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Liberal Candidate For McEwen, Chris Jermyn, Chased By Media

The Liberal candidate for McEwen, Chris Jermyn, has been unable to answer media questions about his party’s policies, after turning up at an ALP event with Bill Shorten.

McEwen is the most marginal seat in the country. Rob Mitchell holds it for the ALP by just 313 votes, or 0.15%.

The footage in the second video is something of a classic of the genre as reporters pursue Jermyn into the venue’s carpark. [Read more…]


2013 Primary Vote Winners, Preference Vote Losers

There were 15 seats in the 2013 federal election where the primary vote leaders were defeated after the full distribution of preferences.

In 12 seats, all held by the ALP, the coalition candidate led on primary votes but the seat was won by the ALP after preferences. In 3 seats, coalition leads were overtaken by independent or third-party candidates.

The 15 seats were concentrated in Victoria (7), Queensland (5) and New South Wales (3).

Overall, 53 (35.3%) of the 150 House of Representatives electorates were decided on primary votes, whilst 97 (64.7%) required preference distribution to obtain a winner.

It is worth noting that 82 of the 97 electorates were won after preferences by the candidates who led the primary vote count. Even with preferences, a primary vote lead is difficult to overcome. [Read more…]


ALP Back In Lead In McEwen; McGowan And Palmer Leads Narrow

The ALP’s sitting member in the Victorian electorate of McEwen, Rob Mitchell, is back in the lead as counting continues in the rural seat north of Melbourne.

Counting over the weekend reversed Mitchell’s position. On Thursday night, the ALP was trailing by 396 votes. This narrowed to 153 on Friday night. Yesterday, the ALP was ahead by 97 votes. The Australian Electoral Commission reports that 9,197 envelopes containing absent, provisional, pre-poll and postal votes remain to be counted. Over half of these are pre-poll votes. Postal votes can still be accepted for the next couple of days.

In the Victorian country electorate of Indi, the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, remains ahead of the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, but the her lead is dwindling. McGowan was ahead by 1,100 votes on Thursday. This declined to 895 on Friday. She is now in front by 515 votes with 3,511 votes on hand that haven’t yet been counted.

In the rural Sunshine Coast electorate of Fairfax, Clive Palmer remains 502 votes ahead of the Liberal National Party candidate, Ted O’Brien. Like McGowan in Indi, Palmer was leading by 1,132 on Thursday. This slipped to 718 on Friday. Palmer continues to win only 37% of postal votes. There are 7,491 votes still uncounted.

Counting will continue over the coming days. The count is slowed because of the need to verify the eligibility of each elector who has cast a provisional, absentee or postal vote.

Attention will turn this week to the composition of the new Abbott government. The Prime Minister-elect is expected to announce his ministry today with a swearing-in to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday. Kevin Rudd remains caretaker prime minister until the new ministry is sworn.



Coalition Edging Towards 90 Seats As Election Counting Continues

It now appears likely that the Liberal-Nationals coalition will hold 90 seats in the House of Representatives, as Labor’s position deteriorates in several undecided electorates.

The ALP’s position in Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen has worsened over the past two days of counting. The ALP is behind by 643 votes in Barton, 591 votes in Eden-Monaro and 116 votes in McEwen.

However, in the Queensland seat of Capricornia, the ALP remains ahead and has stretched its lead to 268 votes. Capricornia and McEwen are now the only results in serious doubt.

In Reid, the ALP’s position has worsened since Monday and it is now 928 votes behind. It is 722 votes behind in Dobell. Both seats are now presumed to be Liberal gains.

The ALP began the election with 72 seats. It has lost 14 seats so far: Bass, Braddon, Lyons, Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, Hindmarsh, Petrie, Dobell, Robertson, Page, Lindsay, Banks and Reid. If it holds Capricornia but loses Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen it will finish up with 55 seats in the House of Representatives, or 36.66% of the total.

This would constitute the ALP’s 10th worst defeat in the 41 federal elections held since 1910. It did worse in terms of seats at the elections of 1934, 1919, 1996, 1966, 1925, 1977, 1917, 1975 and 1931.

The interest on the Coalition side now centres on Indi and Fairfax. Clive Palmer is now 1,411 votes ahead of his LNP rival in Fairfax. His lead has been quite stable since Monday and he now seems certain to win.

In Indi, the independent Cathy McGowan is 1,449 votes ahead and now seems assured of victory. Her lead was consolidated yesterday after the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) corrected a clerical error which had seen 1000 votes incorrectly given to the Liberal incumbent, Sophie Mirabella.

Whilst the clerical error may seem like sloppy work on the part of the AEC, its rectification is in fact a tribute to the fail-safe measures the Commission has in place. By reconciling the number of ballot papers issued with those returned and monitoring Senate numbers, clerical errors are quickly identified.

The Coalition began with 73 seats. It has gained the 14 seats listed above, plus the formerly independent electorates of New England and Lyne. If we assume it has lost Fairfax and Indi, but won Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen, it will have 90 seats in the new House.

Sophie Mirabella will have the dubious distinction of being the only incumbent Coalition MP to be defeated. [Read more…]


Rob Mitchell (ALP-McEwen) – Maiden Speech

Rob Mitchell won the Victorian seat of McEwen for the ALP at the 2010 federal election.

In an election which reduced the Gillard government to minority status, Mitchell’s victory was vital to the government’s survival. He secured a swing of 5.34% and won the seat with 55.32% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Mitchell contested McEwen in 2007, when the sitting Liberal member, Fran Bailey, won by 31 votes. The election result was confirmed by the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.

Mitchell was previously a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 2002 until 2006. [Read more…]


Day 13: All Politics Is Local

The ALP released a national disability “strategy” yesterday. They could have just called it a policy statement but everything is a strategy these days. At least it was a national strategy in an important policy area that has gone unrecognised for too long. It was Julia Gillard’s first major announcement of the day.

But it was the only worthy policy announcement of the day. With Gillard and Abbott both in Melbourne, the race to state politics was never more keenly fought. Abbott announced a plan to crack down on gangs and Gillard declared war on knives. Melbourne marvelled at their intuitive understanding of our most deeply-held fears.

Later, Gillard was mobbed in a shopping centre in the electorate of Deakin. Abbott visited the Essendon Football Club and practised handballing. There was no sign at Windy Hill of that great Bombers fan, Peter Costello. Another prominent supporter, Simon Crean, was far from Melbourne in the northern Queensland electorate of Leichhardt, visiting schools with the sitting Labor member, Jim Turnour. [Read more…]


ALP Lead In McEwen Now Only 6 Votes

The ALP’s candidate in McEwen, Rob Mitchell, has had his winning margin cut to 6 votes as he waits on the Australian Electoral Commission’s response to the Liberal Party’s request for a recount.

Media reports today say the lead has been cut to 5 but the AEC’s website shows 6.

The Queensland seat of Dickson has now been declared by the AEC, with victory going to the former Howard minister, Peter Dutton, by 221 votes. Damian Hale has been officially declared the winner of the Northern Territory seat of Solomon for the ALP by 196 votes.

Three other Queensland seats remain in doubt. In Flynn, the ALP’s lead has been cut by 247 votes to 212. In Bowman, the Liberal candidate’s lead has slipped 21 votes to 81. In Herbert, the incumbent Liberal, Peter Lindsay, has increased his lead by 29 votes to 352.

In the Western Australian seat of Swan, the ALP’s Kim Wilkie looks set to become the only incumbent Labor member to lose his seat. In NSW, former Howard minister Jim Lloyd seems certain to lose Robertson to the ALP’s Belinda Neal.

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 352.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 81.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 280.
  • Robertson – (NSW – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 185.
  • McEwen – (Vic – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 6.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 212.

Trivia note: today is the 30th anniversary of Malcolm Fraser’s victory in the 1977 Federal election. Today is also the 58th anniversary of Menzies’ 1949 victory, as well as the 52nd anniversary of his fourth consecutive victory in 1955.