The Legislative Assembly counts for the NSW election were completed on Maundy Thursday — they can be found at the NSW Electoral Commission’s website — but from my point of view there remains one deficiency.

Although all seats have been counted out to a two-candidate preferred vote, there are 21 seats where there is still no count of the conventional two-party preferred vote. They are Balmain, Barwon, Charlestown, Dubbo, Goulburn, Hawkesbury, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Manly, Marrickville, Newcastle, North Shore, Northern Tablelands, Orange, Pittwater, Port Macquarie, Shellharbour, Sydney, Tamworth, Vaucluse and Willoughby.

When these counts are done (for information purposes only) it will be possible to know the two-party preferred percentages and the swings in all the seats. On past performance, however, that could take a few months. In the meantime, I must make estimates. From these I am in no doubt that Labor’s share of the aggregate two-party preferred vote will be above 52% but below 53%.

My estimate is 52.5%. If that figure turns out to be correct, then the swing to the Coalition has been 3.7%. I say that because we know that in March 2003, Labor secured 56.2% of the aggregate two-party preferred vote.

In seats let me compare the 2003 and 2007 general elections. In 2003, Labor won 55 seats, Liberals 20 and Nationals 12. Six Independents were also elected. In 2007, Labor won 52 seats, Liberals 22 and Nationals 13. Six Independents were also elected. Note, however, that Manly returned an Independent in 2003 but was won by the Liberal Party in 2007. Lake Macquarie saw a Labor member returned in 2003 but he was defeated by an Independent in 2007.

The media were accustomed to tell us that the Nationals gained Tweed and Murray-Darling in 2007. True, but let us not forget that their seat of Lachlan was abolished in the redistribution. Thus it is the case that the Liberals gained two seats (Manly from an Independent and Port Stephens from Labor) whereas the Nationals made a net gain of only one seat.

Pittwater was won by the Liberal Party both in 2003 and again in 2007. The sitting Independent defeated in 2007 was a “by-election oncer” who took the seat at the November 2005 by-election when John Brogden resigned. So the Liberal Party merely regained Pittwater.

The Mackerras pendulum differs from that of Antony Green in that mine is done strictly on a two-party preferred basis. Because my pendulum cannot be completed until these further 21 seat-counts are done I cannot say for certain what the median seat will be. However, I believe it will be Monaro where the Nationals now require a swing of 6.3% to take the seat from Labor. On my pre-election pendulum the median seat was Menai where the Liberals needed a swing of 8.4%.

I can say for certain that these are the swings needed by the Liberal Party to take the other marginal Labor seats: 0.8 in Miranda, 2.7 in Menai, 3.3 in Wollondilly, 4 in Camden, 4.8 in Gosford, 4.9 in The Entrance, 6.9 in Wyong, 7 in Londonderry, 7.3 in Coogee, 7.7 in Drummoyne, 8.8 in Heathcote and 9.3 in Penrith.

To the question how much progress the Coalition made in 2007, I would answer in three statistics. First they gained three seats net from Labor, two for the Liberals and one for the Nationals. Second, the overall swing was 3.7%. Third the swing in the median seat was 2.1%.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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