Tasmanian election late counting update

The Tasmanian election has been sadly neglected at this place, but here at least is a review of the results, and an opportunity to follow the down-to-the-wire race for the last seat in Braddon.

The Tasmanian election count will conclude later this afternoon, the one result remaining in doubt being Braddon, which might go either 4-1 or 3-2 to the Liberals ahead of Labor, the former being an unprecedented result. After all five electorates went two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens in 2010, the Liberals built their landslide this time on gains from Labor in Bass and Franklin, gains from the Greens in Lyons and Braddon, and potentially a further gain from Labor in Braddon in as well. That will leave the final numbers in parliament at either 14 or 15 for the Liberals, seven or eight for Labor, and three for the Greens. A call of the board for each electorate in turn:

Bass: The Liberals have won a third seat at the expense of Labor, down from two to one, with the Greens retaining their seat. The Liberal vote was up from 42.6% to 57.2%, or 3.43 quotas. This re-elected Michael Ferguson (down slightly from 25.0% to 22.4%) and Peter Gutwein (up from 14.2% to 23.3%), the successful newcomer being Sarah Courtney, whose 4.7% share of the vote compared with 4.0% and 2.8% for party colleagues Barry Jarvis and Leonie McNair. The Labor vote was down from 34.5% to 23.3%, or 1.40 quotas – only enough to re-elect their highest profile member, Michelle O’Byrne, who was down from 17.8% to 10.6%. The other Labor incumbent, Brian Wightman, was up from 5.9% on his 2010 debut to 8.2%, but it availed him not. The Greens were down from 21.0% to 12.7%, or 0.76 quotas.

Braddon: The Liberals are grappling for an unprecedented fourth seat out of five, with a 58.8% share of the vote (3.53 quotas, up from 45.2%) set to add one or two newcomers to re-elected incumbents Adam Brooks (25.0%, up from 10.8% on his 2010 debut) and Jeremy Rockliff (up from 17.1% to 23.6%). Roger Jaensch (4.7%) is slightly ahead of Joan Rylah (4.1%, but performing better than Jaensch on preferences) in the race for the third seat, leaving Rylah hoping for a fourth. Both finished well ahead of a fifth Liberal candidate, Kyron Howell (1.4%). Labor veteran Bryan Green (down from 17.4% to 10.3%) comfortably outpolled maverick colleague Brenton Best (down from 11.0% to 5.7%, for all his efforts to distance himself from the government), who is grappling with the Liberals for the last seat. As Kevin Bonham relates, Best requires a strong flow of Greens preferences that he is unlikely to receive, given his vocal hostility to them. The Greens vote was down from 13.7% to 7.0%, or 0.42 quotas, resulting in the defeat of their incumbent Paul O’Halloran. They were slightly outpolled by the Palmer United Party on 7.2%, who were nonetheless unable to win the seat for which they held the highest hopes.

Denison: Denison produced the one status quo result of two seats each for Labor and Liberal and one for the Greens. The Liberals were up from 29.8% to 40.2% (2.41 quotas), but with Andrew Wilkie’s 8.4% vote from 2010 up for grabs, the changes for the other parties were relatively modest, with Labor down from 36.3% to 33.9% (2.03) and the Greens from 24.9% to 22.9% (1.37 quotas). The Liberal ticket was dominated by incumbents Matthew Groom (up from 15.1% to 21.6%) and Elise Archer (from 4.7% to 10.5%), both of whom entered parliament in 2010, as was the Greens ticket by Cassy O’Connor (down from 16.2% to 15.2%). The only Labor winner from 2010 seeking re-election was Scott Bacon, who in the face of considerably weaker competition for the Labor vote was up from 11.5% to 22.6%. Newcomer Madeleine Ogilvie is struggling to hold off Julian Amos, a former MP seeking to return, their respective vote shares being 3.4% (up from 1.0% in 2010) and 3.0%, with Amos narrowing the gap on preferences. The fifth Labor candidate, Alphonse Mulumba, polled 2.5%.

Franklin: Labor is in the awkward spot of having potential leadership contender David O’Byrne squeezed out by the Liberals winning a third seat at his expense, the Liberal vote having risen from 41.2% to 49.8% (2.99 quotas), with Greens leader Nick McKim securing re-election from a party vote of 16.8% (1.01 quotas, down from 27.4% in 2010). The Liberal vote was up from 41.2% to 49.8%, or 2.99 quotas, their ticket dominated by Will Hodgman (up from 31.7% to 35.2%), with incumbent Jacquie Petrusma (6.7% compared with 3.9% on her debut in 2010) to be joined by outgoing independent upper house MP Paul Harriss (5.4%). Labor’s vote was down relatively modestly from 30.5% to 28.6%, their 1.72 quotas securing election only for Lara Giddings (up from 15.1% to 16.4%), who landed well clear of O’Byrne (8.4% after his 2010 debut of 7.6%). A leadership transfer to O’Byrne could nonetheless be accomplished if Giddings left parliament, in which case O’Byrne would be certain to fill her vacancy on a countback.

Lyons: The Liberals (up from 36.1% to 51.9%, or 3.12 quotas) gained a seat here from the Greens (down from 21.1% to 11.4%, or 0.68 quotas), Labor retaining two seats despite a fall in their vote from 36.1% to 27.7% (1.66 quotas). Former Liberal Senator Guy Barnett polled nearly as well as the incumbents on his state election debut with 14.7%, only slightly behind former party leader Rene Hidding (up from 11.8% to 16.7%) and ahead of Mark Shelton (12.1% after his 8.2% on debut in 2010). Michael Polley having retired, the only Labor incumbent was Rebecca White, heading the Labor ticket with 12.9% after recording 10.0% on debut in 2010. The second Labor seat goes to 71-year-old David Llewellyn, who resumes a parliamentary career that was interrupted after 24 years when White defeated him in 2010, his 7.9% share of the vote comparing with 10.3% in 2010. The defeated Greens member is Tim Morris, who after the conclusion of preferences had 8462 votes (12.8%) to Llewellyn’s 10,177 (15.3%).

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.

33 comments on “Tasmanian election late counting update”

  1. Madeleine Ogilvie is not a sitting MP; Graeme Sturges filled the Bartlett vacancy in Denison. Nor is Julian Amos really a “newcomer”.

  2. Kevin Bonham has called this result on his site too.

    Paradoxically, I think it’s a good thing for Labor in the long run.

    Under any future leader (Bryan Green or, if he can persuade Lara to stand down from her seat, David O’Byrne seeming the most likely), Labor can now go on positioning itself as the moderate, reasonable voice on the forestry issue going forward. Brenton Best surviving in parliament would have muddied the waters in terms of the Labor position on the issue.

  3. I’m also happy to see Madeleine Ogilvie get up. Kevin Bonham seems to be bothered by her mild level of social conservatism (which seems to be a driving political issue for him). But Amos, whatever his positions might be on social issues, is too much of a blast from the past for me. Llewellyn even more so, of course.

    Ogilvie will add to the talent of the Labor side, which – despite the refreshing character of the retirement of Polley and the demise of Best – is sorely affected by the loss of David O’Byrne and Wightman. I’m also sorry to see Tim Morris lose: he was a very sensible voice among the Greens.

    Paul Harriss arriving in the lower house is generally a bad thing, but at least he isn’t pretending to be an independent any more (and, talking of blasts from the past, Peter Hodgman – Will’s uncle – is out of the blocks running to replace Harriss in the LC as a Liberal.

    I don’t know enough about most of the other Libs coming in to have a strong view about them. Except for Guy Barnett, who is nothing special to say the least.

  4. William,

    How do the Libs now go about removing the Hare-Clarke system? Does it just need a simple vote in parliament?

  5. 6

    I do not believe that the Tasmanian Liberals want to do that. It does often help them when they are in opposition or marginal government.

    If they did try, the Legislative Council may well block it.

  6. I believe so, bearing in mind that parliament includes a Legislative Council that consists almost entirely of independents. It’s not party policy in any case, presumably because they aren’t keen on having majority Labor governments in power about 80% of the time.

  7. [“I do not believe that the Tasmanian Liberals want to do that. It does often help them when they are in opposition or marginal government.

    If they did try, the Legislative Council may well block it.”]

    It was the policy they took to the Tasmanian election, they shall and they will.

    And killing off the Greens gremlin in Tassie for once and for all will of course be beneficial to both Labor and the Libs.

  8. [It was the policy they took to the Tasmanian election, they shall and they will.]

    Not my understanding, though my understanding of Tasmanian politics is admittedly rather limited. Can you provide a link that confirms this?

  9. [“It’s not party policy in any case, presumably because they aren’t keen on having majority Labor governments in power about 80% of the time.”]

    I thought it was, but apparently they were just debating scrapping it.

    Moving forward I can’t see the Greens siding with the Libs much in the future, they are too ideologically opposed.

  10. Frodo Baggins@9: “It was the policy they took to the Tasmanian election, they shall and they will.”

    I must have missed that part of the Liberal policy. Do you have a source?

    “And killing off the Greens gremlin in Tassie for once and for all will of course be beneficial to both Labor and the Libs.”

    It would certainly help Labor, but for the life of me I can’t see how it would help the Libs.

    Kevin, William or Psephos are far better placed than me to work this out, but – assuming relatively sensible electorate boundaries – a 25 single member seat election on March 15 would have produced a broadly similar result: perhaps 8 Labor and 2 Greens, but otherwise much the same.

  11. Frodo Baggins@11: “Moving forward I can’t see the Greens siding with the Libs much in the future, they are too ideologically opposed.”

    I think the Tassie Greens have always been open to working with the Libs. Unfortunately (as I think a Lib-Green Government in Tassie would have an appeal in some
    respects), there are two factors pulling against this:

    1. The Liberal Party’s current national policy position – which is very strong under the ideologically-driven climate denier Abbott – of treating the Greens as total pariahs on a par with Nazis or Al Qaida.

    2. The dominant pro-forestry position within the Tassie Libs at the moment, driven by Eric Abetz who seems to have a sort of idealistic nostalgia for the forestry industry that he saw as a boy.

    I think both 1. and 2. will pass over time. I don’t expect the Federal Libs ever to want to have much to do with the Federal Greens (and nor should they: people like Scott Ludlam, Sarah Hanson-Young and Adam Bandt are from the outer reaches of the far left and are as about as relevant to contemporary politics as the DLP). But the Tassie Greens represent a genuinely important constituency in Tasmania – particularly Hobart – a sizeable, prosperous cohort of professionals, scientists, small business people and similar types who – on non-environmental issues – would probably have more sympathy for many Liberal Party positions than for the dominating “old left” attitudes prevailing within Labor.

    I can’t believe that the Liberal Party wants to permanently jettison this upper middle class constituency.

    But perhaps they really want to become the bogan party.

  12. [Everything
    Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm | PERMALINK
    Indeed, so the correct version should be:
    So the most likely outcome using Kevin’s analysis would be:
    LNP 14 – ALP 7 – GRN 4

    Best LNP = LNP 16 – ALP 5 – GRN 4
    Worst LNP = LNP 13 – ALP 10 – GRN 2 (also best ALP option)
    Worst ALP = LNP 14 – ALP 5 – GRN 6

    My prediction:
    LNP 15
    ALP 6
    GRN 4]

    Missed it by 1 ALP seat!

    If you win just over 50% of the vote and get 60% of the seats, its probably not that bad a system.

    South Australia on the other hand…….the majority of SA voters preferred a Liberal versus ALP government, in 6 of the last 7 elections, but they only got a Liberal government 2 of those times.

    Now THAT is a system with problems!

  13. @Everything 14

    If you want the winner of the vote in raw numbers to form the government every time, the only democratic way to achieve that is with a system of proportional representation.

    It is quite simply the case that the single-member constituency system is not primarily concerned with returning the more popular party to power.

  14. [ If you win just over 50% of the vote and get 60% of the seats, its probably not that bad a system. ]

    I’m gonna compare apples with oranges here: the Tas Libs got 51.4% of the primary vote, and got 15/25 = 60% of the seats. SA Libs got a couple of points above 50% of the 2pp vote, and got 22/47 = 47% of the seats.

    The difference between the two percentages in Tas is 8.6%, the difference in SA is about 5.5%. The SA result is actually more “fair” for them by that measure (despite the fact that they don’t have a proportional system, and Tas does); it’s just that the two numbers were both close to the magic 50% mark and landed either side of it.

    (PS: if the SA Libs had won Fisher and Frome, that would’ve been 53% – almost spot-on perfect.)

  15. As for Braddon, that’s gone 4-1 to the Libs. A combination of Brenton Best getting “Ginninderra’d” by Lib candidates #3 and #4 (to pinch a phrase from Kevin Bonham), and an insufficient amount of preferences coming his way from the Greens. Funny that.

    Also, Lib #4 is the first woman to be elected in Braddon sine 1996.

  16. [Now THAT is a system with problems!]

    The Libs can’t win four marginal seats they had eight years to find a way to win. Now THAT is an opposition with problems!

  17. Re #12, these days I don’t bother working out what the same vote shares would produce in a single-member-seat system. The reason I don’t is that the Hare-Clark system distorts vote share because voters swing between the major parties to attempt to produce majority government. In a single-member-seat system majority government would tend to happen nearly always and they wouldn’t need to do this to anything like the same extent.

    #5 – I find the extent to which Tassie politicians either are socially conservative, or else willingly preference, support or otherwise prop up social conservatives annoying. That said I am not greatly troubled by Ogilvie’s position on euthanasia as while I don’t share her blanket opposition to it, I do agree that great care needs to be taken with it. And at least she’s not at all anti-gay.

    I am more concerned, for instance, about Ogilvie making noises about supporting repeal of parts of the abortion amendment passed last year – a first-rate piece of reform that was passed by several of the LegCo independent conservatives and one LegCo Liberal.

    For a while I was concerned about Ogilvie’s position on internet censorship as she had published a speech from a debate where she advocated for it. Turns out this was one of those formal competitive-style debates where you are given a position and have to argue what side of it you’re given. Rather than it necessarily showing her real view, there was just poor judgement on her part in having it published without a disclaimer. As a lawyer she would be used to arguing positions she doesn’t agree with. The thing I wonder is when and how we can know she has stopped doing it!

    It is good for the ALP to have legal knowledge on board. Wightman was often out of his depth as Attorney-General.

  18. Here’s my rough attempt at a 35-seat single-member Tasmanian House:

    1. Hobart Central (Labor/Green)
    2. Hobart North (Labor)
    3. Hobart South (Labor/Green)
    4. Sandy Bay and Taroona (Liberal)
    5. Glenorchy Central (Labor)
    6. Glenorchy North (Labor)
    7. Glenorchy South (Labor)
    8. Brighton (Labor)
    9. Clarence Central (Labor)
    10. Clarence North (Labor)
    11. Clarence South (Labor)
    12. Clarence and Tasman (Labor)
    13. Kingborough Central (Labor)
    14. Kingborough South (Labor)
    15. Sorell (Liberal)
    16. Huon Valley (Liberal)
    17. Derwent Valley and West Coast (Liberal)
    18. Midlands South and Glamorgan (Liberal)
    19. Midlands North (Liberal)
    20. Circular Head and Waratah (Liberal)
    21. Wynyard and Burnie West (Liberal)
    22. Burnie East (Labor)
    23. Kentish and Penguin (Liberal)
    24. Ulverstone (Liberal)
    25. Devonport West (Labor)
    26. Devonport East and La Trobe West (Liberal)
    27. Meander Valley (Liberal)
    28. West Tamar North and Latrobe East (Liberal)
    29. West Tamar South (Liberal)
    30. Launceston Central (Labor)
    31. Launceston East (Labor)
    32. Launceston West (Labor)
    33. Launceston South (Liberal)
    34. Launceston North and George Town (Labor)
    35. Dorset and Break O’Day (Liberal)

    My party guesses come out at Labor 19, Liberal 16, with Greens a chance in two Labor seats. These guesses are roughly based on last year’s federal election. KB or others with local knowledge will no doubt disagree with some of them. Of course, they ignore local and candidate factors, which would be very important in seats of only 9,600 voters, and in a state with a long history of voting for individuals rather than parties.

  19. Thanks Psephos. Interesting. What it indicates clearly to me is William’s point that PR generally helps the Libs down here. The Libs got 4 out of 10 seats in Denison-Franklin in the 2010 state election. Your guesses here – mostly on the mark -IMO – show them getting 1 out of 14 single member electorates in the same area.

    Southern Tassie is profoundly Labor-Green. Even in the relative landslide of a fortnight ago, the combined Lab-Green vote across the two southernmost seats was around 50%, as opposed to around 35% across the three northern seats (and that vote was bolstered by the “southern” element in Lyons.

    Tassie is becoming a bit like an upside-down electoral version of the UK, where the Tories have become increasingly irrelevant in the northern half and consequently need to do a lot better than 50/50 in the southern half to have Buckley’s.

    But the difference with the UK is that it is the population of the southern half of Tassie which features the most wealthy, well-educated, “upper middle class” voters. As a precursor for what seems to be a national trend, the Libs in Tassie have largely given up on this demographic – other than those older than the baby boom generation – in favour of a more blue collar sort of constituency: the men with utes and their families and friends.

    I see the “boganisation” of the conservative side of Australian politics – which began in Tassie in the 1980s with Robin Gray and was famously adopted at the Federal level by John Howard – as a major ground shift which is causing big problems for Labor: especially the very blue collar-oriented sort of Labor politics which has always been dominant in Tassie.

    All very interesting.

  20. Thanks MB. I was likewise struck at the Labor domination of the south, even in an election which Labor lost fairly badly. A big shift from the days of Goodluck and Hodgman. I expect in practice however that the Libs could pick off some of the Hobart area seats with good candidates, but then again no doubt Labor could do the same in the rest of the state.

  21. Psephos: you’re right. And candidates with popular appeal (not always the same as “good” IMO) candidates can also make a big difference under PR. Kim Booth held his own in Bass despite a collapse of Green support north of the Derwent. Adam Brooks, Scott Bacon and Jacquie Petrusma have all improved their personal standing over the past 4 years and are secure. Paul Harriss and David Llewellyn both won last seats for their parties which otherwise might not have been certain (and thereby, in a blow against the general quality of Tasmanian politics, knocking out Tim Morris and David O’Byrne respectively. Hopefully both men will come back.)

    At the other end of the spectrum you can see how Labor struggled badly Bass with a lackluster bunch of candidates headed by the fair average quality Michelle O’ Byrne and the lacklustre Wightman.

    And in Denison, the Libs continue to struggle to find quality candidates. Matthew Groom is good. Elise Archer is mediocre and is really only there because of the backing she gets as the wife of a major Lib powerbroker, and the others are nobodies. When the pendulum next swings, the Libs will lose their second seat in Denison very quickly. If they had another first-rate MP like Groom in Denison, then they would be better placed to fortify their position. (I might be a little unfair to Archer: she’s the sort of high maintenance Lower Sandy Bay trophy wife sort of woman I don’t really warm to. But Kevin Bonham has suggested that’s she’s quite an effective MP. I haven’t seen any signs of this myself: perhaps she’s more his type: but he’d need to increase his income massively and dispense with the ponytail to have any sort of a show there I’d have thought.)

  22. “I haven’t seen any signs of this myself: perhaps she’s more his type: but he’d need to increase his income massively and dispense with the ponytail to have any sort of a show there I’d have thought”

    Ms Archer is married and I have a partner so this line of speculation can be safely dispensed with.

  23. KB, talking about Elise’s husband Dale… Re Psephos’s question: I’m not aware of any connection to the late Brian Archer. Are you?

  24. Dale Archer, to whom Elise is married, is not related to either Brian Archer or former Hobart alderman Lyn Archer.

    Psephos: Possibly there are some problems in using federal voting patterns as a guide to how a state election vote (even absent of H-C strategic issues) might shape up. For instance the Coalition vote in Franklin was probably harmed by candidate malfunction (the infamous “rockstar” video) and I don’t believe Franklin is naturally 55:45ish ALP at state level. I’d expect both Kingborough seats (especially the southern one which has a lot of bible belt) are naturally Liberal. On the other hand given that the Derwent upper house seat including New Norfolk has been held by Labor for many decades I would think your Derwent V/W Coast seat would be ALP. (I’d also not be keen on it from a community of interest perspective but the W coast is a bit of a problem wherever you put it.)

    Hobart South I would think is more Ind/Green than Labor/Green. Cannot see Labor getting a sniff in an area (my own incidentally) that elects Wilkie federally, Valentine in the upper house (both greenish left-indies) and where Labor generally runs third at state level.

    Possibly a single-member system with small electorates would result in a lot of indies popping up. But more likely the same types of candidates who get elected to the LegCo would tend to seek major party endorsement.

    A possible method for finding the lean of these seats at state level would be to average Lower House results from 2006, 2010 and 2014, since these are a big ALP win, a near-tie and a big Liberal win (when converted to 2PP).

  25. KB, thanks for that. The alternative was a West Coast- Circular Head-Wynyard seat, which looked even worse although it mirrors Braddon to some extent.

    I would think that at a first election on my system, a number of indies would get elected, but as people got used to the idea that this was the vote that determined government, they would tend to move back to the major parties, and keep their anti-party votes for the PR upper house.

    Are the primary votes at the ECT website now final figures?

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