8.34pm. Still a few booths to come in from Nelson, but I’m ready to summarise and wrap it up for the night. In short, the Liberals retained Montgomery, and did so off a better result than they managed at the 2016 election; Labor retained Pembroke, and ditto (although their primary vote was lower). In Nelson, what we have at this stage is votes widely scattered between ten different candidates, and little idea of knowing what might happen when preferences are distributed – although Kevin Bonham, who knows a lot more about how preferences behave in these elections, thinks it unlikely that the Liberal will win. The seat will more likely be won by one of two independents (Vica Bailey or Meg Webb), neither of whom is former Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie.
8.03pm. All booths in but the mobile one in Montgomery, plus a batch of postals, and here Liberal leads Labor 43.2% to 25.8%. And again for what it’s worth, the booths here went Labor 41.8%, Liberal 39.6% at the 2016 federal election.
7.58pm. The count has been quick in Pembroke – all polling booths in plus a batch of postals. Labor leads Liberal 45.7% to 24.8% — for what it’s worth, the booths here went Labor 50.0% and Liberal 35.9% at the 2016 federal election.
7.38pm. Montgomery. Leonie Hiscutt is looking good now, on a number of fronts. She has done well in three newly added town booths, essentially maintaining her 2013 vote after falling by around 6% in the rural booths, where she lost votes to Shooters Fishers and Farmers. My projection for her is up to 41.4%, and I’m now inclined to think she will do well on Shooters preferences, if these are voters who supported her formerly. Furthermore, the town booths have put Labor well ahead of independent Cheryl Fuller, setting a final Liberal-versus-Labor count that Labor can’t win.
7.34pm. Nic Street keeps falling in Nelson, now down to 24.0% with nine booths in out of 13.
7.33pm. Nineteen booths out of 29 from Montgomery, and there’s a big disconnect between Leonie Hiscutt’s raw 45.7%, which looks safe for her, and the 6.2% drop in her primary vote out of those 14 booths that can readily be booth-matched from last time. This partly because Hiscutt has weak booths to come in Ulverstone. The projection suggests around 40%, which could be dangerous for her if independent Cheryl Fuller gets ahead of Labor. However, Labor’s lead in that respect continues to widen, increasing the rate of preferences Fuller will need from Shooters to take the fight up to Hiscutt, if her primary vote indeed ends up as low as I’m projecting it.
7.23pm. Six out of 12 booths in from Nelson, and Liberal candidate Nic Street is down to 26.5%. One vote separates Vica Bailey and Madeleine Ogilvie for second place, though the matter will obviously be decided by preferences. Voters are only directed to number a minimum of three boxes, so with 10 candidates in the field there will be a fairly substantial exhaustion rate. Flows of preferences in these circumstances are an arcane subject on which I can offer little insight.
7.10pm. Labor’s Jo Siejka headed for an easy win in Pembroke, now up 19.6% on her vote in 2017 with two booths in out of 12.
7.05pm. My projections for Montgomery with 15 booths in still have Liberal member Leonie Hiscutt inside 40% on the primary vote, which looks dangerous for her, but there are four booths out of the mix which I’m not booth-matching because they weren’t in use in 2013, and those are stronger for her. Labor has pulled into second ahead of Cheryl Fuller, so it looks like Fuller will need a solid flow of Shooters preferences to make it to second, but for which Hiscutt should be able to hold. However, I’m less clear now that she won’t prevail in a final count between herself and Fuller.
7.03pm. First booth in from Nelson is Sandy Bay Beach. With the vote scattered among ten candidates, this is going to be very difficult to read. Liberal candidate Nic Street is well clear on the primary vote on 30.4%, but preferences will presumably flow heavily against him. Independent and former Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie is only in third place on 14.2%, the behind Vica Bailey on 15.2%, who perhaps not coincidentally drew first place on the ballot paper.
7.00pm. The first booth in Pembroke, Mornington, looks very good for Labor incumbent Jo Siejka, who scores 55.4% in a booth where she got 41.1% in the 2017 by-election. This is a strong booth for Labor, so I’m projecting it to 47.5%, though that’s still enough for a comfortable victory. The Liberal vote is steady at 21.4%.
6.45pm. Eight booths in now from Montgomery out of 29, and the previous assessment pretty much still holds – Liberal headed for 39%, Fuller’s raw lead over Labor at 20.7% to 18.8%. I should note however that Shooters are on 16.2%, and their preferences may very well keep Fuller ahead of Labor. If Labor makes second, the Liberal (and we’re talking about an incumbent here, Leonie Hiscutt) should win. Otherwise, she risks losing to the independent, Cheryl Fuller.
6.40pm. There are five booths in from Montgomery, and from the four that can be booth-matched, the Liberals would appear to be down 8.1%, which projects to a total of 38%. I’m guessing that would be too low if an independent finished ahead of Labor, and on that score it’s touch and go, with independent Cheryl Fuller on 20.5% to Labor’s 19.7%. My feeling would be though that Labor might pull ahead as larger booths come in.
Polls have closed for Tasmania’s there upper house elections. To the lay observer, Pembroke and Montgomery may be respectively read as a barometers of partisan sentiment in the south and north of the state, but otherwise these are, psephologically speaking, rather boutique affairs. Live commentary will follow here, but Kevin Bonham will do it better. Precis for the three electorates:
Nelson. Hobart’s riverside southern suburbs around Sandy Bay and the satellite town of Kingston. Jim Wilkinson is retiring after 24 years as independent member, and an uncommonly large field of ten has stepped forward hoping to fill his place. The Liberal Party has a candidate, Nic Street, and Labor has a proxy of sorts in independent Madeleine Ogilvie, which is the opposite of what ususally happens. Both are former members of the lower house – Street got a seat in Franklin on a countback in 2016 when Paul Harriss (a former upper house independent who went lower house and Liberal in 2014) retired, but failed to retain the seat in 2018, and Ogilvie was elected in Denison in 2014 but defeated in 2018, having alienated Labor supporters through her opposition to same-sex marriage. The rest of the field consists of the Greens, Shooters Fishers and Farmers and six further independents.
Pembroke. The Hobart suburbs on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. This has had a particularly partisan record, having been held for Labor by Allison Ritchie from 2001 to 2009; then being won for the Liberals by Vanessa Goodwin at the resulting by-election; and then being won for Labor by Jo Seijka at another by-election in November 2017, held when Goodwin retired after being diagnosed with brain tumours (of which she died on the day of the March 2018 state election). Siejka is opposed by a Liberal, Kristy Johnson; two independents, including Tony Mulder, who held the upper house seat of Rumney from 2011 to 2017, when he was defeated by Labor’s Sarah Lovell; another independent, Ronald Cornish; and Carlo di Falco of Shooters Fishers and Farmers.
Montgomery. Part of Burnie and the coast immediately to its east, including Penguin and Ulverstone. Liberal member Leonie Hiscutt is defending the seat, which she won at the last periodical election in 2013 upon the retirement of Sue Smith, who had held it as an independent for 16 years. She is opposed by Labor’s Michelle Rippon, independent Cheryl Fuller, and Brenton Jones of Shooters Fishers and Farmers.