Tasmanian upper house elections live

Figures at close of counting on polling day.


Lin Thorp
Tony Mulder
Paul Mason
Penelope Ann
Booths counted (/22)


Craig Farrell
Jenny Branch
Phillip Bingley
Deirdre Flint
Ray Williams
Booths counted (/27)


Rosemary Armitage
5310 31.8%
Steve Bishop
3310 19.8%
Lou Clark
2395 14.3%
Sam McQuestin
5679 34.0%

Sunday, May 8

9pm. The two-candidate preferred figures make it very clear Tony Mulder will defeat Lin Thorp in Rumney: he leads 10,607 to 9343.

5pm. Adam Clarke in comment reports the indicative count in Rumney has Tony Mulder ahead of Lin Thorp by 500 votes: if confirmed, that would pretty much put the issue beyond doubt. Thorp has lost further ground on the primary vote with the addition of 595 pre-polls and 317 postals. The latter is also true of Labor’s Craig Farrell in Derwent, but with 38.6 per cent of the primary vote he should still get up. Sue Neales of The Mercury suggests the Greens might use the opportunity of a reshuffle forced by Thorp’s defeat to push for a third seat in cabinet.

Saturday, May 7

7.54pm. All booths have now reported, so here’s a call of the board. Rumney: My projection still has Lin Thorp a few points above her raw vote, suggesting she did very well on declaration votes last time (UPDATE: No, the discrepancy is because I’m operating off a pre-redistribution baseline. For this reason, I’ve chopped the projection from the table). It’s possible that won’t be replicated at this election, so she could well finish in the mid-30s. Kevin Bonham seems to think that will be enough, but you certainly wouldn’t want to call it. Derwent: Labor’s Craig Farrell is a shade under 40 per cent, which is enough to make him the front-runner but again it’s too close to call. Possibly some intelligence from scutineers will emerge to give us some sense of what to expect. Launceston: Sam McQuestin’s primary vote lead over Rosemary Armitage simply won’t be enough to hold off preferences from anti-Liberal Labor voters and anti-major party indepedendents, such that Armitage’s win here is the one projection I’m entirely confident about.

7.41pm. Two booths left to come in Rumney, including Labor’s best booth of Rokeby. My projection tells me that Lin Thorp will perhaps edge into favouritism once it’s reported. All booths in now from Launceston; one outstanding in Derwent.

7.33pm. Only two booths left to report in Derwent: Craig Farrell’s vote is back above 40 per cent, which is the litmus test for Labor’s secure hold on the seat.

7.27pm. Sam McQuestin’s primary vote lead has widened in Launceston, but not by enough.

7.26pm. With 21 booths in, Craig Farrell’s primary vote had dipped slightly below 40 per cent again, but he’s probably done enough.

7.22pm. Sixteen booths now from Rumney and Lin Thorp’s position has improved. However, much still depends on the imponderables of preferences, such that it probably won’t be possible to call this one this evening.

7.18pm. Rosemary Armitage has now almost caught up with Sam McQuestin on the primary vote in Launceston, and is well and truly home and hosed.

7.12pm. Sixteen booths in from Rumney, and Craig Farrell will be breathing easier now his primary vote has cracked 40 per cent.

7.09pm. Eleven booths now from Launceston cause little change to the situation: I’m still calling it for Rosemary Armitage.

7.06pm. With 12 booths in from Rumney, the situation has stopped improving for Lin Thorp, who will need a very strong flow of Greens preferences to hold off Tony Mulder.

6.58pm. A good result in the Roseneath booth improves Labor candidate Craig Farrell’s position in Derwent, such that I’d now say he’s the favourite. The raw figures still aren’t good, but the good Labor booths to come should push him up near 40 per cent, which will likely be enough.

6.56pm. Nine booths in from Launceston and Rosemary Armitage’s position continues to improve, such that I’m ready to call it for her. She is only just short of the Liberal candidate on the primary vote, and without question will close the gap on preferences.

6.54pm. The count continues to proceed so quickly it’s making my head spin. Twelve booths now in from Derwent, and while the raw figures look lethal for Labor, many of their best booths are yet to report. It will come down to the tightness of preferences and the number of exhausted votes (voters only have to number three boxes). Flint and Williams now neck and neck for second.

6.52pm. Seven booths now from Rumney (fastest count ever!), and while Lin Thorp is struggling, the situation is less bad for her than the initial figures suggested. A solid flow of preferences from the Greens could save her, but she’s not out of the woods. As anticipated, Tony Mulder is the biggest danger to her.

6.49pm. Five booths in from Launceston, and the gap between Armitage and McQuestin has narrowed – the former now looking extremely well placed.

6.47pm. The count proceeds at a rapid clip: now seven booths in from Derwent, and I think you can about say Labor have lost the seat. Their candidate is slightly behind independent Deirdre Flint, who will surely pull further ahead on preferences. Another independent, Ray Williams, possibly can’t be written off yet.

6.43pm. Three booths in from Launceston, and while Liberal candidate Sam McQuestin leads my early sense is that independent Rosemary Armitage would be likely to chase him down on preferences.

6.40pm. Three booths in from Derwent, and here too the Labor vote has slumped well into the danger zone. Ray Williams is the front-runner out of the other candidates.

6.37pm. The Saltwater River booth in Rumney has reported, and while it’s a small booth, it’s very interesting to note the Labor vote there has collapsed from 79.4 per cent in 2005 to 40.2 per cent.

6.00pm. Polls have closed for today’s elections for the Tasmanian upper house divisions of Rumney, Derwent and Launceston. We should probably be seeing the first results in about 45 minutes.

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.

44 comments on “Tasmanian upper house elections live”

  1. First booth in Rumney in – Saltwater River. Thorp leads but with a c. 7% swing compared to the Labor state election results. State election results for the whole of Rumney were around 38 Labor, 36 Liberal, 25 Green so if the pattern seen in that booth is repeated it will be a close preference fight. Very small booth though.

  2. Colossal swings against Labor in the early Derwent booths but these are typically small booths that are on or near Flint’s municipal territory.

  3. McQuestin leads at Punchbowl booth with 35% to Armitage’s 27.4% and Bishops 20% with Clark on 14.64%. Clark’s preferences strongly favouring Armitage.

  4. First booth in in Launceston for which I have matching state figures is Summerhill showing the Libs down nine points on the state result and Labor down 14. If that’s representative a Liberal vote in the high 30s could be expected and a preference contest between McQuestin and Armitage. Need to see more booths for a clearer pattern there too.

  5. Looking very good for Thorp so far in Rumney. Compared to the state election results she is up in some booths and down in others but not more than 10 points either way in any. In the rural booths Mulder is so far doing poorly compared with the Liberal state vote, down double figures in some. We’ll need to see if this changes as Clarence booths are added in.

  6. McQuestin has taken a nasty blow in the Liberal booth of Norwood. In most booths he has been tracking 7-9 points below the state figure but in Norwood (a big booth) the gap is 21. McQuestin needs to lift as more booths go in as his current lead of 2% is nowhere near enough to hold off Armitage.

  7. In Derwent there are swings against Labor that are in the teens to low 20s in the booths counted so far, which include a lot of small rural booths. Farrell’s primary currently at 32.6 should climb higher into the 30s as more pro-Labor booths are added. The three conservative candidates currently have a majority between them but I would not expect their preference flow to be too tight.

  8. In Derwent Farrell has now moved up to a primary of 40 although it may not remain quite that high as some of the remaining booths are a but sub-average for Labor. Farrell looks safe, his lead will be too large.

  9. William, I agree, on these figures Armitage has Launceston under control. McQuestin needed a much bigger lead and ideally a primary of 40.

  10. There are still several booths to go but it is currently looking like Lin Thorp will retain Rumney despite everything. Mulder is now nine points behind and although the preferences of Mason (with 14%) are an unknown quantity it matters not because the Greens and Clark (whose preferences will help Thorp) will have more than him combined.

    The primary gap may close – in particular we still have the Cambridge booth to go which is always a shocker for Labor.

  11. For Derwent assuming Branch stays in second she needs something like an 80:20 flow from the other independents assuming that the Green preferences break as strongly to her as to Craig Farrell (which they won’t). Preferences just do not flow that strongly in LegCo. I’d especially expect weak flow from Flint because her votes were very regionally concentrated. I’m calling Derwent; I’m not calling Rumney although I think Thorp is well placed.

    Note that there are enough votes to in theory get Mason into second in Rumney but the flow will not be strong enough from the other candidates with Thorp still in the mix. Another five points for Mason and he might have been in Wilkie territory.

  12. Just heard that another “analyst” (I’m guessing this is Richard Herr or Tony McCall) is tipping Mulder to win Rumney on preferences.

    Indicative distribution will be attempted tomorrow afternoon. This should give a confirmed result for Launceston but in the others the process may stall partway through because of outstanding postal votes.

  13. Sue Neales in Mercury saying that scrutineers from both parties say “the vast majority” of Mason voters put Thorp last. Suspect there’s a dash of typical Nealesian hyperbole in that but this could yet be very very close.

    Electoral Commission is reportedly going to do an indicative preference count of the four lowest candidates.

  14. Interesting that the swing against Lin Thorp is only 2% more than the swing against Labor in Derwent, suggesting that it’s the government, more than her in particular, who’s on the nose with voters.

  15. Roxanna, there are a number of reasons why they’re hard to compare. The Rumney swing is compared with 2005 whereas Derwent is 2009, the former being a much happier time for the government than the latter. In the absence of the Liberals, the figures are also hugely influenced by the field of candidates that emerges. There were only three in Derwent in 2009, none of whom was really independent given Jenny Branch’s association with the Liberals. So you would expect Labor to be down there with two “proper” independents in the field. You would also expect them to have suffered from the loss of Michael Aird’s personal vote. Likewise, the field of independents in Rumney was stronger than last time. So for all sorts of reasons – hard to compare.

  16. Labor’s primary is a bit better than I expected in Rumney and a bit lower than I expected in Derwent. Probably a profile thing. I’ll wait for the preferences before saying what it says about the thwack-Thorp factor.

  17. Rosemary Armitage wins, thrashing McQuestin on both Clark’s and Bishop’s preferences and winning easily with a 56-44 overall margin. This is provisional but the number of remaining votes is too small to change the winner.

    Currently Clark’s preferences break 55% Armitage 25% McQuestin 20% Bishop and then Bishop’s preferences break 72-28 in Armitage’s favour.

  18. A 12% swing against the Liberals in Launceston compared to the last state election. Considering the circumstances there is no way that is a good result for them.

  19. [A 12% swing against the Liberals in Launceston compared to the last state election. Considering the circumstances there is no way that is a good result for them.]

    Indeed not.

    And what’s interesting there is the totally ludicrous posturing by Will Hodgman in the Examiner today where he boasted about similar swings against Labor and the Greens and pretends that it points to majority government if the result was replicated at state level.

    Current link (may become paywalled) :


    “the bizarre situation which now sees the Green candidate in Rumney effectively kingmaker as to whether or not Lin Thorp survives.”

    Will, it’s called preferences. We have them in this country, you sound like an arch-scaremonger for Vote No to AV.

  20. Southern Cross news for some reason reported tonight that rather reminiscent of the Mayoral contest, Rosemary Armitage ‘just got across the line with 51% of the vote. Liberal Sam McQuestin narrowly missing out’…

    Why must we always suffer such erroneous reporting of elections in this state. The Examiner also strangely suggesting that the expected result was a two candidate tussle between Clark and Armitage and that the results were a ‘surprise’.

  21. Indicative count is showing Mulder winning by a whopping 1264. Not only is there a savage 78-19 flow from Mason to Mulder, which makes sense, but even the voters for the electoral nonentity Forster and the left-wing ex-Labor rebel Clark have given Thorp the boot.

    Thorp is the first major-party formally endorsed incumbent to lose in the Upper House since Kath Venn in 1982. Venn had the misfortune to face the people a weak after the Lowe/Holgate shambles was crushed by Robin Gray so to find the first instance of an endorsed incumbent from the government being defeated we need to go back further (if there is one – I’ll find out.)

  22. Mulder is ahead of Thorp on 2CP count by over 1200 at 6:05pm. What status does this indicative count have? If Thorp does lose who will be tapped on the shoulder for her portfolios, especially education? Bartlett?

  23. Something still worth keeping an eye on is whether Mason can close on Mulder on the preferences of Clark, Ann and Forster. To beat Mulder into second his share of these preferences must exceed Mulder’s by 56 points, bearing in mind that preferences can also go to Thorp at that stage or exhaust. He’d need something in the seventies as a share to do it. Grossly unlikely it will be that much although the flow from the Green candidate to Mason ahead of either major-party candidate could be quite strong.

  24. [Mulder is ahead of Thorp on 2CP count by over 1200 at 6:05pm. What status does this indicative count have?]

    It means that if Mulder and Thorp are the final two (which is extremely likely) then Mulder has definitely won.

  25. Cross posted with Kevin! There’s three MPs in the lower house without a ministry: Scott Bacon, Brenton Best and Rebecca White. It’ll be interesting to see which of these three gets into cabinet.

  26. [Cross posted with Kevin! There’s three MPs in the lower house without a ministry: Scott Bacon, Brenton Best and Rebecca White. It’ll be interesting to see which of these three gets into cabinet.]

    Or if they allow the Greens a third ministry, which given the coalition seat numbers would be proportionate.

    Best should not be given any ministry in a fit, Bacon is not known to have done anything significant since being elected and there’s a case for keeping White where she is in order to have at least one spare backbencher with actual talent. Farrell needs time to settle in. Looks like a good case for making Tim Morris a minister to me.

  27. I agree. Tim Morris is a considered, measured and capable competition. Personally I prefer Kim Booth but he would never be bound by loyalty to the Labor Party and that’s what I like about him. Everyone will scream about another Greens minister but Tim is the best they could pick if they want stability.

    Personally, I’m not sure that anything can save this government.

  28. [Personally, I’m not sure that anything can save this government.]

    Me neither, except perhaps Will Hodgman.

    The last time a sitting Government MLC with formal party endorsement lost their LegCo seat: 1967, Derwent. And in that case the seat was lost to a candidate who had previously held it.

  29. Mulder now officially elected. Farrell has to wait as the distribution stalled because two candidates were too close together.

  30. Albeit unrelated to this election, Bartlett’s announced his resignation. The Mercury states that Singh and Sturges are unavailable, and that Ogilvie will likely fill the gap when Bartlett shuffles off.

  31. [The Mercury states that Singh and Sturges are unavailable, and that Ogilvie will likely fill the gap when Bartlett shuffles off.]

    If Ogilvie is the only Labor candidate she will win the recount. Neales’ comment about a “knife-edge” recount is not consistent with her comment about Sturges not being interested.

    For those unaware of H-C recounts the votes used are those Bartlett had when he crossed the line at the last election. Almost all of these are his primary votes, and there is also a small dribble of preferences from other sources (mostly Ogilvie and Sturges). All other results (such as Andrew Wilkie very narrowly missing a seat in same electorate) are irrelevant.

    [Is there any way an election can be forced in Tasmania?]

    * No-confidence vote carried on floor of Lower House and no alternative government can be formed (not likely anytime soon as the Greens would not be that stupid).

    * Legislative Council blocks supply. This power hasn’t been repealed but has not been used for many decades.

  32. Posted this on the wrong thread:

    [Not relevant to the LC count, but given Bartlett is resigning today, can anyone tell me whether, under the legislative provisions for Tasmanian lower house elections candidates from the previous election can choose not to be counted in a recount? I’m thinking specifically of Lisa Singh here.]

    I would’ve thought Singh would only be ‘unavailable’ after 1 July (when her Senate term commences), unless she can decline to be counted?

  33. Ok, I had a look at the Act, and people need to nominate to be part of the recount. Clearly Senator-elect Singh wouldn’t nominate.

  34. Correct. Only the candidates who nominate for the recount (which is free) are included. If no candidate from the party of the retiring member nominates then that a by-election may be held instead, at that party’s (and the Governor’s) discretion.

    It will be quite a turnaround if as suggested Sturges doesn’t stand either and Ogilvie is elected. Ogilvie polled abysmally at the election (not for want of trying and indeed perhaps trying a little too hard), finishing second-last behind all her ticketmates, all the Liberals and remarkably all the Greens. She did manage to outpoll the Socialist Alliance candidate.

  35. As Sturges is genuinely considering whether to run in the recount I have submitted voting patterns in Denison to the herbs and spices of booth analysis – my view is that if Sturges and Ogilvie both run Sturges will probably win easily. The Bartlett vote was strongest in the northern suburbs which favoured Sturges heavily over Ogilvie.

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