Pembroke by-election live

Tuesday, August 11

The preference distribution has been completed. Goodwin has been elected on the sixth count with 10,143 votes (51.1 per cent), with independent Richard James in second place on 5510 (27.7 per cent) and Greens candidate Wendy Heatley in third on 4125 (21.2 per cent). Goodwin’s final two-candidate margin over James will never been known, but is probably about 10 per cent. Here’s the piece I wrote for Crikey last week:

Tasmania experienced what might have been an Australian electoral first on Saturday: a by-election at which the incumbent party didn’t have the bottle to contest its own seat. Spooked by the circumstances of sitting member Allison Ritchie’s departure, state Labor calculated that a forfeit in the eastern Hobart upper house district of Pembroke would be less humiliating than a defeat. While the scattered vote among eight candidates leaves a lot of preference counting to be done, it’s clear the seat will go to Liberal candidate Vanessa Goodwin, a Hobart criminologist who had previously performed well at state and federal elections without quite bringing home the prize.

Labor’s calculation that the absence of its own candidate might muddy the waters in favour of a friendly independent proved badly misplaced. The field included two independents identifiable with the Labor cause: Honey Bacon, widow of former Premier Jim Bacon, and James Crotty, a left-winger considered to be the front-runner for a Labor preselection which never eventuated. Both woefully under-performed despite considerable pre-election publicity, failing to poll 20 per cent between them, while Goodwin easily headed the field with 38.5 per cent.

Goodwin will become only the second endorsed Liberal candidate to win a seat in the history of the Legislative Council, owing to a peculiar set of electoral rules which are so encouraging to independents (conservative ones in particular, due to the concentration of Liberal support in rural areas) that the party has long felt its interests are best served by keeping above the fray. The decision to break from tradition by fielding Goodwin, who had been lined up for a second tilt in the five-member lower house division of Franklin, represented a bold challenge by Opposition Leader Will Hodgman to David Bartlett’s government, which is due to seek a fourth four-year term in March.

As well as demonstrating Hodgman’s tactical nous, Goodwin’s success boosts the Liberal cause in terms of morale, fundraising potential and parliamentary talent, providing a capable addition to an Opposition which has had the same seven-member line-up since the 2002 election disaster. The result also suggests Labor has next to no chance of again returning three members in Franklin, which it only narrowly succeeded in doing in 2006. Two of the three then elected, Paula Wriedt and former Premier Paul Lennon, have since left parliament, leaving low-profile neophytes to defend the seats. One more loss on top of Franklin would cost Labor its majority, returning the Greens to a balance-of-power position they have not enjoyed since the major parties sought to nobble them by reducing the size of parliament in 1998.

Monday, August 3

I have an article on the by-election, probably subscriber only, in today’s Crikey. Acres of detail from Kevin Bonham at the Tasmanian Times, while Antony Green looks at the bigger picture.

Saturday, August 1

Please note that these figures are not being updated beyond election night.

# % PROJ.
Vanessa Goodwin 7134 38.5% LIB 38.5%
Honey Bacon 1848 10.0% IND ALP 19.1%
James Crotty 1681 9.1%
Wendy Heatley 2414 12.7% GRN 12.7%
Peter Cooper 1407 7.6% OTH 29.7%
Richard James 2117 11.4%
John Peers 1751 9.4%
Kit (Sharon) Soo 201 1.1%
100.0% of booth count conducted
75.2% of enrolled voters counted

8.49pm. 2007 more pre-polls have been added, and like the first batch they’ve gone over 40 per cent to Goodwin. Please note that my projections in the above table are no longer telling you anything useful now that all the booth votes are in.

7.41pm. Fair bit of local variation for informed locals to chew on. John Peers evidently has a lot of fans in the Bligh area, where his 21.0 per cent was over double his vote just about everywhere else. His support there clearly came at the expense of Goodwin, who recorded easily her worst result there. Her other weak booths were strongly Labor Risdon Vale and to a lesser extent Warrane, which provided a pocket of support for Honey Bacon who had her second best result after Risdon Vale.

7.34pm. Goodwin has saved the best till last, Tranmere giving her 49 per cent. The booth vote is now completed.

7.30pm. Excellent results as expected for Goodwin from Lindisfarne and Bellerive, about 40 per cent in each.

7.27pm. The three outstanding booths, Bellerive, Lindsfarne and Tranmere, were the weakest three of all for Labor at the 2007 federal election, hence the disparity between my projection for Bacon plus Crotty and the current total.

7.24pm. Large Howrah booth is Goodwin’s best yet, with 42.3 per cent.

7.21pm. Loatta Road ditto, and a particular poor result for Bacon and Crotty.

7.19pm. Biggest booth yet, Geilston Bay, is another strong result for Goodwin.

7.18pm. Warrane in, another strong result for Goodwin.

7.15pm. Bligh and Risdon Vale are less good for Goodwin, but Montagu Bay continues the trend. The result is no less beyond doubt.

7.10pm. Antony Green pretty much calling it for Goodwin as well.

7.05pm. Wentworth Street booth confirms the trend, and even at this early stage I’d say Goodwin’s lead is unassailable, given the size of the gap between her and her nearest rival, the poor show by Crotty and Bacon, and the tendency of preferences in these elections to a) spray all over the place due to the fact that how to vote cards aren’t allowed, and b) to a lesser extent exhaust due to the fact that voters only have to number three boxes.

6.50pm. 377 pre-polls provide further evidence that Goodwin is looking at an unassailable 40 per cent of the primary vote, and that Bacon and Crotty are doing less well than I expected.

6.45pm. The first booth to report is a normally very strong one for Labor – Mornington – and it’s given Vanessa Goodwin a very strong 34 per cent, and weak results for Bacon and Crotty.

6.33pm. Note the low Greens vote (6.9 per cent) from the mobile count, from an electorate that went about 16 per cent Greens at the last state election and 11 per cent at the last federal, suggesting it’s a conservative sample.

6.25pm. 131 mobile booth votes added, looking encouraging for Vanessa Goodwin, but perhaps these are old people’s homes and such. Still tinkering with my table. When booth results come in, it will show “projected” total votes for Liberal, independent Labor (Honey plus Crotty), the Greens and the others combined, based on swings compared with the 2006 election. I don’t make any guarantees about how good the predictive power this will be.

6.00pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live count of the by-election for the Tasmanian upper house district of Pembroke. There being no small rural booths, I’d say the first results should be in in about 45 minutes. The Electoral Commission’s results should, I guess, be appearing somewhere around here. I’ll hopefully have a table up soon in which numbers will be crunched, but if you find Antony Green more trustworthy he will be doing much the same here.

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.

93 comments on “Pembroke by-election live”

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  1. Mobile booth in. 131 votes, Goodwin caning it on 57, Bacon next best on 18. Extremely small sample but if anything like that holds up it wouldn’t even go to the last exclusion.

  2. I think the mobile booth travels around the electorate stopping at various points through the day, like shopping centres, markets and the like. Can’t find anything online that says where this one went.

    In the 2007 Pembroke poll the mobile booth collected 205 votes. Ritchie got 35.4% cf 42.9% total ordinary, Greens also down, so Goodwin probably won’t stay that high in other booths.

  3. Yeah, looking at the results from 2007 I reckon it must go somewhere that gives it that anti-left bias. Could well be that a retirement home or two are on its shopping list.

  4. In the 2002 state election in Vic, I went around with a mobile booth. They do go to retirement homes. As well as other places like hospitals.

    And form the example I saw, they mainly took Lib HTV’s and no Green ones. Out of about 200.

    It was in Thomastown if it matters

  5. Given that there’s no mention of anything else like a Declared Institution booth it would seem a fair bet that this is the nursing home one. Would also make sense that those voters, knowing less about what’s going on, are more likely to go for a familiar party label.

  6. What sort of candadites are John Peers and Richard James, I take it that the two red candidates are seen as connected to the ALP with Goodwin a Liberal and Wendy a Green.

  7. Re #14 James was associated with both the Liberals and the Democrats in the very distant past. Not sure of Peers’ past party allegiances if any. Both local councillors as is Cooper.

  8. Thanks Kevin! well if it is a retirment home booth that may help explain James high vote of 10%

    Nursing homes shouldn’t be seen as just Liberal voting, my favorite moment in the 2007 election was when Antony Green and Kerry O’Brien were looking at the first booth in Bennenlong and it showed a 10% swing to the ALP and it turned out to be a retirement home

  9. Mornington – 34% to Goodwin, nobody else above 12. This booth was 64% 2PP Labor in the 2007 federal election, but was not in Pembroke last LC election.

    Looks like Labor voters are hiding from the even vaguely Labor candidates and parking their vote with the local council independents in disgust.

    Re #17, James is quite high profile so 10% for him in any booth is no surprise. What is surprising is if Peers and Cooper keep pushing that level as well.

  10. William, Whilst it is clear Goodwin is well in front but calling it on only 2.2% of the booths seems a little early, how many voters and booths are there in Pembrook.

  11. Mornington has a roundabout in it which Goodwin made a pretty big issue of during the campaign; that may be blowing out the pattern there but it is still incredible she can poll 34 primary in a field of 8 when at the federal election she only got 36 2PP.

  12. Perhaps you’re right, but the difference between her and the second placed candidate in the context of an election where preferences will spray all over the place (remembering that HTV cards aren’t allowed in Tasmania) is enormous.

  13. Re #24, that’s quite likely, there is a fair bit of blue-collar industry in that area. However, the swing against Labor in Mornington in 2007 exceeded that for the electorate as a whole.

  14. Greens are up slightly on pre-polls and up slightly @ Wentworth St. They might be seriously on for second on primaries here.

  15. Kevin! I have just had a look at the AEC and it reckoned Mornington swung to the Liberals by about 3.8%.

    AEC had an + next to Goodwin’s number and a – next to Collins.

  16. Greens not doing so well cf 2007 Pembroke in the booths that just went in. James now into second place; will be interesting to see who gets it in the end.

  17. Re #33 and 35 – yes, it was 4.9% 2PP to Libs according to Franklin as a whole was the biggest swing to the Coalition in Australia, probably as a result of loss of popular sitting member followed by massive preselection infighting.

    The remaining Pembroke booths to come in are Liberal territory so the pattern we currently see is only going to get splattier.

  18. Really it’s not that Goodwin’s vote is all that huge (although it is quite good); it’s that the two Labor-linked candidates Crotty and Bacon have both done so abysmally. I thought Crotty could well bomb but I did not expect Bacon to do so as well. I actually think it’s good for democracy that is only good for about 10%; I thought it would be much more than that.

  19. Looking at Antony’s blog where he has listed previous election results, the Liberal vote is basically where it has been at both the 2004 and 2007 federal elections.

    The ALP choosing not to run appears to have helped but considering this seat is in Hobart I am a little surpirsed that the Greens have not made a much bigger gain or is this part of Hobart not normally good for the Green

  20. Thoughtful comments as always Kevin. Couldn’t agree more. The Bacon name got 9.69%, more than it deserved from what seemed a very disengaged campaign.

    What are the implications for the Tasmanian ALP for the next state election?

    I’d say two labor-leaning candidates both failing to get 10% of the primaries in this seat is extraordinary. It certainly does not auger well for the next state election for Bartlett. The liberal party will be very confident of winning another seat in Franklin and the rest of the state may be sick of the corruption scandals and want to send the ALP a message just like the people of Pembroke have done.

    My prediction is the liberal vote in next year’s state election won’t be too high (just like tonight) but that the labor vote will fall alarmingly (just like tonight).


  21. Looks like the Greens take second. I see that as a win for them, going against Goodwin, Crotty and Bacon.

    Wouldn’t call it for Goodwin yet though. With Bacon, Crottie and Green combined to be near Goodwin’s total, it could get interesting.

  22. Dave! I think looking at those numbers and from what William wrote earlier about votes exhusing Goodwin would be unlucky to lose from her current position.

  23. 12% for the Greens, looks okay expect you would have thought with the cimate change debate dominating that voters may have taken an opportunity to send a message to Canberra unless 12% is considered an improvement on past performance.

  24. I think Kevin and I did pretty well with our predictions here We had Goodwin favourite and thought Bacon’s Campaign might have let her down, which it appears to have.

    The biggest surprise is that the two Labor-aligned candidates could only muster 20% of the vote between them. Clearly, a good proportion of non-Liberal voters teed off with the government have gone to the Clarence aldermen, which explains how they managed 30% between them when we thought perhaps 20% would be their limit.

    Importantly for Tasmanian politics, is that Goodwin’s win secures Liberal leader Will Hodgman in the position when it must have been shaky. He gets a huge boost while premier Bartlett can only lament how he, in effect, gave a seat away.

    The whole thing, from Ritchie’s demise, to Labor’s handling of it, to Goodwin’s win has been a disaster for Labor. But they got what they deserved for sloppy politics.

  25. Re #48 Clarence Council doesn’t have wards (I don’t think any of them do in Tassie anymore; think they are all multi-member Hare-Clark now). Bligh is in Warrane and Peers lives in Rose Bay which is very near Warrane; he also did well in the main Warrane booth.

  26. [Wouldn’t call it for Goodwin yet though. With Bacon, Crottie and Green combined to be near Goodwin’s total, it could get interesting.]

    If Bacon, Crotty and the Greens preference very tightly indeed, the first-placed candidate among them would then need to get about 75 per cent of preferences from the other independents (accounting for an exhaustion rate of about 20 per cent), which is beyond the realm of possibility. I’d say we’re looking at a two-candidate preferred vote for Goodwin of a bit under 60 per cent (although we may never know because they don’t proceed with preference distributions after a candidate reaches 50 per cent).

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