The quarterly EMRS poll of state voting intention in Tasmania has the governing Liberals recovering two points after a six-point drop in the May poll, putting them at 38%. Labor is up two to 32% and the Greens are down one to 14%, with all others down two to 16%. The Liberals needed 50.3% to get to a majority of 13 seats in 2018 and 48.7% in 2021, although the calculus will be altered next time when each of the five divisions elects seven members rather than five. Jeremy Rockliff has recovered the lead as preferred premier at 42-39, after Rebecca White led 40-38 last time. The poll was conducted last Tuesday to Monday from a sample of 1000.
Notable developments since the May poll:
• Former Labor leader David O’Byrne confirmed earlier this month that he would again seek Labor preselection in Franklin, ensuring the continuation of a saga that began in 2021 when a former union staffer accused him of sexual harassment in incidents dating back to 2007 and 2008. This caused him to be dumped as leader after less than a month in the role and evicted from the parliamentary party. Rebecca White has since resisted his return, but he retains support in the Left and the matter of his preselection is in the hands of the national executive, which last year took over the state branch’s affairs for a period of three years. The matter could potentially be left to Anthony Albanese’s casting vote if the evenly balanced national executive divides on factional lines. Further complicating the matter is the presence on the executive of Michelle O’Byrne, David O’Byrne’s sister and Left faction colleague.
• Cassy O’Connor, former leader of the Greens’ two-member parliamentary contingent, has quit parliament ahead of a run for the Legislative Council seat of Hobart at the annual periodic elections next May, potentially giving the party a seat in the chamber for the first time. The leadership has passed to its only other member, Franklin MP Rosalie Woodruff, and O’Connor’s parliamentary vacancy in Clark has been filled by Vica Bayley, conservationist and adviser to the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania. Bayley won a countback ahead of party colleague Bec Taylor by 5380 votes (53.6%) to 4649 (46.4%).
• Matthew Denholm of The Australian reported last month that a bid for the state Liberal presidency by Clarence mayor Brendan Blomeley was part of a conservative influence-building campaign with ambitions including a seat in state parliament for former Senator Eric Abetz. However, he was defeated by Michael McKenna, director of chancery services and the archdiocesan master of ceremonies for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart, who had the backing of Jeremy Rockliff.