The 2010 Australian Election – New South Wales

Imagine a place where Texas would fit in comfortably with enough area left to shoehorn in Virginia but with a population only slightly larger than that of Washington State. Like all Australian states, New South Wales has a single large city, Sydney. Sydney is Australia’s largest city with a (district) population of about 4,340,000 recorded in 2007 or reasonably similar in size to metropolitan Boston. Sydney has a Mediterranean type-climate with modest rainfall. Paradise is a reasonable description of the place. The state also has Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko which at 2,228 meters (7,310 ft.) would qualify it as the highest mountain in the eastern US.[1]

Map 1

Position of New South Wales in Australia

667px-New_South_Wales_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

New South Wales Major Cities

new-south-wales

The state elected 48 House members in the 2010 election. Just over 4 million formal votes were cast in the 2010 election with the Liberal group receiving a solid 7.3 percentage point plurality in first preference votes statewide over the Labor group. This amounted to more than a 10 percentage point swing from the 2007 federal election. However, in spite of Labor’s giving up a lot of yardage to the Liberal group, Labor won 26 seats in the state, a loss of only two seats from the 2007 election, while the Liberal group won 20 seats for a net change of zero seats from 2007:

2010 House of Representatives Election

New South Wales

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

51

1,788,013

44.6%

20

Labor Group

48

1,494,490

37.3%

26

Greens

48

410.405

10.2%

0

Midstream Liberal Group

51

80,925

2.0%

0

Upstream Group

90

116,461

2.9%

0

Downstream Independent

2

96,476

2.4%

2

Midstream Independent

9

22,548

0.6%

0

Totals

299

4,009,318

100%

48

Source: Australian Election Commission

As elsewhere in the country, the Labor group benefitted from the Greens generous allotment of preference votes to Labor group candidates. In addition, the midstream Liberal leaning parties polled only 2.0% in New South Wales in 2010. The performance of the Family First party was particularly weak and that party provided few excess preference votes for the Liberal group in the state:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

New South Wales

From/To Liberal Group Labor Group Net
Greens

99,710

325,723

-226,013

Midstream Liberal Group

44,485

18,184

26,301

Source: Australian Election Commission

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

New South Wales 

Group or Party Votes % Share
Liberal Group

1,932,208

48.19%

Labor Group

1,838,397

45.85%

Source: Australian Election Commission

In spite of the Liberal group winning a comfortable margin in the state after preference vote distributions from midstream parties Labor won a comfortable majority of seats in New South Wales. As we will see later when we go through the election district by district, Labor won a number of seats in the state by threadbare margins.

Note: I made some minor changes, for improved readability, in the paragraph immediately following Map 2.


[1] All of information in the paragraph is from Wikipedia.

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