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. We must first have agreement on terminology.

    Gary Fallon
    @GaryFallon2
    ·
    Jan 8
    Craig Kelly on science:

    Pharmacology is the study of farms;
    Climatology is the study of hills;
    Meteorology is the study of meteors;
    Radiology is the study of Ray Hadley;
    ‘Peer review’ is the study of wharves;
    Physiology is the study of beer froth……

    #auspol

  2. I totally understand that guytaur (I also remember the reporting of ‘the new tax on carbon’) – what is the Greens solution to this media bias (that goes against Labor as well).

    Come on you are better than that I respect some of your posts but am over the continual negativity boring stuff

    The Greens need to stop making excuses and find an answer to the media bias. There is one thing with continually calling out Labor but there is more to it than that.

    Count the posts on this forum -the majority are Greens bangin on about Labor, after spending most of today in the emergency room at the Royal Hobart my perspective on what is important ie Health funding, environmental actions, real reforms that have been initiated by Labor (Medicare, NDIS, Carbon Pricing) will never be initiated by the Coalition – they react they do not initate. The Greens need to also act to be taken seriously – this includes stop bangin on about Labor

  3. Mr Alda Pends, the Australian PM, has responded to some colleagues requests that as PM, Alda should show more leadership.
    Mr De Pends, famous for his political “tin ear” responded by producing weeks of complete “leadershit” and followed it up with the hypothetical “how good is that ?”.
    Alda Pends also responded to international concerns about the bushfires and lack of climate change action by suggesting a new tourist campaign entitled:” throw another coupla hundred thousand hectares on the barbie”
    Mr Pends said that ” that he’ll provide more leadershit after the state premiers request his leadershit and he obtains approval from both his cabinet and his highly paid media advisors”.
    Cabinet will meet next said Mr Pends ” when the cabinet members all return from their well earned rest in the bars and restaurants in London, Waikiki, Bangkok, Bali and the South Coast of NSW”.
    Mr Pends finished by adding “there’s been a fundamentsl change in leadershit under my government”
    There is said to be a collective sigh of relief from the gas masks giving up their time to cover the mouths of all the self- indulgent ratbags, too lazy to think at the last election, and who voted for Alda Pends.

  4. ‘Greensborough Growler says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Boerwar @ #1597 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 5:39 pm

    The Liberal Party Room picked Morrison. It can keep him there for as long as it likes.

    Leadership change fatigue might be Morrison’s best card in this current crisis.’

    Yep.

  5. Scout @ #1604 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 5:48 pm

    I totally understand that guytaur (I also remember the reporting of ‘the new tax on carbon’) – what is the Greens solution to this media bias (that goes against Labor as well).

    Come on you are better than that I respect some of your posts but am over the continual negativity boring stuff

    The Greens need to stop making excuses and find an answer to the media bias. There is one thing with continually calling out Labor but there is more to it than that.

    Count the posts on this forum -the majority are Greens bangin on about Labor, after spending most of today in the emergency room at the Royal Hobart my perspective on what is important ie Health funding, environmental actions, real reforms that have been initiated by Labor (Medicare, NDIS, Carbon Pricing) will never be initiated by the Coalition – they react they do not initate. The Greens need to also act to be taken seriously – this includes stop bangin on about Labor

    The Greens party do indeed need to find a way to better cut through.

    I strongly suggest RDN and Bob Brown pick up the phone to Peter Garrett. Garrett is broadly popular and has the ear of a broad cross section of Australians.

    Re criticism of Labor – well they deserve every bit of criticism while they house the likes of Labor ‘friends of coal’ and the SDA RWNJ’s.

  6. Rexie from Greens marketing does yet another snipe on behalf of Sleazy from Marketing.
    Rexie and Di Natale spent six years killing Shorten and giving us Morrison.
    Now they whinge about global warming and Morrison and emissions…
    … but mainly, they want to Assassinate Albo and Kill Labor all over again.
    Just to give Morrison another term.

  7. Rex Douglas
    Peter Garrett is broadly popular as the lead singer with the band Midnight Oil.
    Peter Garrett was a complete dud as a lead anything in Federal Parliament.
    Unhelpful!

  8. @SkyNewsAust
    · 50m
    The Institute of Public Affairs’ Kurt Wallace says there is “no common-sense case” for Australia to increase its emissions reduction targets as Australia’s climate policy has “no effect on climate and zero effect on bushfires”.

  9. Mr Morrison is labouring under the misapprehension that these fires and the drought are the new normal.
    Not so.
    This is a moving feast that will get worse.

  10. Scout @ #1602 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 5:48 pm

    I totally understand that guytaur (I also remember the reporting of ‘the new tax on carbon’) – what is the Greens solution to this media bias (that goes against Labor as well).

    Come on you are better than that I respect some of your posts but am over the continual negativity boring stuff

    The Greens need to stop making excuses and find an answer to the media bias. There is one thing with continually calling out Labor but there is more to it than that.

    Count the posts on this forum -the majority are Greens bangin on about Labor, after spending most of today in the emergency room at the Royal Hobart my perspective on what is important ie Health funding, environmental actions, real reforms that have been initiated by Labor (Medicare, NDIS, Carbon Pricing) will never be initiated by the Coalition – they react they do not initate. The Greens need to also act to be taken seriously – this includes stop bangin on about Labor

    The last Election showed that ultimately, Climate Change is a second tier issue when people make their voting decisions. We are told that 70% of people are concerned about the matter. Yet, the majority voted for a Party that did not and never has had a Climate Change Policy.

    Like you, I believe the voters have a broader expectation of Governments and base their voting decisions on a broader set of criteria than one particular hot potato issue.

    Sure, people’s recent exposure to the Bushfires has heightened awareness further. But will the interest hold in two years time? I’m a Liberal Voter Conversion Sceptic.

    The folly of demanding Labor lock in spcific policy positions at this stage of the electoral cycle by the urgers from the Greens and the various One Issue Wandas that infest PB is risible.

    Labor is doing exactly what they need to do to prepare themself for Election next time around. Re-engaging with lost voters and dissociating Labor from the whinging and whining of the failed lefties is the correct process as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy that Albanese is just getting on with the job of making Labor electable again.

  11. Goll @ #1610 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:01 pm

    Rex Douglas
    Peter Garrett is broadly popular as the lead singer with the band Midnight Oil.
    Peter Garrett was a complete dud as a lead anything in Federal Parliament.
    Unhelpful!

    Sadly, Garrett was a victim of the same internal Labor treachery that helped tear down the only Govt that lowered emissions.

  12. In his ABC article this afternoon, Speers was quite uncomplimentary about Morrison’s performance at the Insiders interview. He had quite a lot to say about Morrison and climate change.

    We haven’t reached a tipping point yet, however there certainly seem to be more journos realising that their future careers do not depend on keeping the LNP, IPA, Murdoch, Reinhart et al happy.

  13. Greensborough Growler @ #1614 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:04 pm

    Labor is doing exactly what they need to do to prepare themself for Election next time around. Re-engaging with lost voters and dissociating Labor from the whinging and whining of the failed lefties is the correct process as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy that Albanese is just getting on with the job of making Labor electable again.

    If they want to lose again, then they are doing everything just exactly right.

    Of course, some of us hope they might actually come to their senses and decide to win next time.

    But I agree that’s a long shot.

  14. Boerwar @ #1610 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:04 pm

    Mr Morrison is labouring under the misapprehension that these fires and the drought are the new normal.
    Not so.
    This is a moving feast that will get worse.

    Speers pointed out in that Morrison’s “new normal” comments today relate to the automatic use of our defence services in Natural Emergencies.

  15. Player One @ #1618 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:08 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1614 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:04 pm

    Labor is doing exactly what they need to do to prepare themself for Election next time around. Re-engaging with lost voters and dissociating Labor from the whinging and whining of the failed lefties is the correct process as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy that Albanese is just getting on with the job of making Labor electable again.

    If they want to lose again, then they are doing everything just exactly right.

    Of course, some of us hope they might actually come to their senses and decide to win next time.

    But I agree that’s a long shot.

    As Scout says, not with people like you aiming your guns at Labor incessantly.

    It hasn’t worked for the last 7 years that the Coalition have been in power and it won’t work for the next two either.

  16. No one has noticed that Morrison’s definition of the “New Normal” involves unilateral Federal, military intervention in various national emergencies where Scott Morrison decides what a “national emergency” is.

  17. C@tmomma @ #1619 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:22 pm

    Player One @ #1618 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:08 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1614 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:04 pm

    Labor is doing exactly what they need to do to prepare themself for Election next time around. Re-engaging with lost voters and dissociating Labor from the whinging and whining of the failed lefties is the correct process as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy that Albanese is just getting on with the job of making Labor electable again.

    If they want to lose again, then they are doing everything just exactly right.

    Of course, some of us hope they might actually come to their senses and decide to win next time.

    But I agree that’s a long shot.

    As Scout says, not with people like you aiming your guns at Labor incessantly.

    It hasn’t worked for the last 7 years that the Coalition have been in power and it won’t work for the next two either.

    P1’s the classic One Issue Wanda of PB. She’s a goldfish that needs to rinse and repeat her mantra every day or else she might forget what she’s talking about.

    Sad, really.

  18. lizzie,

    That quote is taken from the Foreword of “Global Warming and Climate Change: what Australia knew and buried” which I’ve referenced many times before.

    https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p303951/html/Foreward.xhtml?referer=&page=5#toc_marker-6

    As the content of the book shows, 1990 was the high point, not a starting point.

    https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p303951/html/Chapt05.xhtml?referer=&page=10#toc_marker-11

  19. Maybe the next national emergency will be when there are too many protestors on the streets, or perhaps when there is too much democracy about, and an election or two need to be postponed.

  20. citizen,
    I think that the press gaggle have probably gotten enough shit from their kids that they are starting to wake up. I certainly give a lot of shit to boomers a cohort when I interact with them. I’ve stopped being polite about the end of the world.

  21. Bushfire Bill @ #1627 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:36 pm

    Maybe the next national emergency will be when there are too many protestors on the streets, or perhaps when there is too much democracy about, and an election or two need to be postponed.

    1. I mentioned it earlier. 2. the Alarmist rhetoric needs to be tempered simply because any formal change involves a change to the Constitution. referenums have a poor record, Comrade.

  22. good point bb,,,,,,,Morrison will use the use of national powers when it is good for him. Believe that will include against those who do not agree with him. Anyone who is not a ‘quiet Australian’

  23. mundo says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 5:28 pm
    What’s crystal clear after all this is that Scrott is prime minister of this country until Scrott decides not to be.
    Howard all over again.
    Enjoy the next 10 years folks.
    _________________
    I think that’s about right. The other uncanny similarity with Howard is the level of Labor derangement about ScoMo.

    Obsession and hatred of your opponent and expecting to get shafted by your opponent doesn’t translate to winning. Clinically pulling apart your opponent was something one K.Rudd was able to do in 2007 but no one else in Labor seem’s capable of doing.

    It does come back to leadership – Labor needs a popular leader but one who can ruthlessly reform the party. What Cheryl Kernot showed is one needs to be of the tribe to be able to change it. That’s a combination which unfortunately doesn’t grow on trees – especially given the hack nature of modern Labor.

    I suspect it also probably requires a realisation that future majority Labor governments are highly unlikely – and counter intuitively pushing for electoral and constitutional reform for broad coalitions of the Left.

  24. Meanwhile in the NT…

    Torrential rain was greeted like an old friend in Northern Territory communities this weekend after a tropical weather system induced record-breaking deluges across the Top End.

    Colossal downpours drenched the Northern Territory on Friday, with the small island of Dum In Mirrie south-west of Darwin receiving 562mm in 24 hours — an amount the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed is a new Northern Territory record.

    The rains came as part of a tropical low system stalked the North Australian cost and threatened to hit Darwin as a tropical cyclone.

    With little more than a weather station and tidal flats on the tiny island of Dum In Mirrie, the ABC has yet to hear local testimony of the day’s unprecedented rains.

    But in populated Top End towns from Wagait Beach (515mm), Pirlangimpi (164mm) and Charles Point (185mm), residents said the rains were like nothing they’d seen in years.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-12/nt-rain-records-tumble-wagait-beach-darwin-dum-in-mirrie/11861164

  25. Here’s an example of Morrison sounding ‘sincere’.

    Joe O’Brien @JoeABCNews
    · 9h

    PM @ScottMorrisonMP finishes interview on bushfire disaster saying there are many critics and he will not allow distractions to divert him from the task of keeping Australians safe.

  26. Interesting how mundo appears to lurk around here monitoring the posts and when one comes along that he can press into service for his desired ends, diminishing Labor, then, up he pops to put his spin on it and highlight it again to service his own ulterior motives.

    Slick and sleazy does it.

    Doesn’t convince this little black duck though. Just a bit too obvious to do the trick for mine.

  27. Of course Scout. Proportional representation and hammering out a common platform – happens in most European countries for example.

  28. lizzie @ #1639 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:51 pm

    Here’s an example of Morrison sounding ‘sincere’.

    Joe O’Brien @JoeABCNews
    · 9h

    PM @ScottMorrisonMP finishes interview on bushfire disaster saying there are many critics and he will not allow distractions to divert him from the task of keeping Australians safe.

    Tell that to the Australians who can’t feel safe in their own homes any more. 🙁

  29. C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 6:53 pm
    lizzie @ #1639 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:51 pm

    Here’s an example of Morrison sounding ‘sincere’.

    Joe O’Brien @JoeABCNews
    · 9h

    PM @ScottMorrisonMP finishes interview on bushfire disaster saying there are many critics and he will not allow distractions to divert him from the task of keeping Australians safe.
    Tell that to the Australians who can’t feel safe in their own homes any more.
    _______________________________________________
    What has made you feel unsafe in your own home?

  30. C@tmomma @ #1609 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:01 pm

    The Gospers Mountain fire has finally been extinguished today. It started in October. 😐

    It hasn’t been extinguished. It is stated as being ‘under control’. There are lots of continuing burning bits inside the burnt out perimeter, and the Kerry Ridge Fire at its north west extremity, which it joined with three weeks ago, is still not under control. Big logs and hollow trees can burn for weeks, and there are lots of patches of unburnt bush which got bypassed when wind changes came through. The fires may not be fully ‘extinguished’ until we get heavy rain, as opposed to piddling little ‘showers’.

  31. Larsy – so the Greens need Labor?

    To be honest I have seen it work here in Tasmania at times, when Nick McKim was the Minister for Education and Corrections. He had to make some tough decisions including shutting down some schools and one that I do not agree with closing the minimum security Hayes Prison Farm – but he was a hell of a lot better than the current Minister for Corrections (Archer).

    Where it all falls down is where all continue to bag each other and claim not to be involved in politics -the focus of the Greens would have to change from just bagging Labor

  32. Our very own Miranda Devine has been seconded to Rupert’s New York sewer outlet, the NY Post – where the odious Col ‘Pot’ Allen is editor. She is fitting right in, and trawling social media to push her master’s progressive hating causes.

    And she is prepared to promote conspiracy theories circulating on that website of record, 4chan.

  33. Greensborough Growler @ #1624 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:34 pm

    P1’s the classic One Issue Wanda of PB. She’s a goldfish that needs to rinse and repeat her mantra every day or else she might forget what she’s talking about.

    Sad, really.

    People like you and C@t, referring to the “whining of the failed lefties”, tells us everything we need to know about you and your motivation.

    You are why Labor lost last time, and why it will lose again next time.

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