Anyone else getting sick and tired of the rampant nonsense being peddled about the Higgins by-election result?
Just to pick a random perpetrator, Tim Colebatch – a normally sensible person – thought it would be wise to write some particularly non-sensible things in The Age about what really happened in Higgins. In a rather courageous intro to the story, he wrote:
Something unusual happened at last Saturday’s by-election for Higgins. The Liberal vote surged in traditional Labor booths. But why?
Was it, as Tony Abbott and his supporters hailed it, a sign that ordinary working Australians are turning against Labor’s policy on emissions trading? Or did it just show, as ABC analyst Antony Green argues, that Higgins is an unrepresentative safe Liberal seat where ”not much happened. Everyone should move on.”
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Well no, not yet
Actually, he should have moved on.
The most striking thing was where the swings happened. In the 11 booths that voted Labor in 2007, the Liberals picked up an average 7 per cent swing, whereas in 10 of the 25 Liberal booths, there was a swing away from them – in Toorak West, by a remarkable 21 per cent!
Three booths had bizarre rises or falls in numbers. In blue-ribbon Toorak West, voter numbers fell 65 per cent; in Kooyong Park, by 49 per cent. In both, the Greens vote soared way above Labor’s last score.
There were 83,779 votes case in 2007, but only 68,671 at the by-election – which makes the number of votes cast at the by-election about 82% of the size of the number cast in 2007.
The Toorak West booth in 2009 was at a different address with a low visibility compared to where it was in 2007. We can see the results of that from the number or people that cast a ballot in Toorak West – 428 in the by-election compared to 1231 in the 2007 general election.
Change the address of a booth, stick it up some stairs and hold a by-election – those sorts of large changes in both voter turnout and party results will happen in a booth.
While Kooyong Park only had around half as many votes cast there in 2009 that it enjoyed at the last federal election, the booths closest to Kooyong Park actually performed better in turnout than the electorate wide average. Malvern received 99% of the number of votes in 2009 that it received in 2007, Malvern Lower 87.8%, Toorak 94% and Armadale 95% – compared to the electorate wide average of 82%.
A large number of people that voted in Kooyong Park in 2007 didn’t do so in 2009, but they most certainly did vote at surrounding booths instead – hence the higher than average turnout in those surrounding booths.
Next he went:
Yet in Hughesdale North – maybe the only booth in Higgins that is truly working-class – voter numbers soared 58 per cent, and the Liberal vote by 14 per cent. That’s weird.
No, it’s not weird, because at the 2007 election those voters were spread among two booths – Hughesdale North and Oakleigh. Oakleigh just happens to be in the next electorate east by a few streets, so wasn’t open for the Higgins by-election. As a very expected and extremely not weird result, a large number of those 2007 Oakleigh voters simply went to the nearest booth – Hughesdale North.
Tim wasnt the only one to be guilty here – this sort of nonsense was dime a dozen over the last week in just about every MSM publication.
If this is what it’s going to be like as the Federal election approaches – please, shoot me now.