Special edition on Victorian council elections

October 24, 2016

Dear Councillors, candidates and other followers of local government politics,

Greetings for the first time since our last bumper email edition on October 6. If you'd rather not receive these occasional email newsletters, click here to unsubscribe.

In this special edition we will try and bring you some of the action from Victoria's 76 contested elections both today and through the week as votes are progressively counted.

Traditionally, results have been declared today, on the Sunday after the official Saturday election. That's what happened in 2008 and 2012.

However, a sensible legal change has extended the time for postal ballots to arrive until next Friday, which means most VEC button pushing exercises to determine the various winners are not scheduled until next weekend.

In the case of City of Melbourne it is 5pm on Saturday and until then, we are in somewhat of a twilight zone. The Lord Mayor and deputy Lord Mayor remains in office, but us councillors were all officially terminated at 6am yesterday and required to clear our offices.

This has happened across Victoria. For instance, we got this reply to this edition from Hobsons Bay:

Thank you for your message.

The 2012-16 term of Councillors Peter Hemphill, Angela Altair, Paul Morgan, Sandra Wilson, Jason Price, Colleen Gates and Carl Marsich expired at 6.00am on Saturday 22 October 2016. It is anticipated that the Councillors elect will officially take office in early November 2016.

Kind regards, Hobsons Bay City Council

Greens storm ahead in the inner city

We do have results from the 6 councils which put their constituents through freezing conditions yesterday by clinging to the anachronism known as attendance voting. See the full call of the card for updates on what happened, but we were particularly struck by the march of the Green army in Yarra, Port Phillip and Moreland.

Given the information vacuum at the 70 Victorian councils which conducted postal elections, the purpose of this email is partly to encourage candidates and councillors to keep the information coming to email (stephen@maynereport.com), Twitter (@maynereport) or by phone to 0412 106 241.

Media coverage of local government has never been less well resourced than the moment and we're also lacking independent blogs or punditry from academics or experts as you normally see in state or Federal elections.

Rather than working on the Melbourne re-election campaign, I've spent much of the past 4 weeks covering everyone else's campaigns as can seen in this comprehensive 10,000 word state-wide call of the card.

We'd like to keep updating this as the results come through but will need your input.

Picking up clues by watching the envelopes being opened

The most useful information is from those who appointed scrutineers to sample votes as envelopes were opened. It's amazing how many candidates and incumbent councillors followed the advice from the VEC and didn't observe Saturday's activities, if there were any.

I spent 3 hours watching envelopes being opened in Manningham yesterday and was able to determine that incumbents Geoff Gough and Dot Haynes are definitely home and my better half, Paula Piccinini, is a very good chance in the Heide ward.

If you've got some data on that, let us know. Here's a few snippets we've picked up and already tweeted by ringing around:

# Only Mt Waverley ward has been opened in Monash and the Geoff Lake Labor crew were happy with the outcome, suggesting the Liberals will fail in their big campaign to wrest control.

# Labor could be set to recover their lost majority in Maribyrnong, although there will be 1 or 2 Greens and independent Catherine Cumming will get back.

# Indigenous Labor candidate in Brimbank Simon Vallone came second on the primaries and is looking good to get over the line.

# Nasty right winger Jack Medcraft has topped the vote in his Hume ward on 22.5%, followed by Leigh Johnson on 18%, Trevor Dance on 16.6% and Labor's Ann Potter on 14.8%.

City of Melbourne update - Doyle returned, probably with a majority

The big news from City of Melbourne is that Robert Doyle has been comfortably returned for a third term as Lord Mayor with a primary vote of more than 45% and appears to have secured his coveted majority after polling 40.8% of the first 51,156 above the line votes counted in the separate councillor election, enough to secure 4 quotas in addition to himself and the new deputy lord mayor Arron Wood.

However, this excludes the 8.5% of below the line votes which only broke 17% Team Doyle's way in the 2012 election, so the final primary vote is likely to finish up in the high 30s.

The VEC sent these figures through to candidates at 7.30am on Sunday morning, but for some reason nothing has been loaded onto the VEC website.

Based on the 51,156 above the line votes counted in the councillor election, the primaries were as follows:

Team Doyle: 20,886 votes (40.8%)
The Greens: 9231 votes (18.04%
Ken Ong ticket: 4506 votes (8.8%)
Phil Cleary ticket: 4261 votes (8.32%)
Morgan-Watts: 2644 votes (5.17%)
Stephen Mayne: 2467 votes (4.82%)
Robin Matthews (ALP): 1301 votes (2.54%)
Animal Justice: 1161 votes (2.26%)
Richard Foster: 1114 votes (2.17%)
Marcus Fielding: 952 votes (1.86%)
Indigenous Voice: 919 votes: (1.8%)
Light on the Hill (ALP): 662 votes (1.29%)
Melburnian Voice: 544 votes (1.06%)
Heritage Agenda (ALP): 508 votes (1%)

The City of Melbourne councillor election is like the old Senate contests with group voting tickets that deliver whole chunks of preferences from party to party, based on backroom deals.

Who could be bothered filling in 44 boxes below the line, so about 92.5% of electors in this contest just went with a 1 above the line.

How the preferences will flow in Melbourne

Assuming the final proportions remained the same (and they won't as below the lines votes will work against Team Doyle, but late votes from offshore may counter-act that), this is how the eliminations would flow:

The Team Doyle surplus of 0.8% would be first out and they prop up Labor's Robin Matthews to 3.3% but then come to me when and if she is eliminated.

Heritage Agenda goes straight to Jackie Watts lifting the incumbent "voice of the resident objector" to 6.17%, still well below the 9.54% primary voteshe received in 2012.

Melburnian Voice will be third out and they, thankfully for our campaign, go to Indigenous Voice lifting them to 2.8%.

Labor's Light on the Hill then delivers its 1.29% to the Robin Matthews ALP ticket, lifting them to 4.6%.

Marcus Fielding has the benefit of the donkey vote and his 1.86% comes our way (without any negotiation) lifting my total to about 6.6%. If I get back it will be all about Marcus!

Cr Richard Foster then goes out and delivers a further 2.17% to former room mate Jackie Watts, lifting her to 8.3%.

Animal Justice is next out, electing the second Green Cathy Oke with its 2.26% vote and possibly then sending a small surplus onto the Robin Matthews ticket.

Next out is Brooke Wandin from Indigenous Voice and her 1.8% primary comes to me, assuming that the Greens are out of the race. The 1% she collected from Melburnian Voice would then go to Jackie Watts.

That would leave the fight for the 10% quota to secure the final three spots ranked as follows:

Jackie Watts: 9.3%
Ken Ong ticket: 8.8%
Stephen Mayne: 8.4%
Phil Cleary ticket: 8.32%
Robin Matthews (ALP): 4.6%

When Robin Matthews goes out, I would pick up some Green surplus, the 1.3% from Light on the Hill goes to Team Doyle and if that gets Susan Riley over the line courtesy of a 40% vote, a touch of Doyle surplus could also be coming my way. The 2.54% primary from Robin Matthews goes to Cleary's man Michael Caiafa, a QVM trader who won't be able to vote on anything to do with the market for the next 4 years due to a conflict of interest. The surplus from Cleary's election would go to Jackie Watts but might not be enough to get her elected.

Then it would be a question of who goes out between Jackie Watts, myself and Phillip Liu on Ken Ong's ticket and we won't know the answer to that until the weekend. This will be the key exclusion that determines the final outcome.

I've been in these situations before, particularly in the 2010 state election when balance of power in the upper house was in play for a few days, before slipping away.

We genuinely won't know the outcome until the button is pushed at 5pm next Saturday and all these preference distributions will no doubt be influenced by the circa 20,000 votes still to be counted.

There was 4804 below the line votes opened on Saturday which have not yet been counted. In 2012, I had the highest proportion of below the line votes at 17% followed by 10% for Richard Foster, 9% for the Greens, 8.15% for Ken Ong and just 4.2% for Team Doyle. This is encouraging.

It terms of the percentage share of below the line votes in 2012, the Greens just shaded Team Doyle with a touch over 17%, I was on almost 12% while Jackie Watts and Ken Ong were both around the same.

It also suggests the Team Doyle vote may drift lower over the course of the week, but Susan Riley will still almost certainly be elected on the back of preferences from the Labor-aligned Light on the Hill ticket which will deliver them 1.3% once Robin Matthews has been eliminated.

There's also a credible theory that the Ong and Team Doyle votes will strengthen slightly over the coming week as votes trickle in from offshore property owners.

In 2012, there was 63,664 formal votes. The roll has grown by 22% in 4 years to 133,000 and all the figures above are based on these 51,156 above the line votes counted on Saturday.

The turnout should be up this year given the extra 5 days allowed for postal votes to trickle in. About 7000 arrived in the mail on Monday. Throw in the 22% expansion in the roll and we should be looking at around 80,000 formal votes, although that may be a stretch.

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From the member edition archive

If you're a relatively new Mayne Report reader, here are links to some of the more interesting email editions sent out over the past nine years.

2016 - 13 editions so far

Running in Melbourne, council elections, Eddie McGuire, JB Hi Fi, NAB political donations, Jeff Kennett and plenty more
Sunday, September 18, 2016

Melbourne transparency reforms, council elections, pokies, capital raisings, long serving directors and MenziesSunday, September 4, 2016

Go Malcolm, denting Kevin, AEC goes nuclear and plenty more
Thursday, July 7

Final Menzies email blast
Friday, July 1

Campaign update, more pokies donations, Menzies ignored, ASA leave and council governance reform
Monday, June 27

Kevin's getting worried, campaign update, pokies, News Corp dispute, City of Melbourne and family news
Friday, June 17

Kevin locked in, so Make Menzies Matters campaign hits top gear
Friday, June 10

Menzies update, "Fake Liberal" corflutes, AFL pokies push, gift register and much more
Saturday, June 4, 2016

Menzies update, Westfield rate dodging, The Australian's gossips and candidate betting
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Menzies update, ASA board, pokies and Four Corners
Monday, May 23, 2016

Mayne announces Menzies tilt as Kevin Andrews embroiled in stacking scandal
Saturday, May 7, 2016

Turnbull, Warburton, pokies, AICD, IOOF, Quills, internal audit and much more
Monday, March 22, 2016

Bank royal commission, ASA tilt, Copyright, Piccinini, pokies, Kevin Andrews and Cabcharge
Monday, April 11, 2016

2015 - 8 editions

AGM season, PAITREOs, pokies, MAV, Copyright, Piccinini sisters, ANZ carbon and transcripts
November 5, 2015

Global Integrity Summit, Macquarie, pokies, council update, AGM season and family news
October 12, 2015

Battling Slaters, a Stokes shocker, council, CBA litigation, ASA conference and RACV reforms
April 30, 2015

Tenth anniversary of Crikey sale, Aristocrat AGM, council transparency and then some
March 9, 2015

Why Ministers should support the Liberal leadership spill
Monday, February 9, 2015

2014 - 8 editions focused on back half of the year post ASA gig

Special edition on the Victorian election result
Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vic election, Herald Sun, Rupert votes, Tex, Xenophon and much morey
Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rupert AGMs, Cabcharge, Costello, Bolt, Ten and Victorian election
Sunday, November 16, 2014

CBA tilt, LA visit, Rupert AGMs, Cabcharge and state election
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cabcharge, donations for Rupert visit and governance reforms at City of Melbourne
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tilts, Fairfax, CBA, Brickworks, Albert Park, ASX, Woolies, pokies and Crown
Friday, September 20, 2014

We're back: inside a post-ASA election season blitz
Monday, September 15, 2014

2013 - 10 editions with 5 favourites below

Capital raisings, Ansell, IAG, Packer, pokies, Rich List, City of Melbourne and ASA update
Monday, December 23, 2013

Franking robbery, East West trust breach, BHP bonuses, John Gay and plenty more
Sunday, August 25, 2013

ASA policy paper, Kevin Andrews on the pokies, Senate preferences and much more
August 19, 2013

ASA, Billabong, Westfield, Newcrest, Shorten, Turnbull, pokies and then some
Monday, July 22, 2013

Rudd v Gillard, referendum, Labor sleaze, Clive Palmer, ASA, City of Melbourne and plenty more
Monday, June 24, 2013

2012 - only 9 editions given council and ASA commitments

Backing Rudd, Lachlan, Bob Brown media debate, Manningham governance, Gunns and St Kilda AGM
Monday, February 20, 2012

The OZ goes mad, Murdoch piracy, AFR, pokies double rate, Gina, council super, BoQ rip-off and power speech
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2011 - 21 editions but slowed down after elected to ASA board in May

Murdoch special, media inquiry, pokies, Manningham, Zara, secretive Shortenite crs and Vodafone take-down
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elected to ASA board, pokies, Rio, Santos, RHG, Hartigan, Manningham, capital raisings and Rich List
Thursday, May 19, 2011

2010 - 39 editions and last year with paid staff

Paperlinx, Packer, Murdoch, Manningham, pokies, Rich ex wives, foreign takeovers and much more
Saturday, October 23, 2010

DJs, women on boards, ex Lib goes no pokies, preferences, Pratt-Shorten, Labor's debt and Manningham council audio
August 3, 2010

Director rankings, Rio, Westfield, MAP, Manningham, Paatsch, state election, rich list, pokies and much more
June 9, 2010

Political donations, Stokes, Westfield tower, Richard Colless, Manningham nursing home, state debt, Rich List and Grand Prix
February 23, 2010

2009 - 40 editions but was slowed down by Manningham council

Seven AGM, crazy Perth visit, Fairfax, Telstra, Transfield, capital raisings and much more
November 9, 2009

News Corp AGM, Packer, Fairfax, James Strong, Woolies, Eastern Golf, Kohler-Gatto and much more
October 20, 2009

Bad Bendigo, Mark Day, Manningham, pokies, NAB, Asciano, Rich List, Paladin and hostile EGMs
September 15, 2009

Macquarie AGM, Melbourne's decline, Asciano EGM, capital raisings, Goyder's pokies and AGM diary
July 28, 2009

2008 - 172 editions in our first and best full year of operation as the GFC hit and before we got overloaded at Manningham

71% backing at Centro, $11bn backing at BHP and huge Qantas protest
November 28, 2008

Combank's $700m ABC Learning debacle
November 13, 2008

Toll board skewered over $55m executive rort
October 30, 2008

Rupert's accountability dodge, Macquarie's Italian hit, Babcock funds revamp, pokieact.org and rich lists.
October 20, 2008

BHP and Woolies tilts, AFIC push on Stan Wallis, ASX-Kohler yarn and new Rich Listers
September 26, 2008

Macquarie videos, Stokes raid, new board tilt, Oz Minerals, share trading and much more
July 25, 2008

Owen Hegarty payout rolled, history is made
July 18, 2008

Great debate at the Babcock AGM
May 30, 2008

Our liveliest edition yet
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Burrows quits Fairfax, Rupert, donations, long-serving directors and much more
January 31, 2008

Markets tumble, Rupert book deal, Centro, Rich List, Xenophon, AFR tips and our buying spree
January 17, 2008

2007 - 15 editions as we launched shortly before running in Federal election

Fortescue Metals AGM: time for Twiggy and FMG to grow up
Sunday, November 8, 2007, 10.30pm

How $5bn worth of votes backed us against Rupert's dodgy gerrymander
Saturday, 20 October, 2007, 7.20am

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is an email newsletter and website which promotes transparency and good governance in the corporate, political and media worlds. It is published by Stephen Mayne, the founder of Crikey.com, shareholder advocate, ASA director and City of Melbourne councillor. To unsubscribe from this email list, click here.