ALP LNP ALP lead/deficit Outstanding (estimated) ALP target Projected ALP final
Ferny Grove 14128 13714 414 1003 28.3% 50.8%
Whitsunday 14019 14370 -351 1902 60.2% 49.6%
Mount Ommaney 13649 13819 -170 874 60.1% 49.7%

Saturday evening

“Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent” is looking firmer than ever after Chris Foley conceded defeat today in Maryborough, presumably having done the maths from a) his 1271 deficit against Labor on the primary vote (7980 to 6709), b) the fact that there are only 7215 votes from the exclusion of Palmer United, One Nation, the Greens and a second independent to help him close the gap, and c) a knowledge I don’t have concerning the exhaustion rate of Palmer United and One Nation in particular, which is presumably exceedingly high. The LNP didn’t do too badly on today’s counting in Ferny Grove, gaining 31 on counting of 371 absents as well as 30 on 194 postals, while losing three on out-of-division pre-polls. But with a 414-vote Labor lead and barely 1000 votes outstanding, the door remains bolted. All we got today from Mount Ommaney was a handful of declaration votes which broke 18-11 to Labor. Another 326 postals and 254 absents were counted in Whitsunday, adding five votes to the LNP lead by my reckoning. Pauline Hanson is still 183 votes behind in Lockyer, though I think there were actually new numbers added today. As best as I can tell though, we’re now down to the last 1000 outstanding votes.

Friday evening

A final result of Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent continues to firm. Labor have shut the door on Ferny Grove with a first batch of absent votes that have favoured them 716-585, despite 460 pre-poll absents and 284 postals respectively closing the gap by 34 and 24. Whitsunday continues to slip from Labor’s reach, a 400-372 split on the latest batch of absents being less than they needed. Also added were a 77-75 split to Labor on pre-poll absents and a 94-54 split on declaration votes. Labor keeps edging closer in Mount Ommaney, making up 11 on counting of 495 pre-poll absent votes and 13 on 261 election day absents. But with perhaps less than 1000 votes to come, it’s too little too late.

Friday morning

The maths got quite a bit harder for Labor in Whitsunday yesterday with the addition of a strong batch of absents for the LNP, as is explained below. The situation in Ferny Grove remains stable, which is to say that an LNP win will require a big surprise on absent votes, none of which have yet been counted. The LNP is home and hosed in Mansfield, so I won’t be following the count there henceforth, but they can’t quite shake off Labor in Mount Ommaney, where Labor yesterday made up 136 votes on absents while losing 14 on the diminishing number of postals. The situation in Mount Ommaney is similar to Ferny Grove in that I expect out-of-division pre-polls to confirm the anticipated result, but I can’t quite put down my glasses until I see some solid numbers. Pauline Hanson lingers in contention in Lockyer, where she is just 183 votes in arrears. This follows a surprisingly bad showing for the LNP on absents, over half of which were counted yesterday. However, there’s no guarantee that this trend will carry through the remainder of the absent votes, which might come from different locations. All told, the most likely outcome is Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent, with Labor to form a minority government with the support of the independent, Peter Wellington.

Thursday

4.45pm. A second batch of absents in Whitsunday obviously came from a much better place for the LNP than the first, as I am estimating them to have gone 153-110 in favour of the LNP compared with 171-103 to Labor from the first batch. Another 558 postals have broken 289-223 to the LNP, but I’m guessing there won’t be many of these to come, whereas there could still be as many as 2000 absents outstanding. However, there are also no out-of-division pre-polls counted yet, which were slightly favourable to the LNP in 2012. My projection of the Labor total is back to 49.6% after rising to 49.8% yesterday, and their estimated required share of outstanding votes is up to an imposing 56.6%. Better news for Labor from Ferny Grove, where 284 postal votes have actually broken in their favour, by 115-105. Still no absent votes though, which I have consistently been anticipating will decide the result for Labor. In Lockyer, Pauline Hanson has made up a tiny amount of ground from 1464 absents and 415 out-of-division pre-polls, her deficit down from 214 to 198.

Thursday morning

Whitsunday continues to look like the decisive factor in whether Labor can get over the line to a majority, as I discussed in a piece for Crikey yesterday. Yesterday’s counting will have raised Labor’s hopes, with an extremely strong batch of 313 absent votes cutting the published lead to 88. However, I’m calculating that postal and pre-poll votes that haven’t yet been added to the two-party count will push it out to a little over 300. Even so, my projected final result for Labor is up from 49.6% to 49.8%, and it’s possible that this will be a trend if my assumptions about the behaviour of absent votes turn out to be disproved. Postal votes continue to chip away at the Labor lead in Ferny Grove, but I expect that absent votes will settle the issue in their favour when they are added. The trend has been to Labor in the other two seats I am tracking, Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, but not strongly enough to overturn the LNP’s leads. Counting of absent votes is particularly advanced in Mansfield, and there are too few votes left outstanding for the result to be in doubt. The narrow LNP lead over Pauline Hanson in Lockyer has increased ever so slightly with further counting of postals and pre-polls, up from 122 yesterday to 214 today, which should increase by another 30 when pre-polls counted on the primary vote are added to the two-party total. If the 2012 results are anything to go by, out-of-division pre-polls should settle the issue when they are counted.

Wednesday

4.30pm. The first batch of 313 absent votes is in from Whitsunday, and they haven’t disappointed so far as Labor is concerned, breaking 171-103 that way. If that trend is maintained over the remaining absents, Labor will bolt home – but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that they won’t. Absent vote counting tends to be highly variable depending on where particular batches were sourced from, and I’d say these ones come from Mackay. My projection in the table above is not based on such an assumption, but even so the projected ALP total has now shifted from 49.6% to 49.8%. There have also been 256 “uncertain identity” votes, but these have only been slightly to the advantage of Labor. A further 609 postals have been added to the count for Ferny Grove, which by my reckoning will break 311-282 to the LNP on two-party preferred, bringing the Labor lead down from 385 to 337, assuming primary votes not yet added to the two-party total behave as the others have on preferences. While the trend appears to be against Labor as postal votes continue to be added to the count, absent votes will surely favour them when finally added to the count, which is why my projections aren’t rating the LNP as much of a chance.

Wednesday morning

To summarise yesterday’s counting, the LNP continues to chip away at Labor’s lead in Ferny Grove, but probably not by enough given the likely trend of yet-to-be-counted absent votes; Labor has made what are probably too-little, too-late gains in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield; Pauline Hanson is running the LNP very fine in Lockyer but will most likely fall short; and the likelihood is that a Labor majority will depend on the very close call of Whitsunday, where the odds are slightly favouring the LNP. I mean to add Lockyer to the table above when I can find the time. For now, the table has a new feature in a column called “ALP target”, which estimates the share of the two-party vote Labor will need from the votes outstanding in order to win the seat. For those of you who have just joined us, the seat tally in the seats excluding the four in the table plus Maryborough and Lockyer is 42 for Labor, 38 for the LNP, two for Katter’s Australian Party and one independent. The six outstanding seats include one where Labor is not in contention and one where the LNP is not in contention, so their best case scenarios are 47 and 43 seats respectively – although you can just about write Labor off in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield.

Tuesday

6pm. I’ve updated the table for three of the four listed electorates. In Ferny Grove, 311 declared institution votes and a few others have broken strongly to the LNP, probably because they’re from old people’s homes and such. On my reading this reduces the Labor lead from 502 to 385, and the projected winning margin from 1.1% to 0.9%. But there are still no absent votes in the count, which in 2012 were nearly 4% worse for the LNP than the booth results, and particularly strong for the Greens. So I will remain surprised if the LNP can rein it in. In Whitsunday, another 1070 postals behaved exactly as previous batches, which is to say they flowed strongly to the LNP. They haven’t been added on 2PP yet, but my total above applies the existing preference split to them and suggests they increase the LNP lead from 163 to 371. The question remains whether absent votes will save Labor when they are added, which none yet have been. The projection continues to be that they will fall 0.4% short. It’s probably too little too late, but 852 votes in Mount Ommaney, mostly postals, have been to the advantage of Labor, reducing the LNP lead by 24 where previous batches had increased it. Labor may yet hope for a surprise when absents are added, but the projection remains LNP by 0.6%. More pre-polls and postals have been added for Mansfield on primary but not 2PP, which I’ll attend to later.

3.45pm. With the notional count now having all but caught up with the primary one, LNP member Ian Rickuss leads Pauline Hanson in Lockyer by 122. Out-of-division pre-polls are unlikely to favour her, and absent votes will presumably come more the eastern edge of the electorate, where she performed slightly less well. So my earlier assessment of close-but-no-cigar still looks solid. The LNP is now well and truly out of the woods in Gaven, the 2PP lead now at 823. Not sure exactly what’s going on in Maryborough, one of the few seats where the ECQ hasn’t pulled the 2CP count, despite the fact that the count itself is not particularly interesting. What we need is a three-candidate preferred count to establish if minor party and independent preferences will push Chris Foley ahead of Labor, but I gather we’ll actually have to wait for the final preference distribution to see what’s happened here.

Tuesday morning

The big news yesterday came from Lockyer and Gaven, where new notional preference counts are being conducted to replace those conducted on election night which identified the wrong candidates as the two who will make the final count. Both these counts are turning up surprises on early indications, respectively in favour of Pauline Hanson and Labor. Hanson seems to be receiving enough preferences from Labor supporters who tuned in to the exhortation to “put the LNP last” – not in fact what the Labor how-to-vote card directed them to do in this particular electorate – to take the fight right up to LNP incumbent Ian Rickuss. The media is particularly excited that Hanson has a strong lead on the raw count, but this reflects the fact that the five booths where the notional count has been completed were particularly strong for her. She is definitely in the race, but for reasons explained below, Rickuss would probably be slightly favoured.

In Gaven, the ECQ count on the night assumed independent incumbent Alex Douglas would make the cut, but he finished a distant third. Now a count is being conducted between the LNP and Labor, and it seems Douglas’s voters followed his recommendation to preference Labor. As noted below, I’m projecting the LNP to be about 200 votes ahead when all this is done, remembering that this doesn’t account for absents, pre-polls and outstanding postals not yet added to the count. The precedent of 2012 offers no clear indication of these being decisively favourable to one side or the other.

Of the five seats on my existing watch list (i.e. those in the table above plus Maryborough), nothing much changed yesterday, with little progress in four of the five. The exception was Ferny Grove, for which 1079 postals wore down the Labor lead from 577 to 502 without changing the final projection. What did happen yesterday was that the ECQ pulled down the notional two-party counts for every seat except Gaven, Lockyer, Mansfield, Maryborough and Whitsunday, on the basis that it will not continue the notional count with votes to be added henceforth, and that what we don’t know won’t hurt us. So the table above (which may well come to include Gaven and Lockyer shortly) will project preferences from the primary votes added to the count henceforth using the existing preference flows.

So to summarise. Assuming no late surprises in Ferny Grove, Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, we can start with a base of 43 seats for Labor, 39 for the LNP, two for the KAP and one independent, namely Peter Wellington in Nicklin. Beyond that, Whitsunday and Gaven might go either LNP or Labor, Maryborough might go either Labor or independent (although Amy Remeikis of Fairfax relates that Labor is “expected” to win), and Lockyer might go to either the LNP or Pauline Hanson. My feeling is that the LNP will most likely win Whitsunday, Gaven and Lockyer, and Labor will most likely win Maryborough, leaving Labor one seat short of a majority. But I could well be wrong about any or all of those. It would seem the best the LNP can hope for is 42, whereas Labor could get to 46.

Monday

5.35pm. On closer examination, I suspect this will be as good as it gets for Hanson. Her primary vote in the booths that have reported is 34.1%, compared with 27.3% in the electorate at large. Presumably her preference share will be correspondingly lower in the rest of the electorate as well.

5.20pm. Projecting the preference flows from five booths over the entirety of the results, I end up with the LNP 92 votes in the lead over Hanson for a margin of 0.2%. I’ll now try and see if I can come up with a more sophisticated means of projecting it based on regional booth variations.

5pm. Bloody hell. Indicative count finds Pauline Hanson a show in Lockyer – doing better than expected on preferences. Developing.

4.32pm. Two more booths in now from the Gaven LNP-versus-Labor count, making for three polling day booths and the pre-poll booth, bringing the projected LNP margin up from 213 to 226.

4.30pm. A further 772 postals in Mansfield are better for Labor than the first, but they’ve still broken 408-330 to the LNP (mercifully, the two-party results are still up here). There have also been 138 declaration votes added from those who hadn’t brought ID that have broken 79-53 to Labor. While the LNP lead is out from 495 to 547, their projected final result is down from 51.2% to 51.0%.

4pm. A second batch of 1079 postals have been added to the primary vote count in Ferny Grove, and they’ve behaved almost exactly the same as the first, leaving my projection of a 1.0% Labor win unchanged. Unfortunately, the 2PP count for this and many other seats has been taken down. Please don’t let this be permanent …

3.45pm. I hadn’t been rating Labor’s prospects in the Gold Coast seat of Gaven, but now the ECQ is conducting an LNP-versus-Labor preference throw it’s looking at least interesting. The issue here is that the notional preference count on election night was conducted on an independent-versus-Labor basis, the independent being Alex Douglas, a former LNP member who quit mid-term during the term and contested the election as an independent. Douglas in fact finished a distant third, so the issue was how preferences would go in determining the result between the LNP and Labor. Douglas directed his preferences to Labor, but given his flow needed to be almost Greens-like to get Labor over the line, I didn’t think it probable. But with preference counts now added for pre-polls and one election day polling booth, the flow is 40.5% to Labor, 16.2% to the LNP and 43.3% exhausted. There’s very little local variation in this seat, so this pattern will presumably play out over the results to come. Projecting that on to the total primary vote count leaves the LNP with a lead of only 213, or 10466-10253.

2.30pm. The ECQ has curiously removed most of the notional two-party results from its website and media feed, which I can only hope is very temporary (one effect of which has been to send the ABC’s results display haywire, so that the LNP is now wrongly credited with a majority). As far as I can see, the only substantial progress in the key seats has been what was foreshadowed in the previous post, namely that the 421 postals from Whitsunday that were added on the primary vote yesterday are now there on 2PP as well, breaking 223-144 to the LNP and boosting the lead from 84 to 163.

Sunday

This post will be progressively updated to follow the late counting for the Queensland election over the coming days. There was a fair bit of counting done yesterday in key seats, mostly consisting of the first batches of postals and out-of-electorate pre-polls. In my post yesterday I identified six seats that I was ready to give away, but one of those, Redlands, was put beyond doubt by the counting of pre-polls, which broke 3757-3153 the way of the LNP to blow the lead out to 974. Excluding the remaining in-doubt seats of Ferny Grove, Whitsunday, Mount Ommaney, Mansfield and Maryborough, the tally of confirmed seats is now 42 for Labor, 39 for the Liberal National Party, two for Katter’s Australian Party and one independent. Since Maryborough is a race between Labor and a potential second independent, the best the LNP can hope for is 43, which is two short of a majority, whereas Labor could theoretically make it to 47. However, they are behind the eight-ball in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, so their more realistic path to a majority involves staying ahead in Ferny Grove, holding off independent Chris Foley in Maryborough, and closing what is presently an 84-vote deficit in Whitsunday.

The table at the top shows the raw two-party totals for four of the five seats (the exception of Maryborough is explained below), an estimate of the number of votes outstanding (I’m hoping the ECQ will provide me with data to make these guesses more educated) and a projection of the final Labor two-party result, derived mostly from historical experience of how particular vote types deviate from the ordinary votes.

Here’s a quick account of each:

Ferny Grove. The addition of 1227 votes yesterday, mostly postals, narrowed the Labor lead from 703 to 577. I’m roughly estimating around 2500 postals to come, which would cut the lead by a further 250 if they continued to break 55-45 to the LNP. However, past form suggests Labor should gain about 100 on absents, with the rest being roughly neutral.

Whitsunday. The only real progress here yesterday was a batch of 421 postals, but they went strongly to the LNP and should add about 100 to the existing 84-vote lead when they are added to the two-party count. If that trend continues the LNP will win, but postals can behave erratically, and Labor historically performs strongly on absents in this electorate, presumably because most of them are cast in Mackay.

Mount Ommaney. The 1136 votes added to the count yesterday were mostly postals, and as postals often do they favoured the LNP, pushing the lead out from 389 to 525. Labor should do better on absents, but it’s very unlikely to be enough.

Mansfield. A lot of progress in the count here yesterday with a big batch of 2128 postals added, and it was very favourable for LNP incumbent Ian Walker, turning his 25-vote deficit into a 495 lead. My guess is that that’s unlikely to change much from here, with slight gains to Labor from absents and outstanding pre-polls to be cancelled out by the trend to the LNP on postals.

Maryborough. This one’s the great imponderable so far as the progress of the count is concerned, as what we need to know is whether preferences from Palmer United and others will push independent Chris Foley to finish second ahead of Labor, in which case he will win the seat. We won’t have any idea about this until the ECQ does a preference count, either at the very end of proceedings in about a week’s time or (hopefully) in the next day or two by conducting an indicative count of the relevant minor party and independent votes to see how their preferences are going. Labor has 6891 votes to Foley’s 5837, and there are 5566 votes from various other candidates, including 3354 from Palmer United.

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