Thursday, November 30, 2006

Southwick Heads South

The Southern Metropolitan Region has just produced a change of fortune for ALP millionaire

UPDATE: (December 1 17:00) There was some residual counting left over from yesterday and Thornley has taken the lead once again as the three main players race to the finish line. Its neck and neck and anyone can come out of this race the winner.

At the crucial conjunction point the vote was ..
GRN 46863
ALP 46814
LIB 41714
FF 9696
DEM 9197

People Power had just been eliminated and they top up the Democrats who are marginally below Family First.

The Democrats votes flow to the Greens who on the Democrats ticket first preferences cross the line with minimal surplus. (This is the segmentation order at play) The Democrats still have another 4,387 votes to distribute (that came to it as second preferences + their below the line volts to their lower candidates). The Green surplus (256 votes) is then distributed to the ALP.

The Democrats remaining votes are then distributed to the ALP pushing Thornley over the line a head of Southwick. with a margin of less then 20 votes.

You begin to see how close this race is. Those 20 could easily disappear in the exhausted pile or drift from the below the line voters. The Democrats and People Power preferences are keeping the Greens in the race but Labor and the Liberals are catching up fast. for latest analysis count sheet..

(November 30: 1700) Latest election counting has put David Southwick in the lead for the fifth spot in Southern Metropolitan: shattering ALP dot com millionaire Even Thornley's hopes of entering parliament and with t the ALP's dominance of both houses.

The long expected 7000 + postal votes have been counted and Southwick has received the lions share. It's literally with 0.04% less then 150 votes.

This will certainly go to a recount and may even go to court. There were a number of irregularities in the count with the Victorian Electoral Commissioner refusing to provide detailed information relevant to the conduct of the election. This would have to be one of the worst conducted counts in recent memory.

Already questions are being asked on a number of issues. The main issue appears dissatisfaction with the ALP decision to preselect a candidate in Western Metropolitan with close ties to Syria which has alienated Melbourne's Jewish Community who in turn dumped the ALP and voted on mass for the Liberal Party.

With the adoption of optional preferential voting Labor's fortune are expected to decline even further as many of the Green votes are expected to exhaust reducing Evans chance with them.


Andrew Landeryou has posted on the Other Cheek a real possibility that if the vote continues to unfold as it has in the last 24hrs ,where the Greens have been losing ground, there is realistic possibility that Evan Thornley could overtake the Greens and be elected on the back of a small surplus delivered to the ALP but the Liberal Party.

For each vote added to the table the quota changes. 2/3rds of each vote is absorbed in the existing four quotas.

Problem is we do not know how many ballot papers have been issued. We tried to get this information from the VEC but the Chief Electoral Commission was unable to unwilling to provide any statistics on the number of postal votes that had been issued. This information is normally readily available but for some reason Steve Tully refused to provide the data prior to Saturday's poll.

As a result it is difficult to ascertain. Certainly if there are more votes to be counted and the Greens percentage is declining then YES the Greens could lose out and could fall below Evan Thornley in which case Evan will cross the line first. Again its like walking around in the fog without necessary information. Another issue that needs to be examined is the impact of optional preferential voting. I am waiting to hear feedback from Scrutineers. Hopefully they will be able to secure a copy of the preference data file because without that there is no way they can properly scrutinise the election in this round without it. again this information use to be made available but Mr Tully has to date refused to make it available. With this election being close he will have to reconsider or face a court challenge.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brack's new team announce

Ex Melbourne Lord Mayor, Richard Wynne, appointed Local Government Minister responsible for the City of Melbourne

Andrew Landeryou (The Other Cheek) has just reported on the make-up of the new Bracks Government Ministry following a historic 3rd-term win for the Labor State Government

Not a bad team and it was good to see Dick Wynne allocated the most important Local Government Ministry. Dick, a former Lord Mayor of Melbourne, knows Local Government best. He should and hopefully will put his mark on the portfolio and continue with much needed reform of this sector.

When the ALP get around to fulfilling Bronwyn Pike's election promise to residents and business of Kensington to review the City of Melbourne's external boundaries, hopefully Dick will open up the review and include all players and interested parties (including Carlton, Prahran, South Yarra, Kensington and possibly Richmond and Albert Park, South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and St. Kilda regions - By suggestion is that a Greater City of Melbourne should take in the State Seats of Melbourne, Richmond, Prahran and Albert Park based loosely around the former Melbourne Province Boundaries with the Yarra being the central uniting focus)

The ALP has a clear mandate for reform of the inner city council and with Melbourne City Council's senior Liberal party member, Peter Clark, recently supporting a call for a review of the cities boundaries, the idea of Greater Melbourne might manage to make it onto the Governments reform agenda. if its going to happen then Dick is the man to oversee the transition.

We look forward to a successful term in office as the ALP works towards a forth term in 2010.

Changing boundaries

Review of Melbourne City Council's external boundaries must be broadened to include Prahran, South Yarra, and Carlton

The Bracks Government's ability to reinvent and rejuvenate itself is an important attribute of good goverance. The changes to the cabinet line up is a positive move and a new direction for the Labor Government and new faces and fresh talent take on the task of providing policy renewal and reform.

Candy Broad did not address the many issues still facing local government. There is a need not just to regularly review the internal representative boundaries of Local government but a need for further review of external boundaries as well.

The City of Melbourne is on such example. If it was not for Bronwyn Pike's commitment to review the City of Melbourne boundaries in respect for Kensington she would have been in a much closer fight to retain her seat.

Any review of the City of Melbourne external boundaries should not just be limited to Kensington. Carlton, Prahran and South Yarra should also be under consideration and opportunity provided to seek all residents' opinions and views on the creation of a Greater City of Melbourne. Democracy is about giving a voice to the people. Kensington residents' and others, myself included, have been calling for a review of the City's external boundaries ever since the Labor Government obtained office.

To deny the community the opportunity to have their proposals heard and acted on is a denial of representation and the right of the community to self determination on how best they are governed.

This issue must be put back on the agenda and the State Government has a clear mandate to do exactly that.

Anthony van der Craats

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Scrutinising elections in e-Space

Ongoing of concern about the conduct of electronic voting and the need for information to be readily available

The conduct of the 2006 Victorian State election had little to be desired, with the Victorian Electoral Commission again proving that it is the lesser of the two public authorities responsible for the conduct of public elections in Victoria.

The refusal of the VEC to publish detailed polling booth data for the Legislative Council and its failure to provide statistical information on the number of ballot papers issued prior to Saturday's election has denied Victorians the right of an open and transparent election.

We are told that the reason that polling booth data was not provided is that the ABC
thought that the information was unnecessary for their purposes. If the provision of relevant data was too much for the ABC then the VEC should have produced two separate data files and left it up to the ABC what they wanted to report on.

The VEC has an obligation that goes beyond information the media. It is about maintaining open and transparent process.

Question: Will the polling booth data and below-the line-preference data be readily available after the declaration of the poll or do we have to FOI them again?

In future hopefully those in the loop will not only recommended but insist on full disclose of detailed election results and that includes producing data on the number of postal votes, pre-poll ballots issued along with electronic votes being identifiable from ordinary manual votes.

The issue of the VEC accessing the e-voting data before the close of the poll raises a number of issues of ongoing concern about the security of the electronic voting voting system that's been implemented. What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the results are true and accurate and subject to independent, effective and proper scrutiny?

The recent mid term elections in the USA also highlight a number of issues.

The world was told that Florida's elections were a true and accurate account, but there was no way to independently verify the fact.

Our system is a little different. We have a a preferential voting system, one of the worlds best and most democratic. With preferential voting the need to provide the preference data used to calculate the results is crucial. Even more so when it involves a third-party data-entry process.

Whilst there are some mechanisms in place to limit some data-entry transcription problems the system is still is open and susceptible to errors.

In previous election counts the VEC refused to do a preliminary manual throw of preferences, preferring to jump in and start the random data-entry process. This resulted in nightmare as it made it extremely difficult and close to impossible for scrutineers to monitor the accuracy of the computerised data-entry count. Another check digit removed.

A preliminary throw of the below-the-line votes not only helps with analyzing the outcome of the election but it also assists in the data-entry and scrutiny of the ballot. Scrutineers can decide which votes are of interest and devote resources accordingly. (We had the absurd situation, during the Melbourne City Council and other municipal elections, where if there was 20 candidates and 20 data-entry personal up to 400 scrutineers would have been required to properly scrutinise the data-entry process) Without a preliminary manual distribution scrutineers were denied the right to effectively monitor the various processes.

Unlike the VEC the AEC also provided information on the informal votes which was included in the data-set the AEC provided. This was very interesting and useful as votes of interest could be identified, pulled out and rechecked.

In providing copies of the preference data-set, Scrutineers are afforded the opportunity of undertaking independent analysis of the data as the count unfolds. Various electronic data queries could be run against copies of the data, queries that would not normally be undertaken by the electoral office, highlighting again votes of interest that could then be subject to a secondary glance and review.

Most of the issues discussed above diminish if and when we remove the third-party data-entry process altogether and voters record their electronic vote directly. As we move closer an closer to a time when voters will use computer technology to record their votes directly in real time new and additional issues of concern begin to rise . Issues such as the electorate office undertaking a preliminary count of the vote prior to the close of the poll. (As appears to have been the case in this election)

Electronic voting machines MUST be fitted with write once read only recording devices so that we can be confident that the data has not been hacked into from a central location out in cyberspace. Copies of this data and backup disk must be made available to scrutineers at the close of the poll. Each unit must also be stand alone and not be reliant on a central data connection. The last thing you want is someone with access to this data recording information, unknown to others misusing that data by either changing a few preferences or selling the information to interested parties (Political and commercial). At the conclusion of the count a certified and digitally signed data copy of all votes and preferences MUST be published on the Governments Internet site as part of the declaration procedures.

The issues that have been identified in America are the same here and world wide. The more elections move into e-Space the greater the significance in the provision of data in order to ensure that the election process remains open and transparent and is subject to independent public scrutiny. Without this information, as has been evident in this count, the public and scrutineers are left in the dark.

In previous elections polling booth data and the number of ballot papers issued were available and should have been in this election.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Blogging the VEC

More problems and complaints about getting information from the VEC

Just to put it on the public record. I have received a number of complaints from candiadtes an campiagn managers about the efficency or lack there of the VEC and their counting system.

QUOTE: "getting information out of them has been terrible this time around. I don't necessarily blame the people that i have been dealing with but their systems seem to be terrible eg i can't get anything like an idea of how many absentee votes there are this year"

I have left the name of the candidates office out to protect their identity but I thought it is worth blogging some of these comments could this could become a bigger issue if the results get close.

I should also point out that the number fo complaints I have received, most via the telephone, are not just comming from the Labor Party but other parties and individuals also. All the complaints point to one man.

The failure of the VEC to provide relevant and important information that should be public in this election has been one of the worst on record. Which is an indictment on the VEC Chief Commissioner, Steve Tully.

The VEC has spent millions of dollars duplicating a computerised voting system and they can not provide basic information such as "How many postal and absentee ballot papers have been issued for each district?" Ok I will give them some benefit of doubt over absentee votes, but only just, I will not give them and excuse for not providing the number of postal ballot papers issued per district. Postal vote application closed last Thursday and a ballot paper should not have been sent out until they have checked the name off the roll. So there should be a record of how many postal votes have been issued.

The failure of the VEC to provide this information indicates that they have a problem with tallying this information. There is no excuse and Steve Tully must share responsibility for not proving this data. His reputation certainly is on the line as a lot of campaign managers and candidates are talking about it and we are blogging it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Upper Tally

Victorian Legislative Council Election

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Thursday November 5:30PM)

Change of fortune as predicted Southwick head South and takes the lead by the slimest of margins less then 150 votes and still counting (Click Here)

Click here for our latest analysis count datasheet details

UPDATE: (Monday November 27, 8:00PM)
Further analysis of the results as published by the VEC at 5:3OPM Monday November 27 indicates that postal, absentee and below the line votes will play a crucial role in the outcome of Western Victoria with a strong possibility of the DLP with the assistance of Family First could win the firth seat as as such deny the ALP absolute control in the Legislative Council. Other possible contenders are the National Party.

Latest fugars available indicate that the ALP may pull ahead of the Green vote which will mean the ALP wins the fifth spot and a third seat giving it absolute control of the legislative Council. Its a sea-saw close race with five competitors competing to the finish line.

All depends on the outcome of the race between Family First and the DLP, the National Party and the DLP, and the Greens and the ALP. There are thee main conjunction points that exist in the count and the result could tip either way.

It is difficult to make any accurate assessment due to the refusal of the Chief Commissioner Steve Tully to ensure that the counting of the election is open and transparent and subject to detailed independent analysis. His refusal to provide postal vote, absentee and prepolling statistics on the number of votes issued and the failure of the VEC to provide detailed polling both data further complicates independent analysis leaving many candidates and campaign managers in the dark. Akin to driving around Australia with a word map and no idea of the scale or distance. There are also issues with the data-entry/data quality of the VEC data with an additional space omitted in the DLP group name.

With the results of the election determined by computers it is essential that this information and details of the recorded preference allocations are readily available and that our election system is open and transparent. Mr Tully's refusal to provide this information, as requested, in a timely fashion brings the conduct of state election count into disrepute.

Attached below is a the latest theoretical distribution of below the line preferences.

Analysis of the Summary Results of the Upper-House election.

The following results of Saturday's count produced interesting reading as the results unfolded.

At one stage in the counting process it looked as though the Greens were going to lose all seats but as the count progressed the Greens, aided by People Power and Democrat feeders, crept across the line in two seats only (Southern and Northern Metro). Recent poll results have recorded a strong vote for Labor and the Liberals in Western and Eastern Metropolitan seats respectively. The gap has widened and with most of the vote counted it is difficult to see any change. As most of the parties have pretty much the same below the line vote it is difficult for any of the parties to bride that gap which is over 2,000 votes.

The election process was marred by the Chief Commissioner, Mr Steve Tully, who refused to provide information on the number of postal ballot papers that had been issued for each district. This information is normally available and provides an indication of what is outstanding and whether or not it will effect the results of the election. without this information there is no way knowing if that all illusive bundle of 50 votes will appear.

Mr Tully in spite numerous requests refused to make this important information available. WHY? Not having access to this basic information is akin to holding an election and not knowing the total number enrolled. If you do not know what has been issue how do you know what's missing.

This information is normally made available prior to the election postal vote applications closed on Thursday night. As a result of Mr Tully's refusal he left scrutineers of Monday nights count in the dark not knowing vital information as to whether or not Bronwyn Pike was elected or not. Bronwyn according to the VEC 2CP count was on a 1.5% margin similar to the 2002 election result but without knowing the number of postal votes that has been issued and the number of absentee votes yet to come in, she was left wanting.

The VEC’s conduct of the count of the election was certainly left wanting and raises question why do we need to 2 electoral commissions, the VEC and the AEC, this duplication is a waste of limited public resources. The web VEC’s site service was also inadequate with detailed information related to polling pace results not readily made available.

Further there were additional concerns that the Chief Commissioner and VEC staff had undertaken a, possibly illegal, preliminary early count of the results of the election recorded at electronic polling booths. If this is true then there are a number of questions outstanding in regards to the VEC’s rights to undertake a preliminary count of the election results prior to the close of the poll on Saturday night in the absence of scrutineers. If not resolved soon this issue will be subject to review by the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal and with the Chief Commissioner and staff called on to give evidence as to the conduct of the election with a report being made to the State Parliament.

Mr Tully has denied and refuted the advice provided by Glenda Fraser, Manager of Election Services, who in an email forward to the Media on Friday indicated that the Commission had in fact undertaken a count and analysis of first preference and 2CP results of votes recorded on the VEC electronic voting system. Quote: “After analysing the number of voting centre results entered last night for 1st prefs (District and Region) and 2 CP we have realised that everyone could be waiting around all night for what would be dribs and drabs that we do not anticipate would make an impact on the result” If it turns out that this account is true and the preliminary count was illegal then Mr Tully should resign or be sacked. A decision to sack Mr Tully would need to be made by the Victorian State Parliament.

Results of of the close of early this morning (Sunday November 26)

Metropolitan Seats (Click on the graphs below to view a larger version)

Rural Victoria

Note: See above for updated distribution graph. The ALP is currently ahead of the Greens in the count which could see it win the fifth spot and absolute control of the upper house.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Early results

Results in to date show Labor is in a winning position

Early results indicate a safe win for Melbourne, Richmond and Prahran for the ALP.


Late vote return shows the Greens creeping over the line on People Power and Democrats Prefernces

Greens scrape in in Northgern. Southern and Western Metropolitan Regions confirming earlier preictaions based on the News poll with a surprise win in the Westsern etro seat as tyhe ALP misses out on a fourth spot.

Melbourhne will not be known for some time and there is concern that the VEC has failed to provide information on teh number of Postal Votes that have been issued. WHY we fail to understand. Overall the VEC web site was hopeless. Lacking the nessassary detail as is normally required. Many issues behind the scenes need to be reviewed.

The Liberal party is out polling the Greens in Richmond and as such Richmond will be a safe seat

Bronwyn (ALP) is set to retain the seat of Melbourne after a strong campaign in the last week. Greens vote lower then in 2002.

Tony Lupton set to retain Prahran against expectations. Prahran is the litmus test seat. A great result which indicates that the ALP will retain government. Well done

Upper-house result with 35% counted

Northern Metropolitan:
Early indications are that the results are not as expected 3 ALP 1 Liberal 1 DLP

Southern Metropolitan:
Expected result 3 ALP 2 Liberal

Friday, November 24, 2006

Lost in e-Space

Questions asked about security and probity of e-Voting centers go unanswered

The VEC has reported that it has already undertaken analysis and processed voting result from e-Voting centres which raises a number of questions such as what sort of analysis has been undertaken and who has access to this data and how secure is the information?

The VEC assures us that it is secure but will not say what sort of reports and analysis have been undertaken. It is one thing to collect statistical information on e_voting system but it is another if the results of the e-voting have been analysed in the absence of public scrutiny and independent review.

It is wrong to ascertain the results of voting before the close of the polls on Saturday 6:00PM November 25, 2006. This sort of information is readily open to abuse and goes well beyond the sort of sampling you would expect from public opinion poll.

If the information is purely of a statistical nature (i.e.. No results or analysis of voting has been undertaken) then why has this statistical information not been made public.

Information on the number of people who have voted, the number of postal vote application and pre-poll voting should be readily available and published daily on the VEC web site. It's akin to holding an election and not knowing teh total number enrolled.

The main problem as we see it is that the processing of this information is undertaken in e-Space and, it would appear, not subject to proper public scrutiny.

Having asked questions as to the type of analysis and summary data produced the VEC have gone silent.

We have already expressed concern that postal voting application statistics are not readily available and are missing from the reports we have received. Lost in e-Space.

Much more review and analysis is required of our e-voting system before public confidence is assured. The Key to maintaining public confidence is the publication of all statistical data so as to ensure the conduct of elections is open and transparent and subject to proper scrutiny. Something that is missing when information is denied or not available. It is not good enough to just say "Trust us".

Keeping you posted

VEC Postal voting statistics still missing and unaccounted


The table below is the latest information on postal votes provided by the VEC.

What's missing, again, is that the number of postal votes that have been issued.

Update: 3:00 PM

Having written to the VEC now on five occasions plus one phone call seeking an update on the final number of postal votes issued per district we are still left waiting.. Postal votes closed last Thursday and the number of postal ballots issued per district should have been readily available by now. Even under a manual system this information was available before the poll , under an computerised system and millions of dollars spent the VEC is either unable or unwilling to provide the number of postal ballots issued. WHY? If there is a disputed return this will become an issue in the courts. It is important that all ballot papers are properly accounted for. The provision of this information prior to the counting of the ballot is important. The last thing we want to see is a mysterious undisclosed bundle of 50 ballot papers arrive after the poll has closed.

Those wishing to obtain the missing data and statistics on the number of postal ballots that have been issued as opposed to the number returned should contact :

Glenda Frazer, Manager Election Services
T 03 9299 0590
F 03 9621 1204
M 0413 043 012

--- end of update.

The VEC reports a vague figure of over 200,000 votes issued but for some unknown reason is unable to provide a detailed breakdown figure on each District. Which is surprising as you would have thought that all postal voting applications would have been checked off the electronic voters list before being sent out and as such statistics on the number of postal; votes should be readily available.

The VEC has spent millions of dollars on IT support and this important information cannot be reaily provided. I understand that postal returns are still being processed (even then they are electronically bar-coded) but the number of postal votes issued should have been available. We had requested that this information be provided daily but without success. This information should be on the VEC's web site as part of its committment to maintaining an open and transparent election system.

State Election 2006
24-11-2006 21:32
DistrictEarly VotesPostal Votes
Albert Park District33392175
Altona District35271025
Ballarat East District19971875
Ballarat West District39521975
Bass District26062649
Bayswater District21082400
Bellarine District31972351
Benalla District30171575
Benambra District44471800
Bendigo East District30191875
Bendigo West District21732049
Bentleigh District16862475
Box Hill District16062850
Brighton District18502400
Broadmeadows District11711075
Brunswick District20221275
Bulleen District21401977
Bundoora District23471500
Burwood District20382674
Carrum District26751950
Caulfield District40293975
Clayton District14871375
Cranbourne District18072325
Dandenong District21701725
Derrimut District34871051
Doncaster District18102175
Eltham District27962050
Essendon District28661600
Evelyn District23352325
Ferntree Gully District28232250
Footscray District32981401
Forest Hill District16342150
Frankston District20582201
Geelong District24852326
Gembrook District20552300
Gippsland East District34721328
Gippsland South District22381175
Hastings District33842176
Hawthorn District23002074
Ivanhoe District29701825
Keilor District29011351
Kew District15711999
Kilsyth District19362675
Kororoit District38351200
Lara District21061750
Lowan District51351525
Lyndhurst District17551775
Macedon District62652099
Malvern District21062200
Melbourne District30691525
Melton District45861125
Mildura District4957781
Mill Park District16451175
Mitcham District18832575
Monbulk District17181950
Mordialloc District17042200
Mornington District30092025
Morwell District47901275
Mount Waverley District25062750
Mulgrave District16681575
Murray Valley District5958800
Narracan District41431974
Narre Warren North District19002175
Narre Warren South District25742950
Nepean District42703350
Niddrie District17811601
Northcote District26501825
Oakleigh District14232225
Pascoe Vale District15141450
Polwarth District19051850
Prahran District22032025
Preston District15341400
Richmond District24331224
Ripon District32191550
Rodney District25321000
Sandringham District18692425
Scoresby District22602475
Seymour District18722352
Shepparton District3893600
South Barwon District25492499
South-West Coast District70591600
Swan Hill District2353949
Tarneit District33281450
Thomastown District13171025
Warrandyte District22222423
Williamstown District18241449
Yan Yean District27201976
Yuroke District19511425

We will keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Upper-House Analysis

based on recent ACNielson and Morgan Polls

Election Night Update: Newspoll and ACNielson proves to be the most reliable polls published. The results of the election were more or less in line with their predictions with a last minute 1-2% swing to the Government on polling day. The Liberal Party in the upper-house suffered a 2% swing against them compared to the earlier polls two weeks out from the election.

The election was marred by Chief Commissioner Mr Tully who refused to provide statistical information on the number of postal votes issued (a document that is not confidential and in the past this information was readily avialable - see posts above) bringing both the VEC and the election into disrepute. Victorians and the new Parliamnet need to ask do we really need two public electoral offices duplicating what is essentially the same services at considerable cost to the state and the public purse. Judging by Mr Tully's performance the answer is no.

Election Day Update: 25/11/2006.

A election day Newspoll published today in the Australian Newspaper (See also the Herald Sun report published today) shows a last minute rebound to the ALP with voters opting to stick with the devil you know then to risk the new born. Greens are also peg back from the levels reported by Morgan Poll to just over 9%. This would bring into play our earlier analysis of upper-house results with the Greens only securing 2 upper-house seats. Today's poll is the one that really counts and we expect to call the results of the upper-house sometime before 9PM.

Below is a revised analysis of the Victorian upper-house results based on the notional distribution of party statewide votes as reported in the Morgan and ACNielson Polls published Tuesday/Monday.

The polls shows a statewide average vote for the ALP on 40.5%, the Liberal Party on 36%, National Party on 4%, Greens on 12%, and Others a total 7.5%. This is notional statewide data and is not based on any breakdown or detailed analysis of polling undertaken in each region. Unfortunately detailed breakdown data was not available. Information from internal party polling indicates a localised shift in the vote which is not accurately reflected in this analysis which is based solely on public information available at the time.

The recent polling has indicated an increase and consolidation of the Greens vote from 8% at two weeks earlier to 12% as of late last week with the Greens taking 2% from the Liberal Party. the consolidation of the vote between the main players has left a little room for other independents.

The election in Northern and Southern Metropolitan will most likely be decided on primary above-the-line votes and may not go to preferences.

The Western Victoria region is difficult to predict and the fifth seat could go to the DLP, Liberal or National Parties. In theory the DLP could win the fifth seat having stated from a low 2.5% primary vote. The success of the DLP in Western Victoria depends very much on the support of other minor parties and the surplus of the main players (ALP, Liberal, NP and the Greens) If the DLP is unsuccessful the DLP vote will most likely flow onto the National Party. This is a seat that will depend very much on the below the line preferences.

We will be monitoring and collating data on the upper-house on election night and hope to provide a revised estimate based on the primary vote and above-the-line returns.

Vote Distribution Graphs

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Melbourne's Mascot Lord Mayor

John So what do you do?

Getting back to basics and the main purpose of this blog being the Melbourne City Council.

The Age today reports on the fact that Melbourne's mascot and most expensive Lord Mayor John So does little of the real work when it comes to earning his keep. John So receives a salary of $100,000.00 plus lurks and perks that double that amount.

Absent from all committee meetings, John So is not well informed and is more interested in seeking awards and self-grandeur then new policy development. In the meantime Melbourne City Council's committee structure is failing to provide real effective and professional input whilst local communities go unrepresented. The City Council which is too inward looking has not taken advantage of professional outside expert input.

In the absence of an effective Lord Mayor, Melbourne should open up its committee structure and appoint outside experts and community representatives to its advisory committees.

The current system of every councillor except the Lord Mayor doing all the work is not delivery good governance. The City Councillor's are being over worked and side-tracked from the real task of reviewing the Council's administration and policy development.

'Mascot mayor' under attack
Source: The Age - November 21, 2006

JOHN So might be our bro, and a favourite in the vote for World Mayor 2006 next month, but the popular Lord Mayor also appears to be bending Melbourne City Council's own rules by not attending the committee meetings where most of its work is done.

Cr Peter Clarke, who has branded Cr So a "mascot mayor", says he will campaign to force the Lord Mayor to attend meetings as part of his $110,000 annual salary.

"It is fine for John to turn up to the Myer Christmas window launch and sit next to Jennifer Hawkins — that's the ceremonial role he plays well," Cr Clarke said. "But he doesn't do anything else."

There is also disquiet among several other councillors, including from within Cr So's own team of supporters, about his unwillingness to attend committee meetings.

Cr Clarke last week lost a vote calling on the Lord Mayor to "honour" the council's "good governance charter".

Tonight he will call for another vote.

The charter requires the Lord Mayor to attend at least some of the council's seven committee meetings, instead of just the one council meeting each month.

"He attends no committee meetings," Cr Clarke said. "He needs to attend because he is paid to go."

Since being elected Lord Mayor in 2001, Cr So has seldom attended committee meetings, the main forum for residents and businesses to present matters to the council.

The public rarely presents matters at the monthly council meetings that the Lord Mayor attends. The council meeting is often little more than a rubber stamp for decisions made by committees.

Cr So's predecessors, Ivan Deveson and Peter Costigan, the only lord mayors since council amalgamations under the Kennett government, rarely missed committee meetings. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney and also a member of the NSW State Parliament, attends every Sydney City Council committee meeting.

Cr So defended his non-appearance, saying he was elected as part of a team that included Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer, who attends all committee meetings.

"If Peter Clarke wants to make it an issue, he should have made it an issue at the 2004 election," Cr So said.

He said he dealt with all issues in private meetings with constituents before matters came before the council — something Cr Clarke said left the council open to corruption or nepotism.

The Lord Mayor rejected this. "It's not done behind closed doors," he said.

Cr So said he did not take offence at being called a "mascot" mayor. "People can call me all sorts of names, but the most important thing is that Melbourne is doing well."