Huon and Rosevears live

7.45pm. Final results for the night: Kerry Finch on 72.8 per cent, Paul Harriss on 62.0 per cent. Mark Rickards will lose a little on pre-polls and postals, but his 38.0 per cent is nonetheless an encouraging result for the Greens.

7.12pm. Twenty-two Huon booths now in; Rickards wins the Kettering booth 228-190, and is still on 38.4 per cent of the vote. Kerry Finch on 73.4 per cent in Rosevears with 11 of 15 booths in.

7.00pm. Seven out of 15 booths in from Rosevears: Colin O’Brien’s 26.8 per cent of the vote is a little higher than I would have expected.

6.57pm. Sixteen booths now in from Huon. Rickards might be disappointed by his 396-371 loss in Sandfly, but his vote is otherwise holding up at 38.2 per cent.

6.53pm. Kevin Bonham says in comments that the trend points to a Greens vote of about 36 per cent.

6.50pm. Nine booths in now from Huon (out of 27), and while Paul Harriss will clearly win, the Greens are doing well enough that the election is more interesting than I expected. Mark Rickards has easily won the Woodbridge booth 211-139, and has 39.8 per cent of the total vote. The Greens narrowly won Woodridge at the federal election.

6.46pm. Kevin Bonham offers more authoritative comments on the Huon figures than my own in comments. Note I was wrong two posts ago about the Middleton 2006 result: the Greens won Sandfly, Barnes Bay and Kettering at that election, but not Middleton.

6.45pm. Two booths in from Rosevears, Finch on 72.7 per cent.

6.42pm. Turns out the Greens outpolled the Liberals at Middleton at the federal election and and topped the poll there at the 2006 state election. According to Bonham and Tucker, “Green support in Huon is strongest around the D’Entrecasteux Channel”.

6.37pm. Four booths in from Huon, and without really knowing the terrain, it seems the Greens candidate is doing remarkably well. He’s won the Middleton booth 113 votes to 91, and had 37.2 per cent of the vote overall.

6.05pm. Round about now, polls are closing in today’s periodical Tasmanian upper house elections, where sitting independents Paul Harriss and Kerry Finch are certain to be re-elected in Huon and Rosevears respectively. Huon covers southern Tasmanian coastline south-west of Hobart; Rosevears includes the western suburbs of Launceston and extends north-west to the mouth of the Tamar River (the Tamar Valley pulp mill location of Bell Bay is on the opposite bank). Harriss once ran as a Liberal lower house candidate at the 1996 state election, and is generally considered to be unsympathetic to the government. He will face Greens candidate Mark Rickards, a former Royal Australian Navy officer and candidate for Franklin at the 2006 state election. Finch is most notable to the nation at large as one of four upper house independents who voted against the pulp mill. He faces a challenge from Colin O’Brien, an independent candidate of low profile. I will make a few observations about the results as they become available.

As I do every year, I have conducted a survey of the upper house independents’ voting record in parliament, this time taking the effort to conduct a separate count of votes that were substantive rather than procedural. The table below shows how often each voted with the four Labor members (five before Terry Martin quit last year); note that Don Wing doesn’t get to vote as he is Council President.

. 2007-08
2002-07 expiry
Jim Wilkinson (Nelson) 3/8 1/6 25/59 (42%) 2014
Sue Smith (Montgomery) 8/11 6/8 19/58 (33%) 2013
Greg Hall (Rowallan) 6/8 5/6 27/64 (42%) 2012
Don Wing (Paterson) 0/0 0/0 2/14 (14%) 2011
Ruth Forrest (Murchison) 5/11 5/8 8/16 (50%) 2011
Tanya Rattray-Wagner (Apsley) 5/10 4/7 11/27 (41%) 2010
Terry Martin (Elwick) 2/9 2/7 0/1 (0%) 2010
Norma Jamieson (Mersey) 3/9 3/7 8/36 (22%) 2009
Ivan Dean (Windemere) 10/10 8/8 13/39 (33%) 2009
Kerry Finch (Rosevears) 4/10 4/8 22/45 (49%) 2008
Paul Harriss (Huon) 6/11 4/8 10/64 (16%) 2008
Tony Fletcher (Murchison) 6/48 (13%) 2005
Colin Rattray (Apsley) 19/36 (53%) 2004

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.

21 comments on “Huon and Rosevears live”

  1. OK, Rickards is +7 on the state election result at Adventure Bay, +11 at Alonnah, +4.6 at Glen Huon and a whopping +19.5 at Middleton (a booth the Greens did not even win at the last state election, although it was close). +7 is about normal for a Green against a single incumbent so the Greens are off to a good start.

    I am impressed that he has won Middleton; I thought he would win Woodbridge but was not confident about the Greens getting others.

  2. Greens lost Middleton to Labor by just two votes in ’06. More votes in, Rickards is +7 on 2006 Greens figure at Adventure Bay, +12 at Dover, +22 at Judbury. They are on for an excellent result in the very high 30s if the pattern holds.

  3. I’m a Huon voter. Rickards’ results are surprisingly good – though he does have a pretty high profile. Nothing parliamentary – Harriss is known as chair of some inquiries and a bit of a leader in the Council – but running in every election since 2005 does tend to help.

    Middleton is a tiny township in the area known as the Channel. The green vote there is hardly surprising. Most of the place is dominated by sea-changers/latte-sippers. It’s often said that Cygnet (nearest decent-sized town) has a bit of a hippie vibe ;).

    Woodbridge results have also just come in at 60/40 to Rickards. Woodbridge is just next to Middleton.

    Harriss’ majority will come from the much larger booths in the Huon local government area. That whole region is dominated by forestry workers and is generally far more conservative than Kingborough/the Channel.

    Disclosure: I voted Rickards but have had some contact with both candidates.

  4. Woodbridge is the Greens best booth in the electorate (my article sneakily mentions it in the next sentence after the list of also-ran Green booth wins) so the win in that booth is no surprise. The margin is again on the high side though: +15 on last state election. Also +13 at Southport.

  5. One booth left the Greens have a fair shot of winning is Kettering.

    Rickards polled 23.9 at Port Huon which is the Greens’ worst booth in the whole seat (couldn’t even break double figures at the last state election.)

  6. Kettering won by Rickards so that’s three for him. Of the remaining booths Cygnet and Margate are quite good for the Greens and Maranoa and Geeveston are among their worst (Blackmans Bay a little worse than average) so they will go down a little and then probably also drop a point or so on postals.

  7. Cygnet has a hippy vibe as Rivuleter mentions but it’s not solidly hippy; it’s sort-of split down the middle hippy/bogan. Rickards’ vote in this booth (45.6%) is excellent.

  8. A pretty satisfying result from the Greens perspective, even if it does drop off a point or two with postals. It’s probably too much to hope for that we can win it if Harris doesn’t run next time, even with the redistribution taking out the unfriendly Maranoa Heights booth.

    However, it does send something of a message, and it makes Wellington 2012 look even more interesting.

  9. Interesting! Prepolls seem to have split 57-43 Harriss-Rickards, not too bad for the Greens, though against an Independent it’s hard to say how many people could be mobilised for pre-poll booth staffing duties. Anyone in Huon who can comment on if Harriss had many volunteers before today, or even today at the smaller booths around the Channel and on Bruny?

    The more interesting point is that, even including those votes and postals, it’s still 62-38. Not bad at all for the TasGs.

  10. Could the Greens strategy with running in all these seats is to set them up for when these independents retire? What happens when an independent MLC retires? Does it become a free-for-all?

  11. Ben, I suspect part of the Green strategy in seats like Huon is to get people used to voting Green and thereby build their House of Assembly vote. It doesn’t seem like a bad strategy either – a whole bunch of people voted Green for the first time today and it will now be just that little bit easier for some to do the same in a statewide election. Maybe not a huge effect, but worth running a candidate for.

    It’s hard to see them ever winning Huon, even in an open election, unless the demographics change quite a bit or they get lucky in a split field with some weird preference flows. But then, I wouldn’t have expected them to get the result they did tonight. And Wellington is definitely another matter, as others have said.

    Josh, in Tasmanian state elections you’re not allowed to hand out how to votes within 100 metres of a polling booth, which means that not even the major parties bother.

  12. Josh, actually that last bit of mine is wrong (I just got paranoid and went and checked). You’re not allowed to canvass for votes within 100 metres of a polling booth and you’re not allowed to distribute how to votes (or other election material) at all on polling day.

  13. Molesworth,
    you’re not allowed to distribute how to votes (or other election material) at all on polling day.

    I wish that was the case in all elections Australia wide.

  14. Typically when an MLC retires there is a big bunfight for their seat, often with several candidates contesting and the winner polling only 30% or so (if that). Then after that the incumbent can comfortably retain the seat more or less forever unless they are perceived to be doing nothing or to have too much on their plate, in which case they can be knocked off by a sufficiently high-profile opponent.

    Wellington (as it is now known, although the name may soon revert to Hobart) is the big one for Green chances of ever breaking into the Upper House – the current redistribution is likely to make it easily the greenest of the seats and knock at least four points off Labor’s margin in it. I’m not sure how long Doug Parkinson intends holding this seat (it’s next up in 2012) but whenever he steps down Labor will need to find a strong replacement to be sure of holding off the Greens in the seat.

  15. Kevin, what a sad state of affairs that a fairly involved political onlooker like me has barely heard of several of those people.

    Who on earth is Greg Hall, for example? What do they do to earn their living?

  16. Greg Hall used to be Mayor of Meander Valley Council before he was elected to the Upper House, and lists his former occupations as “Public Servant; Soldier; Farmer”.

  17. The Blackmans Bay result is also worth a mention. I scrutineered at this booth in the last Huon election – the Greens plus Flora Fox received around 20% of this booth then (in a race against Harriss and a Labour candidate) – so the increase to just over 40% is bigger than you’d expect from the lack of a Labour candidate alone. This is one of the bigger Franklin booths, and one that has been average but not great for the Greens in the past. It seems that most of Fran Bladel’s vote has gone to the Greens here – I wonder if this might be a forebear of a pattern of Labour disenchantment we might see elsewhere?

  18. Re #20 – yes, Blackmans Bay was +19 on the state election result which was one of the largest such gaps. Whether it is a pattern of disenchantment with Labor or a pattern of surge for the Greens at the expense of both major parties (and suspected closet supporters thereof) remains to be seen.

    An alternative is that more Labor voters are preferencing the Greens because the word is out among them that Harriss is a closet Liberal, but I doubt it: that didn’t apply against Wilkinson last year, and much the same is often said about him.

    Another possibility is that Harriss didn’t campaign all that hard, but if that’s so then again, that also applies to Wilkinson.

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