Firstly, let me note that I have dedicated posts for late counting for the lower house and upper house, so if you’ve got anything to offer that’s particularly related to the progress of the count, I encourage you to do so there. What follows is a summary of the results and the fortunes of the various players.
Labor is up 2.5% to 38.8% on the primary vote, which will come down very slightly, say to about 38.5%, as absent and pre-polls come in. It won 43 seats in 2010, of which five were made notionally Liberal in the redistribution (Bellarine, Monbulk, Ripon, Wendouree and Yan Yean), while two new Labor seats were created (Sunbury and Werribee), giving them a net total of 40. Four of the five notionally Liberal seats have been retained, the exception being Ripon, the only one which was not defended by a sitting member. The ABC computer isn’t giving away Ripon either, but Labor’s chances appear slim. However, Labor appears likely to lose Melbourne to the Greens, although that is not as certain as it may have appeared earlier in the evening.
Assuming Labor loses Melbourne, that brings them to 43, which is supplemented by one clear gain from the Liberals in Mordialloc, leaving them one seat short of a majority. Added to that, Labor is all but certain to win the sandbelt marginal of Carrum, and likely to win the other two, Bentleigh and Frankston. Further, Labor is trailing but not out of contention in Prahran (assuming they finish ahead of the Greens, as seems very likely), and a technical possibility in South Barwon. If everything goes wrong for them they might end a seat short of a majority, but that would leave the Greens holding Melbourne, with no option but to support a Labor government even if they didn’t want to.
The Liberals are down 1.8% on the primary vote to 36.2%, which will probably rise very slightly in late counting, perhaps to 36.5%. The Nationals are down 1.2% to 5.5%, which is unlikely to change much, and have lost the seat of Shepparton, which was vacated by the retirement of Jeanette Powell, to independent candidate Suzanna Sheed. This was the worst aspect of a generally poor result for the Nationals, who were also given a fright in Morwell where their margin has been cut from 13.3% to 1.7%, and suffered meaty swings in a number of their very safe seats.
The Greens looked to be big winners early in the count, but their position weakened as the evening progress, such that it’s no longer entirely certain that they have won Melbourne. Certainly they have fallen short in Richmond and Brunswick, as well as the longer shot of Northcote. Their current primary vote of 11.2% is exactly as it was in 2010, although absent votes will probably push it up a little. However, they look to have won two extra seats in the Legislative Council, in Eastern Metropolitan and South Eastern Metropolitan, while also retaining their seats in the other three upper house regions. In no case do Palmer United preferences look to have been responsible.
There is a lot more to be said about the upper house result and the apparent bevy of successful micro-party candidates, but that’s dealt with here. Keeping things focused on the lower house, the one point to be made about the minor players is that Sheed’s victory brings elected independent representation back to the chamber. The result of the 2010 election was the first Australian federal or state election since 1993 at which all the seats were won by the major parties.
Finally, apart from shooting just a little too high for the Greens, and making no effort to account for the possibility of seats not being won by the major parties, I’d like to observe that my poll tracker (and no doubt poll trackers in general) just about nailed it.
UPDATE: Here’s a Labor swings map which I knocked together for my Crikey article today, but which I’ve decided not to use because it isn’t interesting enough.