Post-match report: Tasmania

With electorate results progressively being declared, I will start appending my election guide entries with overviews of results for each seat. All five seats in Tasmania have been declared, so that seems a good place to start.

Bass provided Labor supporters with cause for nagging doubt during the early part of the count, with the smaller booths outside Launceston delivering a seemingly insufficient swing. In Scottsdale the swing to Labor was below the required 2.6 per cent, and Liberal member Michael Ferguson in fact picked up a small swing in Bridport. The turning point came when the big Launceston booths began to report, with Labor swings as high as 7.6 per cent at Summerhill and 8.1 per cent in Newnham. The other notable feature of the result was a big surge to the Greens who were able to monopolise the anti-pulp mill vote, pushing their support up from 8.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent at the expense of both major parties. This was reasonably consistent throughout the electorate with the interesting exception of Scottsdale, where the increase was only 0.8 per cent. Nothing particularly remarkable happened in George Town, the centre closest to the actual site of the mill.

The pattern of voting across Braddon was remarkably similar to the 2001 election, with voters reverting to type after the convulsion of Labor’s forestry policy in 2004. A large number of booths have produced double-digit swings first one way and then the other, including Acton in Burnie and East Devonport, along with the smaller town booths of Montague, Latrobe, Smithton. Coastal centres outside of the big towns, such as Wynyard, Somerset, Penguin and Ulverstone, followed relatively small swings to Liberal in 2004 with relatively small swings to Labor this time. However, Sid Sidebottom’s overall margin of 1.4 per cent (from a two-party swing of 2.6 per cent) is substantially lower than his 6.0 per cent from 2001. Predictions that the Mersey Hospital would boost the Liberals in Davenport at the expense of a backlash in Burnie received fairly modest support, Burnie collectively swinging 4.4 per cent compared with 1.2 per cent in Davenport. Despite a quite healthy lift on the Greens’ primary vote from 5.6 per cent to 8.1 per cent, Braddon remains their weakest Tasmanian seat.

Lyons produced a superficially status quo result, except that Liberal renegade Ben Quin gouged 9.6 per cent of the primary vote directly at the Liberals’ expense. However, this obscures big swings to Labor concentrated in the southern part of the electorate, particularly just outside Hobart at Brighton and New Norfolk. The 1.3 per cent lift in the Greens’ vote was the smallest in the state, presumably because much of the pulp mill protest vote was absorbed by Quin. Both major parties were slightly down slightly on the primary vote in Denison, the slack being taken up by a 4.0 per cent lift for the Greens. This converted into a 2.3 per cent two-party swing to Labor. Franklin was one of only four seats in the country to swing to the Coalition, due to the loss of retiring Harry Quick’s personal vote and perhaps also lingering static surrounding Kevin Harkins’ disendorsement. The Labor primary vote was down from 46.4 per cent to 41.4 per cent while the Liberals were up from 37.7 per cent to 41.0 per cent, with the Greens up from 11.1 per cent to 14.4 per cent. The Liberal two-party swing was 3.1 per cent.

A couple of other updates are in order:

• As most of you are aware, a recount began today in McEwen following Labor candidate Rob Mitchell’s six vote win over Liberal member Fran Bailey. Progressive results will not be posted, so I guess we all just have to wait a week until the AEC tells us what has happened.

• In other close result news, rechecking has reduced Liberal member Andrew Laming’s lead in Bowman to just 64 votes, although there does not seem to be any dispute that he has won the seat.

• A definitive result in O’Connor will have to await a full distribution of preferences, which to my limited knowledge is yet to be published in any electorate. There still remains a mathematical possibility that Nationals candidate Philip Gardiner can overhaul Labor’s Dominic Rose with Greens and other preferences and then defeat Liberal member Wilson Tuckey on Labor preferences. However, the possibility has been diminished by a weak Nationals performance on declaration votes, which has reduced their election night total of 18.4 per cent to 17.7 per cent, leaving a 2.7 per cent deficit against Labor that will need to be closed through Greens and other minor party preferences.

• Two other strong performances by independents should be noted. In Calare, Gavin Priestley might overtake Labor on preferences and leave John Cobb of the Nationals with a fairly narrow win on two-candidate preferred. However, Cobb’s 48.5 per cent primary vote is high enough that he does not face a serious prospect of defeat. In neighbouring Parkes, independent Tim Horan has polled 20.7 per cent. This is unlikely to be enough for him to overhaul Labor’s 25.4 per cent on preferences, which is just as well for Nationals candidate Mark Coulton who has pulled up short of a primary vote majority on 46.8 per cent.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

379 comments on “Post-match report: Tasmania”

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  1. Maxine has officially won Bennelong!!! GREAT!!!

    In my opinion, the declaration ends the Vampire Lord’s reign finally. From the time Rudd became Labor leader, the stake was slowly being worked into the Vampire Lord’s heart; and was driven through the heart shortly before the election. On election night, the Vampire Lord’s head was cut off, as he was forced to concede defeat. On Dec 3, Rudd was officially sworn in as PM, and the Vampire Lord’s body was burnt. Today, the ashes have been scattered.

  2. The Scottsdale booth is interesting, in a bizarre family sort of way. A lot of him indoors rellies live there, and could be described as strange, to say the least. Him indoors father escaped by running away to sea. This did not occur to the rest of them.

  3. Anthony Green’s numbers are showing the ALP primary fell 1.8% in Tasmania, the only state to experience a fall in primaries.

    is this all due to the Franklin result or was it wider……

    Haven’t seen a state based 2PP for the ALP yet, it must have gone up on the back of the green vote, anyone have any idea how much?

  4. Another interesting question is why so many absentee votes were rejected in Swan. Seems to be a substantially higher proportion than in the other “close seats”.

    I wonder if there was perhaps a stuff up at a major booth in a nearby electorate, or a tougher approach by the local AEC officials than in other places?

  5. Good to see H*ward finally conceding.

    I’d almost given up the other day, reducing me to an unbecoming rant for which I was chastised (somewhat deservedly so).

    I have to say full credit to him – in the end, he was gracious in defeat.

    Finally we can close this awful chapter of Australian political history and consign it to the trash heap.

  6. Tasmania is the most working-class state. Labor will always win if an election is fought on a class-based issue, as this one was. So long as Labor does not pander to the Greens too much they will go on winning. (Tasmania has the highest Green vote but the other 80% hate them.)

  7. I have been amazed over many months at the venom directed at John Howard. In particular the very ungracious way his defeat (and supposed refusal to concede) in Bennelong has been commented on.

    John Howard has shown that whatever you may say about his politics, he is a gracious and generous opponent. I cannot imagine any other former Prime Minister attending the declaration of the vote after such a defeat.

    It is certainly different to Paul Keating’s leaving of the stage. Apparently he didn’t get out of bed for 6 months after 1996.

    Some posters on this blog should take a long cold shower and remember that after all it is just politics.

  8. Stuart, I’m sorry, but it’s “just politics” until Mr H*ward personally decides whether or not *your* relationship should have legal standing. It’s “just politics” until he sends *your* son to war for political and not national defence reasons.

    Just because his venomous policies didn’t affect you personally, it doesn’t mean it didn’t affect others who reacted in kind.

  9. William is dead right in pointing out the flip-flopping in Braddon where the reversion to Labor of those timber voters who went Liberal in 2004 has restored the seat to Labor.

    Concerning Lyons there is a similar pattern and the swing back to Adams cannot be put down solely to Liberal disunity. Considering the list of booths with >9% 2PP swings to Labor, we have Brighton, Buckland, Campania, Forcett, Glenora, Bothwell, Magra, Maydena, Mole Creek, New Norfolk and NN North, Port Arthur, Pyengana, Queenstown, Taranna, Triabunna, Tunbridge and Tunnack. About two thirds of these are timber areas.

    There is something screwy going on with Ben Quin not surprisingly winning Sidmouth and Gravelly Beach on primaries (which are both in the impact zone of the pulp mill) but the two other booths he won on primaries are Chudleigh in the Meander Valley and the western mining town of Rosebery. Queenstown and Rosebery are more or less adjacent and I can only guess that one of the major employers in Rosebery liked Mr Quin for some reason, or that he has strong connections there.

    But the most interesting analysis I am working on re Tasmania concerns Bass and the impact of the pulp mill on the major party contest. Defining the “anti-mill vote” as the vote for the anti-mill independent plus the booth swing to the Greens, there were two major centres of anti-pulp-mill voting in Bass, these being the East Tamar and urban Launceston, but looking at the 2PP swings in the booths in these areas the pattern is inconsistent even in the booths with high anti-mill votes. Of the 18 booths with an “anti-mill vote” (as defined above) >10%, ten of them exceeded the average 2PP swing to Labor while eight were below it. It is very very difficult in the Bass stats to find any actual evidence that the pulp mill affected the 2PP result at all. Not saying it’s not there, but if it is it’s well and truly buried.

    By the way the most likely reason not much happened in George Town is that that community is split between those opposing the mill for lifestyle reasons and those supporting it for employment.

    Concerning Green preferences in Bass we know that Campbell thumped Ferguson 8789:3513 on preferences (ouch!) and that 9745 of the preferences were Green. We’ll have to wait for the final distribution but obviously Campbell was very very heavily favoured on Green preferences, as the ALP always will be in Tasmania however much forest-protest types might wish their noises about ALP policies on logging actually affected more than a few percent of Green voters’ preference directions.

    I will have a big election wrap thingy on tasmaniantimes when all seats are done and dusted and preference distributions are available.

  10. When are bludger’s predictions about the two US Presidential candidates going to be made? And what will the equivalent to seat number be? Maybe naming the primary where the candidate has wrapped up the nomination.

  11. It’s a pity we didn’t have a competition on which seats would swing the most in either direction. My guess for biggest swing to the Coalition would have been Cowan, and for biggest swing to Labor probably Adelaide. I don’t think anyone foresaw the really big swings in regional Qld. The five biggest swings to Labor were Forde (15.1), Leichhardt (14.3), Dawson (13.2), Calwell (11.1) and Groom (10.8).

  12. Kevin Bonham, and others interested in this topic of how voting may shift according to how the new government may shift in relation to climate change, is there any possibility, William, that you could set up some ongoing thread? Would certainly be prepared to provide some ongoing $ if there was sufficient interest.

  13. I’m intrigued by the flip-flops in Tassie. My Taswegian colleagues tell me it’s partly the relatively lumpen nature of Tassie folk (as Adam comments) and partly an abiding distrust of all things mainland, Plus a bit of weirdness, as you would expect given the isolation, small population and middle earth landscape. I note that none of the people I know who come from Tassie actually live there. On the other hand, it is a remarkably beautiful place … for the time being, anyway.

  14. CL de Footscray, I’m currently living in West Footscray. Himself indoors has rellies who hove from the back blocks of Tas, namely the Scottsdale booth (believe me, the dysfunctional Koori communities, much reported in the MSM, are pretty much the same, whether white or black or brindal)

  15. my , and others, predictions of a 100 seat Labor win were dashed in the last week.

    we had too much faith in “wet”, “leafy” Libs seeing the light. These Libs that had been saying for months, and even years, that they were rejecting Howardism, simply couldn’t hack the thought of voting Labor or Green.

    “The Narrowing” in the last week, from 54.5-45.5 to 52.7-47.3 was the quivering, anti-Howardism Libs.

    These “wet”, “leafy” Libs now forever proudly wear the moniker of “rusted-ons”.

  16. Poss, glad the petyoonies survived. Bloody fine things,the Q’ld storms. Bit like the storm in the Q’l’d result really. Anyone going to have a look at why Q’l’d , in particular,did such a comprehensive number on the Coalition?

  17. What’s really curious about the wet Liberals is why they let their natural refuge and easy cop-out protest vote recepticle, the Democrats, die. Now they have nowhere to go.

  18. HSO,
    I reckon Qld did a number on the Coalition because:
    – they had the furthest to fall there – vote was previously very high
    – WorkChoices perhaps hurt more in regional centres than anywhere else, and Qld has the highest proportion of its population in regional centres (look at where the truly gigantic swings were)
    – the State Coalition parties are perhaps more of a joke in Qld than elsewhere (admittedly with stiff competition from NSW, Vic, WA, etc)
    – the Nambour High connection played very well, especially when compared to the Cockroach* Latham

    *Technical term for New South Welshman, used at State of Origin time

  19. 31 HH….read class,Harry.

    Noses twitch at the word ‘Labor’ and ‘unions’. Will be interesting to see how the wets vote next time…I suspect if the proactive social progress keeps up, many will be impressed and may change their vote. But the word ‘Labor’ may be one bridge too far, too discordant for these ‘refained’ souls.

  20. What will be funny is if, come the next election, the usual suspects in North Sydney et al continue to tell any pollster that asks, that they’ll be voting ALP.

    No one will believe them – the little wet Libs that cried wolf.

    The funny part would be if they ever got serious and actually did what they’ve threatened to do for the last 3 elections.

  21. 31 HarryH and 36 Megan,
    Even though we all frequently deride them, the MSM (or much of it) did keep pointing out that there could be a narrowing because economic times have been very good, and some people just wouldn’t want to risk a change.
    I think you’d have to say there was probably something in that analysis. I don’t think it’s a “class” thing per se, more just that people in the “doctors’ wives” seats had, on average, done very well financially during the Howard years, which made them less likely to change than those in other areas where people had done less well.
    Of course, the memory of the “recession we had to have”, although of diminishing importance, still wouldn’t have helped Labor’s cause either.

  22. Possum,
    North Sydney is, as we all know, ripe for the taking by an Independent.
    I wonder if Mike B had his time again whether he would have taken that route?

  23. Adam, with North Sydney I didnt believe them until a p*ssed off Lib leaked the result of their own polling there. The public polls have been a bit erratic in the inner city seats for the last few elections (although this time nailed Bennelong) – and the ALP always plays mischief with selective leaks. When the Libs leaked and that wasnt part of the party strategy, and when Shrek started living more in his electorate than out of it – that’s when I thought something was up.

    I think the Libs did too, hence that silly reconciliation business and constitutional preamble that Howard was going on about before the campaign.

    I never believed Wentworth for instance, thought Bennelong was a bob each way, but definitely thought something was up in the Naw Shaw.. Dahrling

  24. Yeah PC,
    I’ve wondered the same about Warringah. You’d think the MM would be on the nose with some of the constituents there.
    It would probably need to be a rich independent to get Warringah, though. Not thinking specifically about campaign costs, more about relating to the voters.

  25. I’m wondering when the first movie or television celebrity with deep pockets stands as an independent for Federal parliament? … and wins.

    I reckon Russel Crow could do it in Cowper if he ever retired.

    That sort of thing is bound to happen one day.

  26. Poss

    North Sydney was a disappointment, especially with all the work Bailey put in and the reaction he was getting from people on the street.

    I got caught up in the strong polls like a few others and thought labor might win more.

    One worry was people backing away from the predicted landslide and either moving back to the libs or voting for a pseudo lib party like Family First or CEC who fed their votes directly back to the libs. How many actually realised where their vote was going when they went for the supposed “independent” minor party.

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