Seat of the week: Franklin

With Saturday’s election in the corresponding state upper house seat of Huon fresh in the mind, Seat of the Week takes a visit to the Tasmanian seat of Franklin.

Red and blue numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Labor and Liberal. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The only seat left standing for Labor in Tasmania after a 9.4% statewide swing at the last election, Franklin covers the Hobart suburbs on the eastern bank of the Derwent River together with Kingston on the city’s southern fringe, small towns further to the south, and the unpopulated southern part of the World Heritage area in Tasmania’s south-west. The remainder of Hobart, including the city centre and the suburbs on the river’s western bank, constitutes the electorate of Denison. As one of Tasmania’s constitutionally mandated five House of Representatives seats, Franklin has an enrolment of roughly three-quarters the national average and an uninterrupted history going back to the state’s division into single-member electorates in 1903.

Labor first won Franklin at a by-election held two months after the election of Jim Scullin’s government in 1929, then lost it again amid the party’s debacle of 1931. The seat subsequently changed hands in 1934, 1946, 1969 and 1975, before remaining in Liberal hands throughout the Fraser years and the first 10 years of the Hawke-Keating government. Labor finally won the seat when colourful Liberal member Bruce Goodluck retired at the 1993 election, which together a strong statewide result for Labor delivered a decisive 9.5% swing to Harry Quick. Quick maintained the seat with only mild swings either way at subsequent elections, although there were occasional suggestions he might be brought undone by internal party machinations. When his preselection appeared threatened ahead of the 2004 election, Quick was able to secure his position partly by indicating that he might run as an independent.

After choosing his own time of departure at the 2007 election, Quick sought to keep the seat out of factional hands by promoting his staffer Roger Joseph as his successor. This was thwarted when a deal assigned Franklin to Kevin Harkins, state secretary of the Left faction Electrical Trades Union, and Bass to the Right-backed Steve Reissig. Objecting that Harkins was a “right thuggish bastard” who would lose the seat, Quick declared that he planned to vote for the Greens. His attacks drew blood as newly anointed Labor leader Kevin Rudd sought to distance the party from unsavoury union associations, with Harkins carrying baggage from the 2003 Cole royal commission into the building and construction industry. Harkins’ position ultimately became untenable in July 2007 when the Australian Building and Construction Commission brought charges against him over an illegal strike. When he won preselection for the Senate ahead of the 2010 election, he was again rolled by the intervention of Kevin Rudd.

With Harkins out of the picture and the election looming, the preselection was referred to the party’s national executive, which maintained the factional balance by choosing the Left’s Julie Collins, the state party secretary and a strongly performing though unsuccessful candidate at the March 2006 state election. The loss of Quick’s personal vote combined with the manner of his departure resulted in Collins suffering a 3.1% swing, one of only four swings to the Coalition at that election. Coming off a suppressed base, she went on to enjoy a 6.8% swing at the 2010 election, the highest recorded by a Labor candidate anywhere in the country. She then emerged Labor’s only lower house survivor in the face of a swing that unseated sitting members in Bass, Braddon and Lyons, her margin reduced to 5.1% by a 5.7% swing to the Liberals that was 3.7% below the statewide result.

Collins was made a parliamentary secretary after the election, and progressed to the outer ministry as Community Services Minister in December 2011. After backing Kevin Rudd’s successful leadership bid in late June she was promoted to cabinet, adding housing and homelessness, the status of women and indigenous employment to her existing area of responsibility. Since the election defeat she has held the shadow portfolios of regional development, local government and employment services.

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.

904 comments on “Seat of the week: Franklin”

  1. From the census….

    In May 2012 there were 509,200 full-time employees and 20,500 part-time employees receiving $2,500.00 or more per week. They comprise the large part of the highest paid decile employees but it’s not possible to calculate their average pay.

    The information in the income tables implies the number in the top decile was around 1 million in May 2012. The median income for this decile appears to have been about $2220 per week.

    Each 1% in income tax levied on this group would bring in about $1.2 billion pa. This would apply if wages and salaries equaled taxable income, which they do not.

    In this respect the stats from the ATO are also interesting. In 2010/11……statistics/…/cor00345977_2011TAXSTATS.pdf

    Taxable Income $80,001-$180,000
    Individuals 1,613,234
    17.2% of all taxpayers
    Tax payable $46,940 bill
    35.4% of all income tax
    Average tax per taxpayer $29,096
    Mean Taxable Income per person $ 111,205

    Taxable Income $180,001 and over
    Individuals 251,397
    2.7% of all taxpayers
    Tax payable $34,773 bill
    26.2% of all income tax
    Average tax per taxpayer $138,319
    Mean Taxable Income per person $ 366,153

    So in 2010/11 19.9% of taxpayers paid 61.6% of income tax.

    If Abbott sets out to raise, say, $1 billion from the the $80-180k range, he would have to increase their tax bills by $619 each. Their average income tax rate would rise from 26.2% to 26.7%

    If Abbott sets out to raise $1 billion from very high earners, he would have to increase their tax bills by about $3980 each. Their average income tax rate would rise from 37.7% to 38.8%

    These rates compare with an average tax rate for those in the $37-80k bracket of 18.2%.

  2. It’s now 69 years since the Nazi regime collapsed. Let’s recall the bloodlust of unfettered capitalism and the courage of those who fought it.

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Now how did this get through?
    This discussion will be quite polarising I would think.
    Mark Kenny supports Abbott breaking a major promise. More like breaking a swarn undertaking.
    Lenore Taylor says that Abbott is close to losing voters’ trust.
    If the UN wants to be useful than it should get its act together and apply whatever powers it has to get rid of disgusting, disgraceful archaic societal behaviour like this. How can it be understood, let alone tolerated?
    I wonder if this guy has any political connections. After all it is Sydney.
    Tinkler ”carpets” Gallacher. More from Kate McClymont.
    More from The Guardian on ICAC.

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Looks like there is public pressure on the police to pursue the Gyngell/Packer brawl.
    This could become a perfect example of the cost accounting “death spiral”.
    Fairfax continues to go after Hockey’s fund raising activities.
    Ross Gittins rips apart the ideology of the CoA.
    This is as instructive as it is pathetic.
    Jonathon Holmes on the difficulties of good journalism.
    David Pope with the “Reverse IKEA”.
    Pat Campbell. Is this Abbott heading for a dead cat bounce?
    Ron Tandberg with some beauties on the Libs’ fundraising efforts.

  5. [4
    Fran Barlow

    It’s now 69 years since the Nazi regime collapsed. Let’s recall the bloodlust of unfettered capitalism and the courage of those who fought it.]

    No. Let’s observe instead the unfettered nuttiness of this mistaken characterisation of history.

  6. Morning all. Thanks BK for the links. That one about insider trading in Sydney (shock!) reminds me of a classic Adam Smith quote that right wingers rarely mention.
    [“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public,”]
    Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations

  7. Fran

    It is certainly true that Nazism was allied to big business in Germany (including US companies there). But I cannot agree with your characterisation either. World War Two was about spreading totalitarian empires on one side, and preserving democracy on the other. It is one of the few wars in the past century that I think was morally justified

  8. Mark Kenny’s article today is either an elaborate attempt at satire which didn’t come off or else the most idiotic piece of sophistry I’ve seen in many years.

    His argument falls down at the point at which he claims that the deficit levy is good policy. No it isn’t. It’s an unnecessary measure targeted at a non-existent “budget emergency”. We don’t need Bill Shorten to point this our for us: Peter Costello and, in an oblique way, Tony Shepherd have done it for us.

    Kenny might have made the argument that there’s a certain irony in seeing Labor opposing a slug on high income earners that they’d have liked to make themselves but didn’t dare. But that only works if the tax is restricted to the top marginal rate: and that’s only media speculation. Either way it’s a broken promise. .

    Anyway, it’s clearly a broken promise from a guy who went on and on about Gillard’s broken promise until he was blue in the face. What politician on earth wouldn’t seize that opportunity. Shorten hasn’t gone in anywhere near hard enough IMO. Perhaps he’s waiting to see if it’s going to happen. In the interim I would be trying scorn and derision: “from this point forward the government has no credibility whatsoever about anything it says or does.”

  9. BK

    The idea of a fit note is OK with some caveats. In the UK the self-reporting period is 7 days from memory, so you don’t have to go to the GP every time you contract an unidentified virus. If you want to have it in Australia then, for periods less than 7 days the employer needs to be charged for the GP consultation. Why should the taxpayer or employee subsidise the pettiness of employers? Would have thought the Commission of Audit would have the self-awareness that employers are getting a free ride on this one…

  10. [Shorten hasn’t gone in anywhere near hard enough IMO. Perhaps he’s waiting to see if it’s going to happen.]

    Shadow boxing at this point would be a bad idea. Wait until the opponent steps into the ring on Tuesday night and then the fight can begin.

  11. PS. I’ve reread Kenny’s article. I think it’s actually meant to be a subtly scathing attack on the way Abbott carried on between 2010 and 2013. But it still doesn’t work, because the deficit levy, as it’s portrayed in the media, isn’t good policy. Anyway, we don’t really know yet if there’s going to be one or what it will look like. So no Opposition leader on earth could be expected to support it in the national interest.

    Try harder Mark.

  12. TH@14. The opinion polls show that the public aren’t reserving their judgement until budget night. There’s a growing sense of outrage and a sense of a government which has lost its balance. My instinct would be to go at them with all I’ve got. Abbott, as a highly effective opposition leader did this. Keep hitting them and expose the points of disunity.

  13. BK

    Your morning reading task is getting heavier and more depressing. Thanks for sticking with the program at such an early hour.

  14. MB

    I agree with all your critique of the Kenny article, but I think it is worse than that. Even if the debt emergency were real (it is not) the levy is the wrong response. It will cut activity, hence taxes, reducing revenue still further. Give more money to households, not business, if you want to stimulate activity. Business, especially banks, will simply reduce debt and pocket the change.

    The real way to expand the economy is via investment, typically in education and infrastructure. The coalition plans to increase one (good for me) but kill the other (bad for the nation). As Greg Jericho wrote earlier in the week, the Liberal plan is nuts.

  15. gc@18. Nope, I don’t think it will. Labor voters will be secretly pleased but the marginal aspirational voters who really matter will still be pissed off.

  16. [17….meher baba]

    Abbott & Co are utterly incompetent. They have broken promises all over the place, not just on tax, and for no good reason. The public will want to hear a strong message from Shorten. I’m sure he will oblige.

  17. I enjoyed reading Ross Gittins (as ever). As I read his text I could hear the voices of the IPA, among others.

    The people who still follow the simple market model of the economy that he describes are IMO either lazy thinkers or unimaginative aliens from the community. It is far too easy to swallow the “leave it to the market” mantra if you have no social conscience.

    It is, of course, the equivalent of the “survival of the fittest” in the animal world. A cruel world.

  18. Socrates

    [It is certainly true that Nazism was allied to big business in Germany (including US companies there). But I cannot agree with your characterisation either. World War Two was about spreading totalitarian empires on one side, and preserving democracy on the other. It is one of the few wars in the past century that I think was morally justified]

    There’s simply no reason for any substantial group of people to want to want to “spread totalitarianism” independently of some perceived threat to a significant interest in some privilege. The ruling classes of Post WW1 Italy, later Germany and of course Spain, saw the rule of property as under threat from workers and accordingly ceded some of their political autonomy to rightwing populists. Amongst first things the new regime in Germany did was to break up the KPD and SPD and to break the trade union movement, which underlines the class character of fascist rule. That this was not democratic was not the driving force behind the policy, but really a consequence of the role of the fascists in serving the boss class. It’s worth noting that at the height of the war, the Krupps objected to the price the regime declared for steel, and rather than being locked away for their want of patriotism or solidarity with blood and honour, they got their price rise.

    Fascism is one response of the boss class to their potential cultural ruin. If they feel forced to choose between capitalist democracy and their property, many, and probably most, will choose the latter in a heartbeat. The challenge for working people is to ensure that most of that class sees this as politically unviable.

  19. Lizzie

    No that is just communism! America was founded when Joseph Smith discovered the gold plates containing the Book of Mormon in New York state. Anything else is just myth and speculation 🙂

  20. [It’s now 69 years since the Nazi regime collapsed. Let’s recall the bloodlust of unfettered capitalism and the courage of those who fought it.]

    Fran, I’m all for free speech, but I think this post from you is pretty well off the mark.

    Capitalism = nazism? Huh?

  21. Morning bludgers

    Just heard report on radio that due to voter backlash and slide in the polls, The deficit levy will only be applied to those earning $150,000 and over. “Facepalm”

  22. BK…How did this get through?….

    The second major influence driving the current plan was the developer’s and the previous State government’s haste to get the development underway before the foregone conclusion of the election of a new State government. Undoubtedly, the developer and the previous government, influenced by persons such Mr Keating, and, (according to a previous Labor Planning Minister, Frank Sartor), Mr Obeid and Mr Tripodi, considered that the more advanced the development was by the date of the election, the less chance there would be for the new government to recoil from the final plan, irrespective of its defects.

    The answer is Maaaaaates!

  23. Fran

    I am familiar with the examples, and many a gauleiter enriched themselves via the Nazi bandwagon. But IMO the bandwagon was started by nationalism, racism, and the desire of one resentful group to seize power. Links to business were a means to that end, but I do not see it as being driven by business interests. Italian fascism was similar to nazism, but had different origins. I was talking about nazism. I think fascism and nazism were corrupted by links to business, but I do not see business leaders as the originators of either movement. I respect you have a different view.

    Have a good day all. I agree with others that Shorten (and shadow cabinet and the Greens) should go hard on the liberals rubbish.

  24. “@FarrellPF: Shadow immigration minister Richard Marles says “Manus and Nauru are saving lives” – ABC breakfast host responds: “except Reza Barati?””

  25. Mr Squiggle

    [Fran, I’m all for free speech, but I think this post from you is pretty well off the mark.

    Capitalism = nazism? Huh?]

    if that’s your inference, your receptive reading skills need sharpening. Note the word, unfettered. Bear in mind also that I am a member of The Greens, a party that supports left liberal populist capitalism. That would scarcely be possible were I to have the position you assert.

  26. It appears that the msm and the coalition believe the voter backlash mainly revolves around fhe deficit levy. As i mentioned yesterday, the feedback i have received is that raising the pension age to 70 and not being able to access super until then, is what is riling people.

  27. [
    It appears that the msm and the coalition believe the voter backlash mainly revolves around fhe deficit levy. As i mentioned yesterday, the feedback i have received is that raising the pension age to 70 and not being able to access super until then, is what is riling people.

    Yes, as I commented last night, I think raising the pension age, GP co payments and stiffing pensioners are what are causing the angst. I personally am not going to object to a tax slug on those earning over $100,000 or whatever the threshold ends up being, especially if pensioners and other’s who are struggling have to cop it.

  28. victoria

    Nothing like ignoring polling results. We have data on that thanks to questions asked and responded too.

    A good reason for getting better access to news gathering and broadcasting by the community broadcasters to the mainstream public.
    Starting with Press Gallery accreditation

  29. Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting on this psephy blog, or even comment on politics. I have no idea what “left liberal populist capitalism” means.

  30. Franklin strikes me as perhaps the oddest geographical entity of all 150 divisions. I don’t think there’s any other seat formed of two non-contiguous parts of the same land (in this case, the main island of Tasmania.)

  31. [As one of the most effective opposition leaders in living memory ..]

    I accept this is a moot point, but I still disagree with it.

    Far less ‘effective’ Opposition Leaders have actually been able to either block or substantially alter government policy – even when said government has had a thumping majority.

    The only win I can think of Abbott had was on asylum seekers, in blocking the Malaysian solution.

    The reason why no Opposition Leader has been as ‘effective’ as Abbott was in other ways was because former OL had a bit more conscience about the way they operated – instead of opposition for the sake of it, they argued alternatives which were realistic.

    I can’t think of any OL before Abbott who simply said ‘No’ because the idea was the government’s.

    A good media would be go beyond the ‘ooh, the polls’ to the nub of this, and would also look at whether the approach Abbott took to the role is good for our polity in the long term.

    [And neither is the selfish strategic advantage to be gained by indelibly marking out Abbott as untrustworthy, although as Abbott himself showed with Julia Gillard, it’s one hell of an advantage if you can pull it off.]

    We should, apparently, give Abbott a pass on this because he’s acting in the national interest. Gillard (and again, whether she broke a promise or not is moot) was acting in the interest of the civilised world.

    To suggest, in this context, that to criticise Abbott is ‘selfish’ is a bit breathtaking.

    [In both cases, the policy merits of the turn-about were instantly obscured, slave to the unhelpful strictures of cowardly, self-imposed election promises still ringing in the voters’ ears.]

    Again, huge differences between the two.

    Gillard faced an unprecedented situation – a minority government, which no party expected or planned for.

    Abbott went into the election saying there was a budget crisis and that he would turn things around.

    It was entirely reasonable to suppose that, having been OL for three years, during which time he repeatedly talked about the need to bring the books back into the black, that any election promises he made would have been predicated on that understanding.

    Again, this points to his lack of real effectiveness as an OL and the slackness of the media in not hounding him prior to the election on the lack of substance behind his rhetoric.

    [The deficit tax is such a clear case of breaking an iron-clad commitment that no opposition leader would give it up.

    Which is a pity because it is near enough to be good policy.]

    In which case, any normal OL in the history of our Parliament would have made it a key plank in their election commitments.

    Read more:

  32. Oh. For right wing people that think community broadcasting can’t work look at PBS. Its just a little harder here with some areas catered to by public broadcasters

  33. OK, just found another. So before anyone says it, Fraser includes Jervis Bay. But that’s a very special case.

  34. From AFR
    [ICAC probe inches closer to Abbott

    The Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigation is inching closer to the Prime Minister’s office. Questions have emerged over Tony Abbott’s role in selecting Karen McNamara as Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Dobell despite doubts over her fund-raising claims.

    Mr Abbott was widely reported to be behind the decision by the NSW state executive on April 20, 2012 to appoint McNamara to replace problematic candidate Garry Whitaker. This was three months after ­senior Liberals received complaints of an unreported donation on the central coast and despite McNamara’s earlier claims of huge fund-raising which did not correspond with party records.

    Dobell is the point where ICAC’s investigation of state fund-raising threatens to expand into the federal party. It is also one of the seats where the prime minister had the most intense interest, after losses in the central coast cost Abbott the 2010 election.

    It’s not the only danger point. The Liberals are particularly vulnerable to the risk of contagion, because while the federal Labor Party runs its own fund-raising, the federal Liberals depend much more on state divisions to raise funds.

    Any investigation of NSW state finances inevitably involves some scrutiny of federal fund-raising. It’s done by the same people, the same structures, there are constant crossovers. John Caputo, who was questioned over cheques he gave to former Energy Minister Chris Hartcher, is Abbott’s chief fund-raiser in Warringah and works with Treasurer Joe Hockey’s funding body.]

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