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. 226
    Adam Says:
    December 13th, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Increasing the number of Senators elected by each state to 14, which is the minumum enlargement possible, would give us 84 state-elected Senators, which would permit the Reps to be enlarged to 168, give or take a few – the High Court would probably accept 170.

    Adam, it’s not a matter of fixing the size of the Senate and then coming up with a good number for the House of Reps. The seat entitlements for each state are strictly determined by a formula set down in the constitution. The High Court’s role, as Antony Green has pointed out, has been to interpret that formula.

    Ergo, the High Court would only accept the results of said formula.

    (The territories use the same formula. But it’s set down in legislation, which leaves room for parliament to toy with it.)

  2. Since my last post, I went in to the neighbour’s to turn off his wasteful, foolish bore watering which was again, running into the gutters.

    Now I am taking his dog for a run on the beach.

    Little does his owner know.

  3. CW @302
    We have just awoken from 11yrs 8mnths 3wks and one day of fascist rule and you are off (@2:30)am) to turn off your neighbours water and take their dog for a run – I LOVE this country and its resilience 😉

  4. Sam Roggeveen, a former intelligence analyst, is the editor of the Lowy Institute’s blog (

    says, inter alia

    “But there is a roadblock: government secrecy impedes the take-up of blogging as a bureaucratic tool. Blogs thrive in a culture of openness, whereas governments live in fear of leaks, so tend to leave big decisions to small groups of senior people. This inhibits the kind of innovative thinking that can happen when groups of people with fresh perspectives are allowed to tackle an old problem. It also makes it impossible for bureaucracies to exploit pockets of expertise they did not even know existed.

    Politicians already see blogs as useful public relations devices, and a number of foreign ministries are using them in their public diplomacy. Now governments are beginning to explore blogging as a tool for improving international policy.

    Blogging may have proven to be something less than a media revolution, but the slow spread of blogs into government suggests they are more than a passing fad.”

    i’m fairly sure a few here would muldly disapprove? 😉

  5. May I suggest Nelson’s Super hornet decision in context

    Accoding to both the US and Australian Joint Military Chiefs of Staff ,
    air superiority is a PREREQUISITE to the defence of any Country

    Since 1951 until todate , Australia has had air superiority over all our neigbours
    via US supply

    The Super Hornet is intended to fill a possible gap between the current upgraded F111’s and the joint US/Australian fighter project

    However the Super Hornet will be up against our neighbours fighters
    (including Indonesia , Malaysia , China and India) who will have the Russian
    Su27 & SU30 fighter which is superior

    ie. Should the gap arise , the Howard Cabinet on Nelson’s recommendation but without the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has conceded for the first time in Australian history air superiority to our neigbours

    Another legacy

  6. Scotty@274

    You’re quite right. The Liberal guy handing out HTVs at the Warrane booth I was on said “make Franklin a marginal seat” every time he tried to hand out a card.

  7. By my reckoning the quota system would require that there be 170 state-based electorates if the Senate was enlarged to 84. You’d then undoubtedly give three seats to the ACT for a House of 175.

  8. Ryan at 164 – the House of Representatives wing was designed to eventually accommodate 240 MHRs. It follows that the Senate wing (which also contains the press gallery) is designed to hold 120.

    I’m sure that with a little bit of shuffling of deck chairs they could fit the extra half-dozen or so offices on each side to accommodate the MPs from the territories, in which case there is scope for four enlargements of parliament.

  9. The Super Hornet is intended to fill a possible gap between the current upgraded F111’s and the joint US/Australian fighter project

    And theres the rub. Neither the SH or F-35 can replace the F-111s. The latter can haul up to 25x500lb guided bombs over a combat radius of 1,000 nautical miles (without refueling) and with a high chance of reaching the target and returning.

    The F/A-18Fs can lift 2x500lb with a combat radius of 150 nm and has a so-so chance of success.

    To maintain the F-35s stealth characterists all weapons must be carried in its 2 internal weapons bay, but to give it anything like a decent range one bay will have to be filled with an extra tank. So effectivelly it can carry only a single bomb or missile. It also then has limited self-defence missile capacity (2 short range Sidewinders) so in the bomber role the F-35s will either need fighter escorts, or carry externally mounted missiles at the expense of stealth. It also has only one engine, moreover one that needs to operate at a much higher temp than previous designs to get adequate performance.

    The European fighters share some combination of the same disadvantages of the hornets and f-35.

    As for the suggestion that the F-111s will be replaced by cruise-missiles. Crap! Not even the Americans can afford that. And they’re useless against moving targets like shipping, a primary F-111s target.

    The F-15s the Koreas are building would be a better stop gap measure if one was required. But it isn’t. The F-111s could be upgraded with state of the art radars, electronics and more powerful engines for comparatively peanuts. Despite the nonsense Nelson dribbled abut them falling out of the sky, we have enough spare airframes and wings to keep them safely flying until at least 2050, at which point I expect humanity will be facing a crisis that can’t be resolved with bombs.

  10. Sharing the Joy, Otiose.

    Every Dog has it’s Day.

    In Rebel’s lifetime (he is Twelve) we have done the midnight swim, at least a hundred times.

    On the hot, hot nights. When I arrive home. Or whenever.

    The 180, my paces, to the beach. Rebel’s dad, his owner, rarely aware of these escapades.

    Not that he minded when he caught us out!

    I have been so bitter and twisted for so long I have failed to take that dog out, for at least 12 months.

    The dog does not know why things have so marvellously changed.

    In any event, Rebel smiles, wags, as he does.

    Despite his friend next door, so oddly sullen and strange, for so long a time, happy to swim and dance, on the beach, again, at any hour.

    Rebel doesn’t know what is different.

    He does know it feels better.

    As do we!

  11. just a quick historical note “israels best defence” by retired israeli air force chief-air superiority is CRAP unless you have the appropriate logistical support
    2.Our comms/sat nav capabilties are light years ahead of ANY unfriendlies- we can monitor,jam,ghost and even shutdown any Unfriendlies systems
    3.Contextually we could fly sopwith camels and still have “air superiority”
    4.” Despite the nonsense Nelson dribbled abut them falling out of the sky, we have enough spare airframes and wings to keep them safely flying until at least 2050, at which point I expect humanity will be facing a crisis that can’t be resolved with bombs.” plus the amount of spares if needed are available to equip at least 3 squadrons.

    the real issue is appearance not functionality- but a good dose of reality helps

  12. Are we still banned from discussing child abuse? If not, these allegations are explosive.,25197,22922011-601,00.html
    In SA we have mandatory reporting of child abuse. I assume the same is true in Qld. If ministers were found to have directed child protection officers to break the law and not report child abuse, they would be forced to resign and possibly face criminal action. Of course in SA, we don’t have a CCC so it would never get out!

  13. Well this certainly feels like a Boy’s Blog at the moment.
    War planes and Maxine’s skirt.
    Sheez guys –
    in the meantime… what is the latest on the vic senate vote?

  14. Jen dont worry the wacky greens have no chance at a Vic Senate spot you’d have done better with your 2004 candidate, infact he’d have probably won had the ALP not preferenced Steve Fielding…

  15. Sorry Jen, maybe we can strap some bombs to the roofs of our V8 supercars. Parachute them out the back of a Hercules and get Lowndsey and Skaifey to race each other to the targets.

  16. David Walsh #301: Yes the High Court is the arbiter of whether the size of the Reps is in conformity with the nexus clause. At the 1977 redistribution the Reps was reduced from 127 to 124 because the HC ruled that 127 was too high. There were then 60 state-elected Senators, so a strict application of the nexus would have meant 120, but the HC apparently accepted 124. There are now 72 state-elected Senators, so we should have 144 in the Reps, but the HC apparently accepts 150. (Of course the HC can only rule if someone challanges the current size of the Reps – maybe if someone did the HC would order a reduction.)

    So, if we were to increase the number of state-elected Senators to 84 (14 per state), which is the minimum possible, that would give a House of Reps of 168. It could probably be 170 or even a bit more without provoking the wrath of the HC. That, incidentally, would mean that at a half-Senate election the quota for election would be 12.5%, and at a DD it would be 6.7%.

    If we had a House of 170, the seats would be distributed as follows: NSW 55, Vic 42, Qld 34, WA 17, SA 13, Tas 4, ACT 3, NT 2. Since Tas must have five seats, the state with the lowest quota would lose a seat to Tas, that would be SA with 12.75, so SA would go back to 12.

  17. Talk about irony! Geldof (that’s Sir Bob, to you), has just called renewable energy “Mickey Mouse”.

    Not that self-adulating pop concerts on the theme of human blights are anything other than “Mickey Mouse”!

    Anyway, Sir Bob has decided that the world better go nuclear, despite the costs, the severe downstream problems, and the fact that there’s not more than a few decades worth of the stuff if we all did.

    Nup, why waste time and effort on Mickey Mouse when we’ve got Sir Bob?

  18. Check out the calculater for the senate in Vic. We’re heading into recount territory me thinks.

    Labor leading by .0098 of a quota. only 5 parties are directly favouring Labor, in a recount who knows.

  19. #319 – presumably the 124 includes the (then) 3 Territory seats? That would leave a difference of 1 which could be attributable to rounding.

    Also, does anyone know whether the additional seats that Tasmania gets under its guaranteed minimum of 5 (which I think accounts for about 1.5 seats these days) is applied before or after the per-state quota of seats is calculated under the number-of-Senators-based formula? If it’s after (which would make more sense to me), you would always expect the total number seats to be a little over 148 as Tasmania would always have more than its quota (other states would have up to 0.5 above or below their quotas).

  20. Thanks Adam, I wasn’t aware of that.

    But I still wonder how getting 12 from 12.75 lives in harmony with a constitution that states: “if on such division there is a remainder greater than one-half of the quota, one more member shall be chosen in the State”.

  21. HC would be prevented Constitutionally from ruling a reduction of SA from 12.75 to 12

    The HC would wear any reasonable anomaly in the Rep total as an alternative to
    avoid this

  22. Crikey Whitey 311,

    I wish you were my neighbour! Give rebel a big jowl squeeze and ear-rub from me! Do you think he would like a holiday in Brisbane?

  23. “The seat entitlements for each state are strictly determined by a formula set down in the constitution. The High Court’s role, as Antony Green has pointed out, has been to interpret that formula.

    Ergo, the High Court would only accept the results of said formula.”

    To be precise, the formula in S24 of the Constitution applies “until the Parliament otherwise provides”. Thus it is quite open for the Parliament to legislate a new formula, although the general nexus provision is constitutionally entrenched.

    As it turns out, the Commonwealth Electoral Act essentially repeats the Consititution’s formula. But it would be perfectly legitimate if it variesd it.

  24. The cut in seats in 1977 came about because the High Court ruled that S24 meant dividing the total population of the states by twice the number of State Senators to determine the quota, not dividing the Commonwealth’s population by twice the number of all Senators. The Court also invalidated a provision from 1964 that gave a seat to any state fractionally above a full quota in the seat determination.

    The formulas are all here.

  25. Did everyone get it? Cossie on the radio telling anyone interested that the Liberal government was doing a good job, you know, the economy’s running like a fast train and their only problem was they failed to, you know, ‘renew’ themselves. (I think that’s code for not turfing the Rodent and giving him the PM’s job).

    If there was ever any doubt about what a concieted, smug git he is, then this is surely like a tatoo across the forehead: Smug Git.

    The populace were pretty happy with the government (particularily his bit), and just wanted a change. Obvioulsly we are a bunch of ADHD kids with a low boredom threshold, and didn’t appreciate how wonderful the Smirk would have been as PM.

    Talk about living in denial, and having an ego bigger than the known universe.

  26. Lisa @323, only five parties directing preference to Labor, which is exactly why Labor’s lead will be greater than shown by the Calculator. Very very few Labor votes are below the line. It will be the Greens that suffer leakage of BTL votes away from where the ATL votes go. So Labor’s vote will be at the same level or slightly higher in the real count, while the Green vote is certain to be lower. The Greens go from 10.06% to 13.39% on current calculations, but some of that will leak away. Labor is not nearly so reliant on BTL to get elected, going from 13.06% to 13.99% and then 14.4% after Family First goes out.

  27. The 1964 provision was to appease the Country Party, which had scuttled the 1962 redistribution because it would have cost them seats (in those days redistributions had to be approved by the Parliament). That’s why there was no redistribution between 1955 and 1969, producing enormously distorted enrolments at the 1966 election – Bruce had 119,000 voters while West Sydney had 29,000.

  28. McKinlay’s case (I think 1974) fixed the problem that allowed governments to keep deferring redistributions. That case meant a state had to have its new entitlement to seats at the next election. Fraser had to include statewide PR as a provision in case a redistribution had been knocked back by Parliament. The Hawke government changed this to a mini-redistribution where an election took place before boundaries had been drawn to take account of a state’s new entitlement.

  29. KR,

    I also noticed that tip said how lucky Prime Minister Rudd and Treasurer Swan (sounds good, eh?) were to inherit such a good economy.

    Seems to have forgotten that he inherited an economy on the improve and that his legacy is an economy which seems to be developing a few problems.

  30. My understanding was that territory seats have no bearing on the nexus. So the important numbers now are 72 and 146, not 150. The two surplus seats are because each state must have as many seats as it does quotas, and Tasmania throws it out a little.

    On that basis, I think the number of required seats if the Senate was expanded to 14 per state would be 170. Here is the population of the various states according to the last determination:
    New South Wales: 6,764,690
    Victoria: 5,012,689
    Queensland: 3,945,940
    Western Australia: 2,003,778
    South Australia: 1,540,223
    Tasmania: 484,745
    The Commonwealth: 19,752,065
    (excluding the Territories)
    Australian Capital Territory: 325 790
    Northern Territory: 206,492

    Now, if the number of seats across the six states were to increase to 168, then the quota would have been 117,571.82. So the allocations to each state would have been:
    New South Wales: 57.54 (58 seats)
    Victoria: 42.64 (43 seats)
    Queensland: 33.56 (34 seats)
    Western Australia: 17.04 (17 seats)
    South Australia: 13.10 (13 seats)
    Tasmania: 4.12 (5 seats)

    That’s 170 seats. Then you give the ACT a third seat and retain the current two seats in the Northern Territory, for a House of 175.

  31. KR @ 333

    We will never know, but my gut feeling is that even if Howard had tossed Costello the keys to Kirribilli last year they would have still lost, possibly by an even bigger margin. I don’t believe Cossie has what it takes to connect with the electorate so any post transition honeymoon would have been brief.

    As for the great economy he’s left, take out the windfall resources boom and we would have been in deep poop for some time. We may yet be if, as many economists believe, the US is about to nosedive into recession probably taking China with it. If so, the wasting of the huge surpluses on trinkets by the Costello et al will bite us on the bumb, bigtime.

  32. There is another way to change the numbers. Cut the Senate back to ten Senators per state, make it one-third the size of the House, and you still get about the same number of members of Parliament. That requires a referendum, but you could sell it to the public. It has one problem, in that there would only be four Senators per state elected at the next election. That would cut out the Greens. Another would be a referendum to break the nexus. Unlike the previous attempt in 1967, it might require some sort of formula to be included. Even the presence of the Aboriginal referendum in 1967, included as a deliberate attempt to get a yes vote for the nexus referendum the same day, didn’t work against the campaigning of the DLP. But it would be worth trying again, arguing that 100,000 is getting a bit large for House seats, and the only way to cut this number is to alter the nexus provision. I’m sure people would understand why you don’t want to increase the size of the Senate.

  33. Cutting to ten Senators would be good, Antony. Do you know if either party supports cutting Senate terms to three years? It’s just plain common sense.

  34. 337

    Oh yeah, the Smirk doesn’t have to rise from his hammock to tell us about what went before, he obvioulsy thinks he was the best thing to happen to Oz in the last decade and all else is mere history.

    Pity we didn’t recognize his greatness, eh?

    I’m still gobsmacked by these creeps, the utter self-obsession and delusional perspective, even after all these years! Or else their complete dismissal of our intelligence to see what frauds they are.

    And yes, I still get a frison of joy every time I hear the Prime Minister’s name mentioned. It’s a mixture of relief and expectation, and its only heightened every time I hear the likes of Smirk and his dreary ilk drone on about what might have been.

  35. Antony, I know this is probably a completely moronic question (but a psephologist I ain’t)…
    Why would BTL votes leak away from The Greens, when I thought the current wisdom was that minor party voters are More likely to vote BTL?

  36. Why does half the Senate have to be elected each three years? Apart from legislative and constitutional questions, is it immutable as a concept or more efficient in some way?

  37. The only time the nexus has any real impact is on the relative number of votes between the Senate and the HoR in a joint sitting. Given that there has been exactly one such sitting it seems a bit excessive to keep a whole lot of extra Senators hanging around just in case we have another, but if the intent of the Constitution in this regard was considered important it would be just as easy to devise a formula whereby the total number of votes exercised by the Senate in a joint sitting was as near as practicable half of those exercised by the HoR as it is to define a formula where the number of actual Senators is as near as practicable half the number of actual members of the HoR.

  38. Didn’t work that well in Tasmania when they reduced the number of MPs in each division. Green vote just grew to make the new quota.

  39. Surely if you were changing the Senate you would put all positions up for re-election at the next election after the referendum and therefor not necessarily achieve Glen’s wish.

  40. Glen, please don’t use this site as your own personal message board on issues that have nothing to do with electoral matters. Your comment on IVF and the responses to it have been deleted.

  41. Sorry William i thought it was a political issue in Victoria but obviously it has nothing to do with the Tasmania situation after the Federal poll.

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