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. PC @ 48,
    Agree. And of course Turnbull’s money helped him in Wentworth.
    I was surprised that the rich Lib in SA (was it Bob Day in Makin?) didn’t do better. Or did he just not bother spending much, because it was a lost cause?

  2. As Antony Green has said on numerous occasions that 2004 was an aberation and the real margins for seats was much lower than on paper, i wonder whether people think this will reverse itself in 2010 back to a mid point and if this is the case how Labor will try and hold the seats they won but now hold by less than 2% which i assume is a few.

    I acknowledge we hold several seats below 1% but i am more confident about holding these as the protest vote (Howie, WC) seems to been the thing driving these massive swings and a swing while small back to the Tories in 2010 will bring most of these seats back to a reasonably comfortable margin.

  3. Bob Day spent an absolute fortune in Makin, and it did him no good whatever, which is very healthy. He must have come close to breaching the Electoral Act with all his giveaways, too. The Libs seem to think working-class voters are children who can be bribed with toys and balloons.

  4. I prefer to think we bribed them with jobs and a strong economy Adam but i guess that wasn’t enough. Still i liked our education policy that seemed like a bit of vision from the Tories i was surprised Rudd didn’t me too that but i guess he doesn’t like the idea of helping parents who send their kids to catholic and independent schools.

  5. Glen @ 52,
    Seems to me there are two contradictory precedents here:
    1. Every new Federal Government from Whitlam on has gone backwards at its first attempt at re-election.
    2. Pretty much all the recent State Labor Govts have gone forwards at their first attempt at re-election, usually significantly.
    I wouldn’t have the faintest idea which category Rudd will be in, although he’s certainly smart, and very unlikely to do too much of a “left wing” bent (unless you count climate change initiatives). However, to paraphrase McMillan, “events” might make his life hard – who knows?
    I would be willing to bet, however, that if the Labor TPP vote stays the same at the next election, their seat count will increase. Just looking at the new pendulum, and allowing for the benefits of incumbency, tells you that.

  6. I do not believe there was narrowing in the last week at all despite Labor leaks

    The wet liberals argument applies only to north Sydney
    Australia – wide its a cop out for the overall polling being wrong

    I believe 2% of the voters knew a change should be made for a variety of reasons
    and reflected that “sentiment” in polling

    The problem is the Pollsters questions did not factor in this sentiment and were flawed by asking the same old questions

  7. If the population growth happening in Qld keeps up, at the very least some boundaries are going to have to be shifted up here. WA is growing too so it’s another issue as the population power shifts outwards from the South East of the nation.

  8. Re: 51 Dyno

    My understanding is that Bob Day spent a lot in Makin much to the amusement of the electorate. Lots of things with his name: kids parading in T shirts, free pens, rulers, full page ads in the community newspaper on a regular basis etc. Even had his own campaign posters which featured other people and the slogan, I’ll be voting for Bob Day. It might have been a case of trying to hard.

    Not sure how much money Malcolm put into Wentworth, but when I heard the day before the election there was a full page ad claiming that there would be a by-election if Newhouse was elected this struck me as an incredible dirty trick to pull late in the game.

  9. CEC prefernces went to Boswell in Qld, who is not a libs, but is also not a Trotskyite.

    Point I was making is that I don’t think some actually realise where their vote ends up.

    Labors primary was up 5.74%, Greens up 0.6%, yet 2PP to labor was up less than primary at 5.62%.

    One Nation and the Dems were big losers, both may have gone to the libs or in ne Nations case to LDP.

    But as others have pointed out especially when you look at individual seats labor relied heavily almost exclusivley on the greens for preferences with the minor parties like FF and CDP making a diference for the libs holding a seat.

  10. ntony has gone to sleep
    Adam , he supported you. Can you explain the following ?
    Ron Says:
    December 12th, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Antony Green #839 says

    I’m with Adam. Track back through elections, and 2007 has produced a very normal looking result. As often occurs, one state stuck out against a trend, in this case WA. The swings were all pretty evenly distributed, with obvious stand outs like Dawson, Leichhardt and Wentworth. Most of the outliers fall under the category ‘circumstances’ to my eye.

    Ron says; the Labor wins with big swings were
    Longman 10.3%
    Dawson 13.2%
    Forde 14.4%
    Petrie 9.5%
    Blair 10.2%
    Leichardt 14.3%

    Antony what are the ‘circumstances’ you refer to ??
    I do not regard these huge swings as normal unless one invokes the ‘parochial Q’ld factor from a low Q’ld 2004 base *(which was A contributor)

  11. Ron, all those seats (or the areas that make up those seats) have been held by Labor in the past. None of them were surprises in the sense that Labor winning North Sydney or Kooyong would have been a surprise. That’s what he meant.

  12. I think Bob Day’s campaigning style may have actually muddied the waters rather than consolidating support for him in Makin. His election material was totally different to any other liberal candidate in Adelaide (ie he used his own posters etc instead of the standardised sun bleached yellow & baby blue posters all the other liberal candidates had put up around Adelaide (who chose those colours anyway???)).

    For sure he stood out, but I know a couple of work colleagues who live in Makin who were convinced he was running as an independent.

  13. I never believed the doctors wives would be a factor this time. The whole idea didn’t make sense. The Iraq invasion occured before the last election. The refugee issue played out in 2001. Those voters had already been factored into the system and their disquiet was reflected in the 2004 results.

  14. “Still i liked our education policy that seemed like a bit of vision from the Tories i was surprised Rudd didn’t me too that but i guess he doesn’t like the idea of helping parents who send their kids to catholic and independent schools”

    Pell said Catholic schools were not attracting catholics, poor catholics were going to state schools, rich catholics to Angilcan schools. The private schools admitted the funding was too heavily weighted in their favour.

    Libs main education policies were a flagpole in every school, rifle ranges in the exclusive schools and $175 million to provide priests for schools. Plus a rewriie of history concentrating on Bradman and Menzies.

    Great policy

  15. Adam
    It is puzzling that pre-election the expectation was Labor would get most marginals , then maybe get some in the the next band out like Deakin & Dobell

    BUT to get so many of these 10% plus seats seem to be many bands out in the never never land

    I’m surprised , presumably others were not

  16. Demographic changes would have added a few percent to some seats as well -you had a fair few lower middle class people moving into the regions and fringe urban areas that were probably more likely to vote ALP at any given time than the population was that they were moving into.

    There’s a guy doing his Masters on this very thing at the moment (impact of Qld population migration on voting patterns) – he’s spoken to me of some of the interviews he’s done with interstate migrants, it’s going to be a seriously interesting piece when he’s finished it next year.

  17. Absolutely , the laptop was one of the 2t defining moments of the campaign
    The other when Rudd cleverly promised no more spending & left Howard nowhere

  18. Agree on the laptops.

    Big issue in the schools with kids with laptops and those without, including some jealousy and harrassment.

    Helps enormously with homework and really interests the kids in homework and research on projects.

    Quite a few parents can salary sacrifice or claim a laptop as a tax deduction because of their work, but many cannot.

    The laptop policy made it equal for all regardless of their work staus, like making sure all kids had text books, also part of the policy.

    Maybe that is what the libs did not like, the equality bit, as most of their supporter base would be those able to get the tax deduction for laptops or do the salary sacrifice.

  19. Yes, Howard’s two big “breakthrough” opportunities were the tax policy at the start, and the policy speech at the end. Rudd trumped him both times, the first time by being Mr Social Eqity and the second time by being Mr Fiscal Responsibility. Very clever stuff, byt also good policy.

  20. 41
    marky marky

    It’s pretty much shuffling the deck chairs around as usual, and if you really want to know what the planet is likely to look like in a few thousand years or so, take a peek at Mars.

    The IPCC is probably on the conservative side, and the truth is we don’t have several decades to fix it, maybe not even one decade, but I cannot see the human race pulling its collective head out of the sand until the effects are well and truly bearing down…and that’s way too late.

    On just how desperate it’s really looking, try this:

  21. I admit I believe ‘workchoices’ was the trojan horse that destroyed the Libs

    Does anyone believe Howard could have won a cliffhanger IF he had never
    changed IR from the 2004 election status ?

  22. It was striking that Melb Ports broke the pattern – the high income areas Caulfield, South Yarra, Southbank, swung most strongly to Labor, while Port Melb swung to the Libs. Caulfield swung because Danby got back all the Jewish vote he lost last time. Held was a worse candidate than Southwick and he was afraid to debate Danby – I don’t blame him. The Jewish community liked Rudd much more than they liked L*th*m.

  23. Port Melbourne and the St Kilda Rd area is getting more trendy thus more Tory voters, but Held who i assume was not Jewish didn’t really do well with that section of PM. I agree with you that Southwick was a better candidate but let’s not forget the Latham factor, still to beat Danby on first preferences in MP was a good achievement nevertheless. I can’t really comment too much on the 2004 campaign as i was in WA helping out in Stirling and Hasluck.

    I wouldn’t think it was all down to not debating Danby. Though i wonder when the ALP will pre-select a quality rising star candidate, Danby isn’t going up and is like a Petro will warm the seat for decades and do virtually nothing. The time Danby retires if the Libs put up a good Jewish candidate (willing to debate) and with the margin not so large we’d be half a chance but still thanks to preferential voting Adam with the Greens at a nominal 15% it’s bloody hard to win our primary would have to be mid-high 40s and Labor’s at around 30% not easy not easy. Still maybe some pork for us?

    Just as we have deadbeats in our Party you have your fair share in yours, sure its nice having a ‘good local member’ but political parties should be pre-selecting the best and brightest for seats not factional/union people who won’t contribute much to political life and won’t take on leadership roles.

    Maybe for another time but i bet we can pick out a dozen on both sides who deserve the boot.

  24. Now that I’ve seriously spent time on the ratios formula for state swings adjusted for safe ALP & Libs seats +marginal seats to forecast , my conclusion is

    if the quarterly Newspoll at ANY time is different to the actual ultimate election
    result in these categories , then the formula’s forecast will be out by the degree of the difference per category ?

  25. Held is in fact Jewish. He couldn’t hold the gains that Southwick made in the Jewish community because of Labor’s promises of Jewish schools and security funding, which Ruddock refused to match, plus he wouldn’t debate which got the Jewish News offside. St Kilda now votes over 70% Labor. The only part of the seat where the Libs are improving is Port Melb because of the new housing like Beacon Cove which is filling up with bayside-bourgeois types.

  26. I should have added :

    I accept the formula is not an election forecast BUT a calculation of how many seats would be won IF the election is held at that time

    So the formula translates the poll at any time into seats won at that time

    Therefore we are back to assessing if the Poll itself represents reality given
    campaigns can change voting dynamics

  27. the type & cost of living in Port should finally turn into a Lib seat

    ps/ curious only – why do you say Tory instead of Liberal or Conservative ?

  28. Ron for me it’s just being economical after all it’s less words than saying Liberals, Nationals, or the Coalition and anyway most of you Laborites refer to us as Tories anyway so everybody wins. 😉

  29. Dyno Says:
    December 12th, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Are we due a re-dist?
    Will Qld get another seat next time, or WA?

    There are redistributions due in WA, Tasmania and NT next year.

    WA will be the most interesting. They’ll keep their 15 seats but there’s been plenty of population movement since the last redistribution. So there’ll be lots of boundary changes.

    Tasmania on the other hand will see very little change. Bass and Braddon might not change at all.

    NT almost certainly will remain unaltered.

    Come early 2009 the new determinations will be calculated. Previously on this blog I’d been pretty bullish about Victoria losing a seat. But the latest evidence suggest the state has turned things around and is now keeping pace with or exceeding national growth. More likely it’ll be New South Wales that loses a seat (again) and Queensland that gains one (again). But nothing is certain.

  30. David Walsh says:

    . Previously on this blog I’d been pretty bullish about Victoria losing a seat. But the latest evidence suggest the state has turned things around and is now keeping pace with or exceeding national growth. More likely it’ll be New South Wales that loses a seat (again) and Queensland that gains one (again). But nothing is certain.

    Surely they will have to increase the size of the Reps? I think they could go to 158 or so seats there without having to worry about the nexus.

    The population size of some seats in NSW and Vic is getting all out of kilter especially when compared to Tas seats.

  31. Albert, the only way to increase the size of the House is to increase the size of the Senate.

    You say, “I think they could go to 158 or so seats there without having to worry about the nexus.” They cannot.

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