The 2010 Australian Election – Tasmania

Tasmania state is a group of islands lying south of Victoria state and off of the southeastern corner of the Australian continent. The smallest Australian state, Tasmania’s main island is about the size of West Virginia but has a population of only about 510,000. The largest town is Hobart whose metropolitan area has a population of about 216,000. Although Hobart’s latitude is about 42.9 degrees south (roughly the same distance from the equator as Boston) snowfall there is extremely rare. Winter snowfall is however common in the mountainous central part of the state where much of the terrain is over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) in height. Tasmania experiences Australia’s slowest population growth, reportedly due to a stagnant local economy and about one-third of the state’s residents are reliant on the state for their primary income.[1]

 Map 1

Position of Tasmania in Australia

 667px-Tasmania_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

Tasmania Major Cities

tasmap-1200

Source: http://www.tas.gov.au

Tasmania is a Labor stronghold and the party took a 5-0 lead in seats in the state going into the 2010 election. The Liberal group made modest first preference vote gains in the election while Labor suffered a 4.6 percentage point drop compared with 2007 with most of those losses becoming the Greens gains. The Labor group lost one seat when an independent candidate, Andrew Wilkie, won a shocking victory in the Denison district, a victory sealed when Liberal voters delivered their preferences to the independent candidate. The Greens scored a strong 16.8% share of the first preference votes:

2010 House of Representatives Election

Tasmania

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

5

109,908

33.6%

0

Labor Group

5

143,796

44.0%

4

Greens

5

55,042

16.8%

0

Midstream Liberal Group

0

0

0%

0

Upstream Group

4

4,618

1.4%

0

Downstream Independent

1

13,788

4.2%

1

Midstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Totals

20

327,152

100%

5

Source: Australian Election Commission

The Green preference distribution was heavily in favor of the Labor group:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

Tasmania

From/To Liberal Group Labor Group Net
Greens

11,029

38,919

-27,890

Midstream Liberal Group

0

0

0

Source: Australian Election Commission

The post midstream preferential distribution put Labor up by nearly 19 percentage points over the Liberal group in the state:

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

Tasmania 

Group

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

120,937

36.97%

Labor Group

182,715

55.85%

Source: Australian Election Commission


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

The 2010 Australian Election – Western Australia

The state of Western Australia is, simply put, vast. At 2.52 million km2 (about 1.02 million sq. miles) the state is about the size of the entire western US sans New Mexico. In that entire vast area are only 2.45 million people and 1.9 million of these people are concentrated in the Perth metropolitan region on Western Australia’s southwest coast. While Perth and nearby areas south of Perth have a Mediterranean climate, most of the state is desert or semi-desert. However, the far north is tropical with heavy monsoon rains. The state’s economy is dominated by mining.[1]

Map 1

Position of Western Australia in Australia

667px-Western_Australia_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

Western Australia Major Cities

 sth-map

Source: http://www.atn.com.au

Western Australia is a Liberal stronghold and the Liberal group took an 11-4 lead in seats in the state going into the 2010 election. The Liberal group made modest first preference vote gains in the election while Labor suffered a 5.6 percentage point drop compared with 2007 with most of those losses becoming the Greens gains. The result was a net pickup of one seat for the Liberal group in the state[2]. The Greens scored a strong 13.1% share of the first preference votes while the midstream Liberal parties earned a respectable 4.0%:

2010 House of Representatives Election

Western Australia

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

19

609,246

50.6%

12

Labor Group

15

375,381

31.2%

3

Greens

15

158,117

13.1%

0

Midstream Liberal Group

29

48,531

4.0%

0

Upstream Group

14

12,726

1.1%

0

Downstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Midstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Totals

92

1,204,001

100%

15

Source: Australian Election Commission

The midstream Liberal group parties delivered a strong preference distribution to the Liberal group which offset to some extent good performance by the Greens on behalf of Labor:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

Western Australia

From/To Liberal Group Labor Group Net
Greens

42,881

130,453

-87,572

Midstream Liberal Group

25,507

7,512

17,995

Source: Australian Election Commission

In the end however, the Liberal group dominated the state:

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

Western Australia 

Group

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

677,634

56.28%

Labor Group

513,346

42.64%

Source: Australian Election Commission


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

[2] I noted in an earlier post that I have counted the seat won by the Nationals over the Liberal incumbent in the O’Conner district as a Liberal group win since, in the end the Nationals MP Tony Crook joined the Liberal-National Coalition.

The 2010 Australian Election – South Australia

South Australia is big (about the size of Texas and Nevada combined), but with only about 1.65 million population (a bit greater than Idaho). The state is also extremely arid except for areas near the coast in the state’s southeastern corner. This is where the state’s largest city, Adelaide, with a metropolitan population of about 1.26 million people or about three quarters of the state’s residents. Adelaide is the westernmost of Australia’s ring of cities that dot the country’s east and southeast coasts. West and north of Adelaide are some of the earth’s greatest deserts. Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate and its average temperatures are about 2 degrees Celsius higher than Melbourne. It’s annual average rainfall of about 550 mm (21.5 inches) is approximately the same as that of San Francisco.[1]

 Map 1

Position of South Australia in Australia

 667px-South_Australia_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

South Australia Major Cities

south-australia

The Liberal and Labor groups were separated by less than 2 percentage points in the 2007 election in the state and the margin separating them slipped to about 0.5 percentage points in the 2010 election. A 5 percentage point Green surge between 2007 and 2010 in the state (and its attendant preference vote distribution in favor of the Labor group) allowed Labor to maintain unchanged from 2007 its 6-5 seat advantage in South Australia. The midstream Liberal group parties ran a strong 5.3% in the state:

 2010 House of Representatives Election

South Australia

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

11

394,003

40.2%

5

Labor Group

11

399,279

40.7%

6

Greens

11

117,364

12.0%

0

Midstream Liberal Group

15

51,471

5.3%

0

Upstream Group

20

17,832

1.8%

0

Downstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Midstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Totals

 

 

100%

11

Source: Australian Election Commission

 Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

South Australia

From/To Liberal Group Labor Group Net
Greens

33,335

105,324

-71,989

Midstream Liberal Group

27,379

12,326

15,053

Source: Australian Election Commission

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

South Australia 

Group

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

454,717

46.40%

Labor Group

516,929

52.75%

Source: Australian Election Commission


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

The 2010 Australian Election – Victoria

Victoria is, size wise, a mere pup by Australian standards. With a land are of about 227,000 km2 Victoria is about the same size as the US state of Minnesota. With a population of about 5.6 million, Victoria lies between the very same Minnesota and Wisconsin in terms of inhabitants. In other words, Victoria is a properly settled place. However, while Minnesota is covered with snow from head to toe for much of the winter, snow is relatively rate in Victoria and can be most commonly found on Mount Bogong (1,986 meters or 6,516 feet) in the state’s north eastern corner. The state’s dominant city is Melbourne with a metropolitan population of 4.2 million or just smaller than Sydney. The similar size means that the two cities are, naturally, intense rivals. Melbourne’s climate is more temperate than Sydney’s but the city occasionally experiences intense summer heat when desert winds from the northwest descend on the continent’s southern fringe.[1]

 Map 1

Position of Victoria in Australia

667px-Victoria_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

Victoria Major Cities

 victoria

Source: GreenwichMeanTime.com

A political tsunami of historical proportions swept across the US in the 2010 mid-term elections, a wave that saw 63 House of Representative seats change from Democratic to Republican hands. The state of California was utterly unaffected by this wave with no seats changing hands and with Democrats winning Senate and gubernatorial races. Victoria was similarly unaffected by the Liberal wave that swept through Queensland and New South Wales with Labor increasing its margin in the state over the Liberal group from 21-16 to 22-14. The Greens made significant gains and won election (with tactical preferential support from Labor voters) in the inner city Melbourne district:

2010 House of Representatives Election

Victoria

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

37

1,260,720

39.6%

14

Labor Group

37

1,361,416

42.8%

22

Greens

37

402,482

12.7%

1

Midstream Liberal Group

43

108,218

3.4%

0

Upstream Group

39

46,832

1.5%

0

Downstream Independent

0

0

0%

0

Midstream Independent

1

516

0.0%

0

Totals

194

3,180,184

100%

37

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. The Greens increased their share of first preference votes in the state compared with 2007 by about 4.5 percentage points with their gains coming at the expense of both Labor and the Liberal group. As a result, Labor actually gained support post preferential distribution compared with 2007:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

Victoria

From/To

Liberal Group

Labor Group

Net

Greens

84,831

303,618

-218,787

Midstream Liberal Group

53,921

31,568

22,353

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

Victoria 

Group

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

1,399,472

44.01%

Labor Group

1,696,602

53.35%

Source: Australian Election Commission

 

Note: An earlier version of this piece suggested that the Liberal group had made significant gains at the expense of Labor in much of the country when in fact these gains were made in Queensland and New South Wales. While these two states together have a majority of House seats (78) Liberal gains were minimal in much of the remainder of the country.


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

2010 Australian Election – Queensland

Queensland is just about the same size as Alaska with a total coastline of nearly 7,000 km (4,300 miles) or more than twice the length of the US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines put together. The extreme northern tip of the state reaches nearly to Papua New Guinea while the Great Barrier Reef lies off of most of the state’s eastern coastline. The state’s population is about 4.5 million or about the same as Louisiana. The largest city in the state is Brisbane with roughly half the state’s population living in its metropolitan area. The famed Gold Coast, at about the same latitude as central Florida, is about 100 km southeast of Brisbane. Brisbane’s climate is subtropical and it has never recorded a temperature below freezing.[1]

 Map 1

Position of Queensland in Australia

667px-Queensland_in_Australia.svg

Map 2

Queensland Major Cities

 queensland

Source: GreenwichMeanTime.com

The state elected 30 House members in the 2010 election. Just under 2.4 million votes were cast in the 2010 election with the Liberal group receiving a 13.8 percentage point plurality over the Labor group in the first preference votes, a 12 percentage point swing from the previous election. While Labor had held a 15-14 seat edge in the state prior to the 2010 election, a slim advantage that would be reversed to an 8-21 deficit:

2010 House of Representatives Election

Queensland

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Seats

Liberal Group

30

1,130,525

47.4%

21

Labor Group

30

800,712

33.6%

8

Greens

30

260,471

10.9%

0

Midstream Liberal Group

34

97,456

4.1%

0

Upstream Group

                31

46,726

2.0%

0

Downstream Independent

1

38,170

1.6%

1

Midstream Independent

2

10,119

0.4%

0

Totals

158

2,384,179

100%

30

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. However, the mainstream Liberal group parties pulled a respectable 4.1% of the first preference vote in the state providing some offset to the onslaught of Green votes. In the end, Green preferences provided only about a 108,000 vote edge to the Labor group and only slightly denting the wide overall lead enjoyed by the Liberal group in Queensland:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

Queensland

From/To

Liberal Group

Labor Group

Net

Greens

81,097

219,067

-137,970

Midstream Liberal Group

53,498

23,454

30,044

Source: Australian Election Commission

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

Queensland

Group

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

1,265,120

53.06%

Labor Group

1,043,233

43.76%

Source: Australian Election Commission


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

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.

The 2010 Australian House Election – National Level Results

In this post I will cover the exciting 2010 Australian federal House of Representatives election at the national level.

In my previous post I categorized Australian political parties into upstream, midstream and downstream groups. Major political parties are those parties whose candidates are typically first or second entering a given district’s final election round. Because these major parties are at the receiving end of preference flows typically coming from smaller parties, I call these major parties downstream parties. Midstream parties are those parties which tend to feed their preference votes into either the Labor or Liberal coalition groups. Upstream parties are those parties whose preference votes are fed to midstream parties and/or are divided relatively equally among the two major party groups.

As I noted in my previous post, upstream parties can be safely ignored by anyone interested in the big picture of Australian politics and I will do little more than note the first preference votes received by the candidates of these parties. Midstream parties on the other hand are, by definition, potentially important in every district they run candidates in as they may potentially hold the balance of power in that district. To simplify the analysis I will treat the three Liberal group midstream parties (First Family, Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats) as a single unit. Likewise, I will do the same by lumping the three Liberal group parties (Liberals, Country Liberals and Nationals) and the two Labor group parties (Labor and Country Labor) into Liberal and Labor groups respectively. This will allow the casual observer to better grasp the big picture of the Australian electorate while avoiding details unnecessary for anyone other than political wonks.

This brings us to the independents, a group of candidates I have until now avoided discussing because they are as a group very difficult to classify. Not only do independents occupy the entire political spectrum, a few actually win elections (more so than the midstream parties) and a few more have vote distribution profiles similar to that of midstream parties. I classify those independents who either win or make a strong showing as downstream independents while those independents whose voter preferences are slanted towards either the Liberal or Labor groups I classify as midstream independents. Fortunately, there were only 4 downstream and 12 midstream independents in the 2010 election.

With these preliminaries out of the way we can now move on the analysis. The Labor party went into the August 21, 2010 Australian federal election with a solid 83-65 majority over the Liberal group with another 2 seats held by independents. Labor’s 18 seat majority was essentially reduced to zero in the election:

2010 House of Representatives Election

National

First Preference Votes

Group or Party

Candidates

Votes

% Share

Liberal Group

157

5,408,630

43.6%

Labor Group

150

4,711,363

38.0%

Greens

150

1,458,998

11.8%

Midstream Liberal Group

172

386,601

3.1%

Upstream Group

204

255,154

2.1%

Downstream Independent

4

148,434

1.2%

Midstream Independent

12

33,133

0.3%

Totals

849

12,402,363

100%

For those of you with a ravenous interest in the details of Australian politics, the Liberal Group total includes the votes received by the Nationals candidate, Tony Crook, in the Western Australian district of O’Conner. In the immediate aftermath of the election the Western Australian National Party, in a fit of opportunism, declared that the party was an independent organization and that there was no coalition agreement between the party and the Liberals. Shortly thereafter Crook declared his support for the Liberal group but also that he chose to sit on the crossbenches rather than formally join the Liberal coalition. In May of 2012 it was reported that Crook had formally joined the Liberal group fold.

The Liberal group had a clear 5.6 percentage point advantage over the Labor group in the first preference vote with the Greens running a strong third position with nearly 12% of the national total. However, we have noted earlier that the Greens preferential vote was strongly in favor of the Labor group. In counter to the Greens was the midstream Liberal group which received 3.1% of the national first preference vote. We also know that the preference distribution of this group of three parties was strongly in favor of the Liberal group. In the table below, I show the preferential vote distribution from the Greens and the midstream Liberal Group to the Liberal and Labor groups respectively:

Preference Vote Distribution 2010 Election

National

From/To

Liberal Group

Labor Group

Net

Greens

364,845

1,169,885

-805,040

Midstream Liberal Group

204,790

93,044

111,746

Totals

569,635

1,262,929

-693,294

 The Green distribution favored the Labor group by a 3 to 1 ratio while the midstream Liberal group distribution favored the Liberal group by a 2 to 1 ratio. The total distribution of these midstream parties favored the Labor group by about a 2 to 1 ratio. Let’s take these distributions and add them to the Liberal and Labor group total to get a sense of the national vote post the midstream party distributions:

2010 Vote Totals After Midstream Preferential Distribution

National

Group or Party Votes % Share
Liberal Group

5,978,265

48.20%

Labor Group

5,974,292

48.17%

Incredible. We can clearly see that the election was a dead heat. Indeed, the election ended essentially in a draw with neither party winning a majority of seats in the House of Representatives:

House of Representative Seats Won in 2010 Election

National

Group or Party Seats
Liberal Group

73

Labor Group

72

Greens

1

Midstream Liberal Group

0

Upstream Group

0

Downstream Independent

4

Midstream Independent

0

Totals

150

My following posts will break down the election results state-by-state.