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WA By-Elections

May 16, 2009

# % Swing 2PP Proj.
Varga (IND) 574 3.3%
Totten (CEC) 44 0.3%
Ter Horst (IND) 145 0.8%
Zagami (IND) 927 5.3%
Boni (IND) 302 1.7%
Du Plessis (FFP) 158 0.9% -0.8%
Tagliaferri (ALP) 6,748 38.5% -0.4% 46.7% 47.1%
Hollett (CDP) 300 1.7% -0.2%
Lorrimar (IND) 136 0.8%
Carles (GRN) 7,802 44.5% 17.5% 53.3% 52.9%
Wainwright 400 2.3%
TOTAL 17,536


Here’s me on the by-election in Crikey.


I’ve knocked up a map showing the primary vote swing to the Greens at the different booths. No visible pattern can be discerned, but I’ve done it so here it is. I’ve also tried to find correlations between votes, swings and demographics, and found only one worth mentioning: the Greens swing had a correlation with the Italian-speaking population of -0.47 and an R-squared value of 0.22. No doubt statisticians will tell me a sample of 10 booths doesn’t mean very much, but the scatterplot looks persuasive to my unpractised eye and it makes all kinds of sense intuitively. Equally interesting was the lack of a significant correlation between the Greens swing and the Liberal vote from the state election. That would seem to argue against the notion that a static Labor vote was swamped by Liberals moving to the Greens. Note that the lowest swing was recorded at a Catholic primary school, Christ the King in Beaconsfield. For what it’s worth, Alan Carpenter was handing out how-to-vote cards there.



9.20pm. Antony Green: “There is a very important bit of history in this reslt. This is the first time at a state or federal election that the Greens have outpolled the Labor Party on primary votes. All previous cases where the Greens have won or come close to victory have seen Labor ahead on the primary vote and the Greens chasing Labor down on Liberal and Independent preferences.”

9.10pm. All together now …

Mea culpa to Greens pianist Geoffrey, who was told by me that his candidate would fall short by about 52-48, despite his enthusiastic protestations to the contrary.

8.42pm. So, the new maths for our already very exciting Legislative Assembly: Labor 27, Liberal 24, Nationals 4, Independent 3, Greens 1.

8.39pm. Carles now leads on the WAEC’s two-party count 8745 to 7370.

8.32pm. Now the WAEC has the Greens lead at a definitively insurmountable 7421 to 6395. I would like to thank them though for that little moment of excitement, while reminding them that that isn’t their brief.

8.30pm. Now the WAEC says Carles leads 6056 to 5535, which sounds still more like it. Too much to rein in on postals.

8.27pm. Beaconsfield PS and 1306 postal votes added. Despite what the 2PP says, I don’t see how Labor could win from those primaries.

8.24pm. WAEC count now has Carles leading 4900 to 4660, which sounds more like it. However, it does suggest that Labor are doing slightly better on preferences than I or Antony had projected. It might not even be over yet. But again, who knows.

8.22pm. So, to summarise. Thanks to the WAEC, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. If anyone from the WAEC is reading this, please send a fact-finding mission to the Tasmanian Electoral Commission to find out how to conduct a count properly.

8.19pm. Antony Green also doesn’t appear to have any real world preference figures he can use. If the WAEC has decided that we only need to be given a lump sum two-party count, I can only say that they’ve bungled once again.

8.15pm. Hmm. The WAEC has a big, uninformative “notional distribution of preferences” which has Tagliaferri leading 4071-3824. This is extremely exasperating. Where are these votes from? Why haven’t they been recording them booth by booth like everybody else does?

8.04pm. Big win for Carles at Fremantle Primary School. I’m calling it for her.

8.01pm. Carles also has a big win at East Fremantle Primary School, making it very tempting to call it for her …

7.59pm. Carles wins the upmarket Bicton booth.

7.53pm. Carles wins Richmond Primary School, up near Bicton way, which gives Zagami his first big result. Nonetheless, that has Carles’ lead narrowing a little further on my estimate. I might also note that the Greens didn’t do a postal vote mailout.

7.52pm. ABC has Christ the King bringing Carles down only a little, to 53.2 per cent (exactly where I have it). Tagliaferri still needs some more big results.

7.46pm. Very good result for Tagliaferri at Christ the King School makes things interesting again. Interesting to note that Alan Carpenter was handing out how to vote cards there …

7.43pm. VERY surprised no other candidate is over 5 per cent.

7.41pm. Re the previous comment – White Gum Valley, the most Italian booth of all, was also a big win for Carles. No particular reason to expect the nearby Beaconsfield booths to behave differently.

7.23pm. Beaconsfield and Christ the King are two strongly Italian booths that are yet to report – but so was Palmyra, and Carles won that.

7.22pm. Another good result for Carles in White Gum Valley – 46 per cent to 39.5 per cent. Minor party vote lower than I might have thought.

7.21pm. Antony now has the Greens 2.5 per cent in front after preference projection.

7.20pm. Tagliaferri finally wins a booth, the solidly working class Phoenix.

7.18pm. Carles wins Anglican Church Hall as well, which is in a similar area.

7.16pm. Greens win the Palmyra booth as well, which isn’t their heartland. I suggest my projection flatters Labor a bit.

7.14pm. Antony’s projection has the Greens 3.4 per cent ahead.

7.13pm. St Patrick’s in – Carles wins the primary vote, but check out that projection …

7.08pm. Few teething problems with the table as usual – working through them.

7.06pm. 622 pre-polls added (along with Rottnest Island) – there’s reason to believe these might behave unusually, but at they’re at least a little bit exciting for the Greens.

6.37pm. Come on, you’d think at least Rottnest might have reported by now … Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit of work so I do get a projected two-party result, based on the booth figures calculated by Antony Green. I wouldn’t stake my wages on its accuracy though.

6.14pm. First trickle of daylight saving votes coming in. Big no majority, but it doesn’t mean anything yet.

6.05pm. Some explanations of what you will see above. Booth matching will be employed for the primary vote swings, but not the two-party preferred vote as no figures are available in Labor versus Greens terms from the state election. The figures will at first be estimates, but will be replaced with real world numbers as booths report their notional two-party counts.

6pm. Polls have closed, so welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the Fremantle by-election count. I don’t think I’ll have much to say about the daylight saving referendum, which you will in any case find covered more than adequately at ABC Elections.

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[the number of 2PP votes is still lower than primaries]

This may be accounted for by those that exhaust before getting added to either of the final two.


The two-party figure was changed from 54.01% to 53.92% for the Greens at

As it says “THIS RESULT WILL NOT CHANGE UNTIL THE FULL DISTRIBUTION IS COMPLETED”, does this mean counting has been completed?

Stephen Luntz

“Look, obviously Green commenters here are getting a laugh out of stirring the possum”

I object. I love Possum and have never stirred him in my life. Stroke perhaps, not stir.


The critique probably falls down a bit. I’m not sure if in such an analysis Rita Saffioti’s preselection, for example, would constitute parachuting or not. Long time member, dedicated servant of the government, no particularly strong factional backing as far as I know.

In any case, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the then Premier actually thumbed his nose at the factional system in order to hand pick his own candidates.

So I guess, in a way, that’s the evidence you’re looking for of preselections that sit outside the normal factional process.


William, perhaps I’ve been unclear.

I was criticizing the application of the term ‘parachuting’ if it is used to describe someone who is not preselected from outside the party. ‘Parachuting’ and ‘not-so-Labor’, I was suggesting, is a tautology.

Of course the party is factional. I’m somewhat bemused that you would think that I would suggest anything else.

Frank Calabrese

[Radisich was not ditched, effectively or otherwise. Her seat was Swan Hills, it was one of the least affected electorates under the redistribution, and nobody was preventing her from recontesting it.]

Exactly, as I’ve said on many occasions, Radisich and Carpenter have always had problems with each other ever since Carpenter was Education Minister and Jaye was actvely campaigning for a High School in Elenbrook.

Frank Calabrese

[At the very least, they need to distance themselves the hell away from North Port Quay; while it might be popular with Labor’s developer mates, threatening the future of the Port of Fremantle is a really bad idea if one wants to actually win the seat of Fremantle.]

You seem to forget that at the Last Election, the ALP was OPPOSED to the plan.

[PREMIER Alan Carpenter has joined other leading MPs in rejecting a $10 billion proposal to transform North Quay in Fremantle into a sprawling ocean metropolis.
Attorney General Jim McGinty and former Opposition Leader Colin Barnett have also dismissed the plan.

And Fremantle Mayor Peter Tagliaferri says he has been snubbed by the the group planning the marine wonderland in his own backyard.],21598,23777136-948,00.html


Agreed, Rebecca. I should make it clear that I don’t subscribe to the view that the factional system of the ALP should be dismantled because of parachuting, I was simply pointing out that the two issues are not inconsistent and that whatever else you might call rewarding longevity it isn’t parachuting.

Frank Calabrese

[in a key marginal, effectively ditching a very popular sitting member (Radisich) to put in your chief-of-staff (Saffioti), ]

Carpenter wanted Radisich to run in Swan Hills, Jaye’s ego got the better of her so she jumped ship.


Parachuting a candidate in isn’t always a bad idea, but the problem is that Labor keeps parachuting the wrong people into the wrong kinds of seats. When you’re dumping a sitting member (Kucera) to put a lobbyist (Brown) in a key marginal, effectively ditching a very popular sitting member (Radisich) to put in your chief-of-staff (Saffioti), or putting a pro-business, Liberal-leaning candidate in a very left-wing seat, it’s bound to not go down very well.

On the other hand, if you put in someone that people actually like and respect (Garrett, McKew), or a genuine cleanskin that people can get behind (Papalia), it’s actually going to help you. Labor really needs to learn the difference.

I hope Labor takes winning Fremantle back for granted as much as Frank Calabrese does; considering Carles won on the back of vigorously opposing a number of proposals which Labor was more or less driving, either they’re going to have to do one hell of a backflip, or they’re going to go down in flames. At the very least, they need to distance themselves the hell away from North Port Quay; while it might be popular with Labor’s developer mates, threatening the future of the Port of Fremantle is a really bad idea if one wants to actually win the seat of Fremantle.

William, as for who they should have preselected instead of Tagliaferri: I’m not sure that anyone Labor had on offer this time around could have held the seat in the face of the campaign the Greens ran, but I think he was a net negative. The problem Labor faces in Fremantle at the moment is they don’t have anyone with the name recognition to match Carles who isn’t going to face a backlash of some sort (Tagliaferri and Kelly being obvious candidates in that category). Peter Bell could have won it if he’d accepted; I also think a decent cleanskin candidate could have had a chance if Labor had run a more competent campaign and paid a bit more attention to local feeling on key issues.


Sure we can be friends! Just don’t you steal my lunch money…

Frank Calabrese

[That’s all I can be bothered listing at the moment, but I’m sure there are others.]

You forgot Bob Kucera.


William, actually on the history you’d have to say that it’s pretty consistent.

Alan Carpenter
Paul Papalia
Peter Tingley
Cheryl Kernot
The three examples cited by Frank (both for and against) etc

That’s all I can be bothered listing at the moment, but I’m sure there are others.

The factional system has become, at least in the last 15 years (which is probably long enough to declare a trend), just as interested in parachuting in star candidates as it has in rewarding longevity.

In any case, I’m not sure that ‘parachuting’ is used as a term to describe a pre-selection of anyone from within the party, so ‘not-so-Labor’ becomes almost a tautology.

Greensborough Growler
Greensborough Growler


How about we compromise. You don’t lie about me and I’ll tell the truth about the Greens.