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In just 15 weeks Australia will hold a federal election. Polling has universally condemned the incumbent Labor minority government (left leaning major party) to a landslide defeat at the hands of the Coalition (permanent coalition of right leaning Liberal and National parties).

Despite Australia having one of the strongest economies in the developed world the Labor government has developed an aura of fiscal mismanagement and much of the electorate feels betrayed by the implementation a carbon tax that they feel wasn't explicitly campaigned for at the last federal election in 2010.

I have developed a model that aims to establish the base partisan lean of each electorate and attempt to accurately predict which electoral division will send a member of each party to parliament.

Australia's House of Representatives (based on the American model) currently (thought not constitutionally) has 150 seats apportioned to each state and territory based, more or less, on population.

Australia uses mandatory preferential voting, which means voters must rank all candidates by the order of their preference. This means the in certain seats the way parties direct their supporters to allocate their preferences will be crucial.  

Tables in this diary are colour coded. Shades of red reflect Labor held seats and predictions, shades of blue represent Liberal held seats and predictions (the occasionally different party names and abbreviations are courtesy of local party branches having inconsistent names), independents are grey, Greens are light green (shocker), and Nationals are dark green.  

New South Wales

Labor holds a lot of seats in New South Wales by narrow margins (10 by less than 6%). Indeed it was Labor's ability to hang on in seat after seat in New South Wales that gave them the chance to form government in 2010. However now that it is 2013 even a minor swing against the government in NSW could lead to a massive loss of seats.

I've listed independent MP Craig Thomson's seat of Dobell as Labor held as that was the party he was elected as a member of and he only resigned for technical (parliamentary pension related) reasons. Thomson is a 0% chance of reelection.

The model currently gives five seats to the Liberals and sees another four as tossups. If Labor are going to keep this election close they absolutely have to close the gap in NSW.

Two rural seats in Northern NSW are held by independents who controversially chose to install the Labor government instead of a potential Liberal-National government despite the conservative lean of their electorates. Popular opinion says they will both be swept out of parliament but polling has been inconclusive and I'm leaving them as tossups until closer to the election.    


Victoria voted rather strongly for Labor at the 2010 election, more strongly than at any other time since World War II, so Labor wouldn't have hoped to pick up many more seats here.
However polling suggests a swing away from Labor and the model considers Corangamite and Deakin to probably be lost but somewhat surprisingly Labor could hold on everywhere else.

Melbourne is the sole house seat held by the Greens and predictions will depend on which party the Liberals choose to preference. I currently regard Melbourne as lean Greens but if the Liberals preference the Greens it will move to safe Greens. Conversely if the Liberals decide to preference Labor Melbourne will become a tossup.


Queensland is an interesting state at this election. Two new minor parties have been established on the right that seek to shake up the established order.
Katter's Australian Party currently holds the seat of Kennedy (which they will retain) and may be a threat throughout rural Queensland with their locally popular brand of Agrarian Socialism.
Palmer's United Party (or whatever it is called this week) has been established by mining billionaire Clive Palmer to... do something. I'm not inclined to think that it will matter much.
We really need to wait and see how Katter's Australian Party plans on allocating it's preferences to know what effect it might have in seats where it gets a significant vote but doesn't win. For now I've assumed it will preference the LNP (Coalition local name) in every seat and win nowhere except Kennedy, pending press releases or public polling.
Currently the model predicts Labor to hold four of their seats, be a tossup in two more, and lose two seats to the LNP. But things could go very wrong for Labor in Queensland and a small extra swing could cost them every seat, apart from Griffith which is only safe because of the unbelievable popularity of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.  

The seat of Fisher is listed as currently held by the LNP as Peter Slipper, its turncoat MP, was elected as a member of that party.  

South Australia

South Australia was a very strong state for Labor at the 2010 election but is polling as if it will swing very hard against the government this year.
The model considers that Labor are now behind in Hindmarsh and in considerable trouble in Adelaide.

Western Australia

Western Australia voted strongly for the Coalition at the 2010 election and currently hold 12 of the states 15 seats so you might think that this would be one state the the coalition would be mainly playing defence. However the Labor government's tax on unusually large mining profits continues to be received less than well by Western Australian voters and it is Labor's three remaining seats (all urban seats near inner city Perth) that are under threat.
Labor are still fairly well situated to hold onto their few remaining WA seats but have no real opportunities to pick up extra seats in a state that they should have had some real chances.

The seat of O'Connor is listed at safe for the Western Australian Nationals but it absolutely is not. The incumbent member, Tony Crook, is retiring and the Liberals will make a strong push to recover the seat. For local reasons the Western Australian Nationals and the Liberals are not in a coalition at the federal level (though they are at the state level). However, Labor are absolutely no chance at winning the seat so it is most accurately listed as safe.


With a population of only around half a million Tasmania should be entitled to only 3 seats based on population. However constitutional stipulations guarantee Tasmania five seats. All five seats voted heavily to the left in 2010 and Labor now hold four of the five seats with margins of at least 13.4%. The remaining seat of Denison is actually the most left leaning of all the Tasmanian seats and in 2010 elected independent (and former Green) Andrew Wilkie, with 21% of the primary vote.
However a recession stricken Tasmania has moved against Labor and the Greens (who jointly govern Tasmania at the state level, albeit hampered by a frequently hostile state senate) and what polling exists uniformly suggests that there will be a strong swing toward the Liberals at the election.
The model currently has Labor somewhat favoured in the southern seats of Lyons and Franklin but in a tossup in the northern seats of Bass and Braddon. There is talk that movement away from Labor is concentrated in the north but no reliable polling exists to confirm this.

I have Wilkie as likely to win Denison once again based on the assumption that both the Greens and the Liberals will preference him once again and that he will beat the Greens on primary vote. Should either party announce that they will be preferencing Labor instead then Denison's rating will move to safe Labor.    


The Australian Capital Territory consists of two completely safe Labor seats, whilst the Northern Territory has two very marginal seats.

Solomon makes up the city of Darwin and will probably be retained by the Country Liberal Party (The local Liberal branch) but patchy and poor quality polling makes this a seat one that I don't feel as comfortable with as my model does.  
The rest of the territory lies within the Labor held division of Lingiari. The model considers it a tossup and that seems about right to me.  


This pie chart graphically represents the models current prediction of the composition of the Australian House of Representatives after the election. Numerically, assuming all leaning seats fall their predicted directions and tossups split down the middle the Coalition will form a new government with 89 seats. Labor will form the opposition with 57 seats and there will be 4 other seats (2 independents, 1 Katter's Australian Party, 1 Green).

Clearly Labor have a long way to go to even keep it close.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A lot can happen in a few months (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Deadhead

    But I think your model's a bit too optimistic for Labor at this point.  I've heard Labor going as far down to holding only 30 seats after the election.  WA may be a complete wipeout.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 12:47:24 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely a lot could happen (0+ / 0-)

      This is based in a large part off recent polling from publicly released polling.
      While Labor could conceivably go down to 30 seats there would need to be something like a 60%-40% vote nationally for that to happen and no one is reporting numbers anything like that at the moment.  
      WA may well be a wipeout, I don't have any seats safe for Labor there, but the thing is they only have three seats more to lose no matter how unpopular they get (the senate is a whole different story though).

      •  Abbott (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, Alizarin Indigo

        Right now most of the political sentiment is anti-Labor rather than pro-Coalition.  It'll be interesting to see if the polls change when people start focusing on what Tony Abbott would do as PM, rather than on what Julia Gillard has done in the past.  Gillard may not be too popular, but that doesn't mean Abbott's popular either.  That may be Labor's only shot.

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 01:21:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        read an article in The Australian saying that even Stephen Smith is saying at this point that he's gone and the only seat Labor has a ghost of a chance of holding in WA is Fremantle.

        The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

        by ehstronghold on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 11:28:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

          why Stephen Smith (Perth) would say that, though I've read the same article.
          Presumably he's talking about internal polling he's seen that I haven't (or is managing expectations?, or has been taken out of context?), but Perth should be safer than Fremantle and publicly released polling suggests that both seats should be held at this point.  

  •  Good Bye NBN (0+ / 0-)

    And all the fibre goodness you hold :(

  •  Flynn (0+ / 0-)

    I live in the electorate of Flynn. It is a relatively new electorate.
    This is only the third election in this area.
    Flynn is a huge electorate in QLD. The first time it was won by Chris Trevors representing Labor, last election it was lost to
    Ken O'Dowd LNP. I think there was a swing, because
    Kevin Rudd was ousted by Julia Gillard.
    I was thinking of offering my help to Chris. He wins comfortably in the Gladstone, but alas lost it in all those rural areas that make up the electorate.
    QLD is a bit like those red states in America.
    Remember Pauline Hanson, she was a bit like Palin.
    I think Labor's only chance is Tony   Abbott being unmuzzled.  

    •  Flynn (0+ / 0-)

      Chris Trevors was a strong and popular representative. If anyone can win back Flynn for Labor it's him.

      And there are rumours that Katter's Australian Party are considering preferencing Labor in Flynn. If this ends up happening then Labor could end up winning Flynn end without a primary vote swing toward them. Definitely a seat to watch.  

  •  PM Julia Gillard not warm and fuzzy likeable (0+ / 0-)

    My sense from afar is that the PM Julia Gillard is not considered very warm and fuzzy / likeable.  Half of her own party dislikes her because of her coup to take the leadership from her fellow Labor leader.  The opposition does not warm up to her.

    Abbott may be even less personally likeable - but Aussie voters may decide it is time for a "change".

    Look forward to my 3rd visit to Oz. What a wonderful country and people.

    •  warm and fuzzy (0+ / 0-)

      No, Julia is anything but warm and fuzzy.
      I have learned to like and respect her, like old Maggie Thatcher
      she is a very strong woman.[ I didn't like Thatcher].
      Hope you enjoy your visit to Aussie.

    •  Not so much a change... (0+ / 0-)

      Labor failed to adequately explain to the population the benefits in a lot of their legislation.

      Which allowed News Limited and co. to run rampant and frame the Government as a lying failure.

      In a way, Labor does need a clean out. The power struggles between the factions has not helped the Labor's reputation.

      Ultimately it appears to be a Liberal/National Coalition Government for the next 8 years or so (until Labor can regain enough seats to be competitive again). Although it is doubtful whether Tony Abbott will remain as leader for that period.

  •  interesting (0+ / 0-)

    that a lot of the major cities are held by a conservative member.

  •  Also (0+ / 0-)

    does the model assume a uniform swing in every state/territory?

    •  The inner city areas (0+ / 0-)

      are still Labor or Greens or Andrew Wilkie for the most part. The current exception is Brisbane which has its core split between Brisbane and Griffith leading to the loss of Brisbane itself in a terrible 2007 election for Labor.

      The model assumes different swings for each state (currently, all against Labor, very large in SA and TAS, large in NSW and Vic, and moderate in Qld and WA), but uniform swings within states.

      There is universal agreement that Western Sydney will swing father than the rest of NSW but there just isn't the public polling available to do anything with that yet. If there is solid polling data closer to the election I might split NSW into regions.

      •  It's (0+ / 0-)

        a shame that Kate Jones isn't standing for Labor in the seat of Brisbane. I believe parts of her former electorate of Ashgrove are in the seat of Brisbane itself.

        And after all the main reason why voters kicked her out was so they could have a Premier (Campbell Newman) as their local member. Jones was a damn good local member from what I've heard and I presume she still a good chunk of goodwill among her former constituents.

        It's presumable if Jones had stood and Labor's poll numbers in Queensland were to have gone up Jones would of had a good chance to snatch Brisbane away from the LNP.

        The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

        by ehstronghold on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 06:27:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kate Jones (0+ / 0-)

          is a excellent representative and may well have been able to win Brisbane. She certainly would have given Labor a better chance.

          The incumbent LNP member Teresa Gambaro isn't a good fit for the district (too socially conservative) but she is a good campaigner and I expect her to win this year. Once Labor get Queensland back to anything close to a 50-50 vote though they'll get Brisbane back.

      •  Darwin (0+ / 0-)

        is not a major city in NT?

        •  By NT standards sure (0+ / 0-)

          But it is small enough that Solomon contains pretty much every last outlying suburb and satellite town. It isn't the city of Darwin itself that elected a CLP representative but that urban Darwin's vote was drowned out by the outer areas.

  •  what is the state of political talk radio in rural (0+ / 0-)


    here it totally dis-informs large areas of the country and has a major effect on elections, the priority of issues, the 'facts' used to discuss those issues, and who and what are acceptable in politics and media.

    in the cities i suspect there would be competition. in rural areas  there could be problems if cons in australia have adopted the monopoly model used in the US so successfully the last 25 years.

    and where's malcolm turnbull?

    thanks for the review.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 09:08:28 AM PDT

    •  Political talk radio (0+ / 0-)

      isn't particularly dishonest in rural Australia. It's mostly ABC radio outside of the cities which is government funded, though independently operated, and not-for-profit.  
      It has a definite conservative lean, but that seems to be a reflection of its audience rather then a attempt to brainwash it's audience.
      Rural Australia is certainly culturally conservative as you'd expect, but economically it is rather left wing. The Nationals and Katter's Australian Party could both be fairly described as Agrarian Socialist, and they do well in the bush and small inland towns.

      In the cities political talk radio is pretty right wing (culturally and economically) but there are limits to how much you can actually lie in Australian media and a lot of the stuff I hear when in the US would absolutely get you fined and taken of the air in Australia for being slanderously untrue.  

      Malcolm Turnbull's seat is Wentworth in the wealthy eastern suburbs of Sydney. He is a very popular and moderate representative, and former Liberal leader, and I've heard many avowed Labor supporters say they would love to have him on their side. The big question for Wentworth this cycle is whether the Greens can finish second ahead of Labor.

      •  thanks. i know the RW radio model has spread and (0+ / 0-)

        i know there was some RW radio in sydney and was wondering. it's a curse.

        i went to high school with turnbull - he was a year ahead - but i remember him - head prefect i think but didn't seem like an asshole - but he may have been one to  hassle me for having buckles on my shoes - my feet were wide and i used it as an excuse to wear something i got in the US instead of the same uniform shoes. since i was a yank i got away with it and had to show a note from the headmaster until they got the message.

        i really miss the mirror and their regular pics from the  beaches of sydney. well, a lot more than that too.

        thanks for the review.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 05:54:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your predictions are way way (0+ / 0-)

    too optimistic for Labor. I think the problem is that you have failed to take into account internal polling which has shown massive swings in areas such as Hunter NSW, Western Sydney, and East Melbourne. Some seats that are widely expected to fall to the Libs, such as Werriwa, have been listed in your diary as "safe lab" even though this is certainly not the case. I think putting the divisions of La Trobe and Kingsford Smith in the same category is laughable.
    Liberal internal polling has shown a 15% swing in the Hunter region, and Labor themselves have said that holding Newcastle will be difficult. In the NSW state election in 2011 the Libs won the most seats in this region and I'm confident at least one out of 4 will fall (most likely newcastle or shortland).
    Public polling has been released from western Sydney in February showing that even Blaxland may fall. Internals have been released to the public from Victoria highlighting the fall of Chisholm and Bruce. Similarly, from the massive swing against Labor in the state seat of Perth in March, and the fact that a significant proportion of state Labor voters said that they will not vote for federal Labor, and even Stephen Smith himself admitting he will struggle to hold his seat highlights that Perth is lean Lib. This contrasts with a reasonably better performance by Labor in Fremantle in March.
    Your predictions for the Queensland state election last year were similarly way too optimistic for Labor.

    •  At some point (0+ / 0-)

      there will have to be a reconciliation between public and internal polling.
      I'm working purely off of public polling and not rumours of internals where no one knows the headline numbers, methodology, or number of respondents.
      That said I am very concerned about both asymmetric swings within individual states (particularly NSW) and what looks to be a clear difference between internals and public polling. The coalition would be up by perhaps more than 60-40 if some of these internal polls were extrapolated nationwide.
      I don't believe Werriwa will fall at this stage. There was a very hard and specific swing there in 2010 for local reasons. The model assumes that that swing did not reflect a permanent change in the electorate.
      There are no public polls showing a 15% swing in the Hunter, and I'm not sure why there would be as there was no greater swing in the Hunter in 2011 than in the rest of the state.
      I was too optimistic for Labor leading up to the Queensland state election. I thought that Labor could achieve their polling averages when in fact things fell completely apart in the final few weeks. Who knows, that might happen again federally?
      I appreciate and understand your criticisms and assure you that if public polling starts to swing another 3-5 point toward the coalition then this model will look a lot more like you are predicting. I think our only major difference is I'm basing this off a 54-46 two party preferred ballot whilst you see a probable 58-42 ballot.

      •  The 15% swing in Hunter (0+ / 0-)

        Came from a lib internal poll. If you follow the tallyroom website, you will come across some of these (there's a poster who has access to these internals). Evidence for this swing is further seen by the fact that Labor themselves seem rather unconfident of holding Newcastle. However there have been public polls of Western Sydney showing Blaxland, McMahon et al falling to the Libs, so you not taking this into account at all is unreasonable.
        I'm basing my prediction based around a 56/44 2PP as shown by the latest Newspoll and am taking into account the widely acknowledged fact that the largest swings seem to be concentrated in the safest Labor seats.

        •  so (0+ / 0-)

          is 35-45 seats a reasonable prediction for Labor?

        •  I know it did (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry if I implied otherwise. And I can absolutely see why the Liberals might want that poll public knowledge. But that there is a 15% swing in a Liberal internal is literally all we know about that poll.
          I agree that Western Sydney is very likely to swing harder than the rest of NSW. I'm hoping there will be enough quality data closer to the election to divide NSW up because I do believe that that is an issue with the model.
          Newspoll is a good poll. That also happens to have given the most pro-Coalition result of any the major polls at the moment. Which doesn't mean they are wrong, they are very good, but I'm taking Nielsen, Galaxy, Essential, and Morgan into account as well.
          The largest swings do seem to be concentrated in marginal and somewhat safe Labor seats. But mostly in internals, or small polls by less established outfits. They might be right or they might not be. I can't imagine a mechanism for such a thing to happen nationally but it'll be very interesting to see if it happens!  

  •  It's going to be a bloodbath (0+ / 0-)

    You wouldn't see influential Laborites, like Joel Fitzgibbon (who openly mocked the party organisation on live television) coming out like this if it wasn't absolutely catastrophic. Newspoll now shows 58-42 and funding has been cut from Corangamite, Deakin and La Trobe.

    And now a poll has come out from Isaacs (Mark Dreyfus's safe seat) showing a 15% swing to the Coalition there, and it toppling. This reconfirms my notion and the generally accepted view that the swing in safer seats in much greater than the national average.

    Your predictions really do need a complete rethink.

    •  That JWS poll (0+ / 0-)

      that had a 15.4% swing in Issac also had only very small swings in Melbourne Ports and Chisholm. If we were to use it as evidence that Isaacs will change hands we'd be compelled to assume that Labor would hold the other two seats. I'm fairly confident the truth is somewhere in the middle for all three seats but I guess we'll see.

      Newspoll however, as well as fresh polls from Essential and Morgan absolutely justifies refreshing the model with this week's new data included.
      The model now predicts Labor to hold just 48 seats, assuming you give each party seats that lean their way and split tossups. If you were of the opinion, as I believe you personally are, that the swing we be hardest in those seats where Labor can least afford it you might give all "tossups" and "lean Labors" to the Coalition. In that case Labour would hold only 43 seats after the election.
      Which I believe is more in line with your predictions?

      If the polls continue to shift the model's predictions will continue to shift.

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