On Sunday, Josh Gordon at The Age saw the federal by-election results as good for Tony Abbott, but, looking at Higgins, the Liberal primary vote increased from last time by only 0.82% (with an increase in 2CP of about 2%). With Labor not running, this could even be explained by a small migration of right-wing Labor voters to the Liberals.
In Bradfield, the Liberals did worse, with swing in the primary vote against them of 3.4%, albeit with an increase of less than 1% in the 2CP.
In addition, there was a poor turn-out in both by-elections. In Higgins 75.32% cf 93.7% (AEC 2009, 2007), and in Bradfield 74.24% cf 94.03% (AEC 2009, 2007).
In the absence of Labor, a substantial proportion of both electorates (32.54% primary in Higgins, and 25.9% primary in Bradfield) were quite willing to vote Green. How many might still be comfortable to do so even given a Labor candidate on the ballot?
This unknown surely can't be making Lindsay Tanner more comfortable in Melbourne. It seems there's plenty of scope for Rudd to lose quite a slab of ALP votes to the Greens, so it's far from a poor result for the most climate progressive party, and particularly for Clive Hamilton. It's also noteworthy that the climate sceptic candidate did very poorly in Higgins.Chin up, Greens! Well done!