Friday, May 14, 2021

Brooks (Braddon) Instant Recount 2021

RECOUNT: Ellis (Lib) vs Sheehan (Lib).

Recount will conclude Thursday morning.  Unofficial result: Ellis has won by about 749 votes.  

Warning: unusually wonky recount.  The Braddon recount has been upgraded to Wonk Factor 5/5.


Updates June 3: Counting starts from 9 am; my guess is it will take a few hours to distribute 3301 votes from Lara Hendriks and see whether or not Stacey Sheehan can close down a gap of 649 votes to Felix Ellis in a contest in which she has significant advantages based on the origin of the remaining recount votes.  Ignoring exhaust she needs 60%, but the small rate of exhaust that there will be could play a role here too, so it is probably a bit more than that.  

9:45 The results will be counted in five counts, the value of each of which sums to 2447, 8, 32, 732 and 92.   (These add to slightly more than 3301 because of recombination of fractional values.)  The 8 vote count gave Sheehan 4 and Ellis 3 with one lost to fractions.  The 32 vote count gave Ellis 17 and Sheehan 14.  So Ellis increases his lead by two and c. 40 votes go out of the count. 

9:50: The 92 vote count is Sheehan 59 Ellis 32 rest lost to fractions.  These votes actually came from Ellis but they would include votes that were, for instance, 1 Hendriks 2 Sheehan 3 Ellis.  Ellis by 624 now. 3179 to go.

10:00 The 732 vote count is Sheehan 378 Ellis 333 rest exhaust and fractions.  Ellis by 579 now, 2447 to go.  Ignoring exhaust, Sheehan needs 62%.  I thought Sheehan might gain more off the 732 vote count.  


Updates June 2: have heard from a scrutineer that starting figures - I think this is just the 1-value votes, not the whole primaries, are Ellis 2368 Sheehan 1729 Hendricks 1652 and a few hundred across the others. Too early to say which of Hendricks or Sheehan will be eliminated, the question is whether the preferences of the eliminated candidate will be strong enough to make things interesting. All figures I post here are unofficial - official results will be on the TEC site when posted.  If the recount does finish tonight it will be late.  

3:10 Final count 1 figures headed by Ellis 2390 Sheehan 2145 Hendriks 2047 with 1578 across minor candidates (led by Garland 528). That looks seriously close, however there are still primary votes to be added as those are just the 1-value votes and quota is 11661. In particular, Ellis will get several hundred votes back from the topup to bring Brooks to surplus so he will extend his lead. The minor candidate preferences will determine which of Sheehan and Hendriks is excluded first and then it is just a question of whether Brooks votes that flowed to the excluded female candidate favour the other female candidate over Ellis by enough to overturn what should be a substantial (but not huge) lead.  

4:30 With only the Ellis topup votes (most of which go to Ellis) to go it's Ellis 3239.1 Sheehan 2987.8 Hendriks 2749.4 others combined 1817.8.  I do expect Sheehan to gain somewhat on the Ellis topup votes, but probably by not more than 100.  So it looks likely Hendriks will eventually be excluded, though not by much, with her preferences to decide between Ellis and Sheehan.  Ellis should lead by something like 800-900, which seems unlikely to be caught but could be close.  

5:15 Ellis 3800 Sheehan 3057 Hendriks 2823.  Others combined 1893.  Ellis lead 743.  If the others votes have no net impact between Ellis and Sheehan then Sheehan will need about a 63-37 split (seems a bit much) over Ellis on the votes from Hendriks to win.  Geography could assist Sheehan - all the candidates are Devonport-based except Ellis who is from all over the place and performed best on the west coast (Brooks also did well there because of his mining connections).  

5:55 Official numbers were posted so the above totals have been edited. There are four Green candidates and one independent with very low totals to exclude, then two Shooters and Garland.  On the first Green exclusion Ellis made a net gain of one.  

I need to look at this recount carefully as there may be lurking recount-bug effects that could still make things difficult for Ellis.  

6:35 Three exclusions down and Ellis still leads by 744.  Not sure if they are stopping yet - had one report from a party source that they seemed to be but not confirmation.

6:40 WONK FACTOR 5 DISCUSSION - When Hendriks is excluded her votes at the moment are mainly 2047 votes from Adam Brooks' primary pile and 702 votes that originated with Jeremy Rockliff.  Ignoring Rockliff and considering what happens to Hendriks votes based on their history between the other four candidates:

* Ellis gets all votes that have the history Hendriks-Brooks-Ellis, at full value.

* Ellis gets votes that have the history Hendriks-Ellis at value 0.23 provided they reached Brooks before Jaensch. (I initially missed the quirk that because Jaensch was also short of quota in the original count, a vote that is Hendricks-Ellis-Jaensch is not in the recount as it has been notionally thrown to Jaensch during the top-up process.)

* Sheehan gets votes that have the histories Hendriks-Sheehan-Brooks or Hendriks-Brooks-Sheehan, at full value

* Sheehan gets votes that have the history Hendriks-Sheehan-Ellis, at value 0.23 provided they reached Brooks eventually.

* Votes that are Hendriks-Jaensch or Hendricks-Sheehan-Jaensch are not in the recount.  

Overall I calculate that of 24 possible orderings of full-value (non-1 Rockliff votes) between Jaensch, Sheehan, Ellis and Brooks after Hendriks (and ignoring Rockliff), three reach Ellis at full value, three reach Ellis at value 0.23, five reach Sheehan at full value, and two reach Sheehan at value 0.23.  This suggests that Ellis will still be slightly disadvantaged by "recount bug" effects when Hendriks is excluded.  Indeed if all these orderings were equally common the preference split would be 59.7% to Sheehan.  

For the 1 Rockliff votes, the 0.23 value options aren't in the recount, so three possible orders reach Ellis at full value and five reach Sheehan, giving her a 62.5% split on those all else being equal.  

When I wrote the original article I thought it was very likely Ellis would win the recount but it is much less clear at the moment as the structure of the remaining votes advantages Sheehan.  

8:00 With all the exclusions that will be done tonight finished except Garland and Jones, Sheehan has gained a bit and is now 722 votes behind. 

8:37 Ellis has recovered most of his losses off Garland and is now 742 ahead.  One more throw to go for tonight.

9:08 A big gain for Sheehan off the final exclusion for the night of Brenton Jones!  So it's 4253 for Ellis, 3604 for Sheehan and 3301 for Hendriks.  Assuming no votes exhaust, Sheehan needs 60%.  A very small number will exhaust so the share she will need of those that don't will be very slightly higher.  


Original Article

We have an instant encore to the Tasmanian election with the news that Adam Brooks has been charged with firearms offences and something related to a document in Queensland and will not be taking his seat.  He will notify the Governor that he resigns his seat today. He is currently being treated for mental health issues.  This continues the weirdness of Braddon's pass-the-parcel Liberal seat which was won by Brooks in 2018, resigned by Brooks in 2019 and won by Joan Rylah, resigned by Rylah in 2020 and won by Felix Ellis, won back by Brooks at the 2021 election and is now being resigned by Brooks again.  

This is breaking news and it is being reported that there will be a recount for the seat.  I am assuming the Liberals have sorted out the legalities of this which probably consist of Brooks being declared elected then immediately resigning.  There is a misconception that he has to be sworn in first but Section 30 of the Constitution Act only requires that a member must be sworn in to take their seat or vote within the House. Update: A recount will occur and will be initiated next week; candidates will have two weeks to advise whether they wish to contest it.  Consents are due on June 2 and I'd expect the recount to finish either that day or the day after.  

The sole previous case of a member being elected then immediately resigning thus triggering a recount occurred in 1979 (Eric Barnard ALP, amid infighting that broke out following Labor's election win).  In 1962 Brian Crawford (ALP) was elected on a recount and intended to move to the crossbench (a la Madeleine Ogilive) but was then disqualified on residency rules, resulting in a further recount that elected Lynda Heaven, the first female Labor member of the House of Assembly.  There were also two cases of elected members dying before they could take their place - William Pearce ALP (1922) and Joseph McGrath ALP (1937).

Adam Brooks appears to be the first member of the House to have ever resigned his seat twice.  I found seven cases of MPs resigning their seat (as opposed to retiring at an election) and later returning to the House.  Four resigned to contest other elections, one to take up another position, only one (William Burgess from the colonial parliament in 1891) for reasons of scandal (banking collapse).  After a 25-year break Burgess decided it was safe to face the voters once again.  The seventh - thanks to two readers for this and see comments - was Bill Wedd (1953) who resigned because he was sick of the Opposition criticising him for supporting the Government and dared the Opposition to move a motion calling for his resignation.  Which they did and it was carried on the voices.  This was, for some reason, widely expected to cause a deadlocked parliament and a fresh election, but the recount elected Wedd's independent ticketmate and the parliament continued.   

Hare-Clark recounts are of the votes that the resigning member had when they were elected.  It's not about who nearly won a seat or nearly didn't win a seat in the original election.  For this reason it is absolutely certain that the recount will be won by another Liberal and I expect it to be Felix Ellis.  

There is an interesting quirk in this recount because Brooks finished short of quota.  Votes must be thrown to bring Brooks to quota for the recount, but the only possible source of votes is Ellis.  So the count will start by throwing all the full-value votes Ellis had at the end of the count to see which ones flow to Brooks.   Those that do flow to Brooks (I estimate over 8000) will then be reduced in value to the gap between Brooks' final total and the quota, meaning that a value of 802 votes from Ellis will be included in the recount.  Nearly all this value will go back to Ellis, though there will be some votes that were, for instance, 1 Hendriks 2 Ellis 3 Brooks, that would go back to someone else (in this case Hendriks).

This counters the impact on Brooks of the Hare-Clark recount bug which would have otherwise seen him disadvantaged compared to Sheehan and Hendriks.  The bug would normally have been that votes that were 1 Sheehan 2 Brooks and 1 Hendriks 2 Brooks get included in Brooks' recount, while votes that were 1 Ellis 2 Brooks would normally not have done so because Ellis stayed in the count and wasn't excluded.  But in this case the recount includes a mock exclusion of Ellis, and the value of votes coming out of that mock exclusion (802) exceeds the votes passed from Sheehan to Brooks (410) and Hendriks to Brooks (678).

Assuming all of Ellis, Sheehan and Hendriks contests, the relevant votes in the recount by value are as follows:

* 53.2% Adam Brooks primary votes
* 18.6% Rockliff surplus (1 Rockliff 2 Brooks)
* 6.9% Ellis throw to bring Brooks up to quota (nearly all goes back to Ellis)
* 3.5% Sheehan primary value votes (will all go back to Sheehan once all non-Liberals are excluded)
* 5.8% Hendriks primary value votes (will mostly go back to Hendriks once all non-Liberals are excluded but some will go back to Sheehan)
* 12% non-Liberal primary value votes (mostly from Craig Garland and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)

All these will then be thrown to the first numbered candidate who is contesting the recount.  If no-one gets 50%, candidates are then excluded and preferences passed on as in a single seat election.

It is in my view very likely that Ellis will win the recount because he was the most prominent Liberal candidate of the three by far.  He is also the same gender as the departing candidate which has some impact on preference flows, and he should start with a little head-start for the reasons noted above.  It is notable that in Rockliff's surplus, Ellis's share (1074) was not massively greater than Hendriks' (856) and Sheehan's (576) but it would not surprise me if Brooks' votes were a little more favourable to Ellis than that.  Liberal scrutineers may have sampled this situation and may already know what the outcome will be.  In any case it looks like Ellis's holiday from the parliament following his unlucky loss yesterday will be a very short one.  

Does Brooks undermine the legitimacy of the majority result?

Short answer: no.  In the light of this result the issue is being raised of whether Brooks was a sham candidate, run to harvest votes with the intention always being that he would resign immediately or soon.  However, the Liberals won 57.2% of the vote in Braddon (3.43 quotas).  Brooks himself polled a primary vote of 0.53 quotas.  Had Brooks not run, most of his voters would have voted Liberal anyway and the Liberals would have still easily got three seats.  Even if no Brooks voters had voted Liberal without him, they would still have got three.  What could have gone differently is that the even split between Brooks, Jaensch and Ellis put the Liberals closer to four seats than they otherwise were.  In the end Shane Broad was 2051 votes (2.9%) ahead of Ellis.  Had the Liberals not run Brooks, they would not have been able to hold four candidates so high in the count.  Had they won four and had Brooks then immediately resigned, then Brooks would have effectively harvested the seat.

I have some doubts about whether the government would have done this deliberately anyway.  Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, etc.  Votes gained by having Brooks on the ticket were probably not worth the campaign disruption value of his various adventures.  


  1. left speechless the liberals must think the voters are fools

  2. A bit embarrassing now...but probably a better outcome for the Liberals in the long run to not have Brooks hanging around, going to the crossbench, etc.

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Firstly, if we have to wait two weeks before the re-count can occur, does that mean we have a minority Liberal Government during those two weeks?

    Secondly, if the Liberals elect a Liberal as Speaker, won't that make it difficult to pass legislation? Is it likely that a member from Labor, the Greens or Johnston would accept the Speakership?


    1. It is temporarily a deadlocked parliament (government has exactly 50% of seats; I don't call this a minority but it's not a majority either) but that has no relevance because parliament is not sitting and the seat will be taken by another Liberal.

      The Liberals will pass legislation via the Speaker using casting votes as required, which they often did with Hickey (when she agreed with them). The "neutral Speakership" convention does not apply when a government has a majority of one seat and governments with one-seat majorities have governed in this way before, not just in the previous term with Hickey but also, eg, the Labor-Green Accord years with Polley as Speaker using casting votes in the government's favour.

  4. Circumstances of Wedd's resignation (rather strange!):

    1. Thanks for that link! It's very interesting in that the expected second election did not occur. The reason it didn't was because the seat was somehow widely expected to go to a Liberal but actually went to the other independent who ran in Webb's grouped column.

  5. A hypothetical question what would have happened if Adam Brooks resigned or withdrew after he was charged Wednesday Evening by QLD Police compared to waiting till the next day Thursday till after the final distribution of votes in Braddon?
    Also, the Liberals will be glad he has gone and will not be sitting in Parliament, however IMO I believe it has damaged the Premier reputation in backing Brooks in the election with nothing to see here comments.

    1. Agree with the latter, the whole thing has been grubby and ridiculous and has done the Government no credit. They saw a massive pile of potential votes and couldn't help themselves, even though they would have won three anyway.

      I believe that until Brooks was declared elected he in fact had nothing to resign from and therefore any "resignation" by him may not have had any effect. Or alternatively (and perhaps depending on wording) it would have been considered to take effect from the moment of the declaration, so the remedy would have been the same. Even when a candidate dies between polling day and the declaration of the poll, that candidate can still be elected and then their seat be recounted as if they had died immediately after the poll was declared.

    2. Thanks for that Kevin Interesting on any other elected politician who has resigned from the last parliament (Due to political Reasons) and then stands again at the next opportunity, on how their vote went?
      My dodgy research shows that Adam Brooks was elected in Braddon 4th in 2010, first in 2014, second in 2018 (even after resigning as mining minister) and then fifth in 2020.
      Just seemed even before the allegations were raised in the election. Did the Liberals really need him to stand with the former baggage resigning as minster and then from Parliament. As the candidates they already had in Braddon were strong. Was he ever going to be the vote puller he was in 2014, has he spent some of political capital in 2016 and 2019? Having said that he was still able to get elected so shows he was still popular with a lot of people.
      I hope he recovers from his health issues.

    3. The whole story of why the Liberals ran Brooks even given the past red flag from the email accounts saga would be very interesting to unravel. The Premier has said you have to take people at face value but in Brooks' case this raises an obvious question: "Why?"

      Among the seven who resigned mid-term and later returned to the House, four recontested the next available election. John Steer who resigned to contest another election slightly increased his vote and was re-elected, Benjamin Watkins who resigned likewise contested a different electorate and was returned but with a somewhat lower vote, Walter Woods who also resigned to contest another election was defeated at his first attempt to get back into the House, and this also applied to Bill Wedd who is discussed in the article.

      There would presumably be other cases where MPs resigned mid-term and contested the next election but were never elected again.

  6. Hi Kevin, would just like to know likely hypothetical if Adam Brooks had not tendered his resignation and still took his seat in Parliament. Would the charges he is facing in QLD render him ineligible to sit in Tas. parliament?

    1. This is partly outside my expertise as I am not sure whether a conviction in another state results in ineligibility in Tasmania. It is different for Victorian politicians or potential candidates - a sufficiently severe conviction in any Commonwealth country results in ineligibility for the Victorian parliament for life.

      In any case, ineligibility in Tasmania occurs if an MP shall:

      "(e) be attainted of treason or be convicted of any crime and is sentenced or subject to be sentenced to imprisonment for any term exceeding one year unless he has received a free pardon in respect thereof; or"

      Ineligibility only takes effect once a person is convicted and subject to be sentenced so just being charged would not have made him ineligible. He could have taken the seat and held it through the trial until conviction (if found guilty). I don't know enough about the exact offences Brooks has been charged with or may yet be charged with to know if they carry strong enough penalties. In the case of firearms offences it varies depending on the nature of the firearm.

  7. If Craig Garland puts his hand's up for the recount could he possibly have any effect?

    1. No. All the non-Liberal candidates will be eliminated before all the Liberal candidates and whether or not they contest is irrelevant.

  8. Further to my last (My brain usually kicks into gear once I ask a question) has there ever been someone elected from a party other than the resignation came from? Hope that kinda makes sense....

    1. There have been two cases of winners being elected from a different column:

      1961 Reg Turnbull (ex-Labor IND) seat went to Labor instead of Turnbull's running mate.
      1983 Norm Sanders (DEM) seat went to Bob Brown (IND) who had been a fellow prominent face of the Franklin Dam campaign, instead of to any of Sanders' obscure DEMs running mates.

      It only happens in highly unusual circumstances.

      (See "Changes of Numbers after Recounts" section)

  9. This is my first post on the forum, thanks Kevin for writing on this subject.

    At the end of the article, the logic for the Liberals running Brooks, surely the most obvious reason is to maximise the chance of getting 4 seats.

    Brooks appears to appeal to a different class of Liberal voters, broadens the parties base. Without him it is a much more establishment conventional ticket. Brooks adds some excitement.

    The party had to be trying for 4 in both Braddon and Bass with Gutwein on the ticket as well as 2 in Clark with Ogilivie.

    Getting a safe majority depending only on Ogilivie being successful looks foolish to attempt, would want multiple paths surely.


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