Tasmanian election call of the board

A detailed look at the Liberals’ unexpectedly decisive re-election in Tasmania.

The Liberals’ win in Tasmania was quite a bit easier than expected, particularly for those who were factoring a backlash over the late-breaking revelation that the Liberals had an all-but-secret policy to liberalise gun laws. Late polls had the Liberals on around 46%, but they appear to have made it all the way to 50%, which is a fairly extraordinary feat in a modern Australian election. Labor’s low thirties vote share was in line with the polls, but the Greens’ 10% was two points worse than expected.

After winning an unrepeatable fifteen seats out of twenty-five in 2014, the Liberals have certainly emerged with a clear majority of thirteen, and could yet go one better. The north-south divide that opened at the 2014 election stayed open, but did not appreciably widen so far as the balance of Liberal and Labor support was concerned. However, the Greens did particularly badly in Lyons and especially Braddon, and no longer look competitive there.

Bass Braddon Denison Franklin Lyons Total
Liberal 58.9% 56.3% 37.5% 48.5% 50.8% 50.5%
Swing +1.7% -2.5% -0.7% -1.3% -1.2% -0.8%
Quotas 3.53 3.38 2.26 2.91 3.05  
Seats 3 3 2 2 or 3 3 13 or 14
Labor 26.5% 27.3% 42.4% 34.5% 33.2% 32.8%
Swing +3.2% +4.1% +8.6% +5.9% +5.5% +5.4%
Quotas 1.59 1.64 2.55 2.07 1.99  
Seats 1 or 2 2 2 2 2 9 or 10
Greens 9.1% 3.3% 17.2% 14.3% 6.3% 10.0%
Swing -3.6% -3.7% -4.0% -2.5% -5.1% -3.8%
Quotas 0.54 0.20 1.03 0.86 0.38  
Seats 0 or 1 0 1 0 or 1 0 1 to 3
Jacqui Lambie Network 4.6% 5.9%     5.4% 3.2%
Quotas 0.28 0.36     0.32  
Others 0.9% 7.2% 2.9% 2.7% 4.3% 3.5%


The Liberals have comfortably returned their three incumbents, Peter Gutwein, Michael Ferguson and Sarah Courtney, and Labor likewise with their incumbent, Michelle O’Byrne. The outstanding question is whether Labor’s Jennifer Houston gains the last seat from Greens incumbent Andrea Dawkins, which seems likely but not certain. Labor had 1.40 quotas in 2014 to the Greens’ 0.76, but preference pared the Greens back to the extent that they were only able to hold out Labor’s second candidate by a margin of 0.1 quotas. This time the Greens start from behind, with 0.54 quotas to Labor’s 1.58.

One point in the Greens’ favour is that Andrea Dawkins is their clear sole contender, holding nearly three-quarters of their vote. Conversely, Michelle O’Byrne has exactly one quota, with Labor’s four remaining candidates sharing 0.58 quotas, perhaps 0.05 quotas of which will leak. From there it’s a straightforward question of who gets the most preferences, out of what doesn’t exhaust, from the 0.53 quota Liberal surplus and the 0.28 quotas of the Jacqui Lambie Network. That’s assuming the present vote shares stay as they are, but the Greens traditionally gain on absent votes. It’s unlikely to be enough, but the Greens have surprised in late counting here before.


The Liberals don’t look to have repeated their feat of winning four seats in 2014, but they have come impressively close. This means a second seat for Labor after their disastrous result in 2014, with no minor contenders posing a serious threat. Joan Rylah looks like the loser out of the Liberal incumbents, with Jeremy Rockliff and Adam Brooks easily re-elected, and Roger Jaensch having the edge over Rylah. Labor newcomer Anita Dow has slightly outpolled incumbent Shane Broad, but both will be elected. The Jacqui Lambie Network finished on a disappointing 5.9%; the Greens did even worse, and look to be extinct as a serious force here; and former Labor member Brenton Best gained no traction at all in his bid as an independent.

The fourth Liberal seat in 2014 was achieved from 3.53 quotas compared with 1.39 for Labor, and they ended up 0.04 quotas clear of Labor’s second candidate (the aforementioned Brenton Best) at the final count. This time the Liberals are down to 3.38 and Labor is up to 1.64, so it’s the Liberals needing to play catch-up on preferences. While the halving of the Greens vote means the Liberals will do better on preferences than last time, the gap is surely too great.


Whatever vague doubt there may have been about the Liberals’ second seat was buried by the postal votes, pushing them up to 2.26 quotas. This leaves a confirmed status quo result of Liberal two, Labor two and Greens one. Scott Bacon clearly led the Labor field, and will most likely be joined by Ella Haddad, who has outpolled incumbent Madeleine Ogilvie, whose social conservative stances would not have gone down well in the progressive electorate. Former ABC presenter Tim Cox landed fourth, which is less well than I would have thought, although the ABC computer still has him down as “potential”. Otherwise, it was no surprise that Sue Hickey joined Elise Archer as the second Liberal member, following the retirement of Matthew Groom, nor that Cassy O’Connor was re-elected for the Greens. The question for O’Connor is whether she will have any Greens in parliament to join her, on which subject …


The Liberals are a chance of gaining the cherry of a fourteenth seat by holding on to their third seat in Franklin, where conventional wisdom had them likely to fall to two. If so it will be at the expense of Greens member Rosalie Woodruff, with Labor set to go from one to two. Engorged by Will Hodgman’s personal vote, the Liberals have 2.91 quotas to 0.86 for the Greens. However, high-scoring candidates like Hodgman tend to leak quite heavily, the effect of which in 2014 was to cost the Liberals almost as many votes as they gained in preferences, of which there were more to go around last time due to Palmer United. The Greens thus need to pick up around 0.05 on preferences, almost all of it through leakage from Liberal and Labor, which looks touch and go. However, they should get a bit of help from the absent vote count.

All the three Liberals in the frame for election are incumbents, with Will Hodgman to be followed by Jacquie Petrusma, and Nic Street sweating on the third seat. David O’Byrne has comfortably succeeded in his comeback bid, and is very likely to be joined by newcomer Alison Standen, who has a probably decisive lead over another Labor candidate, Kevin Midson.


A perfectly clear cut status result of three Liberal and two Labor, the only question being which of Labor’s newcomer candidates replaces the retiring David Llewellyn. With Janet Lambert on 2.6%, Jen Butler on 2.3% and Darren Clark on 2.1%, everything depends on preferences from Rebecca White’s 0.43 quota surplus. Little separated the three Liberal incumbents, with Guy Barnett, Mark Shelton and Rene Hidding all scoring between 0.74 and 0.82 quotas.

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.

56 comments on “Tasmanian election call of the board”

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  1. This is a very strong result for the Libs in Tassie, and their vote share of 50% is quite impressive , and may yet herald a swing away from the minor parties in coming elections over next year or so (as happened in the UK), though polling suggests otherwise.

    This result will give Truffles some comfort, and may give him some breathing space for a while (though with SA off to the polls in a fortnight, presumably this result will soon be forgotten). But Erica was right (and you won’t see me say that very often), there is probably next to nothing in terms of Federal implications in this result,

    One side effect of this result is that it is likely to discourage major parties to take high-profile signature policies to elections, especially if that policy targets a big and powerful vested interest. Labor’s policy on pokies was brave and worthwhile, but probably stirred up too much concerted opposition for them to triumph.

  2. By running a scurrilous, “more progressive than thou” campaign against Labor, the Greens all but handed Hodgman his second term on a silver platter.

    The election campaign was swamped by the gambling industry’s money. The Greens’ campaign couldn’t get much attention amid that deluge of advertising. Labor adopted a signature Greens policy as their own (which is a good thing), and which made the Greens less of a factor this time. Labor partisans have a strange propensity to assign simultaneous irrelevance and omnipotence to the Greens. As if the Greens, whose campaigns run on the smell of an oily rag, could have been responsible for Labor losing this election that was engulfed by dirty money from pro-Liberal interests.

  3. My comments on last night

    1. Lots of comments on how badly the greens did and they are correct greens were horrible. But less than 1/3 people voted the ALP and 2pp was 54/46 for the most progressive of Australian states

    2. Lots of talk about liberal blaming everything on the last alp/green gov. When for 2 elections in a row the liberal get 50+ % of the vote. It is pretty clear the last government was a disaster

    3 the alp campaign was a complete disaster, and this is not the pokies lobby fault or the greens or the liberals. When you make the center plank of the campaign a focus on controlling how people spend their money or what entertainment they are allowed to have. You are going to alienate a lot of centrist voters. What is going to be next. Horse racing? Junk food? Dessert? Sugar? Movies with violence?

    4. Judging by her concession speech. I through the ALP won instead of getting just over 30% of the votes. She seem to live in an alternate universe and thinks that voters are just dumb. Voters are always correct

  4. The result for the Greens must be slightly troubling for them. This is their heartland and they are struggling to maintain their past vote. Both the Greens and ALP are struggling to shake off that period of 2010 to 2014 when they went into coalition. I doubt either is keen for that to happen again.
    Their state level leader didn’t exactly set the world on fire but I wonder if any of the blame will land on the federal Greens.

  5. I live in the seat of Denison.

    Have never seen the amount of one sided campaigning in an election as this on; almost 3 (Liberal) to 1 (others). Money came from the Federal Group to the Libs, this could happen Federally with vested interests backing the coalition.

    Difficult if not impossible to compete against, Rebecca White has been impressive – no matter how you interpret it the Greens did not do well.

  6. The Greens were their own worst enemies. They got no traction on any issue during the campaign. They ran virtually no advertising. I live in Franklin I saw one sign for a a Greens candidate (Woodruff) as opposed to 200 or so for Labor and Liberal. I received one Greens pamphlet in my letterbox (a letter from Woodruff), as opposed to around 20 each from Lib and Lab.

    I follow politics, yet I arrived at the polling booth knowing absolutely nothing about any Greens candidate other than Woodruff: not even their names!

    No doubt they didn’t have a lot of campaign funds this year. But it isn’t just that: something has gone seriously wrong at party hq. I’d be interested to know what it was.

  7. The anti-pokies stance is good public policy. Hopefully the Tasmanian ALP decides to retain it and doesn’t go small target next time around.

    There are huge vested interests involved but true progressive politics means taking these sort of people on not being co-opted.

  8. I am from interstate, who visited Tasmania in the past 12 months. I was one who watched the Southern Cross news on you tube during the Election campaign and it was clear that Premier Hodgman clearly out campaigned the lefty ladies. As well, Premier Hodgman had a 2:1 following over Rebecca White in terms of followers and likes on both Twitter and Facebook and that in a modern social media environment.

    Elections are won on BOTH the 6.00 news and social media.

    Second point, (and I regard Hobart as a major regional centre, as well as a Capital City), in regional areas, your choice of candidates is everything in Elections. Take Bass as my example. Both Michael Ferguson and Peter Gutwein are senior Ministers in what is regarded as a competent Government and they exacted their seat.

    Definately food for thought.

  9. Yes, a pretty appalling result for the Greens, sadly. And unfortunately for Labor, most of the swing to them seems to have come from the Greens rather than the Liberals.

    A rather depressing result all around.

  10. Meher baba:

    What do you think of the claims that an Anti-Labor campaign by the Greens contributed to Labor’s loss?

  11. Hugoaugogo, I doubt the Liberal’s fifty percent here means much federally.

    Proportional tends to amplify or at least maintain the signal; (majorititarian) preferential voting muffles it. So federal (and interstate) voters have to shout to be heard. Tasmanian voters only need to whisper. Take a look at elections results in Germany and New Zealand. The CDU/National get results the Liberals dream of.

    If the federal Liberal party wanted to pick up 50c of every dollar of public election funding, they could institute proportional voting in the House of Reps. But it has other consequences too.

  12. Asha Leu: “What do you think of the claims that an Anti-Labor campaign by the Greens contributed to Labor’s loss?”

    Total nonsense, like most of the Labor vs Greens garbage on this forum.

    Parties like the Greens are inevitably going to run with “plague on both your houses”, “Lib-Lab are as bad as each other” types of campaigns. Any Labor person who wants to complain about that should be told “here’s a cup of cement, princess, drink it and harden up.” Labor is currently running a pretty harsh anti-Greens campaign in Batman, which appears largely to comprise a personal attack on the Greens candidate, including through statements made under parliamentary privilege. Fair enough IMO, that’s politics.

    My point is that the Greens didn’t run much of a campaign of any sort in Tasmania. As I said earlier, I can’t recall any issues that they raised, apart from a sort of lame “we’re against pokies too, and – unlike Labor – you can trust us actually to do something about them.” Bec White was always going to be a problem for them: she’s that rare thing: a Tasmanian ALP leader who has no known connection to the forestry industry or the industrial unions. She’s young, educated, attractive, arty and married to a trendy chef: ie, a member of the Greens-voting demographic who just happens to be a Labor person.

    But surely the Greens could have campaigned better than they did.

  13. mb:

    Cheers. That’s about what I thought, but it’s pretty hard to get much of an accurate reading of the situation all the way up here in Queensland.

  14. The far left are exactly like the far right in that it is nothing more than a protest party. It is run and voted by people who are miserable and who wants everyone else to be as miserable as them. If they every makes it into government … those misers will turn on them because they are now the people the misers complains about

  15. “The result for the Greens must be slightly troubling for them. This is their heartland and they are struggling to maintain their past vote.”

    It’s a bad result for the Greens, but I think their heartland now is Victoria. Tasmania is no longer their strongest state and it hasn’t been for quite sometime. They only just barely elected two senators from Tasmania at the last federal election.

  16. I was in Bass a fortnight ago and counted 12 Liberal corflutes to 2 Labor corflutes on the road to Georgetown. In the pub I noticed 6 “Save jobs, vote Liberal” corflutes in the 2 bar areas I visited (not the public bar).

    The “Save jobs, vote Liberal” corflutes were sufficiently vague enough to work against bans on poker machine, logging and mining bans

  17. ALP
    Wake up. Liberal party got 50.5 % vote as primary vote in Tasmania state elections & ALP got 32.8 %. LP retained its vote. You should thank Hare-Clark system that you at least got 9 seats. Combined ALP + Green vote is 42.8 %.
    In 2016 federal elections 4 ALP MPs are elected from TAS. No LP MPs from TAS.
    Out of the 12 senators 8 belonged to anti-liberal party parties.
    Some in this echo chamber bang on about Greens are doing badly. Are you serious. ALP vote is bad to put it midly.
    ALP poached Greens vote to get even there.
    I am shaking my head in complete disbelief.
    C@tmoma. Can you explain the bloggers of this blog how bad the situation is?

  18. Maybe everyone been asking the wrong question.

    Bludgertrack pointed to 45% lib vote, actual was 50.5%.

    Is it time to talk about the shy liberal voter?

  19. While I applaud the approach of Tassie Labor, I reckon the ALP should leave pokies alone as an election issue.

    When in gov’t it will be the time to start chipping away at the pokie monster. Also we need a community push to get behind getting rid of them. That means information. The furphy about jobs is a good place to start, and also the harm poker machines do to staff.

    One of the best things to do is to have the sound cards removed from the machines so they are silent.

  20. labor leader made BIG mistake running full one one issue anti pokie campaign and inviting opposition – bad call for her party and her leadership – one step at time on issue like this …

  21. no good complaining and feeling vitcimised by pro gambling campaign funds – these were entirely avoidable, labor ran a dumb campaign

  22. Gambling is entrenched in society – we are surrounded by it as evidenced when we turn on our television sets to commercial stations

    And the gambling industry is a powerful industry – it has seen to that including Mathieson’s retort last week as to the benifits of the gambling industry including that the industry survived the Hawthorn Football Club, which coincidentally plays games in Tasmania – so there are direct and snide presentations defending the industry

    Plus, of course, that people can spend the fruits of their endeavours as they wish

    Sitting on top of the industry is the wealth of the likes of Mathieson – and their influence

    That wealth has come from the “punter”

    Life is full of such examples of people making a living from taking money from the pockets of others

    Our Suoerannuation Fund Managers charge their fee as a percentage of the amount you have under management

    So performance is only of marginal interest to them in turns of the revenue they generate

    They are guaranteed the quantum of their fees regardless of the performance they deliver

    These industries have been very carefully developed – and these are the results, money out of our collective pockets to theirs

    So better to include as a subject in our education systems Capital, risk and reward – so business analysis if you will

    The start point is that the household budget is subject to the exact same analysis criteria as is the Consolidated Balance Sheet of our largest Corporate entities

    So you are taught to assess risk versus reward, not only in living your life but in regards finance

    You are educated as to how and where the likes of AHL achieve their NPBT

    Then again, if we have the Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Party Leader saying the child his partner is carrying is not his because he was overseas with his wife at the time of conceiving, and the outcome where he concedes that he was bonking his partner prior to and since but not when she conceived and now wants to take the responsibility of whoever’s child it is regardless including that he will not have paternity tests, it really makes you wonder exactly what is between the ears of some – or, more accurately perhaps, what is between their legs!!

    Then we get to the Parakeet of High Fashion being the walking, talking advertisement she is!!!

    Again the mind boggles

    Relevance to the poker machine industry and their involvement in the Tasmania election by acting to protect their pockets?

    Well people vote for the interests of the gambling industry, for carrying guns and for Joyce and Bishop

    Some lesson, hey?

    But we had that with the attempt to put an – eventual traded on the market – price on carbon

    And look how people voted?

    Simply, never judge others by self

  23. Should we ban horse racing that is just as bad. Let’s kill Winx because it had led many people to punt. While we are at it let’s stop all movies with drugs and killing. All food with sugar in it. Coffee is addictive too let’s ban it. So is alcohol. Where do we stop?

    It was a horrible policy by a clueless party (greens) picked up by an equally clueless party leader in the ALP who led the ALP to a crushing defeat. Yet some here still thinks it is a good policy

  24. Well the NSW liberals banned the dishlickers and had plans to find good homes for the remaining dogs
    One bye-election in the country resulted in the Nationals “persuading” their colleagues to drop that

  25. Slight difference to the venerable Oakeshott Country in the hypothetical 35 seat tally, I have it as 21 – 12 – 2 from a starting point of 18 – 11 – 2 quotas gained, and with Libs most likely for the extras in Franklin and Braddon, ALP in Lyons, and Libs very narrowly (coming from 1 / 100th of a quota behind the Greens) in Bass.

  26. Yes, but the proposed banning of Greyhound racing was premised on an entirely different principle, that of trying to stop the inhumane treatment of animals used as live bait. And perhaps to a lesser extent the the ill treatment of the Greyhounds themselves.

    This poker machine ban was just a manifestly idiotic idea.

    Not that something shouldn’t be dome IMHO to try to reign in the betting industry. Someone on the main thread posted a few ideas I could agree with – no noise to be emitted from the machines, no flashing lights, no alcohol in the designated gambling area.

    That last one could be applied to all of the gambling areas of Casinos as well. Doubtlessly others could add some further ideas, a blanket ban on the gambling advertising that infests TV these days would be popular in our household.

    In the meantime, what I would be more worried about is exactly in what way do the Liberals plan to loosen gun control down there? And will the federal government be able or willing to hinder them?

  27. The Liberal Party sent me a great little political advent card gizmo which revealed the only choice was to vote Liberal otherwise there would be a plague of locusts.. or something. A bit like the Rodent’s shifty interest rate calculator back in the 2004 federal campaign.

    The tories ran a slick, mendacious, misleading and cynical campaign and promised to spend like there was no tomorrow. You name it they threw money at it.

    The punters ate it up.
    The media ate it up.

    The Liberal Party ads ran 24/7 virtually.
    They won.
    No sh*t.

  28. Regarding the anti-pokies stance.

    It is not only in Tassie that pokies are an issue.

    In SA, the Greens are running on a 100% removal of pokies from pubs and clubs within 5 years.
    The SA-BEST team (Xenophon) want a 50% reduction over 5 years.

    The pubs and clubs are already out campaigning (mostly against SA-BEST it seems). They claim that thousands of young workers are at risk if reforms go through. Really??? Have they been inside a pokie palace recently??
    Xenophon was originally elected on a no pokies platform.
    SA-BEST seem to be weakening in the recent polls, perhaps as a result. The Greens are well down already.

    Although social damage from pokies is massive and evident, sadly I think I can see where this is going.

  29. I’m all for Labor making a principled stand against pokies, than wining for the sake of winning. Hodgeman made promises clearly to win votes off SFF.

  30. Here’s my take as one of a classical liberal or libertarian persuasion. On the one hand, I’m not entirely favour of banning things just because people can ruin their lives by being addicted, and it was probably a bit silly of White (political naivety perhaps?) of campaigning on a total pokies ban (when some kind of betting limits/alcohol ban/light ban would be more reasonable). On the other hand, simply giving away the licences to the Farrells just seems dumb, and a total aboutface on free market principles. If you’re going to be pro free market, you can’t compromise; you have to act rationally all the time or not at all.

    Did the glut of money have an impact? Probably, and while the Libs have done well on road and infrastructure redevelopment, they’ve also been hit in the anus with a rainbow by the low Australian dollar. Concerningly, there seems to be a refusal to follow Saul Eslake’s recommendations re asset sales and instead the focus appears to be on more big spending. The state should be trying to get money for public assets and not give them away for free. Hopefully this doesn’t take the state down a recession when the Australian dollar crashes due to US tariff related stupidity.

  31. Surely to calculate Members on a different system to that used in Tasmania you first have to draw electorates within the current divisions (how?) and then go to individual Polling Booths within the boundaries you chose to impose (which would be an impossible exercise)

    You can extract Polling Booths within Federal electorates but the State vote will not
    Necessarily be replicated – as the last Federal election obviously showed

  32. It’s a bit like the private school targeting from Latham’s campaign in 2004… It seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight it has obviously undermined Labor’s campaign. That being said, Labor have still gained seats, whereas the Greens have lost ground. When you lose half your vote over 8 years in the state when your party came from, you have problems that go beyond advertising.

  33. The 35 seat scenarios are not with different boundaries, they are with the same boundaries for the same 5 electorates used in both state and Commonwealth lower houses, they are with 7 member electorates rather than 5 (as was the case for decades before Parliament was size reduced in 1998 to harm the Greens).

    The major incalculability is that there would be 2 more candidates per significant party in each electorate.

  34. Raaraa says:
    Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 6:46 pm
    I’m all for Labor making a principled stand against pokies, than wining for the sake of winning. Hodgeman made promises clearly to win votes off SFF.

    ————–crazy. you win and reform gradually, fabian reform – occasionally strong reform works, but only if popular and pokies is too vexed and risky and party should have known that from start – this was a crazy campaign, to loose and waste so much effort and political capital

  35. Media have been strangely muted on the issue of corruption in this election. Phil Coorey on Insiders muttered about not poking sleeping bears and the ABC commentator last night hastily shut down suggestions of Federal Hotels bribery, basically the media don’t want to know about it. Plenty of comment about the massively funded Liberal’s extended advertising, with associated handwringing about how we can’t do much about the Liberals refusing to name donors until next year (and doubtless when it is the sources will have been laundered through trusts and offshore companies), but not much willingness to ask the hard questions or investigate the money trail. Yet the stench of massive corruption is everywhere…

    I also noticed the media were more than willing to try to expose differences of opinion and suggestions of disloyalty in Labor ranks on election night – but as for looking at the really hard questions it was a case of – gee, is that the time, I have a sudden urgent engagement at the other side of town.

  36. Sandbelter: Shy Liberal voters haven’t been an issue in past Tasmanian elections – in the past EMRS has generally got the Liberal vote bang on but had Labor too low. I think it’s more likely a bandwagon effect. The last polling data was five days old and some voters would have swung behind the Liberals as they realised only the Liberals could win. Same as 2006 with Labor. This election has a lot in common with 2006 but media covering it were doing (sanitised) hung parliament nostalgia pieces about 1996 and 2010.

    I think the ReachTEL has scrubbed up very well given it was taken nine days before the election – no errors greater than about 2.5 is good by Tasmanian polling standards.

  37. For the Franklin postcount ( http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2018/03/2018-tasmanian-postcount-franklin.html ) I currently have Street ahead on projection by so little that it may as well be nothing. May become clearer in late counting but probably have to wait for Hodgman’s surplus.

    Bass (http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2018/03/2018-tasmania-postcount-bass.html) is very messy because of the apparent three-way tipping point between the parties. While you might think that the Liberals will drop back on leakage and not recover, Lambie Network voters don’t like the Greens and may well flow significantly more to the majors. For this reason it’s not clearcut that the Liberals get eliminated before either Dawkins or Houston. Currently it’s in Houston’s favour as she seems to be going to be just ahead of both at that point, and probably only needs to be ahead of one.

  38. Hey Kevin, Just another quick question (following up from one that you posted on your blog hahaha) but what are your thoughts re the ALP’s poker machine strategy and what do you (as someone of a classic liberal disposition) think of the idea of a Pigovian tax on poker machines (ie, indexing poker machine taxation at a certain optimal value and then redistributing this tax into harm minimisation schemes)?

  39. To understand Labor’s poker machine strategy I have to assume that at some point late last year they decided they were almost certainly going to lose (on what evidence I have no idea) so they may as well outflank the Greens and do some virtue-signalling. If it was actually a serious attempt to win or cause a hung parliament then it was an enormous blunder. If it was based on issues-polling or some idea of being like Corbyn or Sanders then that will be too silly for words.

    I think that something has to be done about pokies in suburban pubs and clubs in Tasmania that isn’t banning them outright. Whether it is imposing more regulations and restrictions and shorter licences, or taxing them then spending the money on reducing harm, I don’t have a strong view.

  40. Kevin,

    I wouldn’t discount a shy Liberal effect that was specific to this election. Surveys on gambling are notoriously unreliable where people will considerably understate how frequently and how much they gamble. I wouldn’t be surprised, with pokies as an issue, that there were a small minority of say 2% or so of people that told the pollsters one thing and voted the other. But, I wouldn’t think you could ever measure it and know for sure.

  41. Over the course of last year I felt that Labor were moving into a winning position at this election. For three years they had been banging on about education and health care and it was having an impact. No mention of pokies. Then early this year they announce that if elected they will remove pokies from pubs and clubs. All the work of the last three years is gone and the the election is a referendum on poker machines where Labor and the Greens are comprehensively killed. Every pub ( and there are a lot) had signs up saying vote Liberal to save their jobs.

    I think on the basis of some soft polling data Labor shot themselves in the foot to wedge the Green vote. Truth be told Labor are probably as average on health care as the Liberals- visionary they are not and Ms White is as partisan a north south warrior as any Bass Liberal. But it was academic as any opportunity to debate on health and education was lost as soon as pokies were mentioned.

    Since sacking the three amigos at the 2016 Federal election Tasmania is no longer the apple (get it!) of Malcolm Turnbull’ eye. There are no bags of cash coming from Canberra. Had the Liberals known Labor would declare war on the Federal group they might not have spent so much money trying to win what they thought – and the polls suggested- was going to be a very close election. Labor ran a campaign designed around health and education. What they needed was one designed around the key election theme – pokies and gambling. Labor lost this.

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