Tasmanian election endgame

A regularly updated post on the resolution of the Tasmanian election, which will occur as the preference distributions are conducted through the remainder of this week.

Wednesday night

The count was completed today in Clark, confirming that the Liberals won two seats in the division and 13 seats overall, and will thereby govern with a majority. Former Labor member Madeleine Ogilvie was the winner of the second Liberal seat, recording 5591 votes to Simon Behrakis’s 5249 before the final exclusion. The distribution of Behrakis’s preferences left Ogilvie with 10,145 votes, just short of a quota of 10,626, but comfortably clear of the only remaining candidate, former Liberal independent Sue Hickey, who had 8716. The full preference distribution can be viewed here.

In Braddon, Roger Jaensch ended the day with a 205 vote lead over Felix Ellis in the race for the third Liberal seat, after see-sawing fortunes throughout the day. Jaensch’s 27-vote lead at the end of counting yesterday turned into a 364-vote deficit after the exclusion of the first Liberal to drop out, Stacey Sheehan, and the remaining Shooters candidate; but he pulled ahead again with the next Liberal exclusion, Lara Hendriks. Next comes the exclusion of Labor’s Justine Keay, whose preferences will overwhelmingly flow to the two remaining Labor candidates, Shane Broad and Anita Dow; followed by independent Craig Garland, whose exclusion should add around 1500 votes to the Liberal tally if the 2018 election is any guide. So Ellis’s hopes likely rest on him scoring a significantly bigger share of those votes than Jaensch.

Tuesday night

The Liberals still look almost certain of gaining the second seat they need in Clark, although such is the spread of votes among candidates that none have yet reached a quota, despite the distribution of preferences from two Labor candidates, two of the five Greens, the Animal Justice, Shooters and Federation Party candidates, and the three ungrouped independents. Further Liberal, Labor and Greens exclusions will surely elect Elise Archer, Ella Haddad and Cassy O’Connor respectively, and whichever of independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey drops out will elect the other.

The Liberals have built up from a collective 1.91 quotas on the primary vote to 1.97, and taking exhausted votes into account, this would be comfortably enough to win them a second seat if it was sustained through to the final count. The question is whether that will reduce significantly when the three weakest Liberals are excluded from the count, and a proportion of their votes transfer to non-Liberal candidates as preferences.

Kevin Bonham’s assessment is that the only potential threat involves Madeleine Ogilvie losing her current lead over Simon Behrakis as the second placed Liberal, and her background as a Labor and independent member being reflected in a “ridiculously” high leakage of around 35% of her preferences to non-Liberal candidates. The reduction would need to be sufficient to cancel out whatever preferences flow to the Liberals with the exclusion of three more unsuccessful Labor candidates and two from the Greens, though this won’t amount to much.

Of the two independents, Kristie Johnston polled 11.0% of the primary vote to Sue Hickey’s 9.8%, a gap that has been little changed with the preferences distributed so far, which have respectively increased them to 11.9% to 10.7%. Hickey will need strong preference flows from soon-to-be-excluded Liberal, Labor and Greens candidates, and the one Labor and two Greens exclusions so far offer little indication that that’s going to happen. As such, Hickey’s only hope is that the Liberals will indeed be reduced to a single seat and a parliamentary minority, with the last seat going to her instead.

There was a noteworthy development in Braddon where three Liberal candidates are fighting it out for the party’s second and third seats, following the distribution of leading candidate Jeremy Rockliff’s large surplus. This went well for Adam Brooks, who now looks entrenched for the second seat, and also for Roger Jaensch, who chased down a 6.9% to 8.9% deficit against incumbent Felix Ellis. Jaensch led by 55 after Rockliff’s exclusion, which reduced to 27 after later exclusions. The result will likely come down to the as-yet-undistributed preferences of the two clearly unsuccessful Liberals: Lara Hendriks with 2788 votes and Stacey Sheehan with 2343. Also remaining to be distributed are two of the three unsuccessful Labor candidates, whose preferences will mostly stay in ticket and elect the party’s two winners; independent Craig Garland; and the lead candidates of the Greens and Shooters.

The Bass count did nothing to deter the assessment below that the Greens would not poach one of Labor’s two seats. A note of technical interest emerged when the overwhelmingly dominant Peter Gutwein’s surplus was distributed, and it favoured Sarah Courtney over Michael Ferguson to such an extent that Courtney was elected first despite having trailed Ferguson 5.7% to 3.3% on primary votes. The Lyons count dispelled any doubt that the second seat would go to Jen Butler rather than Janet Lambert, with Butler extending her lead as White’s preferences not unexpectedly favoured her fellow incumbent.

Also completed today were the preference distributions for the two Legislative Council contests. Windermere was confirmed as a Liberal gain upon the retirement of independent Ivan Dean, with Nick Duigan recording a 4.1% margin at the final count over the Labor candidate, former federal Bass MP Geoff Lyons. Duigan recorded 37.8% of the primary vote to Lyons’ 27.0%. Preferences from the three independents, Will Smith (21.2%), Rob Soward (9.7%) and Vivienne Gale (4.2%) favoured Labor by an insufficient 53.9% to 46.1%.

Labor’s Craig Farrell ended up being re-elected in Derwent with a 5.7% margin over Liberal candidate Ben Shaw, having fallen just short of a majority on the primary vote with 49.2% to Shaw’s 40.8%. The balance of 10.0% went to Animal Justice, whose preferences favoured Labor by a ratio of around two to one. This puts the numbers in the chamber at Labor five (steady), Liberal four (up one) and independents six (down one), which is a record high for the major parties.

Monday night

The count for the Tasmanian election reaches a milestone this morning with the cut-off for arrival of postal votes. My live results facility continues to offer exquisite detail on the vote totals here, but the game now is the complicated procedure of Hare-Clark preference distributions. These are done manually, in contrast to the procedures for the Senate and state upper houses, and will accordingly be take some time to complete — with results from the distribution, I gather, to be published piecemeal as the process unfolds (I must confess to never having paid this much attention to the late stages of a Tasmanian election count). This post will be updated with the details as they emerge.

Electoral commissioner Andrew Hawkey tells The Mercury he expects the all-important count for Clark to be resolved “late Wednesday or Thursday morning”, with Braddon, Franklin and Lyons to follow Thursday afternoon or evening and Bass not to be finished until Friday. To briefly summarise the situation:

Clark. This is presumably being prioritised in the count because it is on this Hobart-centred electorate that the result hinges, with the Liberals to secure a majority of 13 seats out of 25 if it can win a second seat, and Premier Peter Gutwein committed to resigning if the party falls short. Ella Haddad of Labor, Elise Archer of the Liberals, Cassy O’Connor of the Greens and an independent — either Kristie Johnston or Sue Hickey — are each assured of a seat, leaving the last seat as a race between a second Liberal and whoever remains out of Johnston and Hickey. With the Liberals on 1.91 quotas and Johnston and Hickey on 1.25 quotas between them, it will take extremely tight flows of preferences from Labor, the Greens and minor parties to cost the Liberals the second seat. The second Liberal would either be former Labor member Madeleine Ogilvie or Simon Behrakis.

Braddon. The result here will be three Liberal and two Labor, with only the identity of the second and third elected Liberals in doubt. Jeremy Rockliff has overwhelmingly dominated the Liberal ticket with 27.5% of the vote, with the preferences from his 10.8% surplus to decide who wins out of Felix Ellis (8.9%), Adam Brooks (also 8.9%) and Roger Jaensch (6.9%).

Franklin. A formality: Liberal members Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street will be re-elected, Labor newcomer Dean Winter will join incumbent David O’Byrne as one of Labor’s two members at the expense of incumbent Alison Standen, and Rosalie Woodruff will be re-elected for the Greens.

Lyons. The Liberals will win three seats, with incumbents Guy Barnett, Mark Shelton and John Tucker to be re-elected; Labor will win two, with Rebecca White dominating the ticket and her preferences to decide the result between incumbent Jen Butler and non-incumbent Janet Lambert — very likely the former, since incumbent preferences tend to flow to other incumbents.

Bass. The vague prospect that the Greens would poach one of Labor’s two seats having faded, the result here will be three Liberal (Peter Gutwein, Michael Ferguson and Sarah Courtney) and two Labor (Michelle O’Byrne and Janie Finlay).

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.

18 comments on “Tasmanian election endgame”

  1. ” The second Liberal would either be
    former Labor member Madeleine Ogilvie”

    Very third worldish, anything goes, loyalty on display here.
    It will be interesting to see the Labor voter response to Ms. Ogilvie’s decision to become a Liberal.
    Or will it be a case of whatever?
    The Premier seems assured of the necessary thirteen seats while Ms Ogilvie will “brass neck it” without the ” bat of an eyelid “.
    Some question the voting public’s complete disregard for the political class!

  2. Libs now at 1.97 in Clark
    Difficult to see them not get the second
    In Braddon I hear there is some talk of them getting the 4th

  3. Madeleine Ogilvie is a disgrace.

    A granddaughter of a Labor Attorney general and grandniece of a labor premier – neither of whom ratted when Joe Lyons left the party – she has sold her political soul (passionate about refugees and against pokies apparently. So naturally a Liberal …) to become a filthy tory in a bumpkin parliament.

  4. I don’t think the 4 Liberal scenario in Braddon is credible. The thing about that is that both the remaining within-party preferences and the cross-party preferences will end up splitting two ways among Labor but three ways among the Liberals which will slow the Liberals down. Also Green preferences at least will favour Labor; Garland’s are highly likely to too.

  5. Clark actually isn’t being prioritised as such; it’s just moving fast because it’s been all cutting from the bottom up so far, though that will change tomorrow when O’Connor crosses quota, followed not long after by Archer and Haddad in some order. They will have small surpluses which will also keep it nice and quick; there’s some thought it might be over tomorrow night.

    There were ties with exclusions on countback in not one but two seats today, in both cases involving candidates who will get excluded anyway.

    My detailed Clark coverage: http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2021/05/2021-tasmanian-postcount-clark.html

  6. Were the ties determined by lot? Surely not by the Returning Officer voting (very C18)

    Are surpluses distributed by a fraction of the whole vote or sampling

  7. Its confirmed. Ogilvie finishes 4th, 175 ahead of Johnston, and Hickey was 1429 votes behind so not even close in the end.

  8. Antony Green on the Lyons count:

    5:15pm – exclusion of the Animal Justice party candidate saw 30% of preferences flow to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. A little odd but no significant impact on the result.

    Well, quite.

  9. Ties are determined by countback to the last point in the count at which one candidate was behind another; that candidate loses.

    Surpluses are determined by a fraction of the whole vote, but this only applies to the last bundle received. For instance if the quota is 10,000 and candidate A receives 9,000 primaries, then another candidate is excluded and candidate A gets another 2,000 votes, then the surplus consists of those 2000 votes at a value of half a vote each; the other 9,000 are not thrown again.

  10. I suspect that the last bundle method was disadvantageous to Hickey as Archer primaries, a potential source of leakage from the Liberal ticket, all remained with Archer rather than being included in the surplus calculation. Had Johnson crossed quota to get the 4th seat, last bundle may also have disadvantaged Hickey, if there were a high proportion of Johnson voters preferencing Hickey.

    Voters only being told to preference 5 candidates probably helps the Liberals in most or all Tasmanian electorates. Voters being told to preference 10 but a saving provision for 5, a bit like BTL in the Senate, might help preference flows.

  11. Archer’s surplus was only 55 votes in value of which 6 votes were lost to fraction and the rest stayed with the Liberals. The all-votes method would have had a similar if not identical result there.

    On my calculations exhaust did not cause the result, as had the exhausting votes at various stages flowed the same way as the continuing votes, Ogilvie would have still just won (but very much closer). But still there’s a problem here with parties not doing enough to encourage their voters to fill more boxes, and not doing enough to discourage myths about this among their support base.

  12. Haha.

    Tas Libs went into the election with 13 Libs and an independent speaker and came out of it with 13 Libs, prior to the appointment of the speaker.

    Now, they overlooked Madeleine ‘only cares about herself’ Ogilvie for a Ministerial role and will shortly be down to 12 Libs plus an independent speaker once Ogilvie inevitably accepts the labor party nomination for speaker.

    As KB asks, what was the point of this election?

  13. Not sure Labor will nominate Ogilvie given that she was one of theirs who ran away, but even if they did I’m also not sure the new independent would be playing along with it. In the Hickey case a special incentive for Labor and the Greens was that the alternative was Rene Hidding who could have been expected to be very pro-Liberal. I doubt that Mark Shelton will be Tony Smith but I think he’s more respected than Hidding would have been.

    Also not sure Ogilvie wanted a ministry. Insiders here rate her pretty slack at working the electorate cf. Scott Bacon.

Leave a Reply

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