How to track the voting and a media deluge on balance of power possibilities

December 5, 2010

Hi everyone,

Sorry it has taken five days to pull together a comprehensive missive after Saturday's election, but the phone has been running hot.

We did send this update to volunteers and a few others on Sunday afternoon once it became apparent we were in with a show to win the fifth and final spot in Northern Metropolitan. Have a read because it explains our best 30 booths and some of the voting patterns, including our mistake in throwing volunteer resources at the Labor strongholds rather than covering smaller booths in more progressive inner city areas.

The situation is still highly fluid and it will develop throughout the day.

For instance, keep an eye on Antony Green's ABC election predictor for the upper house region which is currently showing we win the fifth spot ahead of the second Liberal, Craig Ondarchie. Such an outcome is vital to deny the Coalition 21 MPs and a slim outright majority in the 40-member upper house, something which was never meant to happen again under the Bracks deal with the rural independents to introduce proportional representation starting in 2006.

The key outcome to watch on this page from VEC website is the overall Green vote. It needs to finish between 17.9% and 18.12% for us to be in with a show.

The ideal outcome is to finish 1 vote ahead of the second Green and then scoop up the maximum possible preference flow, but a lead of anything up to 1000 votes over the Green would still leave us in a strong position, depending on how the below the line votes flows.

Watch out for below the line voting

The weakness in Antony Green's calculator is that it allocates 100% of all primary votes as preferences, without deducting the below the line votes which ultimately will sprinkle everywhere. Data entry for below the line votes won't start until Saturday, so we are essentially in a two stage process of Survivor.

The first is to stay marginally ahead of the second Green on primary votes which should be clear in the first week of December.

If that hurdle is passed - and I only rate it a 50-50 prospect - we then move onto the below the line lottery which will ultimately be determined on December 14 when a button is pushed to run a program allocating all the below the line votes.

How a 1% primary vote can reach a quota of 16.67%

In terms of understanding how a low primary vote can still prevail with good preference flows, this is how the micro-parties were placed on primary votes, preference flows and below the lines on Wednesday, December 1 :

Country Alliance: 1504 votes or 0.48%. Preference Sex Party and then ALP and 173 votes or 11.5% are below the line.

Independent Parents and Carers Group: 1593 votes or 0.51%. Preference Stephen Mayne first then Greens but a hefty 341 votes or 21.4% are below the line.

Christian Party: 2592 votes or 0.83%. Preference DLP, then FF then Libs with 308 votes or 11.9% below the line.

Stephen Mayne: 3288 votes or 1.05%. Preferences 5 minors first but then go to Libs ahead of Labor, which could be a decisive allocation delivering balance of power to Coalition. A record 1500 or 45.6% of votes are below the line.

Second Green Alex Bhathal: surplus of 4386 votes or 1.41%. Preferences to Stephen Mayne, Sex Party then Labor. Hefty 549 votes or 12.5% below the line.

Family First: 7043 votes or 2.26%. Preferences Stephen Mayne first then Libs before Labor. Only 370 votes or 5.25% below the line.

DLP: 8662 votes or 2.78%. Preferences Christian Party, Independent Carers then Stephen Mayne, FF and Libs. Only 682 votes or 7.9% below the line.

Sex Party: 10,534 votes or 3.38%. Preference Independent Carers, then Stephen Mayne and Labor ahead of Liberal. Hefty 1269 votes or 12% below the line.

What to watch out for in the days ahead

As of Wednesday, December 1, we were primarily waiting on an estimated 20,000 absentee votes, plus about another 20,000 early votes and a few late postals.

At close of counting on Tuesday night, 4 or 5 of the 11 lower house districts had delivered their early votes and the breakdown was as follows with 20,310 early formal votes counted:

Labor: 43.1% overall and 33.58% of pre-poll or 6820 votes

Liberal: 27.46% overall and 34.7% of pre-poll or 7061 votes

Green: 18.06% overall and 22% of pre-poll or 4470 votes

Sex Party: 3.38% overall and 3.1% of pre-poll with 631 votes

DLP: 2.78% overall and 1.95% of pre-poll with 397 votes

Family First: 2.26% overall and 1.62% of pre-poll with 330 votes

Stephen Mayne: 1.05% overall and 1.29% of pre-poll with 262 votes

Christan Party: 0.83% overall and 0.69% of pre-poll or 141 votes

Country Alliance: 0.48% overall and 0.46% of pre-poll or 95 votes

Independent Carers: 0.51% overall and 0.44% of pre-poll or 91 votes

It is clear from these figures that the strongest Labor districts are yet to be counted.

Green primary vote in Northern Metro lower house districts

The Greens will do better than average on the absentee vote which is an obvious concern given the risk that they will finish above 18.12%.

However, I am expecting their current vote of 18.06% will fall back today because the early pre-poll votes counted so far are concentrated in their strongest seats.

I can tell that because my own pre-poll vote of 1.25% is above average and my vote is strongest in the inner city Green areas. The likes of Broadmeadows, Thomastown and Mill Park were a waste land for me and the Greens so when all those districts are counted, the Green vote should fall back below 18% before it rises again with the absentee votes.

Here is a list of the 11 Northern Metropolitan lower house seats ranked by Green vote:

Melbourne: 31.09% with 43,916 on the roll

Northcote: 28.94% with 40,423 on the roll

Brunswick: 28.04% with 42,321 on the roll

Richmond: 26.48% with 42,025 on the roll

Preston: 20.04% with 38,662 on the roll

Ivanhoe: 17.22% with 38,781 on the roll

Yan Yean: 9.57% with 54,134 on the roll

Bundoora: 9.24% with 36,644 on the roll

Thomastown: 8.98% with 36,853 on the roll

Broadmeadows: 6.94% with 37,4224 on the roll

Mill Park: 6.84% with 41,032 on the roll

I know for sure that absentees votes from the best Green seat of Melbourne have been counted, but the breakdown of the other 3 or 4 is not known.

Green MP for Northern Metro Greg Barber gave the following amusing quote to The Australian today:

But Greens Legislative Council member Greg Barber said the upper house counting was far too unpredictable for anyone to take winning for granted just yet.

"Four years ago it took the best part of 2 1/2 weeks to all be sorted out," Mr Barber said.

"I'd say to Stephen Mayne and everyone else who's waiting on the counting they ought to go fishing for a couple of weeks."

Fair call Greg, because 17 days of uncertainty is enought to make anyone go spare.

An avalanche of media interest

There has been a truckload of media on the upper house situation and most of it was kick-started by this story by Tim Colebatch in The Age on Monday: Electoral landslide could give Coalition control of both houses

However, there was earlier coverage on Sunday such as the following:

STATE ELECTION: Stephen Mayne good chance for Upper House seat
Will Jackson, Manningham Leader, November 28, 2010

Mayne could hold balance of power in Victoria
Andrew Crook, Crikey Blog, November 28, 2010

The first Colebatch story on Monday morning led to this 6.30am interview with Red Symons on 774 ABC Melbourne.

However, media interest really cranked up when Tim Colebatch splashed the following page lead in The Age on Tuesday: Activist poised to control state's upper house

The 51 comments below that story ranged from complaints about a democratic system that could deliver the balance of power to someone with a 1% primary vote, to support for the ability to hold down such a vital position.

Other ABC radio interviews to far have included the following:

720 ABC Perth - discussing the current election with Morning presenter Geoff Hutchinson on Tuesday, November 30.

774 ABC Melbourne - interview with Jon Faine about the possibility of holding the balance of power in the Victorian upper house on November 30, 2010.

ABC News radio on ABC News radio discussing the last seat up for grabs in the Victorian upper house on November 30, 2010.

Declining an interview with 3AW's Neil Mitchell

After getting unfairly monstered by 3AW's Neil Mitchell last Thursday (have a listen to the audio in Friday's pre-election edition), I politely declined an on-air chat yesterday.

This led to another erratic spray from Mitchell yesterday. Click here to listen.

Amazingly, the Herald Sun is continuing its 11-year ban on mentioning me dating back to criticisms of their Kennett-sycophancy in 1999, which means they are yet to comprehensively cover the possibilities in the upper house.

With the balance of power up for grabs, you would think such churlishness would be cast aside in the interests of comprehensive coverage of the power possibilities under the new Baillieu government.

The Age is taking a different approach and came around for an interview yesterday which led to this page 8 story and picture today.

There was also a couple of grabs on Lateline last night plus this interview with Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland on ABC News 24 this morning.

Recent email editions and updates

For first time readers, here are links to our recent editions since the state election tilt was first revealed:

In with a chance to win final Northern Metro spot
Sunday, November 28, 2010

A must-read final pre-election edition choc full of lively material
Friday, November 26, 2010

Developer defamation threat, pokies, councillor expenses, Future Fund, Telstra, AWB and a great offer to campaign volunteers
Monday, November 22, 2010

Future Fund goes to war with Telstra, Woolies AGM wash-up, council pokies taxes and much more
Friday, November 19, 2010

Woolies anti-pokies campaign speech, Manningham mayor boxes on, campaigning for women, Bob Brown, pokies forum, HTVs, Rich List and then some
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preferences revealed, sleazy deals, Cleary, questioning Bob Brown, The Age, soaring debt, videos, Cornwall and then some
Monday, November 15, 2010

Campaign lift off, Fairfax AGM, councillor expenses, pokies, SP Ausnet, Rich List, women directors, Spark scale back and much more
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Xenophon backs anti-pokies tilt, Packer, Ten, BHP, women directors, Rich List, state debt and much more
Friday, November 5, 2010

Cornwall on the Victorian election



Sign up for campaign and governance Tweets

Click on the image above to join almost 3000 followers on Twitter. Here are some recent tweets:

1.52pm November 30: Interview on 720 ABC Perth discussing the current Victorian #election and endorsement from a caller

10.01am November 30: 3AW's Neil Mitchell whinges that I refused an interview and discusses my chances of winning the last upper house seat.

9.43am November 30: Big article in The Age today discussing the scenario of winning the last upper house seat in Victoria

9.37am November 30: Had a chat with Jon Faine on 774 ABC Melbourne about maybe holding the last seat in the Vic upper house

9.29am November 30: ABC News radio this morning about the poss of holding the balance of power in the Victorian upper house.

2.17pm November 29: Heading to airport to meet Senator Xenophon for this tonight:

12.15pm November 29: Interviewed by Red Symons on 774 ABC Melbourne Breakfast program.

11.27am November 29: Channel Ten have confirmed will webcast Dec 9 AGM for 1st time. That's progress for a TV company. James Packer opposes so might be one off.

10.12am November 29: Just spoke to VEC. No count of Northern Metro pre-poll or absentee votes 2day but they are receiving postals on top of 17,323 counted so far

9.10am November 29: 985 votes ahead of 2nd Green but in 2006 they did well in pre-poll/absent. See

10.13pm November 28: Antony Green's 5.13pm blogs on prospects in the upper house:

9.52pm November 28: With 68% counted, lead over 2nd Green up from 41 to 985 votes. Looks good See:

6.59pm November 28: Local paper's take:

5.51pm November 28: Just sent out this email update on winning prospects in Northern Metro:

4.59pm November 28: Crikey's Andrew Crook has just posted this on our Northern Metro knife-edge balance of power situation:

3.47pm November 28: Check out booth by booth results in Northern Metro:

10.43am November 28: Key to win is keeping lead over 2nd Green post pre-poll count. See ABC predictor

9.40am November 28: ABC website is showing I've won fifth spot in Northern Metro and will hold balance of power for Baillieu to control both houses. Crikey!

4.59pm November 26: Aristocrat shares have crashed after profit warning - taking it as a good sign for the "no pokies" candidate this weekend in Victoria.

3.30pm November 26: Volunteers are coming in nicely so feeling good about prospects. Haven't slept for 30 hours. How long did Tony Abbott and Peter Ryan go?

1.50pm November 26: Panel discussion including myself, independent Phil Cleary, the Sex party's Fiona Patten on 774 ABC Melb with Jon Faine

9.58am November 25: Published this bumper pre-election edition with plenty of meat at 5am. See:

1.40pm November 24: Listen to slug-fest over the pokies with Neil Mitchell on 3AW. He's got a long memory:

12.41pm November 24: About to do 3AW's Neil Mitchell in his traditionally demeaning "whackos and fringe-dwellers" morning for minor candidates to ring & spruik.

4.43pm November 23: Crikey yarn on big pokies forum yesterday:

That's all for now.

Fingers crossed that we get a positive result in Northern Metro and keep doin' ya best.

Cheers, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is a multi-media governance website published by shareholder activist, local government councillor, Crikey founder and political candidate Stephen Mayne with regular email editions. To unsubscribe from the free emails click here.