Monday, March 15, 2021

WA 2021 Legislative Council Postcount

Note added 1 April: I have had no time to update this page because of the Tasmanian snap election.  Button press comments and final results comments are being added on a new thread.


It seems a bit dubious to be calling what is going on in WA at the moment a "postcount" when on the Monday morning after the main count we are only at 43% counted in the lower house (about half the votes that will be included) and a similar level upstairs.  However, that's the convention so I'll stick with it, especially since I won't have time for anything I could flatter by calling it a live counting thread.

Anyway for now I have not started a lower house postcount thread for time reasons.  The lower house result currently looks like probably 53-2-4 or 52-3-4, with Liberal-held Churchlands most in doubt.  There is also some doubt about Liberal-held Carine and Nedlands (both of which Labor is leading), the Nationals' Warren-Blackwood (Nationals leading) and the ABC still has the Nationals' North-West Central (Labor leading) in doubt, possibly because the seat is so varied (Poll Bludger projects an easy Labor win).  I suggest keep an eye on PB for further developments in the Lower House; if a seat is still interesting once the percentage counted gets much closer to completion I may have more to say.

This thread will follow counting in the six Legislative Council threads, and I will gradually unroll them as my very limited time permits.  Just for starters I thought it was worthwhile putting up some general notes on the counts.  

(Lower House update Tuesday 5 pm: Labor now leads in Warren-Blackwood but has fallen behind in North-West Central.  Labor are now clearly winning Carine and very close to home in Nedlands with Churchlands still very much up in the air).  

(Lower House update Friday 6 pm: It appears Labor has won Churchlands and that 53-2-4, the unbelievable output of my seat model off the first Newspoll is ... the result!)


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General Considerations For Legislative Council counts

Group ticket voting counts are extremely complex to project.  All assessments here are provisional only except where seats are clearly stated as called.

The Legislative Council counts are mainly followed by keeping an eye on the ABC's live count calculators, however there are many reasons why the calculator outputs (in these early stages especially) end up being not what actually happens.  These include:

* The areas from which votes have been counted, and the types of votes counted, may not be representative and parties may rise and fall as a result.

* Very few below the line votes are included at this stage.  Although the rate of below the line voting is very low (recently around 4%) the inclusion of below the line votes is likely to advantage some parties, especially the Greens, compared to others, especially the majors.

* Below the line votes can interfere with calculator projections.  Especially if a party is coming up from a very low primary vote to just take victory from a party with a much higher vote, that may not actually happen.

* Slight changes in vote totals can sometimes create new tipping points that result in very different outcomes.  

* In 2017 there was an error in the ABC calculator's modelling of the order in which parcels were distributed that resulted in the calculator incorrectly tipping Charles Smith (then One Nation) to lose.  I do not know if this has been fixed. [EDIT: It apparently has.]

Nonetheless, it seems the scale of Labor's margin will lead them to at least 20 seats (the minimum needed for an absolute floor majority, which is important for some WA legislation).

I will be unrolling commentary on each of the regions in more detail as time permits over coming days - please submit any scenarios in comments and I will clear them in the evening Tasmanian time. Meanwhile see Poll Bludger. Although the overall result is clear there are some very interesting (if depressingly absurd) scenarios possible in some seats, most notably at the moment Mining and Pastoral where the Daylight Savings Party, whatever that is if it even exists, could snowball from barely avoiding last place to near-victory or, in one scenario, an actual win.  


Expected result (subject to further study) 3 Labor 2 Nationals 1 Liberal

With 46% counted in this shamefully malapportioned pocket borough Labor have 3.16 quotas, the Nationals 1.88 quotas, the Liberals 0.87 quotas, the Shooters 0.30 quotas and the Greens 0.19 quotas.  This ultimately reduces to a Nationals/Liberals/Shooters contest for two seats in which, presently, Animal Justice and Legalise Cannabis preferences elect the Liberal seat and Greens preferences elect the second National.  

East Metropolitan

Expected result (subject to further study) 4 Labor 1 Liberal, Labor vs Legalise Cannabis for final seat with Legalise Cannabis likely.

With 38.2% counted Labor have 4.67 quotas, Liberals 0.93, Greens 0.40, Aus Christians and Legalise Cannabis 0.19 each.  Labor win four seats off the bat, the Liberals cross eventually on Christian preferences, and the sixth seat is a race between the ALP #5 and Legalise Cannabis.  The key point currently is between Legalise Cannabis and the Western Australian Party, who start on 0.063 quotas.  If Legalise Cannabis are ahead of the WA Party at this point (which is currently very close) then they get the WA Party's preferences, which puts them ahead of the Greens, whose votes put them over Labor, which I think currently leads to Legalise Cannabis winning.  However if Legalise Cannabis fail to get over the WA Party (as per the current calculator) then Labor wins an extraordinary fifth seat.  A long way to go in this one.

Wednesday 6 pm: The current gap between Legalise Cannabis and WA Party on the calculator is 0.006 quotas.  

Tuesday 23rd: The gap remains extremely tight on the calculator, and Antony Green argues that Legalise Cannabis should win because the WA Party is much more vulnerable to BTLs that fail to follow the ticket.

Mining and Pastoral

Expected result (subject to further study) 4 Labor 1 National 1 Daylight Savings Party

With 33.2% counted in the other shamefully malapportioned pocket borough Labor have 4.06 quotas, Nationals 0.72, Liberals 0.65, Greens 0.32, Shooters 0.26, One Nation 0.22, etc.  Oh and something called the Daylight Savings Party has 40 votes (0.0125 quotas) and is presently equal second last.  The correct result here in a fair electoral system would be 4 Labor 1 National 1 Liberal, except that in a fair electoral system this region wouldn't exist.

What currently happens here shows what a farce Group Ticket Voting is - the Liberals and Nationals get almost no preferences and eventually the Liberals are eliminated electing the Nationals.  But meanwhile almost every other preference has fed rival preference spirals of the Shooters and the Daylight Savings Party.  Currently the Shooters are winning this by 2.7%, but the Shooters are vulnerable at a stage where they currently outlast the Liberals by 1.0% (likely to be less than that after considering BTL impacts).  If the Shooters lose at this stage then the Daylight Savings Party wins!  

Monday night: A reader has asked me what happens if the Daylight Savings Party is excluded (which seems unlikely as they are now third-last and small numbers don't tend to change much with more counting).  The answer currently is that "Liberals for Climate" (aka Flux) take their place in the preference spiral (and potentially win).

Tuesday 2 pm: The seat has now flipped to the DSP on the calculator - with 38.8% counted the Shooters are 0.45% behind on the calculator (probably more in reality).

Tuesday 23rd: Nothing has changed here and Antony Green has called this seat for the DSP.

North Metropolitan

Expected result (subject to further study) 4 Labor 2 Liberal, possibility second Liberal seat falls to Aus Christians.

With 45.8% counted Labor have 4.11 quotas, Liberals 1.67, Greens 0.50, Aus Christians 0.12, Legalise Cannabis 0.10.  4 Labor and 1 Liberal are in on raw quotas leaving only the final seat.  Currently in the calculator this is won by the Liberals who outlast Aus Christians by 1.6% and then get all the preferences Aus Christians are carrying.  However, that point at least is close enough to keep an eye on, though BTLs would disadvantage the Aus Christians on preference flows.  If Labor do fall below four quotas I think they still win on Greens preferences so long as they don't fall too far, but haven't checked out this scenario yet.

The "Liberals for Climate" (ex-Flux) snowball appears to be failing at present, amusingly as Antony Green notes because there were not enough intending Liberal voters to be confused by the name.  LFC are quite close to passing Australian Christians, but if they do this does not put them over the Greens on current numbers. 

South Metropolitan

Expected result (subject to further study) 4 Labor 1 Liberal 1 Green (Green seat at some risk to Labor).

With 41% counted, Labor have 4.33 quotas, Liberal 1.29, Greens 0.50, Aus Christians 0.14, Legalise Cannabis 0.13.  Labor win four, the Liberals one, and currently the Greens win the last.  The Greens' final margin over Australian Christians is currently slight (1.2% in the calculator) though both BTLs to be added and BTL preferences should expand this lead.   Something that needs to be explored is whether any other micro-party can supplant Australian Christians in the snowball, especially one that might get Animal Justice preferences ahead of Greens.

Wednesday 7 pm: Ian in comments notes a possible path to a fifth Labor here as well - the Liberals fall behind Liberal Democrats, who are pushed above the Greens and Labor, and if Labor close the small gap to the Greens then the Greens are excluded and Labor wins.  Current gaps are (63% counted): Liberal to Liberal Democrats 0.27%, Greens to Labor 0.47%.  I think the Liberal to LDP gap would be larger in practice - the LDP are coming from further behind and are notoriously poor performers on voter-chosen preferences.

Saturday 3 pm: This has flipped on the calculator with Labor now shown as getting five per the path above, but on current numbers (75.7% counted) I would still expect the Greens to win it, especially with the BTLs yet to be included.

Tuesday 23rd: My view here hasn't changed; the current calculator difference between Labor and the Greens is trivial and I expect the Greens to win.


Expected result 3 Labor 1 Liberal plus two seats in doubt (Labor could win either the fifth or sixth seat, Legalise Cannabis and Greens are in contention for the fifth seat, Nationals and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers for the sixth)

With 43.5% counted, Labor have 3.85 quotas, Liberal 1.27, Nats 0.49, Greens 0.42, SFF 0.19, Legalise Cannabis 0.16, Aus Christians 0.13 etc.   The correct result here would be four for Labor, one for the Liberals and one for the Nationals or Greens.  However the calculator currently has the fourth "left" seat being taken by Legalise Cannabis.   This is somewhat fragile as LC are only over the Greens by 0.79% at one point, and the Greens are likely to gain on BTL primaries and from BTL preferences not following the spiral.  If Legalise Cannabis are cut out, William Bowe notes that Labor or the Greens could win this seat (which is most likely will need further monitoring as the count develops) and William also mentions that there is a scenario where Aus Christians (currently excluded on 2.07%) get up - I haven't checked this, presumably it involves them outlasting One Nation at this close point. 

Tuesday 2 pm:  Legalise Cannabis still have their spiral intact at the moment but there is a second pathway for Labor, who could win a fourth seat at the expense of the Nationals as they are approaching four quotas and might be able to get over the line on BTL preferences, though on current numbers this wouldn't be likely.  Labor are now on 3.89 quotas and if their position becomes just a little stronger or the Nats' a little weaker this might be a viable scenario.

Wednesday 6 pm: The notional final result between Labor and the Nationals with 55.8% counted is so close that Labor would probably win now, despite the calculator still showing Nationals in front.

Friday 3 pm:  This has flipped on the calculator with Labor now taking the sixth seat instead of the Nationals.  However I think Labor would actually take the fifth seat instead, leaving Legalise Cannabis and the Nationals fighting for the final seat.  76.8% counted, but hardly any BTLs included yet.

Saturday 3 pm: With 78.7% counted this has flipped back with Labor now supposedly losing, but I think they would actually win on current numbers, and the Nationals could yet beat LC here because LC are more vulnerable to BTLs not following the ticket flows. 

Tuesday 23rd:  Antony Green suggests Labor will now fall back when the BTLs are added to the point where they will have too much to make up to be likely to make their fourth quota.  Antony also suggests that the plausible scenario with Legalise Cannabis being cut out could result in the Shooters Fishers and Farmers (not the Nationals) winning alongside Labor.

Again, any scenarios are welcome and I'll check them out when time permits.


  1. What happens in Mining and Pastoral if the party currently last gets enough BTLs to pass DST and make them last at the first count?

    1. Good question. I aim to check this out sometime tonight. (It's hugely unlikely they would get that many off BTLs as they currently trail 40 votes to 26, but maybe the party currently last has a booth with 50 family and friends somewhere or something!)

    2. In that case DST's place in the spiral gets taken by "Liberals for Climate" (aka Flux)

    3. Gah. I don't know which of those two is worse.

  2. Hi Kevin.

    I lookef at Sth West and the calculators indicate that despite having what's closer to .9 quotas after electing the first three, Labor does not getbone single preference and ends the count in exactly the same place.

    Even with GTVs that seems pretty incredible. Do ypu think BTLs cpuld chnage that?

    1. Hi Grant, that does seem like something that is close to being possible now despite the small number of BTLs in WA. It is worth keeping an eye on and I have added in that Labor could beat the Nationals to the final seat.

  3. Interestingly Labor is set to gain Warren-Blackwood but not North West Central.

  4. There's a path for 5th Labor to beat the Greens in SMET. If the Liberals are excluded before the Liberal Democrats (gap is 0.24%) their prefs push the Lib Dem over both the Greens and Labor. Then Labor only needs to overturn that 0.3% margin and the Greens will be excluded, electing Labor.

    1. Against all the odds this may come to pass, with Labor winning 5 seats in SMET on the latest ABC calcuator.

  5. The ticket voting crime here is not just that junk parties nobody likes could be elected, but that they likely will be at the expense of others that *do* represent a sizeable demographic. I realise this is always the case, but with the ALP's result so dominant it matters more what the mix of others is.

  6. Hi again Kevin. What's your prediction of how the upper house count ends up? Mine is Labor 24 (winning the fourth in SW but not winning the 5th in Smetro). So 24 Labor, 7 Liberal, 3 Nat, 1 Green, 1 DSP.

    1. At this stage I am still wary of making predictions because of not having had the time to work through the issues of the addition of BTLs and how they might affect things (I'm on fieldwork and only have an hour or two online in the evenings, though I may have more time on Tuesday which looks likely to be rained out.)

  7. Also, is Labor's vote still higher % wise in the upper house than the lower. If so, super weird, and maybe quite a lot of National voters goimg for the local Nat MP but going Labor upstairs?

  8. What day is the button press for the council?

    1. I don't know - sometime next week I believe, but don't know what day.