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Federal Election 2013

Sep 12, 2013

Call of the board: part one

Short and sharp reflections on some of the more interesting electorate results, starting with New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

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What follows is a brief overview of the results in electorates I felt worth commenting on for one reason or another, together with projections of state vote shares based on ordinary votes results (which are not quite fully accounted for in the count, but close enough to it) and the extent to which postals, pre-polls and absent votes shifted the totals in 2010. New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory are covered herein, with the others to follow.

New South Wales

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	47.3	+2.6	47.2
Labor		34.9	-2.8	34.5
Greens		7.7	-2.2	8.1
Palmer United	4.3
Others		5.8

Two-party preferred

Coalition	54.2	+3.2	54.3
Labor		45.8	-3.2	45.7

Banks. The 3.3% swing which ousted Daryl Melham was almost exactly equal to the state total, which followed an 8.9% swing in 2010. An increase in the number of candidates from four to nine restricted the Liberal primary vote gain to 1.7% and contributed to a halving of the Greens vote, down from 9.6% to 4.7%.

Barton. The seat vacated by former Attorney-General Robert McClelland is going down to the wire, the 6.9% margin exactly matched by the swing on ordinary votes. This was the second biggest swing against Labor in Sydney after Macquarie. Barton was another seat that witnessed a dramatic proliferation of candidates, from three to eight, with the five minor party and independent newcomers collectively drawing 11.3%. The Liberals nonetheless increased their primary vote slightly, the balance coming off Labor and the Greens.

Blaxland. Reports on the eve of the election suggested Labor had grave fears for Jason Clare’s hold on Paul Keating’s old seat, despite its 12.2% margin. This proved entirely unfounded, with Labor up 5.4% on the primary vote and holding steady on two-party preferred.

Charlton. For some reason, the seat vacated by Greg Combet gave the Palmer United Party what was comfortably its highest vote in New South Wales at 11.3% (UPDATE: Frickeg in comments reminds me the belated disendorsement of the Liberal candidate probably had something to do with it). The party’s second best showing in the state was 7.8% in neighbouring Hunter. That aside, Combet’s departure did not cause any disturbance to Labor, the two-party swing being slightly below the state average.

Dobell. Craig Thomson managed 4.0%, which was at least better than Peter Slipper and contributed to a double-digit drop in the Labor primary vote, their worst such result in the state. Also contributing was former test cricketer Nathan Bracken, running as an independent with the backing of John Singleton, who managed 8.3%. The Liberal primary vote was up slightly, and its 5.9% swing on two-party preferred adequate to account for the 5.5% margin.

Eden-Monaro. Mike Kelly appeared to be well placed early in the count, but the larger and later reporting booths, including those in Queanbeyan, tended to swing more heavily. Kelly is presently sitting on a swing of 4.8%, enough to account for his 4.4% margin barring late count peculiarities and maintain Eden-Monaro’s cherished bellwether record. This was higher than the state average, part of a pattern in which swings in the state’s regions were actually slightly higher than in Sydney, contrary to all expectations.

Fowler. After all the hype about Labor’s looming collapse in western Sydney, a seat in that very area produced the most anomalous swing of the election in Labor’s favour. The 9.0% swing to Chris Hayes was 12.2% above the statewide par for Labor, and was fuelled by an 11.2% drop in the Liberal primary vote and swings approaching 20% in Cabramatta, the very area the Liberals had hoped to target by picking a Vietnamese candidate in Andrew Nguyen. However, look at the seat’s behaviour over longer range suggests this to have been a correction after an anomalous result in 2010, when Liberal candidate Thomas Dang slashed the Labor margin by 13.8% and picked up swings ranging from 16.5% to 23.1% in the Cambramatta booths.

Gilmore. The south coast seat was one of three in New South Wales to swing to Labor, presumably on account of the retirement of long-serving Liberal member Joanna Gash. Her successor, Ann Sudmalis, has emerged with 2.6% remaining of a 5.3% margin.

Grayndler. The Greens vote fell only modestly, by 1.2% to 22.8%, but it looks enough to have cost them a second place they attained for the first time in 2010. With primary votes generally fairly static, the change in Liberal preferencing policy would presumably have inflicted a hefty two-party swing if they had made the final count.

Hunter. Joel Fitzgibbon was down 10.1% on the primary vote, and while this was partly on account of the Palmer United Party’s second best performance in the state, he also suffered Labor’s biggest two-party swing in the state at 8.9%.

Kingsford Smith. One of a number of pieces of saved furniture for Labor in Sydney, Kingsford Smith turned in a largely status quo result in Peter Garrett’s absence, outgoing Senator Matt Thistlethwaite easily defending a 5.2% margin against a swing of 1.9%.

Lindsay. The swing that unseated David Bradbury was slightly on the high side for Sydney at 3.5%, more than accounting for a margin of 1.1% without meeting the more fevered expectations of a western Sydney disaster.

Macarthur. Liberal sophomore Russell Matheson picked up the second biggest two-party Coalition swing in New South Wales, up 6.8% on the primary vote and 8.4% on two-party preferred.

Page. The expectation that Labor would perform better in regional New South Wales than in Sydney was most strikingly defied in Page, where Janelle Saffin unexpectedly fell victim to a 7.2% swing.

Parramatta. Julie Owens’ seat produced a fairly typical result for Sydney in swinging 3.4% to the Liberals, which hasn’t been enough to account for the 4.4% margin. (UPDATE: I speak too soon. In keeping with a general trend of late counting away from Labor, postal votes are flowing heavily to the Liberals and putting Owens at very serious risk.)

Robertson. As expected, the seat Deborah O’Neill did well to retain in 2010 with a margin of 1.0% was an early election night casualty for Labor, the swing of 4.0% being perfectly typical for non-metropolitan New South Wales.

Throsby. Gary “Angry” Anderson managed 10.5% as candidate of the Nationals, nearly doubling the party’s vote from 2010 despite the number of candidates being up from five to 11. The Greens conversely were well down, by 6.5% to 5.3%.

Werriwa. Frequently written off during the campaign, Laurie Ferguson is set to retain about 2.2% of his 6.8% margin from 2010.

Queensland

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	45.3	-1.9	45.5
Labor		30.1	-3.9	29.7
Greens		6.1	-4.7	6.2
Palmer United	11.3
Others		7.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	56.0	+1.1	56.3
Labor		44.0	-1.1	43.7

Blair. One Labor MP with good cause to feel glad about Kevin Rudd’s return was Shayne Neumann, who picked up a 1.4% two-party swing and held firm on the primary vote in the face of 12.8% vote for the Palmer United Party. Here as elsewhere in Queensland, the Greens crashed in the absence of the Kevin Rudd protest vote in 2010, dropping 6.9% to 4.2%.

Brisbane. While Labor had much to be relieved about in Queensland, its high hopes for recovering Brisbane were not realised, with Liberal National Party member Teresa Gamabaro up 1.8% on the primary vote, Labor steady. A 6.9% drop in the Greens vote to 14.3%, coming off Andrew Bartlett’s high-profile campaign in 2010, produced a significantly weaker flow of preferences to Labor.

Capricornia. The central Queensland seat vacated by Kirsten Livermore is going down to the wire after a heavy 8.9% drop in the Labor primary vote. This was mostly down to the competition from the Palmer and Katter parties, the former outscoring the latter 7.9% to 5.3%. With the Liberal National Party vote little changed, Labor suffered a 4.4% swing on ordinary votes off a margin of 4.6%.

Fairfax. Clive Palmer seems to be fighting to hold on to a 1411 against a strong trend in late counting towards Liberal National Party candidate Ted O’Brien. However, O’Brien’s current vote count looks to have been inflated by a discrepancy you can read about here. As things stand, the key to Palmer’s potential victory is his clear success in outpolling Labor 27.3% to 18.1% on ordinary votes, with LNP candidate Ted O’Brien’s 41.0% below the safety zone with Labor and Greens preferences flowing strongly against him.

Fisher. With Palmer United Party candidate Bill Schoch apparently primed to overtake Labor on preferences, despite trailing them 21.0% to 18.3% on the primary vote, Mal Brough’s 43.8% share of the vote was an uncomfortably long distance from the 50% mark. Nonetheless, Brough appears to be gaining about a quarter of the overall preferences on offer, enough to get him over the line with a few per cent to spare.

Griffith. Kevin Rudd suffered Labor’s equal biggest swing in Queensland of 5.2%, with Bill Glasson’s 5.9% lift on the primary vote the second highest achieved by an LNP candidate.

Kennedy. Bob Katter emerged a big loser of election night with a 17.1% slump in his primary vote, reducing him to 29.5%. Liberal National Party candidate Noeline Ikin was the beneficiary of a 14.0% spike that put her well in front on the primary vote count with 40.6%, but preferences are flowing solidly enough to Katter to leave him with a margin slightly below 3%.

Leichhardt. There was strong movement to Labor in Aboriginal communities, doubtless reflecting the background of Labor candidate Billy Gordon. This briefly created the illusion of a potential Labor victory as the first booth-matched results came through on election night, but that was negated by a strong performance by LNP member Warren Entsch in Cairns and the electorate’s rural areas.

Lilley. The 1.6% swing against Wayne Swan was well in line with the statewide norm, and if anything a little above it. Given the pre-election publicity though, Swan’s success in retaining almost all of his 2010 primary vote was among the results that lifted Labor’s spirits on an otherwise grim evening.

Petrie. Kevin Rudd’s election night boast of having defended all of Labor’s Queensland seats to the contrary, it appears that Yvette d’Ath has been unseated by a swing of 3.0% on the ordinary votes, compared with her pre-election margin of 2.5%.

Northern Territory

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	41.2	+0.8	41.6
Labor		38.3	-0.2	37.7
Greens		7.7	-5.0	7.9
Palmer United	4.6
Others		8.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	49.7	+0.9	50.1
Labor		50.3	-0.9	49.9

Lingiari. As usual, swings in the extra-Darwin Northern Territory electorate were all over the shop, the general picture being of a slight swing to Labor in remote communities blunting the swing against Labor to 2.7%, short of Warren Snowdon’s 3.7% margin. This followed a 2010 result which delivered huge swings to the Country Liberal Party in remote communities but partly balanced them out with strong swings to Labor in the major centre, specifically Alice Springs.

Solomon. Natasha Griggs, who unseated Labor’s Damien Hale in 2010, notably failed to enjoy a sophomore surge, Solomon delivering a rare 0.7% swing to Labor to reduce the CLP margin to 0.9%.

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