Apple sliced

This post began life as an addendum to my post on the Dennis Shanahan article, which read as follows:

In other news, the AEC has commenced a redistribution for Tasmania, it having gone the maximum seven years without one. The AEC’s figures respectively put enrolment in Bass, Denison and Lyons at 1.2 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent below average, with Braddon and Franklin 1.5 per cent and 3.7 per cent above. So the redistribution will presumably involve a transfer of territory from Franklin to Lyons, which is unlikely to make much difference to anyone’s electoral prospects. Changes to the more sensitive Bass and Braddon are likely to be negligible. Uniquely, Tasmanian boundary changes have effect at both federal and state level.

I am promoting it partly because my contention that it will be of little electoral consequence has been disputed by Scotty in comments:

The most likely booths to go to Lyons are probably Labor’s best larger booths in Franklin. Bridgewater, Gagebrook and maybe even Risdon Vale if moved to Lyons would significantly shrink the margin in Franklin. In turn this would make Lyons much safer. This may result in a preselection in Lyons as Dick Adams’ personal vote is no longer needed to win that seat.

Furthermore, it has belatedly come to my notice that the Tasmanian Electoral Commission has published proposed boundaries for a redistribution of the state’s 15 upper house districts. Given the lack of party competition in upper house elections, it’s hard to say what the significance of this is, if any. I do have a question though for Tasmanian state politics buffs: given that the upper house never dissolves, when and how do the changes take effect?

More on the redistribution from Peter Tucker.

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.

29 comments on “Apple sliced”

  1. Cheers for the thread William.

    Fair enough about the Legislative council. Though it is important to note that parties can contest races if they choose to. With the deep level of unpopularity of the state government i think it is not beyond the realm of possibility. Of course the main seat that will be interesting is the seat of Derwent. I must say i am unsure when the redistribution would come into effect. But if it does come into effect before the 2009 elections the redistribution could influence the re election of treasurer Michael Aird if there is a major backlash. It would make Pembroke safer for labor and Romney more marginal.

    Some of those independents are liberal in all but name also. The proposed redistribution for Wellington will make independent Doug Parkinson uneasy. Adding more of up scale Sandy bay and Lenah valley and removing more working class Moonah will make an already pretty Green electorate even Greener. The fact that Doug Parkinson was one of the very few MLC’s who voted against the pulp Mill proposal speaks volumes. Fortunately for him, he was re elected last year.

    If i had to guess about when the redistribution comes into effect i would guess it would come into effect the same day as the lower house redistribution perhaps?

  2. I guess my point about when a redistribution takes effect requires clarification. What if a division was abolished and a new one created elsewhere? Would the member for the abolished division just get the sack, and a new election be held for the new division?

  3. Section 29 of the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES ACT 1995 seems to some up when it comes into effect.

    “What if a division was abolished and a new one created elsewhere? Would the member for the abolished division just get the sack, and a new election be held for the new division?”

    From my experience I would assume in that scenario they would complete their 6 year term. So at that point the old one would disappear and the new one come into effect. Though i doubt that would be practical to do that. If they were to simply decrease or increase the seats then the act would have to be changed anyway.

  4. OT but any thoughts on Murdoch by-election?

    I’ve seen almost nothing anywhere on this, so I assume it’ll be another Williamstown/Albert Park/’Triple M’ yawnfest? Any chance of a Pittwater-esque boilover??

  5. Wellington/Elwick A looks quite strange to me – giving Moonah to Elwick but leaving Lutana in Wellington will make Lutana very much the odd suburb out in an electorate that is otherwise entirely in the Hobart Council area.

    The upper Lenah Valley change, which is logical, will make little difference; you can see from the dots on the map that only about fifty people live there if that, though I wouldn’t be surprised if forty-seven of those vote Green!

    The loss of Moonah would probably cost Labor >400 votes of their lead over the Greens in Wellington, but it will still be quite a comfortable seat. But the Queenborough – Sandy Bay area (the bit proposed to be added in from Nelson) is not significantly Greener than either Wellington or Nelson generally (state election Green votes there, as in both LC electorates overall, are in the 30-32% range) so I don’t see the southern change making much difference to either electorate.

    Nelson, however, will become even more conservative-leaning as a result of the addition of more Christian-belt suburbia in Kingston. This will further entrench Jim Wilkinson against any further challenges from either progressives or Greens, although he pretty much had the seat for long as he wants it anyway.

    Labor preselectors would be nuts to even think about rolling Dick Adams. This is an electorate that used to give Robin Gray stupendously high personal votes in state elections and, like Franklin, it is more than capable of swinging by ten percent at a time if it takes a dim view of the candidate offered to it.

  6. [Dullest by-election ever, MDM. No independent candidates: unelectable minor parties only. Will do half-hearted live coverage tomorrow evening.]


    Why Bother – This is what will happen 🙂

    6pm: Polls Close.

    7.30pm, LIberal Candidate Declared Winer.

    8pm: Troy Buswell will immediatly annoint him Shadow Attorney-General.

    9pm: The libs all exicted, will retire to the nearest pub where the leader will demonstgrate his collection of “Party Tricks” 🙂

  7. Kevin Bonham @ 6
    You do make alot of good points. With alot of the legislative council i was exaggerating a little to point out the redistributions can have political consequences (in theory) more than the specifics of the current proposal which also is not set in stone and can still be adjusted. With Wellington it is true most of the greenies are already in there. Your comment about it mostly being the “Hobart Council area” i think sums that up quite nicely 😛

    Ah i do see the Queenborough extension does stop just short of the university (on closer inspection) so maybe i do overstate it a little. But still if things did come close a difference of a good 500 votes starts to add up.

    With Dick Adams i stand 100 percent behind my comments. Their is a good chance he wouldn’t be encouraged to go. However statistically it will be more likely than less after a redistribution. I am talking about after a redistribution,n the most likely places to be transferred are solidly labor. Bridgewater/Gagebrook there is alot of public housing Gagebrook particularly. And with the new plan to increase public housing where do you think it is most likely to go?

    On the current boundaries i do agree with you. But i was talking about a possible redistribution. Lyons did go strongly for Robin Grey to their eternal shame. But if those two suburbs and esp if Risdon Vale is included in that and there was a 10 percent swing then they would still hold Lyons. Also remember Dick Adams personal vote was not present in the last state election in which the liberals only won 1 seat out of 5. But yes you would hope any replacement would be a popular local.

  8. Even if no seats are abolished, when boundaries are changed, if elections begin using the new boundaries, there will be some people represented by two MLCs simultaneously and others represented by no MLCs for a period of time.

  9. Scotty, I was very confused by your comments. Parkinson voted for the Pulp Mill, and I believe is considered an ALP member, not an independent.

    I think you might be mixing him up with Jim Wilkinson, the member for Nelson, who did oppose the Mill.

  10. feral sparrowhawk
    Yea ur right i got those two confused. Sorry about that. I was thinking about the area that is in Nelson being moved to Wellignton and must of got them mixed up. Silly me. 🙁

    So yea i was talking about Jim Wilkinson in Nelson. 😛

  11. Mexican Beemer @ 12
    Well if i dont get any mixed up i would guess.

    Apsley- 50-50
    Derwent- Well labor 😛
    Elwick- 50-50
    Huon-Labor unless left faction
    Mersey- Liberal
    Montgomery- Labor even bryan Burke
    Nelson 50-50
    Paterson- 50-50
    Pembroke – 50-50 unless they add risdon vale which they may do
    Rosevears No idea
    Rowallan- Liberal
    Rumney- 50-50
    Windermere- Labor

    Hehe feral sparrowhawk i got to wellignton and realised i had mixed them up again 😛

  12. Re #12, I haven’t checked closely but wouldn’t be too surprised if (once you checked booth votes from the 2006 state election and tossed in the Green preferences) the answer was actually close to 15-0 to Labor. I’m especially surprised Scotty lists Wellington as 50-50 since Labor canes the Libs on primaries in almost every Wellington booth at state elections, and with the Green vote so high I don’t think the Libs would even come second in a hypothetical three-party contest for the seat.

    Of course if you assume a much lower level of Labor support things get more interesting (except in Wellington which I think they’d still win easily!) but we’ve been a little starved for state polls lately!

  13. Scotty @ 14 –

    “Huon-Labor unless left faction”

    Bugger. The Huon valley is one of the 2 places (with New Norfolk) I’m considering retiring to in a couple of years and I was hoping to be represented by real fire breathing red raggers. ;(

  14. Kevin Bonham @ 15
    Well i doubt it would be 15-0. 13-2 or 14-1 if they are luky. The 2006 figres are rather inflated due to a huge sympathy vote in relation to the death of Bacon.

    You are right about Wellington sigh. I got them mixed up again. I fixed Nelson which i originally had as Labor/green to 50-50. But then didn’t fix Wellington as Labor/Green. For why i labelled those 50- 50

    Apsley- Scottsdale and surrounding area are pretty solidly liberal. Winneleah for example is one of the most liberal places in Tasmania. Flinders iswland is also very good for the Libs. The midlands are particularly along the midlands highways is solidly labor. Many of the other smaller towns like Gladstone, St Helens or Bicheno would probably decide it. Unless the CFMEU declares war on labor again and Scottsdale goes from 55 -60 liberal to 75 percent liberal.
    Elwick- Labor. That one was a mistake.
    Mersey- Liberal. Devonport votes liberal 4/5 by significant but not that large of a margin.

    Murchison-50-50 Large area Smithton solidly liberal as well as many other North West towns (with exceptions). King Island is also good for them. West coast towns very solidly labor. Wynyard the swing area would probably decide it.

    Nelson 50-50 Has Kingston in it. Big sing area. Why they get almost all of Franklins already small pork barrelling.
    Paterson- 50-50 Outer suburbs of Incestaun (I mean Launceston) swing like the 60’s.

    Rumney- 50-50 Well probably more 65-35 than 50-50. Tasman peninsular Rokeby, clardon vale are very labor. But the liberals can do well in Sorell as well as smaller areas like Cambridge, Richmoond and Forcett. But yes stronger for labor on closer inspection.

    Rowallan- Come on they have got to win all the time somewhere

    So yeah labor would have the advantage most of the time.

  15. MayoFeral @ 16
    Some interesting choices. You like the forestry related industry areas aye? New Nolfolk is alot reder than anywhere in the Houn Valley. But i hope you arnt against the pulp mill cause i hear New Nolfolk has a paper mill in there (although alot smaller). From my experiece the Huon Valley is very old labor. A left labor could win but only if they love wood chips and hate poofs.

    I am interested why those places? I could probably think of better ones. new Nolfolk is abit close to places like Gagebrook/bridgewater for me also.

  16. Scotty @ 18 – The Huon valley for fishing, NN because it has a half decent hospital, or at least did 20 years ago when I was last in the state, if my health deteriorates more than anticipated.

    Gays don’t bother me just as long as they don’t scare the horses and do it in private – same with heteros – but logging leaves me cold. Hopefully, sooner than later the absurdity of chopping down majestic trees just to make throw away packaging will penetrate thick skulls.

    Where would you suggest for an increasingly ancient fisherperson of indifferent health? To save William’s bandwidth email me at:

  17. I have to disagree with Scotty about Derwent being a potential problem for Aird when it goes up for election next. I haven’t lived in Tassie for ten years but I wouldn’t mind betting that the old-style, socially conservative Labor voters in areas like New Norfolk would be the last to swing against the current State Government, even if the swing is on. Aird is also a personable, intelligent individual who worked very hard to win the seat and who would no doubt do so again if there was a serious challenge. With the inherent difficulties involved in unseating a sitting LC member in a contest that is barely covered in the media and has tight spending limits, I think Aird is pretty safe. And there’s no way a declared Lib could knock him off – it would have to be an independent with a strong pre-existing public profile.

  18. He is very safe i agree. The point though is how safe. My point was more he has gone from impossible to unseat to very hard to unseat on the new boundry. Though removing Ouse probably reduced the benifit of the areas remopved but it is very small population wise. The premose of my point is that the current government has become extremley unpopular. I have yet to meet one person who will openly say they will vote for them. Though some have been struggling to try and find an excuse. I am a labor voter. But i will not vote for Lennon. Of Course a liberal could not beat him. But a popular independent could. You will notice on my list of what i think would be the results in head to head match ups i do not list derwent as marginal. Though a liberal presence could help direct votes to another candidate. I was simply pointing out redistributions can have political reprecusions for the LC.

  19. I didn’t see much support for the idea that backlashes against Lennon Labor are expressed against Labor’s Upper House candidates in the Pembroke election last year. Either that or the backlash isn’t all that large – Allison Ritchie’s primary vote was down only 10 points despite facing five opponents (albeit comparatively weak ones) instead of just one.

    Scotty – what do you reckon would be the two Upper House seats the Libs would be most likely to win if they were Lib-Lab-Green contests? I’ll crunch some numbers on each of them and see if the Libs would indeed win them.

    Some time back there was some discussion about what would happen if Tasmania went to a 25-seat single-seat system and Charles Richardson suggested the Libs would be annihilated based on figures at that time; he reckoned it would be something like 23-0-2. But that was in the leadup to the last state election, so I think he was working off ’02 figures.

  20. I guess you are probably right. I do believe she did not reach 50% plus 1 quota without preferences however. And by the time she was elected, 48.5 % of people still had not voted for her. I believe she got nearl 54 percent last time. I’m sure there are a combination of factors for that but the lennon baggage would be one. That was when there was more optimism he would step down and before the Green trial decended into a farce and Howard was still around to remind us why we hate liberals so much. The guy who came second had once been a member of the liberal party but to be fair had once been a democrat also. For the large amount of candidates there was no real viable alternative. The green unacceptable, the member of the shooters party perhaps? or that complete joke marty Zucco? Her personal vote did no doubt save her skin. I would suspect another few hundred votes would be a female solidarity thing in a male crowded field.

    Basically my point is if there was a real popular indpendent centre left candidate maybe things could be different. My other point is there could still more baggage we are yet to learn of. Also Allison Richie is not a member of the lennon cabinet. But guess who is?

  21. “And by the time she was elected, 48.5 % of people still had not voted for her” is true, but greatly understates how easily she won. The reason is that she cleared her majority with two opponents still remaining in the count (James on 31.2% and Smith on 17.4%). Smith was the Greens candidate. I don’t know the distribution of his preferences between James and Ritchie, but even assuming that none exhausted (a small percentage would have done so) and the rest favoured James 60:40 (I doubt it would have been heavier than that, if they even favoured James at all) that would still give Ritchie a 58.4% two-candidate-preferred result. Most likely, therefore, there was at least a modest 2CP swing to her. This is not surprising given that she was up against incumbent Cathy Edwards the first time, and up against Richard James as the incumbent herself the second. All up, it was really a business-as-normal result – neither a spectacular win for Ritchie nor an obvious large backlash against her.

    Yes, it would have been more interesting had Ritchie been opposed by a credible, equally-high-profile, left-leaning popular independent, but these are not at all common creatures in Legislative Council elections or indeed in Tasmanian politics in general. Indeed my main basis for correctly calling Ritchie’s very easy win a done deal in advance of the election (contrary to some speculation otherwise) was that the opposition candidate list was a rabble, most of whom were probably running to boost their local government profiles.

  22. Scotty, I take your point that you weren’t saying that Derwent was marginal or that Aird was not safe. I think I tend to agree with Kevin though – LC elections really have a life of their own and I’ve never really seen one that has actually involved an issues campaign, even one as simple as lets-bash-the-state-government. Admittedly I’ve lived elsewhere for ten years and maybe Parkinson’s last campaign was, but that’s a pretty unusual seat. LC elections really do seem to be about personal connection and profile.

  23. Yeah Ex New Nolfolk Local it does play a significant part. I guess i just don’t like being called unimportant 😛

    Hehe Kevin Bonham i noticed poor Richard James didn’t even make deputy mayor. My point About Richie is i didnt vote for her cause the govt was pissing me off even though i have nothing against her. I just assumed perhaps a few hunndred other people did too but i guess we will never know. I did have second thoughts though and she is probably better than alot of those other right wing nut jobs on there. I guess i am kinda glad she is still there as they will probably be in opposition after the next state election albiet probably a minority liberal govt (but u never know). I think opposition would be character building for them personally.

  24. Further proposal has now been released following the first round of public comments (online at

    The most important change from the initial proposals concerns the current Wellington, which is proposed to be renamed back to Hobart. The revised version removes Lutana and Moonah (among the least Green areas of the current seat) and adds the balance of South Hobart and Turnip Fields (extremely Green areas of adjacent Nelson).

    It will be interesting to see if Labor objects though I am not sure what basis they would have for doing so as this redistribution makes much more sense than the initial version. I have not yet crunched the numbers on it but I would not be surprised if this (if adopted) makes the seat marginal and sets up a serious Labor/Greens bunfight for it in 2012.

  25. Not quite as bad for Parkinson as I thought – on my modelling the redistribution if accepted causes about a 4.5% swing from him to the Greens, reducing his 62.5% 2CP from last election to about 58. Not marginal, although a strong Green candidate might make it so.

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