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29 October 2020
By Matt Hrkac

Geelong Council 2020: analysis of early results for Bellarine, Brownbill and Windermere Wards (update: and Kardinia Ward)

With counting now under way, we are getting some early results from Bellarine, Brownbill and Windermere Wards (update: and Kardinia Ward). These results and analysis are as follows:

Just over a third of the vote has been counted in Bellarine Ward, and it shows Stephanie Asher leading decisively with well over a quota in her own right, plus a significant surplus amounting to just under half a quota. Trent Sullivan is just under half a quota, as is Jim Mason.

On her how to vote material, Asher recommended a vote for herself, followed by Sullivan. With both being ideologically alike, I can't imagine a significant leakage of preferences from Asher's surplus going to other candidates ahead of Sullivan, which in all likelihood will push him to a position where he will be able to get to a quota.

I think Jim Mason should be able to hold on to the last seat from his current position. Crucially, Elise Wilksinson has recommended her voters preference Mason at number 2 on her how to vote cards. If followed, this will make it difficult for other candidates to catch up.

All in all, the three incumbents should be returned for a second term.

Under a quarter of the vote has been counted in Brownbill Ward. Sarah Mansfield currently leads the count and has just over 0.8 of a quota. With Gabriel Wenyika publishing how to vote cards recommending a number 2 for Jose Rodriguez and a number 3 for Mansfield, this should be enough to push her over a quota (Rodrigeuz is too far behind to catch up, even with a majority of Wenyika's preferences).

Melissa Cadwell is in with a slim chance of taking one of the seats. On current numbers, Cadwell needs around 200 votes to jump ahead of Eddy Kontelj - which exists with Alex Csar and Louis Hehir, the two other Labor Party members running - and around 400 votes to push ahead of Stretch Kontelj, assuming neither of them benefit too heavily from preference flows. From here, Cadwell would require less than 100 votes to jump ahead of Peter Murrihy, assuming that he too doesn't gain significant flows of preferences from earlier eliminations.

The two Kontelj's have seemingly shot themselves in the foot by running together, as both could miss out on a seat if Cadwell does manage to push ahead of Murrihy on preferences. However, a quota does exist between the two Kontelj's and preference flows between the pair are likely to be tight. This will work against Murrihy.

Mansfield should be re-elected, followed likely by one of the two Kontelj's. The final seat will be between Cadwell and Murrihy, depending on who finishes ahead.

Update 30 October 2020 - the vote count is now more than 60 per cent. Mansfield and Eddy Kontelj have improved their positions, while Stretch Kontelj has fallen behind Eddy. Murrihy's relative position has also deteriorated slightly. Cadwell's position, on the other hand, has improved slightly, who requires just over a thousand votes from preferences to push ahead of Murrihy. Around 1,200 votes exists with Hehir and Csar, which will be enough if how to vote material has been followed by voters as well as assuming Murrihy doesn't benefit from preference flows.

One of the two Kontelj's (Eddy most likely at this point) will get the second seat. Final seat is still between Cadwell and Murrihy.

Update 2 November 2020 - close to 80 per cent of the vote has been counted in Brownbill Ward (presumably the full turnout for this election). Mansfield, Murrihy and the Kontelj's have all improved their position while Cadwell's position is looking more precarious. Although it's still doable for Cadwell, I'd favour Murrihy to be re-elected at this point.

Update 2 November 2020 - like in 2017, there is only around 5 per cent of the total vote that separates all but the top two candidates, making this the most difficult ward to predict the outcome. However we can get some ideas as to what the final outcome may be based on who's running and their published how to vote material.

There were no fewer than four Labor Party members standing in this ward. Almost all of them placed Jack Williams at number 2 or 3 on their how to vote material and given his current standing position, combined with there being well over a quota among the Labor Party members, I'd favour his chances of election on this basis.

It seems however that incumbent Pat Murnane has been defeated, or his position is at least incredibly precarious. He has recommended preferences to fellow incumbents Bruce Harwood followed by Ron Nelson - this will be enough to push Bruce Harwood to a quota but with little surplus meaning Nelson won't benefit a great deal.

A possible wildcard however is Belinda Moloney, who is in a strong position to benefit from Jen Gamble and Anthony Hamilton-Smith's preferences (number 2 on both candidates' how to vote material). However, these two eliminations alone won't be enough to push Moloney over a quota. However, if Williams is elected before Moloney's elimination, she'll most likely benefit from the majority of preferences - pushing her over a quota.

All in all, I think Harwood should be comfortably re-elected. The second seat I'm calling for Williams. The third seat will be between Nelson and Moloney, with Moloney favoured.

With more than 60 per cent of the vote counted in Windermere Ward, it's looking like things may be more interesting than previously thought, particularly for the second seat.

Anthony Aitken should hold a quota in his own right, however Kylie Grzybek's position becomes very precarious, who is about 2200 votes (or 11%) behind a quota.

On her published how to vote cards, Monique Connell recommended her voters place Enamul Haque at number 2, followed by Sarah Hathway at number 3. However, I expect that there will to be significant leakage. Hathway needs just over half of Connell's preferences to jump ahead of Grzybek. Haque needs just over a third of Connell's preferences to jump ahead of Hathway. From here, the outcome will be determined by who finishes ahead. Hathway has recommended her voters preference Haque ahead of the two incumbents on her published how to vote cards, which if followed will be enough to push Haque to a quota.

If after Connell's elimination, Hathway remains ahead of Haque, it becomes a lot more speculative. Haque did not publish any how to vote material, however I fully expect that in general - if people aren't voting for the two incumbents, given how tightly they were coordinating their campaigns, that they'll be voting against them. This means that this will likely be enough to push Hathway ahead of Grzybek and to a quota.

Either way, I don't favour Grzybek's chances of re-election on these numbers, even with Aitken's surplus 0.18 of a quota.

Update 2 November 2020 - the full turnout in Windermere Ward has been counted. Aitken's position has fallen but he still gets a quota in his own right, but it makes it more challenging for Gryzbek, who's primary vote position remains the same. While Hathway, Connell and Haque's positions have all improved slightly. Enamul finishes narrowly in last place, meaning he'll be the first eliminated. Connell will need slightly less than half of Haque's preferences to move ahead of Hathway, which may be a difficult feat considering Haque's lack of how to vote material. If Connell is next eliminated, Hathway will be the most likely beneficiary of her preferences and this will be enough to push her ahead of Grzybek and over a quota. The same will likely be true for Connell if Hathway is the second candidate eliminated.

The second seat will be between Hathway and Connell in my opinion. Grzybek's chance of re-election is now a lot more distant than it was earlier.

Data source: Mitchell's Front Page.

About the author:

Matt Hrkac is a writer and photographer based in Geelong. He has particular interests in politics, elections, social movements and the trade union movement. If you like what you see here, please consider giving a small donation to help cover the expenses.

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Total comments: 5

Ah boy, Kardinia ward voters deliver again giving no candidate — apart from Bruce — a clear lead. I think Andrew Alexander, along with Belinda Moloney and Jack Williams are in with a shot. Depends on where they all finish and who is first eliminated.

If the top candidates (from bottom to top) are Pat Murnane, Andrew Alexander, Belinda Moloney, Jack Williams, Ron Nelson and Bruce Harwood, I see it going as follows:
* Murnane eliminated, transfers to Bruce Harwood, pushing him over a quota (first elected)
* A fraction of Bruce Harwood’s surplus transfers to Ron Nelson.
* Andrew Alexander is eliminated, transfers mostly to Jack Williams, pushing him over a quota (second elected) with a substantial surplus.
* Williams’ surplus transfers to Belinda Moloney, pushing her ahead of Ron Nelson.
* Ron Nelson eliminated, transfers to Belinda Moloney, who is last elected.

If Alexander ends up ahead of Jack Williams, then he will be elected, with a surplus transfer to Williams. Belinda Moloney would then be next eliminated pushing Williams to a quota.

If Moloney is eliminated after Murnane, that again will favour Williams and Alexander. Whoever is next eliminated elects the other, and probably pushes the one who misses out ahead of Ron Nelson. Either way, I think Ron is toast.

It will be interesting if the preferencing decision of the Climate Alliance re-elects an ALP councillor rather than a Green.  I understand that Jim has been good on climate change issues, but is that all they based their decision on?

Peter Murrihy will get the third seat ahead of Melissa Cadwell IMO. I can see people who aren’t voting for Stretch or Eddy Kontelj as their first preference ranking them down the bottom, but the split between Murrihy and Cadwell will be a lot more even.

Assuming there is not a significant leakage to the Konteljs, I estimate that Cadwell will need at least three quarters of preference flows from lower placed candidates to end up ahead of Peter Murrihy. Maybe a bit less than that.

I think incumbency is in Murrihy’s favour here.

I agree, Kylie Grzybek’s position is looking not so great in Windermere. There is more than a full quota locked up in the bottom three candidates and none of them are particularly friendly towards the incumbents.

Brownbill ward is looking very interesting. Latest numbers now show Mansfield has increased her share of a quota. Melissa Cadwell to gain just 3% on preferences to move ahead of all of Eddy, Stretch and Peter Murrihy. She is in with a real shot, though not at the expense of both Kontelj’s unfortunately.

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