The story of Balmain has to do with preferences as much as anything. Loosely after everything is distributed there is a 3 way split, Green, ALP and Liberal. This means that one of the big three with have preferences distributed and minor adjustments in the number bring different results. I have tabulated what I mean here.
|Candidate||Party||% Vote||% Vote||% Vote||% Vote||% Vote||% Vote|
The only way for the Greens to win was if the ALP came last and the ALP preferences were distributed. The ALP so long as they avoided being on the bottom of the pile where going to win.
The Liberals only option to win was to score brilliantly on primaries or not come bottom and benefit from a significant leakage of preferences.
It does lead to the question why the electorate with the highest household income in the state is essentially Labour/Green and not a Coalition seat. I suspect this says that the distribution of voting is not based on financial well-being which is often thought to be what it is about.
Of course this was an exceptional election and in four years we will see what happens in Balmain. Will it remain Green, or return to the fold, or will to ongoing gentrification of the inner city lead to the next struggle being between the Greens and the Liberals.
Time will tell, it usually does. I am actually opposed to optional preferential voting as it moves towards first past the post, which in a seat like Balmain is not a meaningful result, it would just be a result a week earlier.