Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Victorian Upper House 2018: Button Press Day


I've decided to bring the Victorian upper house count to the top with a new thread for the day on which all the buttons are pressed, and also for any possible recount news.  My coverage of the count was here.  The schedule is for buttons to be pressed for each division from 2:10 pm at ten minute intervals, in alphabetical order by region name.  However, buttons are being pressed faster than scheduled.  Declarations are scheduled for 6:00 but it is possible that some division will be close enough (either at the end or at a key exclusion point) for a recount to be requested, or that some other issue requiring a recount might be identified.  In 2006 there were two recounts, one because of a 6,000 vote transcription error.

Provisional results will be posted as soon as they are available. I am now reviewing the preference distributions.  There may be some delays in posting analysis (if the distributions are up by then!) as I will be out between 3:45-4:45 but will be online for some of that time.

For all the analysis on the above thread and elsewhere there are some seats that are going to the button in significant doubt.  There are others where what is going to happen appears to be clear but it is possible that all the modelling thrown at these counts might still be wrong and something unexpected will happen.  I should note that at this stage we only have party totals, and do not know if there might be an unusually significant below-the-line vote for any otherwise irrelevant candidate (though there is no reason to think that there is.)

The ABC Calculator gives a model of the count based on the assumption that all votes are above the line.  However there has been an increase in below-the-line voting to 8.87% and this will mean that the calculator model will not always work.  I think the calculator will have the right winners in between four and six of the eight regions (probably five).

Once the results are in I intend to - sometime in the next few days - write a separate article highlighting the undemocratic nature of the result and the farcical extent to which this Upper House election has been corrupted by Group Ticket Voting [EDIT: This is done now - Group Ticket Voting Wrecks 2018 Victorian Upper House Election].  The previous Victorian parliament deserves strong condemnation for letting down Australian democracy by failing to remove Group Ticket Voting following the 2013 Senate election debacle.  However this thread is mainly just for the mechanics of what has occurred (feel free to whinge about the results in comments though!)

A big thankyou to David Jeisman whose help in following the counts has been extremely useful, also to @sorceror43 on Twitter and everyone else who has helped out.

Below for each count I give the 2014 result, the ABC calculator projection, my projection and a pre-button-press summary of the count.  This will then be edited in with the result and analysis when known.

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2014: 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters
Projection: 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters

Summary: In this count the major parties have two quotas each and Rodney Brian Barton (Transport Matters) appears to snowball from 0.62% of the vote to beat all others including the Greens (9.03%).  Although Barton at one point falls to third-last, no threat to his victory has been identified.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Transport Matters.
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: (none required)

2014: 2 Coalition, 2 Labor, 1 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
ABC Calculator: 2 Coalition 2 Labor 1 Aussie Battler
Projection: 2 Coalition 2 Labor 1 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

Summary: In this count the major tickets have two quotas each. The ABC calculator shows Vern Hughes (Aussie Battler) coming up from 1.22% to take the final seat by preference-harvesting.  However Hughes is vulnerable at a point where the calculator has him only 0.10% ahead of Derryn Hinch's Justice Party.  Because of below-the-line votes it looks like a foregone conclusion that Hughes will be eliminated at this point, causing the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers' Jeff Bourman to retain.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Coalition 2 Labor 1 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Hughes fizzed out even worse on BTLs than I expected, bowing out even below the Liberal Democrats not to mention DHJP, by 878 votes.  Another one that looks clearcut but I will check further soon.

2014: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green, 1 Sex Party (now Reason)
ABC Calculator: 2 Labor, 1 Green, 1 Reason, 1 DHJP
Projection: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green, 1 Reason or 1 DHJP 

Summary: This count has been very complex to follow.  The Greens have polled just over a quota on primaries and the Liberals just under.  The ABC calculator has the Liberals losing, but thanks to the effects of below-the-line votes (including exhaustion thereof) they will win.  The main issue in the race for the final seat is whether the Greens' Samantha Ratnam gets her quota before the exclusion of the Victorian Socialists or not  If before, then the Socialists preferences flow to Fiona Patten (Reason) and Reason wins.  If not, then the Greens have a large surplus that flows mainly to DHJP's Carmela Dagiandis, and she wins.

It's not straightforward, because although the Greens have a quota on primaries, Ratnam herself doesn't; their quota includes votes for minor candidates that will in some cases leak to non-Green candidates (including Patten).  I suspect they will just get enough back in below-the-lines for Ratnam to get there in time and Patten to retain, but this could be very close.

Result: The provisional result is 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green, 1 Reason.
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Patten has won reasonably easily because although Ratnam was about 1900 short of quota, Ratnam picked up a massive 698 vote BTL leak from Jenny Mikakos (ALP) and therefore crossed quota once all the minor Greens candidates were excluded.  As a result Ratnam cleared quota by c. 600 but even had that not occurred, there were several more exclusions at which she could have picked up further votes.

2014: 2 Coalition, 2 Labor, 1 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
ABC Calculator: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 DHJP
Projection: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 DHJP

Summary: This count has a huge (30.4%) vote for parties other than Labor, the Coalition and the Greens.  The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (7.85%) lead the charge but it appears they will be overtaken by Liberal Democrat Tim Quilty and DHJP's Tania Maxwell, and then that their preferences will elect both Quilty and Maxwell.  This leaves a race between Labor and Coalition for the final seat, which Labor should win.

Result: The provisional result is, as expected, 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 DHJP
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Labor's margin for the final seat was quite comfortable, over 7000 votes.

2014: 2 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 3 Labor, 1 Liberal 1 Transport Matters
Projection: 3 Labor, 1 Liberal and perhaps 1 Transport Matters but more likely 1 Liberal Democrat

Summary:  This count has another Transport Matters preference harvesting spiral but it is not as robust as the one in Eastern Metro.  The calculator has Transport Matters' Ali Khan winning off 1.27% (beating the Liberals with 12.3% remaining after their first quota).  However Khan must survive two narrow exclusion points where the calculator has him 0.24% ahead of Animal Justice and then 0.37% ahead of the Greens.  I believe he will survive the first but that the second looks pretty tricky, because of below-the-line votes among the parties that supply him with preferences.

Result:  As expected 3 Labor, 1 Liberal 1 Liberal Democrat
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Khan was out nearly 2000 votes below the Greens so this one doesn't look too close either.

2014: 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green
ABC Calculator: 2 Labor, 2 Liberal 1 Sustainable Australia
Projection: 2 Labor, 2 Liberal 1 Sustainable Australia

Summary: The majors have two quotas each and the Greens have 13.23%.  However, a preference snowball seems to elect Sustainable Australia's Clifford Hayes, coming up from 1.32%.  Nobody has identified anything that might realistically stop Hayes from winning.

Result: The provisional result is 2 Labor, 2 Liberal 1 Sustainable Australia
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Below the lines did close the gap a lot in this seat, but it was never enough.  Hayes' winning margin was 2755 compared to the calculator's forecast of 23516.  It might seem that Labor's preferences flowing to Hayes were decisive (as suggested by the calculator) but in fact because of minor candidate BTL issues the ATL votes for Labor were cut down to 987 votes.

2014: 2 Labor 1 Liberal 1 Green 1 DLP
ABC Calculator: 3 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 DHJP
Projection: 3 Labor, 1 Liberal and probably 1 DHJP, but perhaps 1 SF+F

Summary: DHJP's Catherine Cumming has 6.82% of the primary vote, but will be beaten if Labour DLP is excluded before the second Liberal.  The reason for this is that  if Labour DLP go out before the Liberals then the Liberal preferences do not flow to Labour DLP, the Shooters get Labour DLP preferences, and as a result the Shooters get Liberal preferences as well, which saves them from elimination.  The calculator margin at this point is Labour DLP ahead of the Liberals by 0.37%.  Labour DLP will lose some of that because of below-the-lines, but I don't expect it will be enough for the Liberals to get ahead.

Result: The provisional result is  3 Labor, 1 Liberal and 1 DHJP
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: Cumming's win seems relatively clear as the margin at the cutoff point is 1648 votes.  Her final margin over LDLP was 4466.  As Cumming has since claimed her win was due to "my strong primary personal vote and organic preferences" it's worth noting that Cumming's win was almost entirely based on above-the-line votes.  Her winning total included 65914 ATLS and 6521 BTLs (rounded to whole votes), and of the latter 2270 were her primary BTLs.  Cumming's own BTLs had nothing to do with the critical point involving Labour DLP and the Liberals, or with her getting over the Greens.  But they did play a roll in the final contest with Labour DLP.  Had Labour DLP's candidate Walter Villagonzalo got about 1789 votes more in below-the-line preferences (as distinct from #1 votes) than Cumming, he would have won. But that was never going to happen and he got only 1573 BTL preferences compared to 4251 for Cumming.  Thus even had Cumming's BTL preferencing voters all exhausted their votes instead of preferencing her, Cumming would still have won.

It has also been noted that far from being strongest around Cumming's council area, the DHJP vote was highest almost anywhere else in West Metro, and feedback from booth workers says it was very much a party vote.  The extent to which something is a personal vote cannot be determined from region-wide votes alone.  Someone might decide to vote 1 ATL for a party because of its lead candidate.  Someone might also decide to vote 1 BTL for a party not because of its lead candidate, but because they support that party but want to set their own preference flow.

2014: 2 Coalition 2 Labor and Vote 1 Local Jobs
ABC Calculator: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 DHJP, 1 Animal Justice
Projection: 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 DHJP, 1 Animal Justice

Summary: Another seat with a high micro-party primary (24.4%) which flows to two of the higher-scoring micro-parties, putting them up high enough in the count to get over the third Labor candidate and the Greens and then beat the Liberals on preferences from both.  Early in the post-count it looked like only one of DHJP's Stuart Grimley and AJP's Andy Meddick would win, but it now looks like both should win at the expense of the second Coalition candidate (who starts with 13.26%).

Result: The provisional result is 2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 DHJP, 1 Animal Justice
Update: This result has been declared.

Analysis: (none required)

Note: The sidebar Not-A-Poll underestimated the extent of the damage, with 2 voters correctly voting for 9-10 micro-party wins and 4 for more than 10 (out of 73).  I voted for 7-8.


  1. Great work Kevin. Looks like there were no surprises. Very happy that Fiona Patten has been re-elected not just because I voted for her and think she's a competent member but hopefully it also boosts the chances of electoral reform in this term.

  2. Fantastic analysis as always. Happy that Fiona is elected, and although I'm sad about the Greens losing a seat in my region, at least it went to the next best party (though that being said, I definitely will be writing in asking for a change to the GVT system).

  3. And... I'm sure you've already seen, but anyone who betting for the Justice Party to be the first to lose an MLC can collect their winnings. Catherine Cumming quit/was booted by Hinch yesterday and was sworn in as an independent today.


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