Huon and Rosevears live

Live coverage of the count for today’s elections in the Tasmanian Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevears.

# % Proj. 2CP Proj.
Robert Armstrong 4179 20.4% 56.8%
Jimmy Bell 3167 15.4%
Rodney Dillon 1681 8.2%
Peter Hodgman (Liberal) 5362 26.1% 26.1% 43.2%
Helen Lane 868 4.2%
Pavel Ruzicka 1308 6.4%
Liz Smith 3949 19.3%
TOTAL 20514 81.2% of enrolled voters
Booths reporting 25 out of 25
Kerry Finch 11712 60.4% 60.9%
Don Morris (Liberal) 7689 39.6% 39.1%
TOTAL 19401 77.5% of enrolled voters
Booths reporting 15 out of 15

Monday night

Progressive preference distribution pretty much puts Robert Armstrong’s win beyond doubt. At the second last exclusion, Liz Smith looks set to drop out with 6411 votes to 6945 for Armstrong and 6941 for Peter Hodgman. Smith’s preferences then flow heavily to Armstrong, giving him a 10645-8080 victory. Hodgman might well have been the winner if it was Armstrong rather than Smith dropping out of the count, but the 543 vote gap that separates them is clearly insurmountable.

The table above has been updated with the latest counting, which included the addition today of 273 postal votes, and also with preference allocations based on the actual results rather than estimates based on past elections. Whereas the estimates had 56% going independent, 38% to the Liberals and 6% exhausting, the actual figures are 59% independent, 25% Liberal and 16% exhausting. I’ve turned off the projection for Huon, so this is all based on raw figures.

Sunday night

Rechecking and a handful of new votes have added 207 to the formal count in Huon, fractionally to the advantage of Hodgman and Smith and to the disadvantage of Armstrong, without changing the underly situation. Kevin Bonham reports that the “real action” of the preference distribution will start tomorrow afternoon.


The Tasmanian Liberals have suffered a very disappointing result from elections which they hoped would expand their existing foothold of two seats in the 15-member Legislative Council, where Labor has only one member with all other seats held by independents. At the northern end of the state, Kerry Finch has been comfortably returned as the independent member for Rosevears despite being targeted by an aggressive Liberal campaign which painted him as “just like the Greens”. At the southern end, voters in Huon appear to have rebuffed the Premier’s uncle, Peter Hodgman, in his bid to return to parliament after 13 years.

A well-known family name is a considerable asset in Tasmania’s Hare-Clark lower house elections, which puts candidates into competition with the other candidates on their own party ticket. This has at the very least done no harm to the electoral fortunes of current MPs bearing the names of Hodgman, Bacon, Groom, O’Byrne, Ogilvie and Petrusma (a Ken Bacon won election for Labor in Lyons in 1998 and 2002, despite being no relation). However, today’s result in Huon might indicate that this is in no way transferable to the more conventional electoral system for the upper house, where voters operating in a by-election environment may well react adversely to family empire-building – and perhaps also to candidates seeking to enter parliament a few weeks short of their sixty-eighth birthday.

Hodgman ends the night’s counting with a primary vote lead over six independent rivals, of whom the front-runners are Huon Valley mayor Robert Armstrong and his council colleague Liz Smith. But with few voters traditionally availing themselves of the option to have their preferences exhaust (they are required to number a minimum of three boxes), the seat will most likely be won by whoever makes the final count out of Armstrong and Smith. Dissemination of how-to-vote cards at polling booths being forbidden in Tasmania, a considerable element of randomness can be expected in the distribution of preferences. However, the candidates’ ideological affinities offer at least some guide.

Smith was until recently a member of the Greens, whereas Armstrong is described by Kevin Bonham in comments as “a pretty mainstream pro-development right-winger”. Together with the little-known Helen Lane, there will be an early elimination of Rodney Dillon and Pavel Ruzicka, whom Bonham respectively describes as “a leftie” and “pro-forestry”. Jimmy Bell, who “seems Laborish”, is likely to go next, unless he receives an unexpectedly solid flow of preferences from Lane, Dillon and Ruzicka. It is entirely possible that a cumulative leftish lean among the aforementioned will stand Smith in good stead, and allow her to pull ahead of Armstrong. That might just give Hodgman a glimmer of hope if he receives a heavy flow of preferences from Armstrong. But if the final count comes down to Armstrong and Hodgman, it would be very hard to see preferences from the other candidates failing to flow decisively Armstrong’s way.

Election night

8.28pm. Huon: The Blackmans Bay booth is now added, finishing the count for the night, and it’s a belated good result for Hodgman, though he’s still a long shot at best. Armstrong holds a narrow lead over Smith, with preferences likely to determine who ends up emerging the victor over Hodgman.

8.17pm. Huon: Franklin added – a small booth, but a good result for Smith.

8.02pm. Huon: The decisive factor looks likely to be the preferences of Jimmy Bell, who is the “manager of Huon Valley PCYC”. I might intuitively expect such a candidate’s voters to favour Armstrong over Smith in particular, although I’m entirely ignorant of the personal histories of any of those concerned.

7.58pm. Huon: Margate, Cygnet and Sandfly added, the first being the largest booth in the electorate after yet-to-report Blackmans Bay. Cygnet and Sandfly are two of five booths to have been won by Liz Smith, who is now well ahead of Jimmy Bell again and only slightly behind Robert Armstrong, while Margate is a clear win for Hodgman. The two booths still to come are very large Blackmans Bay, where 3289 votes were cast at the state election, and much smaller Franklin, 531 votes.

7.43pm. Rosevears: All booths are in, in what may have been the quickest count I’ve ever witnessed (there being only two candidates obviously helped).

7.34pm. Huon: As the projected primary vote figure indicates, the weakest booths for the Liberals, namely those on the southern edge of Hobart (particularly Blackmans Bay, where 3289 votes were cast at the state election, more than double the largest booth to report so far), are still to come. Robert Armstrong looks best placed, but the outstanding booths are off his Huon Valley turf, so there’s no grounds at this stage to pick a winner out of Armstrong, Smith and Bell.

7.32pm. Huon: Dover added, a fairly small booth but a strong result for Armstrong.

7.29pm. Huon: Snug, Ranelagh, Mountain River and Howden added, together with 831 pre-polls. These have clipped Robert Armstrong slightly, putting Peter Hodgman back in the primary vote lead, while Liz Smith is back in third place over Jimmy Bell (who nonetheless won the Ranelagh booth, to add to his wins in Huonville and Judbury), albeit by the narrowest of margins.

7.24pm. Rosevears: Two more booths in, maintaining Finch’s clean sweep, leaving only Riverside to go.

7.21pm. Rosevears: 12 of 15 booths in now, together with 951 postals, and Kerry Finch has won all of them.

7.15pm. Huon: Things have shifted strongly in Robert Armstrong’s favour with the addition of Huonville, Geeveston, Port Huon and 1537 postal votes, to the extent that he now leads Peter Hodgman on the primary vote is looking a very likely winner. Another independent, Jimmy Bell, won the very large Huonville booth, and has now taken third place ahead of Liz Smith.

7.07pm. Rosevears: Beauty Point added; Kerry Finch still cruising to re-election.

7.03pm. Huon: Surges Bay and Woodbridge added, the latter being a great result for Liz Smith, who is now close to matching Peter Hodgman on the primary vote. However, it may be that the larger booths near Hobart end up telling a different story, at least with respect to Smith-versus-Armstrong.

6.56pm. Huon: Agfest, Cradog and Kettering added. Still looking very tight between Armstrong and Smith to see who emerges the challenger to Hodgman, whose vote is well south of where he would like it to be. So a disappointing picture overall for the Liberals.

6.54pm. Rosevears: Another three booths do nothing to dispel the picture of a clear victory for Kerry Finch.

6.50pm. Huon: Glen Huon and Judbury added. Weak results for Hodgman, who no longer has his projected lead. Armstrong heavily outpolled Smith in Glen Huon but Smith outpolled him in Judbury, which is interesting because the two booths are very close to each other. The booths in outer Hobart will be very important, and none of them have yet reported.

6.46pm. Huon: The Huon Valley municipality, of which Robert Armstrong is the very long-serving mayor, does not encompass Bruny Island, which is heavily over-represented in the results so far. It might also be that Armstrong will do better on preferences than Smith.

6.42pm. Huon: Barnes Bay, the third and final booth on Bruny Island, and Middleton, located on the mainland immediately opposite, have been added. Smith still ahead of Armstrong. The projection suggests Peter Hodgman will win narrowly, but I’m not at all confident about that – his primary vote is certain competitive, but not spectacular.

6.40pm. Rosevears: Further good results for Kerry Finch from Sidmouth and Glengarry. Barring a very different pattern in Launceston, he doesn’t look likely to be troubled.

6.39pm. The first booth in from Rosevears is Frankford, and while it’s very small, it’s good news for Kerry Finch.

6.35pm. 112 mobile votes added to the totals, but these aren’t being used to calculate the projections.

6.33pm. A third small booth, Alonnah, has reported, being the second one on Bruny Island. Smith again outpolls Armstrong. I’d recalibrate the charts to make her the second candidate, if results weren’t coming in so quickly.

6.32pm. Both Adventure Bay and Southport delivered 20% for the Greens compared with 16.8% for the entire Franklin electorate. Presumably Armstrong will do a lot better in booths in Huon Valley.

6.29pm. Another small booth added for Huon, Southport, delivers another very strong result for Liz Smith. I’ll check to see if these were particularly strong booths for the Greens, which might explain it. Otherwise, she rather than Armstrong might emerge as the biggest threat to Hodgman.

6.26pm. Results in from the very small Adventure Bay booth on Bruny Island. The numbers above include a particularly experimental two-candidate projection with preferences very roughly estimated from past form at Legislative Council elections, in which Robert Armstrong is presumed to be the strongest candidate apart from Peter Hodgman (although that’s not the case on these numbers), with 38% of preferences going to Hodgman, 56% to Armstrong, and 6% exhausting. However, that could well be too generous to Hodgman, so treat with due caution.

6pm. Polls have closed for today’s elections in the Tasmanian Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevears. This post will follow the results as they are published, using somewhat experimental projections based on comparison of the Liberal vote with the booth results from the March 15 state election.

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. Didn’t someone say something in the previous thread about how incumbents in the Tasmanian upper house are difficult to unseat, even at the best of times?

  2. Surely the most humilating experience the Tasmanian Liberals have been in since their disastrous state election result in 2002.

  3. KB

    [This is amazing.]

    I take it that this is not a response to local or state issues but is, instead, a broad indication that Abbott has lost whatever mandate he had?

  4. Arrnea Stormbringer@3

    Didn’t someone say something in the previous thread about how incumbents in the Tasmanian upper house are difficult to unseat, even at the best of times?

    Yes but even so. The Liberals strafed Rosevears with robocalls and TV ads pointing out that Kerry Finch had a Green voting record – which is actually true – and an electorate that voted 59% Liberal in the Lower House didn’t buy it. They threw the kitchen sink at him and have been thrashed.

    And Huon was a vacancy which was previously held by a closet Liberal. They should have won it easily. They may well lose it from here.

  5. Boerwar@6


    This is amazing.

    I take it that this is not a response to local or state issues but is, instead, a broad indication that Abbott has lost whatever mandate he had?

    I don’t think it is anything to do with Abbott. My best guess is that it is showing that Tasmanians voted Liberal at the state election cause they were fed up with Labor and Green, but they’re actually not happy with any party and don’t want the new state government to have its policies rubber-stamped.

    If it was a backlash against the Commission of Audit for instance then it should have been apparent by the postals being much more pro-Lib; they are not.

  6. I don’t think you can discount the impact of the Government being generally on the nose. Sure the CoA only came out on Thursday – but rumours about it and the Budget have been circling for a while.

  7. @ KB 9

    True, but there have been political nasties for the Coalition from the weeks before the CoA report was released, such as the NSW ICAC scandals, BOF resigning, Sinodinos being implicated etc.

  8. Also, what J said at 10. The CoA’s likely findings have been circulating for a while – the release of the report just confirmed them.

  9. J341983@10

    I don’t think you can discount the impact of the Government being generally on the nose. Sure the CoA only came out on Thursday – but rumours about it and the Budget have been circling for a while.

    Rumours about the federal government cutting Tassie loose have been circling since before the federal election. If this is a backlash against Abbott, where was it in March when the Tas Libs won the state election massively?

  10. Actually…no. The noises about the Budget were nowhere near as loud two months ago, of course we who sadly fixate on this stuff were thinking about them, but the average punter probably wasn’t thinking too much about it then. Plus it’s not just about cutting Tassie.

    But they’ve pretty much been front-page news for the best part of the last month. I think it would be a mistake to say the Feds played no role in such a surprisingly awful result for the Libs.

    Plus, considering how hated Labor was in Tas, pretty much nothing was going to stop the Libs from winning. Their venom has been largely spilled. It’s not like the Libs at a state level have had a chance to do anything, good or bad yet.

  11. @ KB 13

    Overshadowed by the state-level feeling that the Labor/Greens government had to go. Once that task was over with, the Tasmanian voter would have been free to start venting against Abbott.

  12. Now that the last booth in Huon is in, I’ll say this: interesting result.

    I would probably subscribe to William’s notion that Bell’s preferences would favour Armstrong over Smith, but I know very little about the candidates and their associations with each other as well, so I’ll refrain from making judgement there.

  13. Armstrong is a pretty mainstream pro-development right-winger, Bell seems Laborish, Smith was a Green until very recently and still supports Green ideas, Dillon is a leftie, Ruzicka is pro-forestry, Lane I’m not sure why she ran.

    The danger to Armstrong is if Dillon flows strongly to Smith – which may well happen – and Bell’s vote splatters.

    My wrap for the night is up on the link above. So much for the honeymoon period!

  14. Huon preference distribution should start tomorrow after lunch.

    I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory with my predictions this election; the one I thought was difficult turned out to be a walkover and the one I thought was a walkover is at best difficult (and could well be a loss). But this from AAP is just embarrassingly bad coverage:

    Whether Hodgman gets up or not, and I seriously doubt that he will, 26% primary in a seat where the Libs polled 50% primary at the state election is not a strong performance.

  15. Armstrong’s win is absolutely beyond doubt barring some kind of major counting error as there are only about 300 votes outstanding.

    Hodgman’s performance on preferences was every bit as pitiful as William’s on-the-night comments anticipated and then some. Lowest preference getter on every exclusion bar one. In the last exclusion more votes exhausted than went to Hodgman.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *