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. Player One says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    mundo @ #1592 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 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.

    I’d put it slightly differently. I’d say that Smirko will remain prime minister until Labor decides he should not be.

    …………………..

    Morrison will remain Prime Minister until the LIBERAL Party decides he should not be.
    Labor and Scott Morrison will have absolutely no fucking say in the matter.

  2. Lars Von Trier @ #1642 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:56 pm

    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?

    Bushfires, you fuckwit.

    And a PM who believes our universe came into being about 7,000 years ago, and that he and his ‘saved’ mates are going to be vacuumed up into ‘paradise’ when the ‘rapture’ comes, shortly.

  3. Player One @ #1650 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:03 pm

    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.

    I’m glad to see your crystal ball survived the fires P1.

  4. yabba @ #1655 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:05 pm

    Lars Von Trier @ #1642 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:56 pm

    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?

    Bushfires, you fuckwit.

    And a PM who believes our universe came into being about 7,000 years ago, and that he and his ‘saved’ mates are going to be vacuumed up into ‘paradise’ when the ‘rapture’ comes, shortly.

    Lars von Trier is so thick he’s set!

    I was referring to the people who no longer have homes to live in and feel safe in because their homes have been incinerated in the bushfires!

  5. Scout says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:01 pm
    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
    __________________________________________
    Well I think your characterising it differently to how I see it.

    Essentially Labor’s mindset is of a one party majority government. Realistically with a primary vote of 30-33% that’s no longer credible. They may get lucky but its hard to see Labor getting 52% PV (like 1983 and 2007) anytime soon. (EDIT: _ Based on the previous cycle you would be waiting for the 2031 Federal Election)

    At the same time the Greens with a primary vote of 10% will need to change their approach.

    Ultimately constitutional and electoral reform will force parties to agree on programs for government. So in the European model – parties have a maximalist agenda and then following an election agreements are struck on what policies will be implemented in the next term.

    Electoral reform will also split the Liberal Party internally and from the Nat’s. Think Turnbull type Liberals and Abbott liberals.

    We could end up with 6 or 7 parties with coalitions forming after elections. Look at Germany – its a conservative government that has phased out nuclear and brown coal. Could anybody imagine fundamental decisions like that happening in Australia under our current system?

    Of course these type of coalitions collapse – for which you have elections.

    I believe ultimately we will end up with some form of reform of this type.

  6. Bushfire Bill

    Just saw Morrison say it was up to the Head of the ADF as to when the Army went in.

    Nothing to worry about at all.

    In this case all good. Just Scrott’s SOP due to his terminal fear of being held responsible for anything . It’s all someone else’s call.

  7. Watching Morrison on TV I think he has gotten away with it this time. Maybe the ‘every dog gets one bite’ factor in play. But if he fucks another crisis up he’s in big trouble.

  8. Bushfire Bill @ #1647 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:01 pm

    GG, I don’t know what you’re talking about. They’ve already acted. All it took was the Governor General’s assent.

    The State Governments currently have to agree or request the Feds for assistance. In this instance that has occurred.

    Formalising that change to llow the Feds autonomy as Morrison is proposing invites the scenario you described of the Government simply over ruling the Constitutional Powers of the States without reference. I reckon that has hairs on it and will not be supported.

    Morrison is trying to run the line that he’s frustrated because the States never asked him in time for him to do anything useful. Yet he’s the one that is copping the blame. But, he’s the one that went on holidays, he’s the one that ignored the reports and studies and professional advice. So, he’s actually getting his right whack.

    Morrison is a head kicker that can’t deal with a kick in the head.

  9. Confessions @ #1637 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 6:48 pm

    PvO’s report for Ch10 news. He says Liberal MPs and Scotty from Marketing privately are frustrated that the public blame the feds and Scotty for a poor response to the bushfire crisis, and even don’t believe they are hitting the wrong notes, in particular Scotty who doesn’t sound sincere despite his efforts to do so.
    https://twitter.com/10NewsFirst/status/1216239852087316481

    There’s no quick fix marketing solution and morrison doesn’t understand why what has always worked for him doesn’t work. Time for Scotty to consider a career change.

  10. Historyintime @ #1660 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 4:11 pm

    Watching Morrison on TV I think he has gotten away with it this time. Maybe the ‘every dog gets one bite’ factor in play. But if he fucks another crisis up he’s in big trouble.

    He’s very lucky there is no polling. If there were a Newspoll or two in the mix the past month things could’ve been very different in terms of media reporting.

  11. Fair Dinkum Rex, you must be thick as two planks to suggest I am promoting 4chan.

    To spell it out for you, Miranda Devine – a Murdoch starlet – is trawling the DarkWeb sewer to find content for the MSM sewer.

    The point of the post was to show how low Murdoch goons will sink – lower than sharkshit.

    But this obviously went over your head.

  12. Historyintime says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:11 pm
    Watching Morrison on TV I think he has gotten away with it this time. Maybe the ‘every dog gets one bite’ factor in play. But if he fucks another crisis up he’s in big trouble.

    _________________________________

    He’s on probation. If he keeps his nose clean until the next election he is likely to win. Of course, like most people on parole the chances of not backsliding (when the original offence is fundamental to your character) are very small.

  13. Historyintime @ #1662 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:11 pm

    Watching Morrison on TV I think he has gotten away with it this time. Maybe the ‘every dog gets one bite’ factor in play. But if he fucks another crisis up he’s in big trouble.

    I tend to agree with you. He’s being given the ‘L Plate Leader’ pass at the moment.

    Which is never given to Labor leaders, btw. In fact, it’s used to shame them and it’s hung around their necks, but Coalition leaders are allowed a free pass because of it. Just the way it works in Australia.

  14. GG:

    Maybe. If PvO’s insider goss is right then he’s pissed off a few of his colleagues with his poor performance and response to the crisis.

  15. sprocket_ @ #1667 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:16 pm

    Fair Dinkum Rex, you must be thick as two planks to suggest I am promoting 4chan.

    To spell it out for you, Miranda Devine – a Murdoch starlet – is trawling the DarkWeb sewer to find content for the MSM sewer.

    The point of the post was to show how low Murdoch goons will sink – lower than sharkshit.

    But this obviously went over your head.

    I didn’t know about Devine and the 4chan conspiracy it until you promoted it.

    Well done.

  16. GG, you are wrong on this.

    When Morrison mobilised the Reserves, he claimed that it had nothing to do with the states. He said he was acting unilaterally, and would bypass the states.

    He has made no mention of referenda. He stated directly to Speers that in future the ADF Head would decide if intervention is necessary.

    Rubber stamp from the G-G.

  17. Confessions says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm
    GG:

    Maybe. If PvO’s insider goss is right then he’s pissed off a few of his colleagues with his poor performance and response to the crisis.
    _________________________
    To understand the relationship between PVO and the Libs you need to go back to the Canberra Mid Winter bal – I’ve posted the relevant info from Crikey.

  18. Confessions @ #1671 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:18 pm

    GG:

    Maybe. If PvO’s insider goss is right then he’s pissed off a few of his colleagues with his poor performance and response to the crisis.

    I doubt there has been much polling done. But the reaction through MP offices must be horrendous. I treckon the Lib MPs are imbibing a few knee tremblers and hoping that it’s a passing phase.

  19. Bushfire Bill @ #1673 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:21 pm

    GG, you are wrong on this.

    When Morrison mobilised the Reserves, he claimed that it had nothing to do with the states. He said he was acting unilaterally, and would bypass the states.

    He has made no mention of referenda. He stated directly to Speers that the ADF Head would decide if intervention is necessary.

    We’ll see how it pans out then eh?

  20. From Crikey:

    PVO vs PMO. Back to Canberra, we bring you the tale of woe of one Peter van Onselen. He of the fetching beard and Mark Latham feuds is hardly what one would call left-wing. But in the surroundings of his fellow commentators at The Australian, PVO’s generally relatively nuanced and consistent centre-right views might as well be the ravings of a Green-Left candidate running for student guild. Certainly that’s how the Prime Minister’s Office seems to feel. After PVO’s piece on Gladys Liu, he received a series of texts from the PM’s press secretary Andrew Carswell .
    You may remember Carswell — we last saw him threatening Waleed Aly with defamation proceedings. PVO shared the texts from Carswell on Twitter. The PM’s man promises that Morrison will “never forget” the package (referring to the Gladys Liu piece). Carswell then suggests PVO not bother accompanying the PM on his trip to the US (“It’s not like you’re going to get any access”), before, strangest of all, accusing Channel Ten of an “ideological bias” against the PM.

    PVO subsequently tweeted his hope that Morrison’s flight to Washington has wifi, because “I need to finish my column on Scott Morrison being loose with the truth and file it while in the air”. This beef is far from squashed.

  21. Lars Von Trier
    says:
    PVO shared the texts from Carswell on Twitter. The PM’s man promises that Morrison will “never forget”
    ___________________________________
    Reminds me of “Shorten’s epic warning to Finkelstein: “Just remember: the wheel always turns”.

    Just another example of politicians playing at being mafia bosses.

  22. Player One says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    …”While Labor have no policies to offer, you are probably correct”…

    …………………..

    What makes you think elections are won on policy?

  23. On Morrison ‘getting away with it’.

    You can do this, as a public figure, if it’s a one off event and your reaction has nothing to do with your character.

    In this case, Morrison’s reaction is everything to do with the kind of person he is. He can’t change that and doesn’t want to. From now on, his every appearance will reinforce in people’s minds what they didn’t like about his reaction – and, as his character is what it is, his every appearance will reinforce that their assessment of his character is the correct one.

    Abbott got a way with a lot because he would then say that he recognised he’d done the wrong thing. After a while, yes, people cottoned on that he didn’t really think that, but at least he was able to pretend. Scott can’t.

  24. nath says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:36 pm
    Lars Von Trier
    says:
    PVO shared the texts from Carswell on Twitter. The PM’s man promises that Morrison will “never forget”
    ___________________________________
    Reminds me of “Shorten’s epic warning to Finkelstein: “Just remember: the wheel always turns”.

    Just another example of politicians playing at being mafia bosses.
    ___________________________________
    Yes I think that’s true.

    I always think how much of what I am reading anywhere in the MSM – is connected to some long held grudge which no one know about from Canberra bars and clubs and various paybacks between politicians and media.

  25. Scott Morrison was always going to be better with the followup than on the day.
    His marketing background means that in the heat of the moment he is crap, but when the situation stabilizes he can analyse the best way forward, and attempt a recovery.
    But his weakness is now known, Labor just needs to put him on the spot, and watch him struggle.
    It should be very easy to keep him on the back foot the entire term, he cant escape who he is.

  26. Trust Labor hero Joel Fitzgibbon to be on the ball yet again.

    Joel Fitzgibbon
    @fitzhunter
    ·
    3m
    I don’t recall whether it was a “call-out” but the
    @MrKRudd
    Government had Defence Reservists deployed almost immediately in response to the 2009 Vic bushfires #BushFireCrisisAustralia
    @David_Speers

  27. Mr Alda Pends, the PM has assured the Australian public that he’s given control of the ADF to the head of the ADF, given control of the states to ths states, given control of the fires to the Commissioner and given control of the drought to Barnaby who together with God are ensuring the longevity of the drought.
    Mr Pends has said by saying nothing that the ex copper from QLD remains safely pissed somewhere, the cauliflower from Wagga Wagga is at the Elvis concert and anyhow his lifetime gold pass awarded after one year as PM is due in May, so we should remain safe.
    “Safety” said Mr Pends “is his first concern” and he is after his gold pass ( for safety) and as he intends showing more leadershit this summer.
    Mr Pends also added that while on vacation recently in Hawaii he’d had time to reflect on the demise of Captain Cook so wouldn’t be making a second trip to Hawaii.
    Mr Pends intends to make full use of gold pass after the budget in May and if his leadershit is a telltale will make a smooth transition to “Audi millionaire ” in the shire.
    Mr Pends intends to run the line as a touch judge at shark park after receiving his gold pass.
    That’s leadershit!

  28. Goll @ #1690 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 7:57 pm

    Mr Alda Pends, the PM has assured the Australian public that he’s given control of the ADF to the head of the ADF, given control of the states to ths states, given control of the fires to the Commissioner and given control of the drought to Barnaby who together with God are ensuring the longevity of the drought.
    Mr Pends has said by saying nothing that the ex copper from QLD remains safely pissed somewhere, the cauliflower from Wagga Wagga is at the Elvis concert and anyhow his lifetime gold pass awarded after one year as PM is due in May, so we should remain safe.
    “Safety” said Mr Pends “is his first concern” and he is after his gold pass ( for safety) and as he intends showing more leadershit this summer.
    Mr Pends also added that while on vacation recently in Hawaii he’d had time to reflect on the demise of Captain Cook so wouldn’t be making a second trip to Hawaii.
    Mr Pends intends to make full use of gold pass after the budget in May and if his leadershit is a telltale will make a smooth transition to “Audi millionaire ” in the shire.
    Mr Pends intends to run the line as a touch judge at shark park after receiving his gold pass.
    That’s leadershit!

    Very good.

  29. Goll says:
    Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    …”Mr Alda Pends”…

    Does anyone except you understand what the hell you are on about?

  30. Ye Gads, the scoll-past pointless Greens posts are thicker than Sydney Smoke today.

    Note to Greens: The ALP are currently the Opposition, not the Govt, and have no obligation to stroke your petty little egos by putting out policy positions as and when you petulant little politically incompetent twits demand. Appearing to be getting closer to the Greens will not win the votes needed in the seats needed to oust the fwarking Libs.

  31. imacca @ #1693 Sunday, January 12th, 2020 – 8:00 pm

    Ye Gads, the scoll-past pointless Greens posts are thicker than Sydney Smoke today.

    Note to Greens: The ALP are currently the Opposition, not the Govt, and have no obligation to stroke your petty little egos by putting out policy positions as and when you petulant little politically incompetent twits demand. Appearing to be getting closer to the Greens will not win the votes needed in the seats needed to oust the fwarking Libs.

    Amen!

  32. The Prime Minister is a geriatric incontinence napkin and he won’t be returning to Waikiki because he fears the natives will spear him to death and eat his gizzards?

  33. Usually when a government wins an election they are expecting to lose. They tend to lose. The next election badly eg 1993 and 1996

  34. After engaging with others at tonight’s trailer-park soiree, a couple (Dave & Bev, whose real identity must be protected) say that they think Morrison’s more than a bit of a silly irriot (sic), an accidental PM – there being not much more in the Tory cupboard than this most assuredly cretin. To think, in ’72 we had a man who was away ahead of his time; but now dished up this dipstick.

  35. If the Greens want to make themselves useful why don’t they become an attack dog – on the Coalition, which at the moment they seem to mostly ignore. Say what a party aspiring to Government can’t say. In particular, call the PM and their Ministers liars whenever they lie (so several times a day). Call our business ‘leaders’ a bunch of greedy and rapacious wankers. Attack the Government, their business supporters and Newscrap as climate vandals. At the same time, try to convince the punters of the virtues of their own policies.

    They don’t have to push or support Labor policies, just redirect their attacks. They won’t lose votes, they’ll probably gain some and increase the left-centre plurality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *