It really is a shame that the South Australian election has had to take priority in the past few weeks, because a Tasmanian election is a gift that keeps on giving. For the past nine days, fortunes have continued to wax and wane with each elimination and distribution of surpluses. The process has been of particular interest for the Greens, whose election night fear of two lost seats has faded with the progress of counting in Lyons, and who may yet hold their seat in Bass. If so, they will have returned all their sitting members and a great deal of the initial post-election commentary will need to be revised. The count has been less kind to the Liberals who have been the losers out of the Greens’ strengthening position in Lyons, and are watching their second candidate’s lead in Franklin get slowly whittled away by Labor. If that continues at the expected rate, they will have registered no improvement on the 2002 disaster.
Of the five electorates, only Denison (3-1-1) and Braddon (3-2) have never been in doubt. In Lyons, Labor comfortably returned three members while Opposition Leader Rene Hidding was the only Liberal to safely make it home. That left the second Liberal candidate, Geoff Page, playing catch-up with Greens incumbent Tim Morris as counting progressed. However, Morris’s lead has in fact opened slightly, and it is now clear that the result will be 3-1-1. In Franklin, Liberal candidate Vanessa Goodwin has been fighting it out for the final place with Labor incumbent Paula Wreidt, the other seats having gone two Labor, one Liberal and one Greens. Early on Goodwin was thought to be the favourite, but a complicated conjunction of circumstances has Kevin Bonham of the Tasmanian Times forecasting that her current 259-vote lead will become a 700-vote deficit after distribution of preferences from soon-to-be-eliminated Labor, Liberal and Greens candidates.
In Bass, opinion is divided on whether Greens member Kim Booth can still hope to prevail over the third Labor candidate, Steve Reissig. Booth’s main booster seems to be the aforementioned Kevin Bonham, who has calculated that a "plausible" leak to Booth of 12 per cent upon the elimination of Labor’s stragglers will give him the narrowest of victories. Antony Green has arrived at a higher estimate of the required rate of Labor leakage, and will only say that it "could yet be close". First-rate number cruncher Geoff Lambert does not share Bonham’s view regarding the likely rate of Labor leakage, telling the Poll Bludger that the 10 per cent he has factored into his own modelling is "generous" to the Greens. Lambert says the rate of leakage has been far too low in the most recent round of counting, in which preferences have been distributed from excluded Labor candidate Grant Courtney. However, he also says that "we do not know whose votes Courtney had taken away from him", whereas it seems Antony Green does he tells Upperhouse.Info that they were Courtney’s primary votes (of which there were 1723), and that the remaining 775 awaiting distribution came to him as preferences. Since not all of these will have been first-preference Labor votes, they will presumably be more likely to leak to the Greens.