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. The big lie is the ‘budget emergency’ and ‘Labor’s catastrophic financial mess’.

    Expose and hammer that lie and the whole Coalition agenda will collapse like a house of cards.

  2. [absolutetwaddle
    Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm | PERMALINK

    I don’t think Andrew Bolt’s opinion on Waleed Aly is all that controversial. Definitely not ‘racist’ either. I myself am rather unimpressed with Waleed’s brand of left-intellectual religious apologia, in much the same way I’m unimpressed with the innumerable intellectual Christian apologists that are wheeled out from time to time by a media just dying to give religion a free pass.

    If indeed he was discussing Boko Haram without mentioning the fact they’re a Muslim organisation, I would agree that’s a glaring omission, one that needs to be referenced to fully explain their motivations in kidnapping girls who dare to get an education.]

    And, once again, you accept the words of a racist minimising his special brand of demonisation.

    Of course, Andrew Bolt always skates within a millimetre of the law (apart from when he was condemned under 18C), and it is so true that Waleed Aly didn’t mention Boko Haram as being of Muslim origin.

    Nor did The Project, although the accompanying visuals and translations left no doubt, prior to Waleed Aly being introduced, about the Muslimity of the perpetrators.

    BTW, Aly didn’t colour himself as an “expert on terrorism”, Carrie did.

    Should Aly have wasted time disputing her description? Probably. In a long form interview he most likely would have done.

    But in an interview that lasted all of 3 minutes and 34 seconds, where the The Project panel spoke for 2 minutes and 10 seconds of that time (Aly spoke for 1 minute and 24 seconds), then it’s hardly surprising that he didn’t reiterate their Muslimness as a starting point.

    But then again Bolt would have to be the most blatant, yet subtle, bigot I have ever read.

    He doesn’t seem able to help himself. And if he can slur someone, while skating on very thin ice, then he does so.

    And throws up his hands as if he’s been misinterpreted.

    He such a dangerous character. I’m glad he was done over by 18C.

    Here’s the offending piece from The Project:

    http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project/2014/5/6

    Starts at 12:38, ends at 16:12

  3. [I guess it’s a matter of interpretation. I agree there is some critical comment but the underlying theme is positive for Abbott to pull off a big fat lie.]
    Clearly you can’t read.

  4. [Now the govt has (as was expected) reset the threshold higher, it’s no longer an issue for most voters.]
    The lie will remain an issue.

  5. [The big lie is the ‘budget emergency’ and ‘Labor’s catastrophic financial mess’.

    Expose and hammer that lie and the whole Coalition agenda will collapse like a house of cards.]
    I agree.

  6. BoerWar

    Since you’re around can you give the spin as to why SBY is so sucking up to Abbott that he’s now extending another invite within days of the first falling over? And all this while Abbott/Australia is turning boats back and Indonesian navy is picking them up. What gives? Has the suck up anything to do with Abbott’s recent diplomacy/trade agreements in South Korea, Japan and China?

    What’s the spin BW?

  7. Mathias sends out:

    Retweeted by Mathias Cormann
    Brian Loughnane ‏@LoughnaneB 2h

    Here are the facts on 6 yrs of Labor’s mess. @LiberalAus job once again to clean it up to build stronger Aust http://lbr.al/gsv9 #auspol

  8. [Mathias sends out:

    Retweeted by Mathias Cormann
    Brian Loughnane ‏@LoughnaneB 2h

    Here are the facts on 6 yrs of Labor’s mess. @LiberalAus job once again to clean it up to build stronger Aust http://lbr.al/gsv9 #auspol]
    Cormann held a press conference to announce this booklet and associated website today.

    I hope the Liberal party reimburses tax payers for the use of the parliament house briefing room for what was Liberal Party campaigning rather than governing the country.

  9. Dee:

    I agree. There are many issues (so many issues) on which Abbott has breached trust of voters. I’d much prefer to focus on the bigger picture than get bogged down obsessing over a single levy which most people won’t pay.

  10. Rua @538,
    Will the FBT rate be rising from the current 47%* to 48%?
    If not, there’s a nice tax rort right there for those on $180k plus. Salary sacrifice everything, wear the FBT and pocket the difference.
    *Increased by 0.5% from 1 April, because the Medicare levy goes up to 2% to pay for some of the NDIS.
    **Assuming the deficit levy is 1%

  11. [I agree. There are many issues (so many issues) on which Abbott has breached trust of voters. I’d much prefer to focus on the bigger picture than get bogged down obsessing over a single levy which most people won’t pay.]
    It’s not the specifics that count, it is what it represents – a clear broken promise. Once you add it to a few other broken promises such as changes to pensions, changes to school and health funding then it becomes a pattern of behavior that can be used by the Opposition to characterise Abbott’s entire approach to governing.

    It isn’t about details, e.g. who gets hit by what tax rate when, it is what the broken promise symbolises.

  12. Diogenes at 473 linked us to Procol Harum “A whiter shade of Pale”,

    I wonder if Bemused has ever worked beside their subsitute guitarist, on the recording but not on the vid who moved to Melb & worked in IT

  13. ShowsOn

    [Clearly you can’t read.]

    And you can’t accept an alternative viewpoint. But then again having viewed your posts for some years now I would have taken that as a given.

  14. [And you can’t accept an alternative viewpoint. But then again having viewed your posts for some years now I would have taken that as a given.]
    I don’t accept alternate points of view from people who can’t read.

  15. BH

    [It’s no good ending up with egg on faces]

    That only happens when you’re fighting the wrong issues re: second guessing the budget contents.

    The main game that can be exposed and hammered now is the bullshit ‘budget emergency’.

  16. [Bar Bar
    Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    BoerWar

    Since you’re around can you give the spin as to why SBY is so sucking up to Abbott that he’s now extending another invite within days of the first falling over? And all this while Abbott/Australia is turning boats back and Indonesian navy is picking them up. What gives? Has the suck up anything to do with Abbott’s recent diplomacy/trade agreements in South Korea, Japan and China?

    What’s the spin BW?]

    (1) I don’t know.

    (2) Some guesses:

    (a) SBY is organising his legacy.
    (b) The Indonesians are achieving significant wins out of the secret negotiations about intelligence sharing protocols.
    (c) Some other sweetener from Australia to SBY/Indonesia that we don’t know about.

  17. Go for it Tony, its the right thing to do, correct a mistake by your mate John and his enemy Peter.

    [Federal cabinet is considering a controversial move to increase petrol excise as it searches for budget savings.

    Several sources have told Guardian Australia that the tax on fuel – frozen since 2001 – has been discussed in the budget process.

    But with fuel prices over $1.60 a litre in parts of the country, it would be a politically dangerous decision.

    Former prime minister John Howard reduced petrol excise by 1.5 cents a litre when he was under assault over “cost of living” concerns after the introduction of the goods and services tax in 2001.

    He then froze it at 38.14 cents a litre, abolishing the twice yearly automatic indexation of the tax that Labor had introduced in 1983.

    It was a decision with a cost that escalated over the years, and now leaves the budget well over $5bn a year worse off.]

  18. rua

    Not only $5 billion a year worse off but basically also a de facto reduction on pressure to emit CO2.

    Wind farms offensive. CO2 emissions good.

  19. RexD

    [Oh spare me… ! He’s been in politics how long ?? If you reach the level of party leader, you should be more than ‘ready’…. for goodness sakes !]

    If you wish to be ‘spared’ from reading peoples opinions you dont agree with, then lurking here on PB maybe isnt for you.

    Obviously I dont agree with you; Also, Jackol has a point and that a lower profile isnt all bad.

    But others make good points that Coalition BS regarding the budget ‘mess’ the ALP left need to be strongly exposed. Hard in the current MSM environment, and with some of the better heavy hitters gone or quiet or not getting airplay. But possibly the new media will help counter the LNP spin.

  20. lizzie

    I can’t believe the first advice you were given when stating you had ‘done your back’ was to take some sort of drug.

    No one asked you where you’d done your back. Where you felt the pain, if you could even say Lower, middle, neck, shoulder, blades, whatever.

    Or whether simple stretching exercises could relieve your pain.

    Still, I’m glad you’re feeling better after taking valium.

    I was waiting for my HSC results back in the day and had a lot of pain in my midriff area.

    Went to the doc, he discovered I was waiting for my exam results, diagnosed anxiety, prescribed valium.

    I took one, and was knocked out for 24 hours. Missed the Year 12 after result party, and was later diagnosed with hiatus hernia.

    I would never take valium in a fit. But then again I will only have aspirin as a last resort.

    Look after yourself.

  21. [It’s not the specifics that count ]

    Except there are a whole raft of specifics yet to come on a range of broken promises relating to health, education, child care, income support, and the aged pension to name a few. How this plays out depends on how well the govt can frame its budget in blue sky vision terms. So far they aren’t doing too well, except by neutralising the deficit tax as an issue in and of itself. But that’s just one thing.

    And yeah, it’s the whole pattern of the behaviour (ie the bigger picture) that is what should be focus of people opposed to Abbott’s agenda.

  22. [Now the govt has (as was expected) reset the threshold higher, it’s no longer an issue for most voters.]

    But it is still a lie for him to introduce a new tax. That is what will haunt Abbott for the rest of his life even after politics.

  23. Ian Harper got it the wrong way round, he should have resigned as head of the Inquiry into competition policy, not cancelled his cash for contact gig.

  24. [ShowsOn

    OK, I can’t read if it makes you fell better.]
    I’ve written this three times. The fact you have only now realised it proves that it is true.

  25. Those Totalitarian Democracy-hating Fascist Dictators terrorising the Oppressed Ukrainian Freedom-Loving Peoples had better be careful, or else Vlad the Irradiator might escalate from umbrella tips to missile tips in solidarity with the Peace Loving Workers of the World.

  26. [ So far they aren’t doing too well, except by neutralising the deficit tax as an issue in and of itself. But that’s just one thing.]
    I don’t think the Government has neutralised the tax. I mean they have to actually announce it next Tuesday 🙂 And this is after a bunch of Liberals including Reith, Costello, Gambaro et al have told them not to do it!

    Next Tuesday is going to be delightful, there will be a lot of other bad news competing with Abbott’s debt tax for the front page.

  27. Why don’t Labor MP’s say something when the Liberals constantly and loudly blame the state of the budget on Labor’s mess?

    They have to fix Labor’s mess they say!

    Hell, it goes unchallenged, HELLO people are effing stupid, they will believe it – SAY SOMETHING 😯

    Idiots.

  28. [ruawake
    Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm | PERMALINK
    Ian Harper got it the wrong way round, he should have resigned as head of the Inquiry into competition policy, not cancelled his cash for contact gig.

    Here here.
    Where where?
    There there.

    Oh, goddamit, hear hear!

  29. [Why don’t Labor MP’s say something when the Liberals constantly and loudly blame the state of the budget on Labor’s mess?]
    They do, just not enough.

    It is crucial for Shorten to attack this mythology in his budget reply. It is a big test of his leadership. He can’t let the Coalition campaign in 2016 on the idea that there was a mess that the government has started to fix. If they do that a lot of people will just stick with the Liberals.

  30. [The main game that can be exposed and hammered now is the bullshit ‘budget emergency’.]

    Yes, it is but Shorten and others have been saying that. I’m so tired of leadership fights so I’m giving Bill Shorten a fair chance and then some.

    Labor cannot change leaders again til after the next election without losing more credibility.

  31. The debt levy is a broken promise, albeit an appropriate step in my opinion. But I think we should be emphasising the other lies, especially pension, education and Medicare changes that will be affecting low- and middle income earners.

  32. [Hell, it goes unchallenged, HELLO people are effing stupid, they will believe it – SAY SOMETHING]

    Exactly and history will repeat itself!

  33. [But it is still a lie for him to introduce a new tax.]

    Yeah it is. I just don’t agree with you that it’s going to haunt Abbott to his grave. My own view is that people will accept it but will look at the budget in totality, against the backdrop the govt casts for them.

    At the moment the govt doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of casting that backdrop. But we’ll see next week how it all comes together.

  34. Seems likes shows on conversation with himself is entering a new aggressive delusional phase. It’s a bit like a cage match between Aussie achmed and deblonsy in one body.

  35. As good readers of this site well know my thoughts on the Greens, I can declare with certainty that – I have been totally vindicated.

    Christine Milne today said “Tony Abbott is having his Juliar moment by braking an election promise”.

    Juliar moment?

    How dare you, you irresponsible buck shifting lunatic. Had Gillard not listened to LOONS like yourself, there is a possibility she still would have been in government.

    Milne’s carbon tax is gone as soon as the new Senate sits, couldn’t have happened to a nicer pack of loons.

  36. It should be kept simple:

    [there is no mess Tony lied about it before the election. Tony made it much worse deliberately after the election and then lied about. Tony promised a surplus budget with no new taxes. Tony lied about. He is a liar.

  37. Re Shows On @584: It is crucial for Shorten to attack this mythology [the ‘budget emergency] in his budget reply

    Agree 100%. It even looks like the detailed contents of the budget will give lie to that furphy. If there was a budget emergency you wouldn’t be cutting company tax or contemplating a gold-plated PPL scheme.

  38. I read but rarely post…the Vic state libs have just given the tender for our mental health services to some other mob and me and my whole team are soon to be out of work…our clients are so vulnerable to change and I can only think the new service will offer them less…so tired of treating the most vulnerable in our society with so little respect…the new way…so cruel and uncaring…I am in shock…how do we break this news to those we support….this change has been made to prepare for the NDIS supposedly and now its likely to go off into the never never…2019 for the NDIS is what the COA has proposed…looks like never…all this upheaval for nought…

  39. BH

    I’m not interested in leadershit, factions and all the cat fighting. It was never my suggestion or intention to initiate a kill Bill conversation.

    Moi is a dyed in the wool Labor biddy and don’t need convincing, however, swinging and disaffected voters do.

    I was so moved by Shorten’s terrible performance and said so. He has captivated and blown me away at times and we need that Bill ‘now’ more than ever.

  40. [He can’t let the Coalition campaign in 2016 on the idea that there was a mess that the government has started to fix.]

    +100! It’s reminiscent of Beazley Mk1 all over again.

    Labor has popular policies and a clear vision for the nation’s future. The coalition has 3 word slogans and a project objective for the next 3 years.

  41. [Seems likes shows on conversation with himself is entering a new aggressive delusional phase. It’s a bit like a cage match between Aussie achmed and deblonsy in one body.]
    Wow, I thought you were capable of reading, but you seem to be as illiterate as mikehilliard.

    By the way, I notice the audit commission says the government shouldn’t be giving money to Cadbury.

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