Call of the board: Tasmania

Some overdue insights into what went wrong for Labor in Tasmania, whose five seats accounted for two of the party’s five losses at the federal election.

Welcome to the penultimate instalment of the Call of the Board series (there will be one more dealing with the territories), wherein the result of last May’s federal election are reviewed in detail seat by seat. Previous episodes dealt with Sydney (here and here), regional New South Wales, Melbourne, regional Victoria, south-east Queensland, regional Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.

Today we look at Tasmania, which has long been noted as a law unto itself as far as federal electoral politics are concerned. The Liberals managed clean sweeps of the state amid poor national results in 1983 and 1984, and the state likewise went all-in for Labor at their losing elections in 1998 and 2001. The state’s form more recently, and especially last May, suggest a normalising trend – in this case, Labor’s defeats in the northern seats of Bass and Braddon were emblematic of their poor show in white, low-income regional Australia (and they can probably count themselves likely that Lyons wasn’t added to the list).

Conversely, another easy win for independent Andrew Wilkie in the central Hobart seat of Clark (formerly Denison) confirmed the uniquely green-left nature of that seat, while a predictable win for Labor in Franklin typified the party’s ongoing hold on low-income suburbia. It may be worth noting in all this that the state’s economic fortunes appear to be on an upswing, and that this coincides with one of its rare periods of Liberal control at state level. It’s tempting at this moment to speculate that the state has a big future ahead of it as a haven from climate change, with electoral implications as yet unforeseeable.

In turn:

Bass (LIBERAL GAIN 0.4%; 5.8% swing to Liberal): Bass maintained its extraordinary record with Labor’s defeat, changing hands for the eighth time out of ten elections going back to 1993. The latest victim of the curse of Bass was Ross Hart, who joins Labor colleagues Silvia Smith, Jodie Campbell and Geoff Lyons and Liberals Warwick Smith (two non-consecutive terms), Michael Ferguson and Andrew Nikolic on the roll call of one-term members. The only exception to the rule has been Michelle O’Byrne, who won the seat in 1998 and was re-elected in 2001, before losing out in 2004 and entering state politics in 2006. Labor also retained the seat in 2010, but their member at the time, Jodie Campbell, resigned after a single term.

Braddon (LIBERAL GAIN 3.1%; 4.8% swing to Liberal): Northern Tasmania’s other seat has been a slightly tougher nut for the Liberals since Sid Sidebottom ended 23 years of Liberal control in 1998, having been won for party since on three occasions: with Mark Baker’s win in 2004, as part of the famed forestry policy backlash against Labor under Mark Latham (who may have taken the episode to heart); with the heavy defeat of the Labor government in 2013, when it was won by former state MP Brett Whiteley; and now with Gavin Pearce’s win for the Liberals. Also in this mix was the Super Saturday by-election of July 28, 2018, at which the now-defeated Labor member, Justine Keay, was narrowly returned. Such was the attention focused on the Coalition’s weak result in the Queensland seat of Longman on the same day that few recognised what was a highly inauspicious result for Labor, whose 0.1% swing was notably feeble for an opposition party at a by-election. Much was made at that time of the performance of independent Craig Garland, who polled 10.6% at the by-election before failing to make an impression as a candidate for the Senate. Less was said about the fact that another independent, Craig Brakey, slightly exceeded Garland’s by-election result at the election after being overlooked for Liberal preselection. Both major parties were duly well down on the primary vote as compared with 2016, Liberal by 4.1% and Labor by 7.5%, but a much more conservative mix of minor party contenders translated into a stronger flow of preferences to the Liberals.

Clark (Independent 22.1% versus Labor; 4.4% swing to Independent): Since squeaking over the line at Labor’s expense after Duncan Kerr retired in 2010, independent Andrew Wilkie has been piling on the primary vote with each his three subsequent re-elections, and this time made it just over the line to a majority with 50.0%, up from 44.0% in 2016. This translated into a 4.4% increase in Wilkie’s margin over Labor after preferences. For what it’s worth, Labor picked up a 0.8% swing in two-party terms against the Liberals.

Franklin (Labor 12.2%; 1.5% swing to Labor): The tide has been flowing in Labor’s favour in this seat since Harry Quick seized it from the Liberals in 1993, which was manifested on this occasion by a 1.5% swing to Julie Collins, who succeeded Quick in 2007. This went against a national trend of weak results for Labor in outer suburbia, which was evidently only in that their primary vote fell by 2.9%. This was almost exactly matched by a rise in support for the Greens, whose 16.3% was the party’s second best ever result in the seat after 2010. The Liberals were down 4.0% in the face of competition from the United Australia Party, which managed a relatively strong 6.7%.

Lyons (Labor 5.2%; 1.4% swing to Labor): Demographically speaking, Lyons was primed to join the Liberal wave in low-income regional Australia. That it failed to do so may very well be down to the fact that the Liberals disassociated themselves mid-campaign with their candidate, Jessica Whelan, over anti-Muslim comments she had made on social media, and directed their supporters to vote for the Nationals. The Nationals duly polled 15.7%, for which there has been no precedent in the state since some early successes for the party in the 1920s. However, that still left them astern of Whelan on 24.2%. Labor member Brian Mitchell, who unseated Liberal one-termer Eric Hutchinson in 2016, was down 3.9% on the primary vote to 36.5%, but he gained 1.3% on two-party preferred after picking up around a quarter of the Nationals’ preferences. With a further boost from redistribution, he now holds a 5.2% margin after gaining the seat by 2.3% in 2016, but given the circumstances he will have a hard time matching that performance next time.

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.

1,795 comments on “Call of the board: Tasmania”

  1. Some words off twitter for people who think Speers or anybody else is going to work miracles in interviews with Morrison

    >You can’t “disarm and expose” someone who doesn’t care about the truth to begin with. They’ll just keep reasserting their claims.

    >There are no magic words that are going to make Morrison and his ilk admit they’re wrong.

    (One adds, Speers asking seemingly innocuous questions and watching his guest drown in their own bullshit is why he’s embarrassed so many Coalition MPs)
    —-
    To pick up a point from earlier, I suspect Morrison’s sudden need to do ‘serious’ media (7:30 report/insiders) is because his advisors are detecting that people no longer respect him – he’s #ScottyfromMarketing. Given hes obviously not up to the job I suspect he’ll struggle to regain authority before the knives come out in a year or so.

  2. Rex Douglas @ #1447 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:09 am

    Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1439 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:02 pm

    Player One @ #1396 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 9:11 am

    Pegasus @ #1382 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 11:57 am

    Albanese – Transcript of a doorstop interview, Melbourne, 10 January:

    https://anthonyalbanese.com.au/transcript-doorstop-interview-melbourne-friday-10-january-2020

    You mean Albo made speech … great! … let’s see what he says …

    JOURNALIST: Alright, so let’s talk about climate. The debate is well and truly back on. You still don’t have a policy? When can we see something in relation to targets? In relation to national action on emissions?

    ALBANESE: Well, what we’re not going to do is to say to the Government, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, because this is what we’re going to do in 2022 after the election, if we’re successful’. That, quite frankly, would be irresponsible. We want the Government to act immediately. And the idea, at this stage in the cycle, that the Labor Party’s policy today will have an impact in 2022 is quite frankly an immature question.

    JOURNALIST: Okay, but you don’t have a climate or an energy policy either?

    ALBANESE: I refer to the previous 3,224 times that I have answered that question and say to you that the next election is in 2022.

    FFS, what can you do when your party is headed up by such an idiot? 🙁

    Why would you release a policy now, that in two years time could be redundant.

    Plus the relevant focus should be what the Government is doing, or not doing now, not what Labor might want to do in two years.

    Nothing stopping Albanese from setting emissions reduction targets that can be increased if upon expert advice.

    Also nothing stopping him from declaring Labors intent to transition away from thermal coal mining because it’s quite simply bad for the environment and economy as we are seeing with our own eyes.

    I think Albo will leave the brainfarts to the Greens, whilst Labor develops its policy.

  3. About half way through the fires, YTD, someone calculated that the fires had already generated around half the CO2 that we emit in a normal year. (I seem to recall a figure of 290 megatonnes).
    Since then the fires have probably doubled in areal extent.
    Has someone who knows added it all up?
    Is it the accepted thing that these are added to our total?
    Signed
    Curious.

  4. Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1452 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:12 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #1447 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:09 am

    Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1439 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:02 pm

    Player One @ #1396 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 9:11 am

    Pegasus @ #1382 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 11:57 am

    Albanese – Transcript of a doorstop interview, Melbourne, 10 January:

    https://anthonyalbanese.com.au/transcript-doorstop-interview-melbourne-friday-10-january-2020

    You mean Albo made speech … great! … let’s see what he says …

    JOURNALIST: Alright, so let’s talk about climate. The debate is well and truly back on. You still don’t have a policy? When can we see something in relation to targets? In relation to national action on emissions?

    ALBANESE: Well, what we’re not going to do is to say to the Government, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, because this is what we’re going to do in 2022 after the election, if we’re successful’. That, quite frankly, would be irresponsible. We want the Government to act immediately. And the idea, at this stage in the cycle, that the Labor Party’s policy today will have an impact in 2022 is quite frankly an immature question.

    JOURNALIST: Okay, but you don’t have a climate or an energy policy either?

    ALBANESE: I refer to the previous 3,224 times that I have answered that question and say to you that the next election is in 2022.

    FFS, what can you do when your party is headed up by such an idiot? 🙁

    Why would you release a policy now, that in two years time could be redundant.

    Plus the relevant focus should be what the Government is doing, or not doing now, not what Labor might want to do in two years.

    Nothing stopping Albanese from setting emissions reduction targets that can be increased if upon expert advice.

    Also nothing stopping him from declaring Labors intent to transition away from thermal coal mining because it’s quite simply bad for the environment and economy as we are seeing with our own eyes.

    I think Albo will leave the brainfarts to the Greens, whilst Labor develops its policy.

    The only policy Labor has re climate/energy policy is to be ambiguous.

  5. It is right now impossible to compare the emissions policies of the Coalition and of Labor because Labor does not have such a policy.
    The policy it did have was rejected by the voters (with the combined help of the Coalition, Mr Palmer, Ms Hanson, Mr Katter and their fellow traveller, Mr Di Natale).
    So Labor has very wisely ditched that.
    There is no particular point in not learning from a bad experience.
    Labor will have a policy going into the next elections.
    That is all we know for sure.

    I note in passing that 90% of Australians told the Greens that their policy is unacceptable but the Greens have not changed their policy at all. They are still hiding the full consequences of their policy from the voters but that sort of political chicanery is only to be expected. Bandt and Faruqi did the same sort of ommissions during the recent protests.

    But, I digress.

    The usual bots are declaiming about Coalition/Labor same old same old on emissions.

    They are lying, of course, but that does not stop them at all. It never has. It never will.

  6. Greensborough Growler @ #925 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:53 am

    However, the caravan has moved on imho. His explanation this morning seems reasonable. The family were intending to go on holidays during the Christmas break. However, the India and Japan trips came up. The timing was such that he needed to cancel his existing holiday break plans and bring the holidays forward. Hawaii seemed a good idea at the time and his best opportunity to spend time with his wife and children after a particularly busy year.

    Agree with the first sentence, but not the second.

    None of that reasoning really follows. In particular being willing to rejuggle your holiday plans because some non-urgent diplomatic trips come up but then not do so again when your country is literally burning down is a really bad look. Because priorities.

    Even if the Hawaii trip was reasonable at one point, cutting it short and immediately returning to Australia (well before when Morrison actually did) also became reasonable. Morrison seems rather selective about which reasonable things he does. Seems like it’s mostly about convenience.

    The early and catastrophic fire season was not on his radar

    Yet it was on everyone else’s. That makes it part of Morrison’s failure, not something he can use as an excuse.

    and the reality that hands on involvement of Morrison was needed was something he had no inkling.

    Ditto. It’s his job to have these inklings!

  7. Unlike say the banking RC, Morrison hasn’t been dragged into an RC into the bushfires. It is, of course, a matter of damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, but it is a convenient way of not doing anything substantive. As Laura Tingle says, Morrison can simply say, “well that will be a matter for the royal commission to determine”. But this is very different. Many have been most seriously affected by the fires, from those who’ve lost their lives, their homes, their property, the health effects of exposure to smoke, business losses, particularly in tourism. Even a competent leader would have difficulty dealing with the complex issues involved in this disaster, but when you have an incompetent leader and ministers, the task facing Morrison is almost insurmountable, no amount of spin, thoughts, and prayers placating a very angry electorate. Roll on some polls to see if his position has become untenable.

  8. Mark Butler needs to begin to mount a challenge for the Labor leadership to begin the rational pathway back to social responsibility for Labor.

    The current position of ambiguity under Albanese is illogical and doomed to fail once again.

  9. Rexie from Greens marketing is trying hard to help his old mate Sleazy from Marketing.
    Rexie does this by pretending to know Labor’s policy on position.
    Labor does not have one.
    That does not stop Rexie from Greens Marketing from lying about it.

  10. Player One @ #1466 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:23 am

    Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1460 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:21 pm

    Your expectations are illogical and seem to stem from your emotions.

    Just repeating your assertion in different words is not really an answer.

    What part of my argument do you think is emotional?

    Pretty much your whole approach.

    Your fixation on coal mining as opposed to the major cause of greenhouse gases, the actual power production using coal amongst many.

  11. P1

    The way it works in this country is that if your political enemies succeed, you lose.

    If you lose you have no power. If you have no power your policies don’t matter. (Except to the Greens).

    What that means is you can spend three years figuring out what you want to take to the people the next time round. Labor could always go back with what lost it the last election. That would suit, presumably, both the Greens and the Coalition.

    Of course this gives the Greens endless opportunities to make up policies that they believe Labor should have or DOES have, and then to criticize Labor for not having those policies or from having them. It doesn’t matter. Unless Labor adopts all the Greens policies the Greens are going to continue with the piffle.

    But such devious and deceptive piffle is only to be expected from a group of losers who managed to alienate 90% of the electorate with THEIR emissions policies.

    Labor learned several important lessons in the last elections. One of them was that losing nearly all regional seats in the big states cost Labor government.

  12. Morrison or De Pends has, with this morning’s little discussion with Speerzie, managed to make everything as clear as the bubble within Canberra’s thick smoke haze.
    Ah good. Move on then. How good is that?

  13. Peeps can get as emotional as the like, or not, about Labor not having a policy on emissions.
    Irrelevant.
    Labor will go to the next election with an emissions policy.
    It does not have one now.

  14. With the best will in the world, I cannot react positively to Albo’s response to”what about climate change?” I wanted to hear a couple of short sharp statements, which would make a neat contrast to Morrison’s waffle.

  15. Boerwar @ #1467 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:31 pm

    Peeps can get as emotional as the like, or not, about Labor not having a policy on emissions.
    Irrelevant.
    Labor will go to the next election with an emissions policy.
    It does not have one now.

    Labor needs to present an alternative to Morrison’s circus.
    Not 5 weeks out from an election when they can be drowned out by electioneering games but each and every day from now until polling day.

  16. Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1467 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:29 pm

    Player One @ #1466 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:23 am

    Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #1460 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:21 pm

    Your expectations are illogical and seem to stem from your emotions.

    Just repeating your assertion in different words is not really an answer.

    What part of my argument do you think is emotional?

    Pretty much your whole approach.

    So, in other words, you can neither justify nor explain your response. You just thought it sounded good, and that you’d get away with it.

    Your fixation on coal mining as opposed to the major cause of greenhouse gases, the actual power production using coal amongst many.

    What does this even mean? Do you somehow believe Australia doesn’t burn some of the thermal coal it mines to generate power? We are amongst the most coal-dependent countries in the world. Or are you saying it’s ok to mine it as long as we only export it and don’t burn it ourselves?

  17. MurrayGrey @FlatGrey
    2h
    @simonahac
    Simon are the emissions from these fires added to Australia’s emissions?

    simon holmes à court ·
    1m
    nope. it is assumed that bushfires are a natural process and that regrowth balances bushfires over the medium term — which is problematic.

  18. Apologies if already mentioned but what concerns me is a Fed govt power grab to promote their agenda and vested interests, clothed as a response to Climate Change. Twiggy has promoted his 50 mil research centre (right wing think-tank?) as being aimed at “resilience” esp looking at “land management and water security”- aka land clearing and dams .

    Morrison specifically said he wanted more land clearing and dams as a response to CC and said it was as or more important than emissions reduction policies. I’m pretty sure he flagged possible legislative changes re the States- maybe to override their authority on management of National Parks and dam building ?

    I hope I’m wrong but wouldn’t put anything past this lot.

  19. Re the “all emotions no logic”, what do people make the choice of vote on logic or emotions ? I have a sneaking suspicion “logic” is back with the also rans 😉

  20. A small vignette from smoky Sydney. A guy with a facemask sitting on a park bench. He’s pulled the face mask down to have a smoke.

  21. Some Labor people are arguing The NSW Liberals have a better Target than Labor.

    To combat the reckless target rhetoric Labor could agree to the NSW Liberals targets.

    What a way to wedge the LNP.

  22. boerwar

    The use of HMAS Adelaide (capital cost $1.5 billion, daily operational costs a motsa)

    Truly, that much ? Oy vey , a $Billion ain’t what it used to be these days. I remember the yuge “Billion Dollar Babies” headline for, not Alice Cooper, the then new US aircraft carriers.

  23. Morrison’s turning up everywhere doing pressers, attempting to give the impression that all’s good now that he’s on the job. This will wear very thin after a while, especially for those who haven’t been given any assistance – financial or otherwise. And although the circumstances are measurably different from the GFC, there could well be some similarities. For example, financial assistance, which requires a good deal of paperwork, could be sped up but which in turn could result in fraudulent claims. Remember the way the Tories carried on when dead people were issued with $900 cheques? And while the recovery phase is in operation, most other government business will probably be put on the backburner other than Morrison’s big concern, the religious freedoms bill. I see a good deal of turmoil over at least the next three months and it couldn’t happen to a nice bunch of dropkicks.

  24. It appears Labor doesn’t have the ticker or stamina to prosecute a positive economically-oriented and coherent vision for re-framing global heating.

    Leadership requires leading not seeing which way the wind blows.

    If Labor does not focus every day until the next election on an alternative plan for the nation and work to bring on board voters, the cynicism and distrust about politicians will continue.

  25. I find it quite strange.

    Scomo appears on television, is shown to lie continuously through the whole event, people on PB begin to critique said interview when suddenly a couple of posters turn up and all of a sudden the whole theme of discussions turns to how the ALP are failing the people and ‘must’ put out policies today, not tomorrow, not prior to the next election but NOW.

    And f&&k all you who think differently.

    It is time the ALP stepped up and began governing this country the way it should be governed, even if they have to do it from the opposition benches.

    Give me f**king strength.

  26. C@tmomma @ #1337 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 8:11 am

    sprocket_ @ #1314 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 10:12 am

    Joe O’Brien of ABC tweets this..

    ‘PM @scottmorrisonmp says his original intention was to holiday on the south coast of NSW but he had to bring forward the holiday .. and that’s why he instead went to Hawaii.’

    These little lies are par for the course with Morrison.

    The obvious follow up question would have been? So all the South Coast options were unavailable then?

    To which a truthful Morrison could have answered: ‘Who wants to holiday in a disaster zone?’

    If Player One had known that Scotty from Marketing could have holidayed there!

    But seriously, Morrison says he couldn’t holiday on the South Coast for once, so he couldn’t even find somewhere else in Australia to go holiday!?! Sounds like rolled gold #ScottyfromMarketing bs to me.

    Furthermore he lied about going to India via Hawaii.

    Let’s leave out the obvious stupidity of what is the equivalent of travelling from Sydney to Melbourne via Helsinki, consider that he claims he was going direct from Hawaii to India. That means he’d planned on staying in Hawaii for another 3 weeks. It was already a national crisis before he took off, however he intended to spend close to a month lazing around on Waikiki.

    It doesn’t matter how much he spins it, none f it passes the pub test of what is and was expected of him. The only sensible thing for him to do would be to apologise for being completely asleep at the wheel and move on.

    Naturally that will be the last thing on earth he’d do.

  27. Labor went to the recent election with worthwhile emission reduction policies and was rejected. Those policies are now up for discussion. Labor will bring revised policies to the next election. Those policies will be misrepresented by the Government and their media allies. Labor will need to have a plan to counter this.

    Be all that as it may, the choice on emissions is still clear. If you want Australia to do nothing or don’t care, vote Coalition. If you want action, vote Labor or at least preference them ahead of the Coalition.

  28. HaveAchat

    1. Albo also did an interview so it wasn’t unexpected that someone might comment on it.
    2. I just want Albo to sound completely different to Morrison.

  29. HaveAchat @ #1490 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 1:52 pm

    I find it quite strange.

    Scomo appears on television, is shown to lie continuously through the whole event, people on PB begin to critique said interview when suddenly a couple of posters turn up and all of a sudden the whole theme of discussions turns to how the ALP are failing the people and ‘must’ put out policies today, not tomorrow, not prior to the next election but NOW.

    And f&&k all you who think differently.

    It is time the ALP stepped up and began governing this country the way it should be governed, even if they have to do it from the opposition benches.

    Give me f**king strength.

    Part of holding the Govt to account is having a solid basis to argue your points of difference.

    How can Labor be critical of the Govts actions re climate/energy policy when they have no policy themselves as a basis ?

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