. Holland Park and Buranda West are in, and also Murarrie on two-party, and the swing to the LNP is sticking, as is the extremely close projected result.

6.53pm. Another small booth on the fringe of the electorate – Mount Gravatt East in the south-east – and it’s another bad result for Labor, down almost double digits on the primary vote. I’ve switched off the preference swing calculation for now, so the two-party is going off 2013 preference flows.

6.50pm. The preference result is in from Holland Park West, and Labor has 7.2% more preferences than it got in 2013 – but we’re only going off 14 votes here. Nonetheless, my model is extrapolating off it to project the result for the other booth, causing Labor to go up about 1%. Bottom line: hold off reading anything into anything yet.l

6.42pm. Both booths are on the very fringes of the electorate: Holland Park West in the south and Murarrie in the east. The dynamic nearer the city may well be very different. I’ll stop getting a “#VALUE!” result on the Stable Population Party when I get a result from a booth where their vote in 2013 wasn’t zero.

6.38pm. Two very small booths on the primary vote provide a measure of encouragement for Bill Glasson, suggesting a very close result if 2013 preferences are any guide.

6.30pm. There have apparently been 2090 ballots cast at the Whites Hill booth, which compared with the 2083 cast at the election suggests a pretty healthy turnout.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the Griffith by-election. With polls closing round about now, first results should be in in maybe about an hour, although this can be a bit variable. Results in the table will show raw figures for the primary vote and booth-matched swings for both primary and two-party vote, together with a projected two-party total based on the booth-matching. Where available, the latter will be based on booth two-party results; at booths where only primary vote totals have been reported, two-party projections will be derived from 2013 preference flows taken together with the “swing” in preferences recorded across booths where two-party results have been reported. I’ll be copping my results off the ABC Elections page, as the AEC annoyingly does not publish booth results as they are reported (or at least, never has in the past). So those without a minute to lose should note that my table updates will lag about that far behind the ABC.

517
  • 101
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    So the the three main parties are all down on the primary vote, but no-one else of any significance has gained; it’s just sprayed to unknowns.

  • 102
    rossmcg
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Good to see the Pirate party doing well, up 1percent on AEC site.

    Arrrgh me hearties!

  • 103
    davidwh
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with at least half of what you wrote Mike and no offence taken.

  • 104
    Labour of Love
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    switched over to sky briefly – Brandis was on saying anything short of 58-59% 2PP to Labor would be a bad result for Shorten

    His gauge on how pathetically they are performing is in line with mine then!

  • 105
    shellbell
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Another lawyer in the HOR, then

  • 106
    ruawake
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Well done LNP, pissed a million bucks up against the wall for Glasson to lose comprehensively.

  • 107
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Brandis was on saying...

    Is George Brandis the independent election commentator possibly related to George Brandis the Liberal Senator and minister?

  • 108
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    If the LNP draws from these results the conclusion that the way it is governing is the way it should continue to govern for the balance of its term, that should suit the ALP just fine.

  • 109
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    If I was the government, I would claim that Labor was headed for a very big win until this week’s controversies surrounding boat arrivals, which swung sentiment back to the Libs. It’s a good line, and it might well be true. Every time the public mind focuses on boat arrivals, regardless of the actual event that causes it to do so, the Liberals gain and Labor loses.

  • 110
    sprocket_
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Good to see the Pirate party doing well, up 1percent on AEC site.

    Arrrgh me hearties!

    The Pirates at 1.61% are flogging Katter at 1.0% and Family First at 0.95%

  • 111
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Psephos @ 107: No, the Liberal Senator you have in mind is Brandeis, the renowned lawyer whose name is so often mis-spelt.

  • 112
    Astrobleme
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Psephos

    “Every time the public mind focuses on boat arrivals, regardless of the actual event that causes it to do so, the Liberals gain and Labor loses.”

    How many more votes do you think they could gain?

    Surely that well has been well and truly sucked dry by now.

  • 113
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to visualise a pirate called Melanie.

  • 114
    kevjohnno
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    All wins are good wins but I admit to feeling a bit disappointed. Really hoping the Redcliffe by-election goes a lot better.

  • 115
    mikehilliard
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    davidwh

    You are a gentleman of Bludger.

  • 116
    Jackol
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    A somewhat disappointing result for the ALP given the national polling.

    I am far from being a Rudd supporter – quite the opposite – but I think the most credible explanation is that the swing away from the LNP measured in the national polling has been counteracted in Griffith by the loss of Rudd’s personal vote – and that Rudd’s personal vote was therefore quite substantial.

    I’d also say this doesn’t indicate any particular willingness on the part of the voters of Griffith to get in an opportunistic kick-in-the-butt at the LNP – at least in Griffith Abbott and friends are traveling ok.

    Nevermind; a win for the ALP, but not a blow to Abbott. Sadly.

  • 117
    democracy@work
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    ABC Swing analysis and prediction analysis way out. Sure there is a time lag in reporting but to report a Swing of +2.4 to Labor and a predicted analysis of +4.7 to Liberals shows there is something a miss in the prediction model. Assuming the swing reported is a matched booth aggregation

  • 118
    rossmcg
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Psephos

    I might look her up. Wonder if the crew call her Mel?

  • 119
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Possum Comitatus ‏@Pollytics 2m
    The LNP anti-union ads weren't supposed to stop people from voting for the ex-union leader Bill Glasson (AMA)

  • 120
    democracy@work
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    The Low turn out could account of a 2% drop in Labor 2PP. But given the average in a byelection is 3-5% to the opposition anything less than a swing to Labor would be seen as a win for the LNP. Looking forward to Insiders wrap up tomorrow morning.

  • 121
    triton
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Even if the swing at the last election was Rudd’s personal vote deserting him, they didn’t all desert him. There would still have been a rusted-on chunk that stuck with him but evaporated this time.

  • 122
    Labour of Love
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Possum Comitatus ‏@Pollytics 2m
    The LNP anti-union ads weren’t supposed to stop people from voting for the ex-union leader Bill Glasson (AMA)

    Ha Ha, it worked.

  • 123
    Oakeshott Country
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Pedant @ 98
    Of course the Nats lost the very safe seat of Lyne 10 months into the Rudd government. But rather than to the government it wax to Oakeshott with a negative swing of 25%. On the same day there may have been a very interesting result in Downer’s seat if Labor had stood a candidate

  • 124
    rossmcg
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Make that Cap’n Mel

  • 125
    kevjohnno
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to Psephos for the map with booth TPPs. Found it very useful tonight.

  • 126
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    The candidate Anthony Ackroyd was a Rudd impersonator. WTF?

  • 127
    absolutetwaddle
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    A Labor win is good enough for me in spite of what all you sad sacks have to say. I was quite sure until not so long ago this seat was a goner.

    Eat your heart out, Glasson!

  • 128
    triton
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh, they’ve got Brandis back on.

  • 129
    democracy@work
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    ABC Wing to prediction gap narrowing. Now shows ALP +1.5% Swing and a prediction of +0.6 to the LNP.

    Clearly the ABC prediction model is flawed. Sure it will eventually tally.

    Antony Green should publish the analysis methodology used his calculations.

  • 130
    Darren Laver
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Well done LNP, pissed a million bucks up against the wall for Glasson to lose comprehensively.

    How much of this was Glasson’s own personal fortune?

  • 131
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    triton:

    Of course not. As the sitting member for years and being PM, he would’ve had some name recognition value.

    But it’s clearly not the case that his personal vote was substantial.

  • 132
    kezza2
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    The Greens seem to be doing okay.

    *so shoot me*

  • 133
    imacca
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to visualise a pirate called Melanie.

    Frilly shirt, thigh boots…….

  • 134
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Antony Green saying this is only the third by-election swing to the government in thirty years.

  • 135
    Gary
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Brandis looking like he lost 50 bucks and found 50 cents. Why isn’t he happy? Kroger said Abbott would be over the moon with this loss

  • 136
    rossmcg
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a buster for glasson. I think I read somewhere that had put a lot of his own money into September’s campaign and had been left to fund most of this tilt as well. Lucky he’s an ophthalmologist.

  • 137
    shellbell
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    The candidate Anthony Ackroyd was a Rudd impersonator. WTF?

    And an alrightish comic act about 25 year ago

  • 138
    davidwh
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    All the contestants have increased their primary vote other than the winner.

  • 139
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    On the whole, no need for panic on either side of politics. The big picture is still that painted by the national polls, and there will always be local factors in a by-election following the retirement of a former PM. It’s less of a blow to the ALP than a lost opportunity to maintain a public sense of a government in a bit of trouble. (Of course, if people in the ALP decide to panic …)

  • 140
    Jackol
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Confessions –

    But it’s clearly not the case that his personal vote was substantial.

    I don’t see on what basis you say that.

    Given the reported national polling showing a 5%ish swing away from the LNP, perhaps you would care to explain the most likely reason we haven’t seen any swing in Griffith?

    Of course there are by-election strangenesses, and local factors yada yada yada. Still, there’s a national swing that has gone totally missing in Griffith. Perhaps something has changed in the last week or so to swing things back to the LNP – Psephos suggests boats. Perhaps the national polling is just wrong. However the most obvious explanation is lack of Rudd on the ballot paper.

  • 141
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Result is harmless at worst for Abbott and the Coalition. Pretty good for them if they end up with a swing. But Glasson did have to run against his own party a bit to get there.

  • 142
    rossmcg
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Pedant

    See my earlier comment. Who will be first to mention On insiders tomorrow that Shorten is in trouble?

  • 143
    Jackol
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    And William was bravely sticking with Queensland local times in the blow-by-blow account at the top, but appears now to have given up and gone to WA time.

  • 144
    triton
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    confessions

    But it’s clearly not the case that his personal vote was substantial.

    How did you arrive at that? It might be that there was a substantial pro-Labor swing in line with the national swing since the last election, but the loss of Rudd’s personal vote has offset that and more, resulting in a swing the other way. It suggests that Rudd’s remaining personal vote might have been quite large.

    Also, although Glasson hasn’t been a member he had probably earned a bit of a personal following himself that Butler hadn’t.

  • 145
    democracy@work
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Triton @121

    Kevin did not have a swing to him. f anything the swing to the LNP could be argued to be a reaction to Kevin having stood down after he said he would serve a full term.

    Kevin Rudd should have resigned in 2010. I personally blame him for having undermined the Gillard Labor Government.

    Glad to see him go even if it is 3 years to late

  • 146
    womble
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Finns go down 3-1 (I had 4.5 start) – not a bad reasult

    This result not so good though, Labor really should’ve been able to pull a swing with everything that’s happened the last 6 months

  • 147
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    rossmcg @ 142: You know the answer to that as well as I do: the first News Ltd representative to open his or her mouth.

  • 148
    paaptsef
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    The Pirates at 1.61% are flogging Katter at 1.0%

    Katter continuing to suffer for some reason not connected to his support of the incompetent Abbott in 2010

  • 149
    Gary
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    David, the winner was fairly well an unknown just a month or two ago. Glasson was a high profile candidate contesting the seat again.

  • 150
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Another factor in all of this could simply be a rising resentment at early retirements. Friends of mine who live in the Sutherland Shire reckon that was the main factor underlying the massive swing against the O’Farrell government in the Miranda by-election, which otherwise seems inexplicable. And the voters have a point.

Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...