Higgins & Bradfield by-elections

The Liberals have won comfortably in both the Melbourne-based Higgins and Sydney-based Bradfield by-elections, getting over 50% of the primary vote.

The Labor Party didn’t run in either electorate, so it was the Green Party that was the major opposition. In Higgins (Melbourne) the Greens picked the anti-growth, anti-development, anti-capitalist, anti-internet, anti-sex campaigner crazy Clive Hamilton… who managed to pick up a respectable 35%. I hope that a lot of that is a protest, or simply an anti-Liberal vote, because it’s scary to think that 35% of voters want us to be poorer.

Of the minor parties, the best performances came from the Sex Party (3.4%, 3.5%) and the Democratic Labour Party (2.1%, 3.9%). The Democrats (remember them?) got 2.4% in Higgins, One Nation did poorly (0.3%, 0.6%) and surprisingly Family First didn’t run. In Bradfield the Christian Democrats got 3.4% of the vote spit between 9 candidates, including the donkey vote.

Interestingly, there were three climate change specific parties. The climate skeptics got 1.7% and 1.8%, which was quite good considering they didn’t get their party registered in time and so had to run as independents. The climate change alarmists got 1.1% (Bradfield), and the nuclear energy mob got 1% (Bradfield).

The Liberal Democrats got 0.4% 0.5% (Higgins) and 0.7% 0.8% (Bradfield). It doesn’t look like much, but it is an improvement on the 2007 federal election. For instance, in 2007 the LDP got 0.1% in Wentworth (Sydney), 0.1% in Bennelong (Sydney), and 0.1% in La Trobe (Melbourne). At this rate of improvement, they’ll be in power in 10 years.

13 thoughts on “Higgins & Bradfield by-elections

  1. I think you LDP mob should just merge with the Sex Party. They share your views on gay marriage and internet censorship. You would increase your vote and properly have more fun.

  2. There may well be several other small “single issue” parties which could slot in well with LDP. The Sex Party is one such.Parties such as the “Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy” which had a candidate in Bradfield (but not Higgins) who polled about the same as Lucy Gabb (LDP) could well be accepted into LDP, if only they would (could?) look outside their single issue.
    The bigger picture is whether in a general election, they would exchange preferences with LDP, where their vote would count, or simply pass it to the Laboral Party, where it would get lost.

  3. Scott… two other libertarian candidates did quite well. Their names were “informal” and “non-voter”.

    It is easier for single-issue parties to capture attention compared with small parties with a broad agenda. That is because the micro-party can sum up their agenda in a name. But most single-issue micro-parties come and go within a few years.

  4. Ralph Buttigieg, your suggestion is not silly. Joining forces with single issue parties that share policies with the LDP makes sense. The problem is, few if any of those parties join the dots when it comes to liberty in general. They typically want liberty for themselves but not others. For example, the Sex Party supports:

    Anti-discrimination laws
    National internet educaton for parents
    Equal numbers of women in the Senate and state upper houses
    “Total equal rights” for gays, lesbians and transexuals

    Single issue parties tend to have a limited life, so we have to hope their supporters eventually look for another party that represents their views. Sometimes, though, I wonder how realistic that is. Joining the dots seems to be a rare trait.

  5. Congratulations to our candidates. In short sharp campaigns it is difficult not to be smothered among a plethora of candidates, but you have taken the fight forward.

    I tend to agree with the sentiment towards joining forces with some of the more sensible single issue parties. As has been pointed out, they tend to have short lifespans, but loose associations with them should work to our advantage on their demise with members looking for others who respect their values.

  6. Looks like Tony didn’t cost them any votes, at least. And the ‘Media’ section of ‘The Australian’ has fun with future campaign adds featuring Abbott at the Beach. ‘the Libs- nothing to hide!’, etc.

  7. Further to Nuke’s observation.

    An admittedly very small sample in Bradfield suggests:

    hard to say whether Tony Abbott cost votes somewhere without further analysis ?


    if Turnbull had won the partyroom vote and driven through the Rudd ETS before the by-elections, the local branches may have struggled to person-up the booths, because the resignations and/or protests by dint of non-participation were boiling ( and these are largely folk of a calm and mild demeanor ).

    On balance – an early hypothesis is that Abbott stopped a lot of votes leaking away

    Some follow-up “but what if ?” research amongst the two electorates would be very interesting – including “if you voted for Clive Hamilton, what did you think he would deliver you if elected ?”.

  8. John

    I live in the electorate and people really didn’t seem to know what Robespierre Hamilton believes in. When I informed them of some of his beliefs they were almost throwing up in disgust so I don’t really think the vote presents a clear picture.

    Of course the ABC and the Fairfax press didn’t do a decent job of telling people what Hamilton believes.

  9. Next to nobody voted for Hamilton. They voted for the Greens. If Hamilton was an independent he would have got next to no votes. This demonstrates how strong the Greens brand is. With a good political brand you can get nobodies elected to parliament.

  10. The Problem with Higgins was you had Stephen Murphy (from the Climate Skeptic Party) running as an independent taking our anti ETS vote (and the donkey). They must have put a bit of money and time into getting his name out there. He got 1.7% of the vote. Good on him!

    Then we have Fiona Patten of the Sex Party taking our anti censorship vote. The Sex Party are bad in a way because they’ll get the vote of any politically apathetic male who finds it assuming that he can now vote for The Sex Party. I’d like to see how well they’d do under a voluntary voting system. Fiona also stated that Hamilton has “great economic ideas.”

  11. I don’t think Fiona believes that his economic ideas are great. She cares about small businesses after all. She was just trying not to ostracise potential Greens voters too much. She was trying to capture the Greens supporters that weren’t into Hamilton’s social stance.

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