Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tasmanian State election 2010: the fight for Denison

That “pokie losses counter” on top of Andrew Wilkie’s campaign vehicle should have somehow been linked to Bruce Taylor’s computer room tonight – that way, it might have ensured that Wilkie’s total vote kept ticking over, when he needed it most.

Wilkie nearly pulled off the heist of the century – coin by coin. Footballers talk about doing “the one percenters”. This described Wilkie’s tilt at the fifth seat in Denison, literally. With nobody else in his column to get slabs of votes from, he just kept finding a little bit from everyone else. Almost the same principle that the pokies run with…just keep some from every player, and you’re bound to win at the end of the day.

His vote total resembled an ant-hill, a little something added to the pile with each scrutiny.

Of the early exclusions, Wilkie kicked off with a blast, picking up 33% (99 votes) of the Socialist Alliance total, but then only little crumbs followed from the early Labor, Liberal and Green casualties:

Percentage to Wilkie of
excluded candidate’s total
3% of Ogilvie
1.5% of Sturges (whose cut-up elected Bartlett 2)
2% of Branch
2.5% of Stevenson (whose cut-up elected Groom 3)
2% of Franks
2.5% of Cover (whose cut-up elected O’Connor 1)
2.2% of Ann

In addition Wilkie received only 2% of Groom’s quota surplus, only 1% of O’Connor’ surplus (3 votes) and one solitary vote from Bartlett’s surplus distribution.

To this point, the leakage (to parties other than their own) from each candidate excluded was nothing unexpected (except for the Socialists) with the excluded Libs leaking around 10-11%, the Greens the same and the ALP slightly higher at around 12%.

As the votes became more concentrated in a lesser number of candidates, the cut-ups started to spray and the exhausting votes began building up.

So too, did Wilkie’s slice of the distributions – and he was coming home with a wet sail…

Lowrie leaked 17.5%: 3.5% to the Greens, 5.5% to Wilkie, 7.5% to Labor and 1% to exhaust
Singh leaked a massive 28%: 6% to Archer, 8% to Wilkie, 10% to Burnett and 4% (157 important votes) exhausting – with 3400 votes still going to Bacon, electing him 4 in the process.

Bacon’s surplus – whose big personal vote had saved Labor’s own “bacon” in Denison – would now part-decide the last seat.

Crucially, almost exactly 50% of this surplus (489 votes) exhausted, demonstrating the strong prevalence of the “1-5 only” voting pattern amongst Labor voters in Denison.

Of the rest of the Bacon surplus, Archer snagged 18% with a significant 16.5% to Wilkie and 15.5% to Burnet. This left Burnet 390 votes in arrears of Wilkie (with Archer leading Wilkie by around 1650 votes). And so the last Green candidate’s 6032 votes were cut up.

So there Andrew Wilkie was – challenging the last woman Liberal standing in Elise Archer for the fifth seat in Denison - and an unprecedented win.

Burnet’s votes fell: Wilkie 44% (2619) Archer 21% (1293) and 35% (2119 votes) going to exhaust; suggesting a moderate rate of 1-5 voting amongst Green voters, as well.

Archer was declared elected in front of Wilkie, leading by 315 votes.

It was not to be for the anti-pokies crusader. At least not here, in Denison, in the Assembly.

There’s always Elwick…and potentially another long list of candidates to work over – some of them more than likely sharing the ballot paper for the second time in a year with the persistent – and undeniably popular - Andrew Wilkie.

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