Nominations were declared for the Tasmanian election today, giving me the occasion to tart up my election site. Some campaign news:
• The election has attracted a modest field of 109 candidates, down from 126 in 2014. Denison and Franklin have particularly uncluttered fields this time, with Palmer United, the Nationals and the Socialist Alliance all falling by the wayside. The Jacqui Lambie Network is running in Bass, Braddon and Lyons; Shooters Fishers Farmers are running everywhere but Bass; and there’s a party called T4T — Tasmanians 4 Tasmania that presumably won’t be troubling the scorers much.
• The Liberals have been prodigious in supplying the media with what wrongly gets called “leaked” polling, in this case tracking polling from MediaReach encompassing 300 respondents per electorate every couple of days. The Mercury reported yesterday that five rounds of polling from January 30 to February 12 has produced a combined result of Liberal 44.2%, Labor 29.9% and Greens 13.6% — immensely better for the Liberals than the last three EMRS polls, which have had Labor on 34% and Liberal ranging from 34% to 39%. The Australian today goes deeper into numbers ($), suggesting the Jacqui Lambie Network has tanked over the past fortnight, starting on January 30 with between 11.7% and 15.5% support in the three electorates where it is running, but now down to around 6%.
• Brenton Best is pursuing a comeback bid in Braddon, where he held a seat for Labor from 1996 until his defeat in the 2014 landslide, and is now running as an independent. Best has set himself up in opposition to Labor’s policy to phase out poker machines in pubs and clubs in 2022, which has been the subject of a heavy duty hotel lobby campaign branded “Love Your Local”.
• The Jacqui Lambie Network has nominated Lyons candidate Michael Kent for the health portfolio as a condition for the party’s support in a hung parliament.
• One of the Jacqui Lambie Network’s candidates in Braddon, Rodney Flowers, has been charged with riding a quad bike in the Arthur-Pieman conservation area, in what Liberal MP Adam Brooks describes as a “dickhead-like action”.