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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Saffin win predicted on Green preferences

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As a storm hit Lismore on Saturday night, voters from across the region, who had sweltered through a climate change late summer day three weeks into autumn, sat by their tellies waiting to see what the end of the count for the seat of Lismore would bring.

Greens supporter Lena with Sue Higginson at the St Paul’s Church Lismore polling booth on Saturday. Photo Tree Faerie.

By 8pm the three main players had forged ahead with Austin Curtin on 5,367 votes, Janelle Saffin on 3,637 and Sue Higginson on 4,252.

It was clear that one of the three would be the winner after preferences – Labor to the Greens, the Greens to Labor, the Nationals to nobody and nothing going back to the Nationals.

With so many votes not counted, including the pre-poll, the absent, the enrolment/provisional, iVote and postal votes, the picture wasn’t very clear until Sunday morning, when Curtin pulled away to about 15,000 with Saffin and Higginson hovering around the 10,000 mark.

Electoral commission worker Lynece spent the day helping voters at the St Paul’s Church Lismore polling booth on Saturday. Lynece said they had to ask each voter if they had voted any where else on the day, to which the most common response was a variation on, ‘why would I want to put myself through this twice.’ Photo Tree Faerie.

With preferences, unless something dramatic happens with the postal vote, it looks like the Nationals will lose their precious Lismore seat, a place that Thomas George has kept warm for four days short of 20 years.

At the time of publishing, the vote is Curtin 17,337,  Saffin 11,146, and Higginson 10,546.

As of 9am today, the two party preferred count sits at 15,488 for Curtin and 17,437 for Saffin, who can consider herself lucky that Greens voters trusted Sue Higginson enough to follow her preference vote advice.

It remains to be seen what the rest of the vote count, and the rest of autumn weather brings.

From the Electoral Commission website at 9am.

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  1. Congratulations to Janelle on her apparent win. This is a good analysis but I do think it is a bit churlish to suggest Janelle was “lucky” she received preferences from Higginson. Voters concerned about issues important to the Greens know Janelle presented similar policies and will work hard to get them in place, just as in Ballina electorate Tamara Smith earned votes and preferences from Labor candidates because of her work to date.

    Also I am not suggesting human related climate change is not real but the recent hot weather in Lismore is not unusual. Lismore has a long term average of seven days in March over 30 degrees. Referring to this time of year as “autumn”shows how we are captive to European climate terms which are misleading in a sub-tropical climate. March is very much part of the hot wet season here. Journalist promoting interventions to deal with global warming do the cause a disservice when the conflate climate and weather.

    • Yet there are numerous other stats breaking records every month. Its fair to say its unreasonably warm every day of the year now, given the cumulative effect of heat stress.

      • That may be so and we develop a view on climate change by examining changes in weather over long periods of time and in many places. But referring to each weather event as evidence of climate change is poor statistical analysis and just provides ammunition to the naysayers.

    • I thought maybe the author was sneaking in a rather telling correlation with political climate change. Very apt for this once Country/National party stronghold.

      • Certainly some older residents would refer to the political climate change as a “disaster”! At the Byron Writers Festival “Insiders” – with Ben Franklin sitting in the front row – Peter van Onselen pointed to the political reality: the Nationals in sea change electorates Ballina have had to become less conservative than colleagues elsewhere. They are still part of a party of course, but they can also be a moderating influences against the more extreme conservatives, just as Tamara has brought some commonsense to bear on some of the sillier Green policies .


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