Saturday, May 4, 2019

Legislative Council 2019: Nelson, Pembroke and Montgomery Live And Post-Count

Montgomery: CALLED 8:30 pm Hiscutt (Lib) retains
Nelson: CALLED 4:45 pm Tues Webb (IND) defeats Street on preferences by a large margin
Pembroke: CALLED 8:37 pm Siejka (ALP) retains

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Live comments (scrolls to top)

All updates are unofficial, check the TEC site for official figures

A note on preferences: in all, 66% of the votes for the other candidates ended up with Webb, 23% with Street and 11% exhausted.  This is an even stronger flow than the 59-25 for Robert Armstrong in Huon 2014, and Armstrong had a huge profile. I did not expect anything like this, but I also did not expect the right-wing-ish candidates generally to poll so badly.  A part of this also is that those voting for Madeleine Ogilvie seemed to be Labor supporters irrespective of her social-issue views, as her preferences split strongly to the left.

6:50 And it's a thumping final margin; Webb wins with 59.26% after preferences after getting a 76% flow of preferences.  This is a bad result for the Liberal Party who would also have lost on a 2CP basis to probably most of the rest of the field (though not by as much), but at least they had a go.  Labor didn't and will be left wondering whether they could have won the seat (in my view: doubtful).

4:56 There is a very lopsided flow of Bayley votes into the Webb pile.  The result will be official over the next hour or two.

4:36 Webb is 321 behind Street with Bayley's preferences to go.  This won't be difficult.

4:25 Subject to confirmation Webb is over Bayley by over 600 and into second.  Webb 1879 Bayley 1044 Street 824 exhaust 406.

3:45 Ogilvie's preferences are being tallied.  In early sampling there was a massive (50%) flow to Webb but this did moderate a lot as votes to Ogilvie from others were added.  Just waiting for confirmation that Webb is in fact over Bayley as appears to be the case and if so we will then see what she needs to beat Street.

3:00 updated primary percentages after Brewer - Street 30.54, Bayley 24.36 Webb 23.31 Ogilvie 21.79 (excluded)

2:50 Roughly (but these will change when checked) Bayley gets 825 off Brewer, Ogilvie 666, Street 193 Webb 752 so Webb will have to catch 200 off c. 4150 Ogilvie prefs.  These will also be going to Street and exhaust.

2:20 It looks like Webb is doing well off the Brewer throw and at least shouldn't go significantly backwards relative to Bayley or Ogilvie (indeed could be a small gain), while Street is getting very little.  Percentages prior to this throw were Street 29.38 Bayley 19.92 Webb 19.27 Ogilvie 18.21 Brewer 13.22 (excluded).   Expect Street's gap to drop by about 4 points on this throw alone.

2:00 Unofficial split off Brownless is Bayley 197 Brewer 96 Ogilvie 454 Street 514 Webb 376 exhaust 80  So Webb closes to about 120 behind Bayley but still has to outperform him by that much off Brewer and Ogilvie.  Brewer may flow to Bayley (Green issues link) but that wasn't especially apparent in the limited scrutineering seen, and Webb has the female-to-female preference flow advantage.  Street still has a large lead but won't get a lot of joy from here, he probably needs another 3300 or so to win which will be difficult.

1:20 Unofficial split off Farmer is Bayley 254 Brewer 117 Brownless 273 Ogilvie 253 Street 189 Webb 332 exhaust 33 but this is being rechecked. Ogilvie is now going to need an enormous and highly unlikely gain off Brownless to stay in it, assuming that she won't gain on Webb off Brewer.

1:15 Check out Kester Takayama's excellent primary vote maps.

1:10 It looks like Webb has slightly the larger pile of Farmer's, with Ogilvie not a huge distance behind.

12:45 Farmer is being excluded now. Farmer was excluded by 3 votes but the TEC has correctly proceeded with the throw without further checking in the absence of evidence of error in these many-times checked votes and because unrealistically strong flows between Farmer and Brownless would be needed for either to pass Brewer.

12:20 Griggs (IND) prefs - subject to checking Bayley 216 Brewer 102 Brownless 101 Farmer 122 Ogilvie 201 Street 131 Webb 198 and three to exhaust!  Farmer is out next, three behind Brownless.  While Ogilvie did not make large gains there the question is whether she can do so off Brownless and Farmer, enough to hold off a probable but not certain loss to Webb off Brewer.

11:20 Manning (IND) prefs - subject to checking these went Bayley 63 Brewer 36 Brownless 96 Farmer 97 Griggs 85 Ogilvie 98 Street 132 Webb 86.  So Street doing well off a couple of conservative exclusions but Brownless is probably the only one left he'll get much joy out of.  So far a pattern of Ogilvie closing to Webb and Webb closing to Bayley but the throws of Griggs and Brewer will be the big test for that.

11 am: Bennett (Shooters) prefs - subject to checking these went Bayley 19 Brewer 35 Brownless 34 Farmer 64 Griggs 29 Manning 24 Ogilvie 53 Street 97 Webb 39.

11 am: Final primaries were Bayley 3069 Bennett 394 Brewer 2147 Brownless 1223 Farmer 1168 Griggs 960 Manning 669 Ogilvie 2420 Street 4567 Webb 2662.  Bennett exclusion on now.

Tuesday: Here we go, today's the day.  Today some final primaries will be added and the distribution of preferences will kick off from about 10:30-11:00.  Keep an eye on the TEC page for results as they come in (the "Final for Tuesday" currently showing is last Tuesday).  I will be scrutineering this election and will post comments as I can.

Friday: There will be some more primary votes to come, but I don't know if they will be added before Tuesday, and the number will be very small.  In the meantime, I have seen a scrutineering sample from one of the Kingborough booths.  The total sample size is about 250 votes but this includes votes for whatever candidates don't get excluded.  If the sample held up across the whole electorate Webb would win easily, but I suspect there are strong variations in preference flow between different parts of the electorate, as there were in the primary vote.  (In the preference count we unfortunately won't see those!)  Also while the various scrutineering info I have strongly points in the direction of Webb staying ahead of Ogilvie, there isn't enough to be totally certain of this, and if Ogilvie relegates Webb to fourth then Ogilvie might still win (!), though that would depend on the Webb to Bayley flow being weaker than has been suggested.  It's possible in theory that both Webb and Ogilvie could overtake Bayley, though I don't think that this will occur.

Tuesday: Primary votes have been updated but the changes were trivial.  The only surprise is that Street went trivially backwards rather than trivially forwards.

Sunday night: Nelson votes have been rechecked and nobody's primary moved by more than 0.02%, which is incredibly good counting work by the TEC on the night!  I've just edited the previously posted totals before.  We now get a dribble of postals without major changes until the fun heats up with the preference throw on Tuesday week.

Sunday 5:10: We have a provisional margin in Montgomery.  Cheryl Fuller's preferences have broken almost exactly evenly (trivially more to Hiscutt) and Hiscutt provisionally has 60.18% 2PP.  This compares to 55.49% vs Fuller in 2013, but it is harder to get a good two-candidate result against an indie than an opposing major party.    So both Hiscutt (Liberal) and Siejka (Labor) have done very well indeed.  By way of comparison, Labor were running for much longer in Montgomery whereas the Liberal Pembroke campaign was not that serious, but on the other hand Montgomery is a naturally conservative seat and Pembroke is a natural swing seat.  So the two cancel out - leaving whatever happens in Nelson, which Labor didn't contest.

Sunday 4:10: We have a provisional margin in Pembroke.  Tony Mulder's preferences have flowed 52.9% Liberal, 44.2% Labor, rest to exhaust, and Siejka provisionally has 58.58% 2PP, a swing to her of 1.13 points compared to the previous by-election.  A very good result for Labor given that the Liberals' campaign last time was divisive - then again, it was also a bigger effort than this one. The margin may change by a few tenths or so in post-counting.

Sunday 3pm: Cheryl Fuller got almost half the Shooters preferences but that's not enough to get her to second.  Her preferences will be thrown with Labor needing an impossible 90.8% to win.  A similar story in Pembroke where Mulder got nearly half Cornish's preferences but is also gone leaving Johnson (Lib) needing 90.6% to win.

Sunday 2pm: Preference throws will be commenced (and probably completed) this afternoon that will confirm the winners of the Pembroke and Montgomery contests, and will also give a good sign of the margins.  In Nelson there will be rechecking and postals will be added gradually over the next several days; the preference throw cannot start until Tuesday 14 May.  For what it's worth, Hiscutt's position improved half a point on rechecking so the swing against her is now 1.5% and might drop further after postals.

9:40 Saturday WRAP

Just some final summary comments for tonight, with more tomorrow afternoon when I expect two seats to be formally decided.

Montgomery and Pembroke have turned out pretty much as expected, with Liberal and Labor incumbents retaining.  In Montgomery, Leonie Hiscutt has had a 2% swing against her on primaries, but this is at least a good result given that she was up against a pretty big Labor campaign after Labor didn't run in the seat in 2013.  We should know the size of Hiscutt's win tomorrow but despite a few issues on the campaign trail there the Leader for the Government continues her family's strong tradition in the region.

In Pembroke, Jo Siejka has a massive 12.8% swing to her on primaries, but about half of this was caused by there not being a Greens candidate in the seat.  Again we will see where this ends up on two-candidate-preferred but it looks like a very good result for an incumbent who has worked the electorate very hard in a short space of time.

It looks very likely that the major parties have finished 1-2 in two seats on the same day, bringing the number of such classic two-candidate contests in the history of the Legislative Council from two to four, all in the last few years.  There is nothing to see by way of an unusual demand for independents in either Pembroke or Montgomery, although prominent indies have still polled fairly well in both.

Nelson however looks like a bad night for the right.  Street's primary looks acceptable but it's really not that hot given that other right-leaning candidates polled poorly while the left candidates polled very well.  It looks like a seat that has been held by conservatives forever will probably fall to a left-wing independent.  It isn't clear yet which one, but for the balance of the Council it really doesn't matter much.

Winning from third, if Webb manages to pull it off, is very rare. It has happened three times in Legislative Council elections: Hobart 1916, Hobart 1938 (winner third by 1 vote), Newdegate 1986.

There's nothing much to see at either state or federal level in Pembroke or Montgomery.  We know incumbents do well in these things.  In Nelson, the poor overall vote for the right might be taken partly as a reflection of state politics (in particular as a control sample in the absence of majority government concerns and pokies money) and could also be taken as showing hints of the climate-change issues facing the Liberals in such seats on the federal scene.  But this is quite speculative and nothing should detract from the strong personal campaigns by Bayley and Webb.

8:44 Final for night in Nelson:

23.74 Nic Street (Lib)
15.89 Vica Bayley (left-IND)
13.84 Meg Webb (left-IND)
12.58 Madeleine Ogilvie (ex-ALP)
11.02 Deborah Brewer (Green)
6.39 Blair Brownless (centre-right IND)
6.07 John "Polly" Farmer (centre-left IND)
5.00 Richard Griggs (left-IND)
3.44 Robert Manning (IND)
2.01 Lorraine Bennett (SFF)

I think Street's lead is not enough.  There are almost 30 points of seriously left-wing preferences and I've had a scrutineering report of a 70% all-boxes-numbered rate in one booth with a high swap rate between Bayley and Webb.  I think whichever of these is second will probably beat Street.

Bayley vs Webb is tricky.  Webb has a gender advantage on Ogilvie's and Brewer's preferences but it could be that Bayley's stature among Green voters because of his Wilderness Society role is enough to overcome that (Griggs' preferences might help him too).  I have a report from one scrutineer that Webb is a very popular #2 from candidates likely to be excluded, including Brewer.  It is quite possible Webb will overtake Bayley and win from third but we will have to wait two weeks to find out if she does or not.   I think Ogilvie is out of it as the Bayley/Webb preference nexus should dispose of her even if she gets into third.

8:33 Ditto for Pembroke where Johnson needs 84% off mainly Mulder, or if Mulder gets into second (and he just won't get enough flow off Cornish anyway) he'd need 87%.  It's possible Siejka's margin won't be that big in the end if Mulder preferences flow conservatively but I don't doubt that she will win.  CALLED Siejka retain.

8:30 Prepoll is in in Montgomery and Hiscutt has 44% with Rippon second on 25.7.  I am pretty sure Rippon is second but it's academic.  Rippon needs 80% of preferences, which she might get off Fuller (I doubt it) but won't get near getting off Jones.  CALLED Hiscutt retain.

8:20 We have Kingston booth and prepoll.  Street lead out to 7.6 points (I do not think that is enough, though it may increase in the other Kingston booth), Bayley over Webb is two points (hmmm) and Ogilvie is fourth.  Now normally I would expect the Green preferences to flow strongly to Bayley and they may well do so even in competition with Webb, but Ogilvie will flow to Webb and the fact that the Green candidate is female could soften the flow to Bayley.  So Bayley is not clearly safe in second here.

8:10 A bit of a lull waiting for prepolls and a few outstanding booths.

7:51 Taroona in, Vica Bayley gets 32% to boost him to a 3-point lead over Webb - is that enough?  He's only 5 points behind Street now but Kingston and Kingston Beach might have a thing or two to say about that.  I still doubt Street's lead will be enough, whatever it is.  Worth mentioning that Brownless who was the first candidate declared has flopped after a poor campaign and a lack of connection to the electorate.

7:44 Taroona still not in but Bayley will get a huge heap of votes there so look out! Still not sure if he will be safe from being jumped by Webb.

7:42 It looks very much like both incumbents have retained but I am going to wait to see if the prepolls do anything startling before calling them.  If there is no significant change after prepolls they can be called.  Currently if Mulder could get into second in Pembroke he would need 86% of preferences which is a flow never seen in these things.  And I doubt he can because Cornish's preferences will flow to the Liberals to at least some degree.

7:35 Processing more Pembroke booths now, Siejka is on 46% in the live count and the worst booth for Labor (Tranmere) has been counted.  I expect to find the mountain is too steep for the others.

7:30 A huge flood of booths in Nelson.  Street leads on 23.9% but has Kingston and K Beach and Bayley in second on 15% still has his home base of Taroona to come.  Then Webb now third just ahead of Ogilvie, so Webb is still in this.  The left-wing preference flows are likely to keep or push Webb ahead of Ogilvie so I think that only Street, Bayley and Webb can win and it is going to be hard for Street to hold off these two even with a large lead.

7:28 It is looking very much like Labor is second in Montgomery as Fuller is over 6 points behind with 11 points of Shooters preferences to throw, which will go to Liberal as well.  That being so Rippon is going to need 78% of preferences off Jones and Fuller, which might be achievable of Fuller but surely not off Jones.   I'll probably call this one very soon.

7:21 I will just enter a large number of Montgomery booths into my spreadsheet and see if anything could turn it around there.  I will only be a short while ...

7:18 Some more booths in in Pembroke now (three plus postals).  At the moment the tracking is for Mulder to match Chipman's vote from last time, Johnson to match the Liberal vote from last time, and Siejka to get a 11 point primary vote swing.  These figures include some postals and at the moment whoever is second looks like they will need an 82% preference flow.  The preferences here will be conservative but I cannot see the Liberals getting that off mainly Mulder.  If Mulder can improve and get into second and the flow drops off then maybe, but Siejka's position looks strong so far.

7:10 I've been sent some Nelson figures from a Sandy Bay booth not yet added.  They are similar to elsewhere in that Street leads on primaries but the interesting thing is that off the first three booths (including this one and the two published) Webb is fourth on about 11%.  Webb might in theory get over Ogilvie off Brewer and then over Bayley off Ogilvie, though this is the sort of scenario that often falls over later on.  Street is only projecting for low 20s, with reports of high preferencing he will need to lift bigtime in the Kingborough booths.

7:00 The first booth in Nelson is Lower Sandy Bay and Street leads on primaries with 30% but that is an extremely Liberal booth so this is actually bad news; off that booth he projects only to an insignificant lead.  He may pick up relative to the projection when the Kingston booths come in but that's a great start for Bayley.  Not a bad start for Ogilvie either but she won't get Bayley's preference flows off Webb, Griggs, Brewer so she needs to lift.

7:00 Booths in Montgomery keep coming in but the projection isn't moving much.  It may not be clear who will be second here but unless things change a lot they will be too far behind.

Also a rough postal count from Nelson has Street with almost three times any other candidate, but below 40% of the total, and bear in mind that postals skew to the Liberals.  Ogilvie is just ahead of Bayley but Bayley would catch her on preferences easily on these numbers.  So on that sample it would be Street and Bayley as the final two.

6:48 First booth in in Pembroke and it's a monster swing of 14% to Siejka in Mornington. 

6:45 Booths are coming in very rapidly in Montgomery.  Rippon's position on raw figures is improving but my projection still has Hiscutt in front about 43-25, a bit more with postals.

6:38 A great result for Hiscutt in Riana booth where she holds the state election Liberal vote with no swing.  South Riana not so good, still tracking for mid-40s.  We'll see if this goes down in the urban booths.  (My tracking corrects for skews in booths from the state election.)

6:35 Wilmot booth in and Hiscutt is still projecting for a very large primary vote lead.  There are no how-to-vote cards but there could be strong flows from Rippon to Fuller if Rippon fails to finish second.  Even so huge gaps are normally not caught in these things so we'll see how things go when bigger booths come in.

6:34 Unsurprising report of high preference swapping between Webb and Bayley in Nelson.

6:30 A couple more small booths in in Montgomery and one was much better for Hiscutt compared to state results than the other, she is still projecting to 43% (which would be a win) but these are small rural booths.

6:24 First booth in in Montgomery is Natone which isn't in my projections for some reason but anyway Hiscutt is down 10% on the state Liberal vote in this booth, which is acceptable, especially as Labor is also down.  If repeated across the electorate it would land Hiscutt on about 43%.  The Shooters vote in this rural booth is high.

6:20 Scrutineer report that in Kingston prepoll (Nelson) Street, Webb, Ogilvie, Bayley are doing well and Brownless trailing them.  One would expect this area to favour Street.  Also report of preferences going everywhere and a high rate of voting through.

6:10 Link to TEC results page. No numbers yet. Note that there are a few booths I won't be able to match, including Agfest booths and the odd smaller booth in Montgomery.

6:00 Polls have closed.  Final votes in my not-a-poll to predict the Nelson winner were Ogilvie 37 Bayley 35 Webb 32 Street 31 and the rest didn't get much.

Live commentary will be added from 6 pm once count starts.  First booths probably from around 6:30.


Welcome to my on-the-night live coverage for the 2019 Legislative Council elections.  This was another crazy week in Tasmanian politics, with Health Minister Michael Ferguson facing an all-day no-confidence motion, followed by Speaker Sue Hickey voting down the government's mandatory sentencing bill for sexual offences against children.  This against the backdrop of a federal election campaign that saw turmoil for the Liberal Party with Lyons Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan disendorsed over anti-Islamic social media posts (some of which she denies making) and ... what are voters to make of it all?

The big enchilada tonight is Nelson (see Nelson guide) with its colourful ten-candidate field for a vacancy following the retirement of 24-year incumbent Jim Wilkinson.  The Nelson guide has just shaded Prosser as my most visited LegCo guide ever.  It will be all be obvious after the event but it's far from clear who will win this thing.  In my sidebar Not-A-Poll Nic Street (Liberal), Madeleine Ogilvie (independent ex-Labor), and the left-wing indies Meg Webb and Vica Bayley have all been trading the lead back and forth.  They're not the only serious contenders either.  Oddly this one probably says the least about how the major parties are travelling in the electorate, and while a win for Street would be extremely nice for the Liberals, a loss is no disaster either, unless it is a bad one.

The other two seats of Pembroke and Montgomery are also interesting.  Each sees a major party incumbent (Labor's Jo Siejka and the Liberals' Leonie Hiscutt) defend their seat against the other major party and in each case a prominent independent too.  Both Siejka and Hiscutt really should win, and a loss by either (especially to the other major) could spark severe recriminations for the losing party.

I haven't had time to update my Legislative Council voting patterns assessment yet this year, but it probably matters little, with no independents up for re-election.  Suffice to say that the government is having a difficult time getting some of its bills through what it misleadingly calls the "Labor-Green block" (the four ALP and four left-wing independent MLCs) and would be hoping to improve its situation tonight.

How this works

Comments will start soon after 6 pm (slowly at first around dinner!) and will go through til counting finishes (usually about 9-ish) with a wrapup posted sometime after that.  Refresh frequently after 6:30-ish to see the most recent comments - at the height of counting on average there will probably be a new comment every five minutes or so.  

Comments will continue over coming days as the post-counting unfolds - Nelson will go to preferences with a long cut-up (though there may or may not be a clear leader tonight), and the other two are also very likely to go to preferences.  Depending on how clear the top two are in Pembroke and Montgomery we may well get a provisional preference flow in one or both on Sunday afternoon.  I will be busy on Sunday morning and there will be no coverage on Sunday until about 2 pm.

In the case of Nelson, the wait for postal votes may make it very difficult to distribute preferences early in the piece because there will be many candidates with very low votes who will be close together.  Perhaps if two candidates are way ahead of all others we might get a notional throw tomorrow but this is unlikely, and most likely we'll be waiting well into the second week for a preference throw on the eve of voting day for the federal election.

When I consider there is no realistic doubt about the fate of a seat the magic word CALLED will appear in the header.  Until then it will contain a brief summary of how the count is going in each seat, which may at times be out of date.

Early in the night I'll be trying to do some rough projections for each seat, but as the numbers settle down I'll largely stop doing this.

For Nelson, spreadsheet skillz willing, I will be projecting off the state election, using the Liberal vote for Street, the Labor vote for Ogilvie and the Green vote for both Bayley and Brewer.

For Pembroke, I will be projecting the majors off their votes in the Pembroke by-election and Tony Mulder off Doug Chipman's vote in the by-election.

For Montgomery, I will be projecting the majors off the state election.  I don't think projecting Fuller off 2013 will work (because she attracted a lot of the Labor votes) so I'm not going to do it.

Something to be wary of in Nelson is that some of the candidates have strong local bases and these will distort the voting patterns.  These include Ogilvie (former MP for Clark part), Street (former MP and councillor for Kingborough/Franklin parts) and Bayley (lives in Taroona).  Nelson is a very variable electorate and I expect the results to bounce about a lot more through the night than the others.

Oh and if you've got a hot tip for either Nelson or Pembroke, voting in the sidebar Not-A-Poll is open til 6 pm.


  1. This is a first...looking forward to your commentary over the next few hours Kevin.

  2. Federal implications? (one word answers are ok)

    1. Few if any. Maybe federal scene a drag in Nelson (climate change etc), maybe not. Nothing to see in the others.

  3. Hi, could you please explain the female-to-female preference flow phenomenon and perhaps quantify its significance in this recent Legislative Council election?

    1. It's something I've noticed a lot in local council elections - gender seems to have an impact on preference flow, most notable in the sense of preferences from female candidates tending to favour other female candidates somewhat more than might be expected based on political views. For instance on paper I'd have thought Vica Bayley would get the most brownie points from Greens supporters based on his work with the Wilderness Society for which he is very well known, but he only got about a third of Deborah Brewer's preferences, with a surprisingly high 26% going to Madeleine Ogilvie who is obviously further from various Greens positions than Bayley.

      I've not tried to quantify it and it would be quite challenging to do so. For instance suppose I looked at federal elections and found that the preferences of female Greens candidates went more to female Labor candidates than male Labor candidates, would that be a result of gender-based voting, or would it be because these voters correctly perceived the female Labor candidates as more sympathetic to Greens positions? It's a hard thing to control. Nonetheless I've seen this often enough in scrutineering that I'm confident it is a thing. I wouldn't necessarily say it determined the result in this instance though, just that it would have helped Webb relative to Bayley on the preferences of Brewer and Ogilvie.

  4. OK, thanks for that explanation Kevin. It helps to put it into perspective. I appreciate that it would be difficult to quantify. I had expected Vica Bayley to get a much stronger preference flow from Deborah Brewer but then people often surprise me! Evidently Meg Webb ran a strong campaign - something that other prospective candidates can learn from.


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