Ryan’s slaughter

While it’s the MGH’s natural inclination to blame The Australian for every shitty, biased thing it does when it comes to political reporting – it saves time! – we think the Australian Electoral Commission must share the blame for a major Oz online stuffup.

The national broadshit’s online election count coverage looks very fancy and extensive with some interactive cleverness but overnight it had Julian Simmonds, the sitting Liberal member in the leafy Brisbane seat of Ryan, winning on Saturday.

Which should have left a lot of egg on the face of The Greens leader Adam Brandt who flew up to Brisbane for a photo opportunity with his candidate, former architect Elizabeth Watson-Brown, on the belief she has taken the once very-blue seat.

Below is the Oz’s online graphics for Ryan, with Simmonds enjoying a two party preferred lead 54.85 to 45.15.

But hold on! Directly underneath are all the primary vote figures, and with almost 68 per cent of the vote counted, just a glance of those figures by anyone with a passing knowledge of how the compulsory preferential voting system works tells us the Liberal is in really bad shape with only a primary vote in the 30s.

So how did the Oz get this so terribly wrong? And the answer is the AEC’s online tally room, with its piechart showing the exact same result. Below is The Bug‘s snapshot of the AEC data at 9pm.

The problem is that a closer look at that AEC site shows that two-party split graphic was based on information just over to the right that shouldn’t have been left there. And the reason? It showed the figures after only a couple of thousand votes had been cast, and Simmonds was indeed enjoying a 54.85/45.15 lead at that early stage. That’s right. The piechart shows that vote.

PS: We can’t be absolutely sure of this but late last night, a very tired Bug political team thought they also saw Ryan slip back into the undecided column on Antony Green’s ABC visual tallyroom as well. We tried to snapshot that too but left the lens cap on our box brownie! We might have had a few.

Perhaps Antony was having a well-earned sleep and some underling was momentarily fooled, along with the Oz, by the erroneous AEC presentation.