Sunday, March 16, 2014

State Election Post-Count: Franklin

This is the second of my state election post-counting threads.  There will be one for each electorate and they will be updated frequently.  During the cutup (which starts in the middle of the week after next) I will be on remote fieldwork and will update nightly, but hope to take a day off during the cutup.  

SEAT OUTCOME: 3 LIB 1 ALP 1 GREEN (Count Finished)
WINNERS: Hodgman (Lib), Giddings (ALP), McKim (Green), Petrusma (Lib), Harriss (Lib)

This thread concerns the post-count and preference cut-up in the seat of Franklin (results here).

In Franklin, the Liberals are currently on 2.99 quotas, Labor on 1.74 quotas, the Greens on 1.00 quotas, PUP on 0.22 quotas, and the Tasmanian Nationals have disgraced themselves by losing to the Socialist Alliance for last place.  

Will Hodgman has been elected with 2.10 quotas in his own right, a slight increase on the 1.90 quotas he polled in 2010.  Lara Giddings and Nick McKim have been re-elected.  The only remaining interest in the count is whether David O'Byrne can pull back enough of the Liberal lead to beat either Paul Harriss or Jacquie Petrusma as the Liberal total declines after leakage from Will Hodgman's massive surplus.

In 2010, of Hodgman's surplus of 0.90 quotas, 0.06 quotas leaked from the Liberal ticket, with 0.048 quotas going to Labor for a net Labor gain of 0.109 quotas.  Proportionally, therefore, the gap between the tickets would close by .133 quotas, all else being equal.  

One reason not all else is equal is that Nick McKim has not made his quota on primaries this time around and therefore votes will leak to him.  Also Giddings and O'Byrne are higher-profile now than they were in 2010.  So there is a case that the total leak from Hodgman will be, say, 10% rather than 7%.  Against that, Petrusma and Harriss are higher-profile now than Petrusma and Mulder in 2010, and this may help limit the damage.  

On the other hand O'Byrne is more exposed to leakage within the Labor ticket, with 2110 Labor votes currently to be thrown from minor candidates compared to 1439 for the Liberals.  With the Labor ticket having been leakier than the Liberals in 2010, this could be worth a net .03 quota in party balance terms.  The PUP preferences in this seat may largely exhaust, and those that do not exhaust will splatter between the major parties, but there may be a slight Liberal skew as Debra Thurley has Liberal associations.  There could end up being a very small Green surplus which could favour O'Byrne slightly.  

My take is that if the primary figures stay the way they are through the post-count then O'Byrne is gone; the current lead is too much.  He needs to get that primary vote gap between the tickets (not counting the extra Liberal quota) down from the current 0.25 quotas at least to below 0.20, ideally to below 0.15, as out of electorate votes and postals are added.  If he shows no signs of doing that I'll call the seat for Harriss, but for now O'Byrne is still in some kind of contention.  It is possible the out of electorate votes will favour Labor enough to drown out postals probably doing the reverse, but the sort of gap-closing required from the current totals is a big ask.  

There is also a small possibility that neither Liberal candidate will cross quota, in which case if the two Liberals are very evenly split then the Ginninderra Effect (warning: that link is ultra-wonky) comes into play at the end of the count and could assist the Liberals (even if O'Byrne catches their party total).  I think this is not very likely though; I think Hodgman's surplus will favour Petrusma as an incumbent over Harriss, and Petrusma will reach quota leaving Harriss and O'Byrne as the last two candidates.  

While this looks like three Liberals, it isn't cut and dried yet, though it may be by the end of today.

Update Sunday evening: Yes it's not good news at all for David O'Byrne; he has gone backwards in today's counting and Labor now trail by 0.28 quotas (not counting the Libs' extra quota) with 86.3% counted.  In 2010 Franklin reached 94.6% so we still have around 8% to come, but that's postals and O'Byrne would really have to do something special on them to pull back into the competitive zone.   

What Happens If O'Byrne Loses And Giddings Resigns:  David O'Byrne was expected to be Labor's next leader, but if he loses his seat, the only way he can become leader is if Giddings resigns parliament to make way for him.  So there has been some attention on who would get Giddings' seat.

There are always misconceptions about these Hare-Clark recounts (which should really have a different name to avoid confusion with recounts caused by close outcomes).  The main one here is that O'Byrne would win because he is the next highest Labor vote-getter.  This does not automatically follow. 

The votes that are thrown in the recount are just the quota of votes on which the resigning member was elected.  The number of primary votes each candidate got in the original count is irrelevant, even if they missed election by a vote.  At the moment, Lara Giddings is on .99 of a quota and unless that changes, she will be elected on leakage from Will Hodgman's surplus.  So Giddings' recount will consist of her own primaries plus the votes obtained from Hodgman.  The Hodgman surplus votes (however many there are) will have been reduced in value twice - once when Hodgman was elected and again when Giddings was, so they will be only circa 1% of the value of the Giddings recount.

In the recount the Giddings quota of votes would be thrown to the highest available candidate (in this case meaning the next preferenced) who was contesting the recount.  Someone might receive more than half the votes on offer right away and be elected; if not, candidates would then be cut from the bottom up and their preferences distributed until a winner was found.

In every case in Hare-Clark history I'm aware of bar one (Democrat Norm Sanders to Bob Brown) the candidate elected on a recount has been from the same party as the resigning member.  Labor candidates would get the great bulk of Giddings' votes in the recount.  If, as it happens, those who voted 1 for Giddings preferred, say, Heather Chong rather than David O'Byrne, and if Chong contested the recount, then O'Byrne would lose the recount irrespective of his far greater original primary vote total.  

I don't see anything like this happening; a very high proportion of the 1 Giddings voters will have voted 2 O'Byrne and that (not his primary total) is why he would win.  Very likely Labor scrutineers in various booths kept a keen eye on this issue and already have a good idea of the score if Giddings does resign.

Monday update: Updated figures show 92.25% counted and the effective Liberal-Labor gap sits at .273 quotas.  Labor have made less than no progress in post-counting and there is probably only about 2% remaining to form the primary total.  Unless there has been significant miscounting (a la the Indi 1000 votes saga - not likely), I cannot see O'Byrne getting this back to a competitive gap, and Paul Harriss will replace him in Franklin.

Tuesday: Rechecking has made little difference.  This article may not require further updates until the cutup starts when we should just keep an eye on the size of the leakage from the Hodgman surplus.  

Thursday: I have scrutineering info from a large and from the sounds of it robust sample suggesting a leak of 4.5% from Hodgman directly to O'Byrne.  Perhaps a little larger than I would have expected - but also not nearly enough.

It should also be kept in mind here that votes that go 1 Hodgman 2 Giddings will form a surplus.  Some of these will then leak back to the Liberals. 

Monday: The massive Will Hodgman surplus is distributed, electing both Giddings and Petrusma.  The leakage rate was a remarkably miserly 6% (though some of the distributed votes go into new surpluses that may leak further).  The Liberal ticket leads Labor's by 1895, and although the Liberal ticket is slightly more exposed to leakage than Labor's, there is no chance whatsoever for David O'Byrne as the lead is quite a high proportion of the remaining third-party preferences that can be thrown, many of which will exhaust.  

Tuesday 25th: The cutup is underway with several candidates excluded but the result is a foregone conclusion so I am concentrating on the other seats.

Wednesday 26th 6pm: David O'Byrne has actually gone ahead of Paul Harriss, but it's totally meaningless as Harriss has 3343 preferences from fellow Liberal candidate Nic Street to come and will certainly get enough of those to overturn a gap of 876.

7 pm: All over (officially), Harriss wins by 1783 votes.


  1. Hi Kevin, can you tell me how many seats a party has to fall to before they lose party status? I love the thought of the Greens losing party status, and thus losing staff and Nick losing his limo and driver...

    1. My memory on this is that Kim Booth holding Bass in 2006 by a whisker was needed for them to retain party status and thus that at that time party status was four. If that is still the case they will be sweating on Lyons.


The comment system is unreliable. If you cannot submit comments you can email me a comment (via email link in profile) - email must be entitled: Comment for publication, followed by the name of the article you wish to comment on. Comments are accepted in full or not at all. Comments will be published under the name the email is sent from unless an alias is clearly requested and stated. If you submit a comment which is not accepted within a few days you can also email me and I will check if it has been received.