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”

Comments Page 2 of 19
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  1. [
    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.

    Neither do I, it sounds like something from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

  2. [ 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.]

    As well as the GP co-payment.

  3. Laocoon

    As per the AFR report as posted by you

    [McNamara may be entitled to presumption of innocence but politically her appointment has now become a problem.

    It flouted Newton’s first law of politics: objects at rest are usually so much better if they remain at rest, while objects in motion (particularly political investigations) tend to remain in motion.]

    It had been mentioned in this blog way back when, that KMcNamara MP in fhe seaf of Dobell, would be an issue for Abbott.

  4. guytaur

    You’ll have to forgive JulieB’s absurdities. She lives in Humpty Dumpty’s Abbottworld, where words mean whatever you want them to mean.

  5. Reading the previous thread there was a comment about the minimum wage.

    I read an article in PerthNow that a person on the minimum wage would need to work an 80hr week in order to afford the rent in an outer suburb of Perth.

    That’s What the Liberals want? Person on the minimum wage living in a cardboard box in an alley.

    Says a lot about their view of what society should look like

  6. confessions

    No one i spoke to yesterday, mentioned the co payment. Could be because in the locality I was in, most GPs only bulk bill pensioners and health care card holders.
    For eg., basic consultation costs me around $65.00 and I get a refund of approx $30.00.

  7. After all the fuss and carry on Abbott and his stooges made about Gillard’s time as a lawyer, I will laugh out loud if Abbott personally is snared up in ICAC.

  8. Guytaur

    If relations are cordial now with SBY as President, what will they be like with a new Prez later in the year?

  9. victoria:

    It’s been in the news here because of Barnett musing about introducing a co-payment for people to access EDs.

  10. [51
    Sir Mad Cyril

    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.]

    Presumably it’s not “unfettered capitalism”. Perhaps it’s a pluralist cousin of social democracy. I wonder if it’s a moving part or bulwark of “the regime” Anyway, it’s probably capitalism without the bloodlust.

  11. zoomster

    I saw your comments yesterday in response to announcements made by the Napthine govt in the budget.
    What is your feeling re the public response? Will it sway voters?

  12. Lizzie and victoria

    I expect the FM will say relations are excellent as the Indonesian gunboats enter Australian waters

  13. [62


    If ICAC snares Abbott, I will do more than laugh out loud!!]

    Abbott is a fool and an arrogant one withal. But surely he could not be so stupid as to be implicated in receiving illegal donations…surely.

  14. AAP

    Brick manufacturers will be heavily impacted by a carbon tax compared to other manufacturers, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

    Speaking to workers at the Austral Bricks site at Horsley Park in Sydney’s southwest, Mr Abbott said the tax had many damaging effects on manufacturers.

    “Bricks are relatively low emissions and they are relatively high energy efficiency and yet they are going to get much more impacted by the carbon tax than steel,” he said on Thursday.

    “I have nothing but good will towards the steel industry, I want the steel industry to flourish, the steel industry will best flourish without a carbon tax.”

    But the government’s compensation package would help steelmakers disproportionately more than brick makers.

    “This is a bad tax from start to finish,” Mr Abbott said.

    Laocoon @50

    Austral Bricks largest donor to Free Enterprise Foundation…..

    Austral Bricks managing director Lindsay Partridge said the housing sector was tough and the company had already laid off 110 workers.

    “We can’t predict what’s going to happen going forward, but we anticipate a few more plants will close by Christmas,” he said.

    “We would see it’s the wrong time for a carbon tax.”

    Self interest purchase ?

  15. AFR article worth reposting again

    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.

  16. Lizzie

    [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.]

    I’m not sure which bit stumps you. Assuming it’s ‘populist’ …

    Populism is a cultural claim that privileges people ideas by proximity to the local or the ostensibly plebeian. Things become more authentic and thus more resistant to challenge by being close to the land, more ostensibly natural and more widely attested, especially by the common folk.

    Thus a populist iteration of capitalism would tend to be more protectionist, value ‘grass roots’ solutions over those by ‘experts’ and ‘outsiders’ and be more concerned with the local economy than those of perceived foreigners.

    Very few people take this extreme position of course — populism is not a coherent doctrine — more a set of impulses associated with a differential trust in what is familiar to each if us — but it’s worth knowing of it as a frame shaping the impulses both of those on the right and the left. Fascism was an example of far right populism, harnessed to serve the boss class of Weimar Germany.

    However, even amongst us Greens, one sees it bob up amongst those amongst us concerned to have a population policy, or those who argue for protection for local manufacturing and some of the language assailing big business and multinationals.

    For the most part, the recurrent liberal humanism and cosmopolitanism of our membership keeps populism constrained. When there’s a conflict, these impulses win out, as our stance on refugees shows.

  17. [35
    Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 8:04 am | PERMALINK
    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”

    So $150k is the new rich, is it? Why is Abbott stifling the entrepreneurial class?

  18. briefly

    [Abbott is a fool and an arrogant one withal. But surely he could not be so stupid as to be implicated in receiving illegal donations…surely.]

    Turns a blind eye and goes bike-riding while Peta deals with it.

  19. victoria

    I think I summed it up in my response to that article!

    Big infrastructure projects appeal to developers and investors. They only ‘mean’ something to ordinary people when they’re either creating employment (so are up and running, not merely planned for) or once they’re completed (and then the tendency seems to be to accept them as givens).

    When I was on council, for example, we were able to garner an exceptional amount of funding (neighbouring councils were calling us ‘the grants capital of the North East’). Yet, when I was out doorknocking, no one commented on the major works we’d undertaken (except to say ‘about time’) but were concerned about things on the ground – poorly maintained footpaths, lack of response to communications, overhanging trees, and the like.

    In Victoria, the issues which will be top of mind for most people are to do with service delivery – waiting times for ambulances (we had a kid with a dislocated shoulder lying in the middle of the soccer ground for over an hour waiting for an ambulance recently), hospitals, student performance, etc.

    As for regional Victoria, even our local MPs are basically conceding that there’s very little in the budget for us, with this classic, in response to whether or not the infrastructure spend is Melbourne-centric —

    [“But we benefit too, as it will all make it better and easier for us when we do travel through Melbourne.”]

    Where you are allocating money to services, it’s also good to have a history of delivery, otherwise you get responses like this —

    [Tallangatta Victorian Farmers Federation president Stuart Morant said the money was pleasing but he wondered how it would be spent.

    “I sincerely hope there’s enough money to reinstate the dogmen who have been sadly missing from the local workforce,” he said.

    “It was promised at the last election their numbers would be maintained and they haven’t been.]

  20. “@SwannyQLD: When budgets are prepared in a methodical way they don’t get signed off by Cabinet in the week prior to release #budgetmess”

  21. The Neil Chenoweth piece is drawing some longish bows, but tantalising ones

    [Meanwhile, what’s surprising is how closely involved Abbott has been in the events that led to the ICAC inquiry, beginning with the moment on January 25, 2011 as he was sitting down to have dinner at ­Kingsleys restaurant at Woolloomooloo with 7.30 host Leigh Sales when he noticed a man walking towards him.

    History turns on chance encounters. Abbott’s choice of restaurant was about to trigger a disastrous chain of consequences.

    Matthew Lusted, who ran a project management company on the central coast called LA Commercial, was also taking his family to dinner at Kingsleys when he saw the opposition leader and introduced himself, sharing his dream to run for Wyong Shire Council for the Liberals.

    Abbott took a shine to Lusted and told him he should lift his sights higher. He was just the sort of candidate the Liberals were looking for, to wrest the federal seat of Dobell from Labor’s dreadful Craig Thomson.

    That same day in Erina on the central coast, perhaps even as Abbott was speaking to Lusted, Tim Koelma was writing out a $5000 invoice to LA Commercial for a business called Eightbyfive for “products and services as agreed”.

    Koelma says this was for political advice about running for Dobell. But this is implausible and Lusted denies it. It was four days earlier, before Abbott even knew of Lusted’s existence, that another Hartcher staffer, Ray Carter, visited the LA Commercial offices and asked Lusted to make a $5000 donation to the Liberal Party through a special account. Carter had encouraged Lusted’s hopes to run for Wyong council.

    Now on the following Tuesday, Tony Abbott was suggesting Lusted run for federal Parliament. Lusted was flattered.

    Two days later after the Australia Day break Senator Bill Heffernan was on the phone to Lusted in Wyong. Abbott had told him Lusted was a promising candidate for Dobell and could Heffernan help mentor him?]

  22. zoomster

    You did sum it up well in your response to that article. I guess what I am really asking is if the voters are somewhat cynical with all that has been promised. Also, the Vic govt is trying to project an image of rivers of gold flowing, whereas the feds are saying things are tough and we all have to make sacrifices. Very odd mix messaging going on

  23. Socrates

    Sadly WWII was just as misguided and silly as every other war. The evil Nazis was a useful cover but remember that until Hitler started bombing the UK there was a pretty good chance that Britain and Germany would end up ALLIED with Hitler against Russia.

    Hitler misjudged Churchill, but the plan all along had been to bring the UK in on Germany’s side (or for it to stay neutral – At least for many in the UK, especially in the aristocracy.

    Socrates what you must recall is that the full horror of the Jewish position did not emerge until AFTER the war. Sure the bleeding hearts on the left talked about it, just as the bleeding hearts today (like me) talk of the horror in Sri Lanka but not too many actually saw it as a major issue.

    Japan’s involvement had nothing to do with spreading totalitarianism it was about access to raw materials.

  24. [populism is not a coherent doctrine — more a set of impulses associated with a differential trust in what is familiar to each if us — but it’s worth knowing of it as a frame shaping the impulses both of those on the right and the left.]

    Hence the pop-left claim, which plaits the arguably true with the ideologically familiar…

    [Fascism was an example of far right populism, harnessed to serve the boss class of Weimar Germany.]

  25. Brickworks
    Interview with Lindsay Partridge on 2GB.. pre election

    Admits to increasing profits by increasing prices ( they have no competition in clay brick market) to offset Carbon Price ( & rise in Gas due to shortage of supply…result of Howard policy) , will he reduce price after receiving payback from Tony Abbott, grateful for $300,000 contribut to Free Enterprise Foundation….. I think not

  26. “@political_alert: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will meet with health bodies in Melbourne this morning and hold a press conference at 10.15am #auspol”

  27. lizzie

    more ‘academic’ than ‘brilliant’ – truly good communicators know how to write for their audience, and understand complex concepts well enough to express them with clarity.

  28. dtt

    [The evil Nazis was a useful cover but remember that until Hitler started bombing the UK there was a pretty good chance that Britain and Germany would end up ALLIED with Hitler against Russia.

    Hitler misjudged Churchill

    Er, so the idea that the UK would align with Hitler was all in Hitler’s mind?

    So no chance at all, just the speculations of a meglomaniac…

  29. sprocket_

    [So $150k is the new rich, is it? Why is Abbott stifling the entrepreneurial class?]

    It seems like only yesterday the shock jocks and msm were screaming how $150k is NOT rich and what a bunch of heartless miserable bastards Labor was for targeting some welfare payments at that level. I await their deafening silence over the Coalition targeting the $150k + people.

  30. Fran and others: equating fascism with capitalism is absolute nonsense. Nazism, like revolutionary Marxism and other such isms (including radical Islam) is first and foremost an idealistic movement: a 20th century manifestation of the longstanding human instinct to embrace millenarian solutions to posited (often unreal) global “problems”.

    There is nothing much bad one can say about Nazism that doesn’t apply equally to revolutionary Marxism as it applied in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1989. The mass extermination by the Nazis of Jews and Roma and gays and others was horrific, but carried out similar operations against minority groups that – if they seem less horrific than the Final Solution – this is only because they were perhaps a little less systematically ruthless and also because we don’t have access to as much historical information about them.

    The impact of capitalism on the world has brought a mixture of good and bad things. But, as we can see right now with things like the schoolgirl abduction in Nigeria, the consequences of millenarianism are forever evil.

  31. lizzie@79


    I know you mean to be kind in your explanation, but you are too brilliantly academic for me.

    And me.

    Speaking as a grandfather, though reasonably literate, I can’t help but remember a quote attributed to Albert Einstein:

    [You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. ]

  32. dtt@80 The only world power that ended up allying itself with Hitler was the Soviet Union. Stalin was so convinced that Hitler was his staunch ally that, on the eve of Operation Barbarossa, he was still punishing officials who tried to warn him that the Germans were mobilising to invade Russia.

  33. Re Churchill and Hitler. Churchill was always a vehement opponent of anything other than a confrontational policy with Germany. His attitude appears to have arisen initially as much from a longstanding jingoistic anti-German sentiment as from any particular distaste for the policies and activities of the Nazis (although, to be fair to Churchill, he also did develop this distaste over time).

    I doubt that there was anyone in a powerful position in Britain at any time who wanted to ally themselves with Germany in a war against the Soviets. But there was probably a fair amount of support for a “let you and him fight” position: ie, manoeuvring Germany and Russia into a war with each other that would leave both sides weakened (and perhaps prompt a counter-revolution in Russia). And there was undoubtedly also some sympathy in some British quarters for the anti-semitism and some of the other policies of the Nazis.

    But I think Hitler’s belief that Britain would ultimately support him was fundamentally naive.

  34. [no one commented on the major works we’d undertaken (except to say ‘about time’) ]

    My council was its own worst enemy on this front – made the developer of a large development have an infrastructure and community development plan then consistently failed to deliver its components. The community expectations were set sky high by the council and you were never going to get thanks for delivering less and late against those expectations.

  35. don

    [You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.]

    As it happens, one of my degree majors was communication, and I couldn’t agree more.

  36. meher

    he based that belief on the idea that they were Aryan nations, and thus were united by blood.

    That’s the trouble with nutters, they don’t know they’re mad, so they assume that their world view is normal.

    Of course, people like the Mitford sisters and the former King helped feed this misperception.

  37. zoomster

    In find your frankness, as well as Fran’s and others’ here, very stimulating, but it’s not in my nature. 🙁

  38. lizzie

    huge stress in English teaching in Victoria that if your audience doesn’t understand you, it’s your fault.

  39. gloryconsequence@18

    So the debt tax will only hit those on $150k or more.

    Will soften the anger a bit.

    Not at all – people already see very clearly what the overall aim is and are not fooled for a moment.

    It will barely raise a drop of water in a bucket – it will be of very very little practical benefit in the overall scheme of the budget. Its another stunt….being watered down under pressure.

    But no one will miss the blatant attack on those on welfare and the working poor.

    A quote from Gittens article today –

    [ The {CoA } report fits perfectly with a wry observation from John Kenneth Galbraith, as paraphrased by the late John Button: ‘‘The rich need more money as an incentive and the poor need less money as an incentive.’’ ]

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