Tasmanian election and Dunstan by-election late counting

Progressive updates on counting from the Tasmanian state election and the South Australian by-election for Dunstan.

Click here for full display of Tasmanian results.
Click here for full display of Dunstan by-election results.


With some fairly solid updates to the count today, the most likely outcome in Tasmania looks to be Liberal 15, Labor 10, Greens five, Jacqui Lambie Network three and independents two, although Labor might take extra seats at the expense of the Greens in Clark and JLN in Lyons. Kevin Bonham also notes “complicated if seemingly unlikely scenarios” in Braddon involving the Liberals dropping a seat to the Greens or (less likely) independent Craig Garland, which would make life particularly interesting. The door remains bolted in Dunstan, the latest batch of declaration votes breaking only 321-281 in favour of the Liberals, leaving Labor 347 votes ahead with next to nothing still to come.


Labor’s win in Dunstan is now beyond doubt, the latest batch of declaration votes having broken 898-878 their way.


The links above will continue to offer latest results that I will update off the data feed a couple of times a day, such that they may lag a little behind the electoral commissions and the ABC. I tend not to follow late counting in Tasmania too closely, as the big picture is generally clear enough by Monday and the questions that need answering are down to preference distributions that won’t be conducted until next week. Excellent commentary is available from Ben Raue and Kevin Bonham.

The Liberals continue to cling on to a vague hope in Dunstan, although the latest from The Advertiser is that “Liberal hopes for a miracle win are fading”. The Liberal win probability on my results page was calculated at 1% once I had revised the estimate of outstanding votes on Saturday night, perked up to a little bit over 10% when the first batch of declaration votes have added, and fell back to 6% with the addition of the second.

The situation is rendered a little opaque by the fact that “declaration votes” bundles together postals, pre-polls and provisionals, which would be reported separately in other states. The first of the two batches broke 1404-1063 (I don’t have the exact figures but that would be a close estimate) to the Liberals, giving them 57% where Antony Green and myself had separately calculated they would need 56%. However, the second batch went 2039-1724, or only 54.2% to Liberal.

That leaves only about 1500 to come, although a report in The Advertiser speaks of scrutineers noting “at least 600 extra votes than Electoral Commission records”. Going off the former figure, the Liberals will need about 62% to close a gap that now sits at 9688-9321. An extra 600 votes would bring it to a bit below 59%.

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.

98 comments on “Tasmanian election and Dunstan by-election late counting”

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  1. This snapshot of who won each booth in Franklin shows Labor’s issue. In an electorate which voted Yes at the referendum they only won 4 booths, the same as the Greens. Outpolled in a seat which should be predominately red highlights that from this position they could not win government, the northern seats paint an even bleaker picture.

    I look forward to the closing of postal votes and the distribution of preferences next week.

  2. The Tassie ALP has a real communications problem, especially around what Sunday decision was all about. Clearly, the ALP did not win government in their own right or even come close to a majority, so that was what was decided.

    The committee that made the decision was Rebecca White, Senators Carol Brown and Helen Polley, former Bass MP Ross Hart and union leaders Robert Flanagan and Chris Brown. Some of those are hardly faceless or nameless as the internet would have you believe.

    There is no point in starting negotiations until the result come out and even then it might be better to make the Liberal squirm for a bit trying to get all the Lambities onside – we still don’t know who amongst their candidates will actually win and I suspect some are more inclined to support the Rockcliffe government than others.

  3. I don’t think there are an extra “600 votes” remaining to be counted in Dunstan. This was the result of some clumsy reporting by the Advertiser journalist on Monday night – at a point when ECSA was showing around 1500 declaration votes had been counted, but for whatever reason another 600 votes which had already been counted (and known to scrutineers) had not yet been added to the official tally. These “extra” 600 votes then appeared in the tally on Tuesday morning. Antony Green commented on this yesterday in the old thread.

    ECSA also tallies postal votes and pre-poll votes received/cast up to election day, and these numbers have not changed. However, there have been no updates to reflect additional postal votes received since Monday. If ECSA has been counting votes in the order received, what is left to count would mostly be pre-polls cast on Thursday and Friday last week, and postal votes received since Monday. Hopefully these will be added to the count later today.

  4. Sizeable drop of votes in Dunstan. Looking pretty solid now for O’Hanlon.

    Would it be correct to say that in a by-election there is an element of ‘getting out the vote’? 24,000 voted in Dunstan in 2022. Gonna fall well short of that in the byelection.

  5. Labor leading by 384 in Dunstan.

    It looks like almost all remaining votes have now been added to the count, except 174 postal votes received on Monday, plus whatever else comes in before the cutoff.

  6. Outsidersays:
    Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 12:23 pm
    Labor leading by 384 in Dunstan.

    It looks like almost all remaining votes have now been added to the count, except 174 postal votes received on Monday, plus whatever else comes in before the cutoff.

    The lead to Labor has gone from 367 to 384 from Tuesday morning to now. With 1773 formal votes added to the tally in that period. So those votes must have broke 895:878 to Labor (50.48%).

  7. At the general election 24447 votes were cast in Dunstan. This time so far 21198 have been counted. Some 3000 odd less this time. I believe corflutes were not allowed for the by-election (although I didn’t venture out Norwood way during the campaign so I might be wrong on this). If corflutes were banned this probably had some effect on the smaller voter turnout.

  8. Spence @ #6 Wednesday, March 27th, 2024 – 1:12 pm

    Expect 10% lower vote in by-election. People away with no absent votes plus general less publicity to remind people etc.

    thanks Spence, and enjaybee.
    So a campaign to turn out votes will have influence on a close by-election. We are looking at 3000 votes and a margin of 300. Especially if there is smart targeting of those likely to be away, indisposed or unaware – linked to party affiliation or preference.

    My understanding of the Libs postal (and door knock) campaign is that it is far more advanced than just ‘send them to really old people’ based on assumptions of party preference and ability to get to polls. Perhaps similar campaigns by either party could work to convince people to get to a prepoll.

  9. I see ECSA has provided an update on postal votes received this week – 574 in total, which will be added to the count. It will be interesting to see how the numbers fall with this late batch – which in some elections seem to be rather better for Labor than the early counted votes, notably so in the recent Dunkley by-election.

  10. I’m not surprised Tasmanian Labor’s Sunday decision has raised PR issues: for White to not concede on election night and to suggest she would form government if given the chance, only for the party to rule it on the Sunday, looks very much to the average punter that White got rolled, whether or not that was the reality of it.

    I expected White to concede on election night given the numbers being obviously unpalatable for Tasmanian Labor (as I think a lot of people did – even Lovell for Labor on the panel seemed a bit confused when it first started playing out that way); to not do that, and then to abruptly decide not to fight on either the next day, just confused the public and made Tas Labor look a bit silly.

    I think I also probably underestimated Lambie’s interest in dealing with Labor over the LNP after the LNP’s campaign shenanigans, so Labor’s about-face on crossbench negotiations seemed to put her off side as well.

  11. So the SA Liberals went -2.7% PV and -1.4% 2PP in a by-election 😀

    Sweet. That -1.4% 2pp swing would be enough for the Libs to lose Sturt (the Federal seat Dunstan sits in) at the next Federal election in 2025.

    I scrutineered in Dunstan. It is true the Greens had a big swing to them (+6%) and their candidate campaigned well. Nevertheless in my booth the Greens preferences came back to Labor at around 85%.

    Dunstan is the first SA State seat to be won by a sitting government in a by-election in 114 years.

  12. The Dunstan count has progressed another 493 formal votes. Which broke 266:227 (54%) to the Liberals. So Labor’s lead went from 384 to 345. Possibly this is all the postal votes now?. Except what is still to come in the post.

  13. Little commented, with the dominant theme being a 4th consecutive Labor loss, is the fact that Rebecca White had a good last week of the campaign and avoided a catastrophic result.

    The polling showed Lab a solid 15% behind Lib and in the end it was half this gap, with Lab unexpectedly increasing their vote from last time – in the big picture still a poor result, but a decent jump up from what the polling was saying.

    Given that White was also polling considerably better than her party, close to Rockliff in the ‘preferred PM’ polling even when it was showing her party way way behind, she perhaps should be credited for saving them from a worse result.

    It’s quite conceivable that had there been polls conducted after the last debate, White would have been ahead of Rockliff.

    Frankly, with the lack of talent available to them, Tas Lab may now do even worse – though of course, there is a strong possibility that ‘time for a change’ will sweep the Libs out of government next time anyway, even if Lab are lead by a monkey with a red rosette.

    Overall, White has been up against some pretty strong Lib leaders during her tenure and, with the Tas Lab party disarray and dearth of available talent, maybe should be viewed more kindly in hindsight.

  14. I did some scrutineering re the claim the Greens could catch the Liberals in Franklin today but on my sampling it’s a fizzer.

    Re Labor outperforming their polls it’s worth noting who underperformed – it wasn’t the Liberals, it was JLN across the board and independents in both Clark and Lyons. JLN may have been damaged by the Liberals attacking them or their vote may have just been overstated because their candidates were so anonymous. It’s hard to say if Labor had a good run home or if some of the polls were wrong when taken.

  15. Given that there were still undecided voters when the polls were taken, it could be argued the Libs did underperform given they ended up at the lower end of what the polls said as it was.

    But yes, it’s salutary to note the polling for indies and JLN vs. the result.

  16. Now the results are in and it’s easier to see how the % votes are translating into quotas and then seats won, I now realise winning a majority of seats with the expanded number of reps to 35 is not the impossibility it was made out to be.

    Libs have probably won 15 seats on 36.7% vote share. Whilst their spread of votes has fallen more fortuitously than Lab’s did, with probably just 10 seats from 29.3% vote share, it’s also easy to see how a few % higher vote share would have got Libs to 16 or 17 seats and another moderate jump in vote share could easily take them to 18/19 seats.

  17. Rebecca: the other Rebecca did in fact get rolled. I’m not sure if she was serious about trying to form government or just wanted to hang in there long enough to see if doing so would make it harder for the Liberals, but the acting admin committee preferred otherwise and decided to declare the election lost and spill the leadership, leading to White’s resignation. Speech on election night not well received in certain quarters (I liked it, mostly.)

  18. I thought the Liberals’ target for majority was about 45% pre-election, it might have been a little bit higher. They’re reasonably close to 3 in Clark but a long way short of 17 and 18 which would most likely be 4s in Bass and Lyons where they are only just over 3 quotas.

  19. Why would Rebecca White think she could negotiate Minority Government unless that was the ALP objective at the Election, only for The Greens not to be able to do well enough to allow it?
    Lambie’s interview on ABC before the outcome was clear sounded like she was giving herself an excuse to back Labor, next day she’s talking to the Liberals?

  20. Dr B, no doubt that Rebecca’s speech got up the noses of other Labor heavyweights, but I think that the decision made by the party to accept defeat was actually a sensible one.

    When White spoke, a second seat for the Greens in Franklin and a third seat for Labor in Lyons didn’t look totally out of the question. If the Greens and Labor could have collectively reached 17 seats, then a deal with Johnston would have taken them into government.

    I think the consideration of scrutineers’ reports on the Sunday would have made it clear that the Greens were highly unlikely to win a second seat in Franklin and Labor only had an outside chance of winning a third seat in Lyons. Which meant the best case scenario being a combined 16 seats between Labor and the Greens, necessitating discussions with both Johnston and O’Byrne in order to form a government.

    I would imagine that any sort of deal with O’Byrne would be highly problematic for Labor. There are still internal wounds within the party over what happened to O’Byrne, and having him involved in government in some way would reopen those wounds. And (for reasons I won’t go into here again but can readily be found through a Google search) a deal involving both O’Byrne and Johnston would be significantly more fraught. And, indeed, I’m not sure that O’Byrne would have been particularly keen about being on the same side of the ledger as the Greens.

    I guess some sort of attempt to negotiate a deal with both the Greens and the JLN is not entirely out of the question, but it would be unwieldy to say the least and really could only be considered once a Liberal-JLN government has been tried and failed. I think a far more likely scenario is some sort of splintering of the JLN block and Kristie Johnston coming into play to support a Liberal Government (I can’t really see O’Byrne being able to bring himself to support the Libs, but who knows?).

    So, while I am not at all a fan of the Tasmanian ALP, who have long reminded me of Joey Gallo and his gang who couldn’t shoot straight, I think they have gotten it totally right this time.

    But they are unlikely to get it right henceforth, starting with a replacement for Bec White, which appears likely to be a relatively faceless man from southern Tasmania: IMO the wrong region, wrong gender, wrong personality type. Of the two apparent choices, I’d prefer Winter, who is, if nothing else, a bit of wheeler and dealer and, in coming from Kingston, is able to represent himelf as being a little less Hobart-based than Willie. However, Winter has a lot of enemies within the party. If he doesn’t make it, the Mercury will be disappointed, as I’m sure they’ve got a “Winter is Coming” headline ready to roll.

    Willie just comes across to me as a bland factional infantryman. However, people sometimes reveal other facets of themselves when elevated to leadership roles, so we’ll see.

    I still can’t help wondering about the possibility of Janie Finlay (a northerner, female, performs well in Parliament), but I must confess I really do not know all that much about her.

  21. im not sure whiy Rebecka white held on to the leadership for so long the rights long term option was dean winter it seems and the left wanted David obyrne who quit labor to run as independent h

  22. Aaron, you answered your own question. The left couldn’t have the leader they wanted, and there was no way that they were going to tolerate Winter in the role (and I’m not sure they will now). White was the compromise candidate who everyone saw as a bit “meh”, but was the devil they knew.

    What bothers me is that the party hasn’t done nearly enough to prepare the way for Bec’s replacement. All through the last term and the campaign she dominated the airwaves. The result is that the potential replacements are largely unknown to the public. Whoever it is will really have to hit the ground running.

    Especially if it’s Willie. Everything you need to know about the extent of Willie’s public profile is summed up by his Wikipedia entry.


  23. I did a little more digging into Josh Willie. Before entering politics, he was a primary school teacher in the northern suburbs of Hobart and, in his first parliamentary speech he acknowledged that he had pretty much no background of community work or other community activity before he ran for the Legislative Council seat of Elwick in 2016.


    Speaking as someone with a funny-sounding surname who briefly endured the life of a schoolteacher, I have to admire the guy for choosing to embark upon a career as a teacher in a school on the wrong side of the tracks. He must have copped a bit and therefore must be quite a thick-skinned and strong-willed person.

  24. Re meher’s post above (7:38 am) in theory there are Green+KJ+JLN or just Green+JLN paths to government; Lambie was annoyed about the attack site and making noises about Labor being “smarter” – of course if Labor’s not in the game then JLN’s only stable option is to prop up or at least not bring down the government. It would have depended on what the individual JLN candidates who were elected were like. Rather, as I understand it the stumbling block to staying in the race was the Greens specifically and the lack of any remotely plausible pathway that did not go through them. Also that this came initially from the right of the party then was agreed to by the left leaving White isolated. To a degree it’s realistic to assume a Greens-supported government was not viable, but only because Labor had so boxed itself in re no deals and no ministries that it had nothing to offer the Greens without breaking its promises, and they probably would not have wanted to give Labor support for nothing. But ultimately many people in Tasmanian Labor believe that Opposition in the hope of holding government for longer is better than having anything to do with the Greens again.

  25. Dr B: Yes, Labor made a lot of noise about not doing deals with the Greens: but they did that in 2010 too, didn’t they?

    But it’s been suggested to me by someone who purports to know stuff that any engagement with O’Byrne was ultimately going to be a bigger stumbling block than Labor’s distaste for the Greens. And, for various reasons, ALP+Greens+JLN has never been seen as viable, although I guess it might be raised at some future point if every other possible permutation to form government falls over.

    I guess that, at the end of the day, the JLN constituency is largely a disgruntled Liberal constituency and it won’t respond well to any sort of collaboration with Labor or, in particular, the Greens.

  26. Thanks for the analysis Kevin Bonham (and meher baba comments)

    On election night I thought Labor 10 + Greens 5 + JLN 3 = 18 was a pathway to government, should the Liberals fail to secure some sort of deal (I understand Tasmania’s constitutional rules are a bit arcane and it would always involve the sitting Premier initially presenting themselves in Parliament to resolve this?), but when I thought about the difficult ends of the previous Labor-Greens governments, and factoring in that JLN are unlikely to be a true unified disciplined ‘party’ answerable to JL I realised that it was game over.

    Going from 35 to 25 lower house members years ago seemed clearly a move to stop the Greens, but instead as they increased their vote it probably did more to entrench them. Going back to 35 (which I agree with) seems likely to produce minority governments for the foreseeable future when about one third of the electorate in Australia generally are opting for alternatives other than Labor and the Coalition parties.

    ps – Kevin, great to see The Mercury recognized your obsession with the complex Tasmanian electoral system by giving you the election day gig!

  27. If Labor cannot work with the Greens in Tasmania, I wonder what a future pathway to a Labor Government might look like? Presumably it would require something like a reversal of Saturday’s outcome – where Labor ended up with a few more seats than the Liberals, then a pathway to minority Government with the support on non-Green independents. But what happens in a future scenario when Labor and Greens combined end up with a majority? I guess we will know when that time comes.

    As it stands, a Liberal/JLN Government may end up being quite stable, precisely because of the lack of any workable alternative.

  28. At the end of the day, the party that’s won the most seats is entitled to try and form some sort of government, and if Rockcliff can’t do any viable deal with Lambie and the independents, then it would fall to Labor to see if they could cobble together some sort of arrangement.

  29. Outsider,

    In my observational experience, minority governments are always stable as long as the major party at their core wants them to be. If they know an early election will see them thrashed, or if they have no choice due to fixed term constraints, they will hang on and the government won’t break down. If, however, they believe they can win an early election, they will call an election and blame the crossbench for causing instability.

  30. Democracy Sausage,

    Where on Earth has this idea of the party with the most seats being entitled form government come from?

    Did anyone explain this to Steve Bracks in 1999? Or Julia Gillard in 2010? (Among many examples.)

    Okay, you actually said ‘try to’ form government, but if that’s true then so is any party entitled to make the same attempt. There is no convention under the Westminster system giving special status to the party with the most seats.

  31. EightES: I’m sure that next time Scott is on this thread, he will point out that, more often than not, the Libs have been able to form government federally without holding the largest number of seats, because they have to rely upon the Nats.

    It is arguable that, these days, any conservative Federal government is a three way coalition between the Libs, the Nats and the Queensland LNP.

  32. >Going from 35 to 25 lower house members years ago seemed clearly a move to stop the Greens, but instead as they increased their vote it probably did more to entrench them. Going back to 35 (which I agree with) seems likely to produce minority governments for the foreseeable future when about one third of the electorate in Australia generally are opting for alternatives other than Labor and the Coalition parties.

    13/25 is a majority government. with a 9 person cabinet https://www.premier.tas.gov.au/cabinet and multiple roles you kind of need more people

  33. >>>>
    Where on Earth has this idea of the party with the most seats being entitled form government come from?

    It appears to be the case in some European countries, and some others. Either by convention or law, I’m not sure.

  34. meher baba 257pm

    It is arguable that, these days, any conservative Federal government is a three way coalition between the Libs, the Nats and the Queensland LNP.

    And in a strict legal sense, also the CLP of the Northern Territory.

  35. Tammy Tyrrell’s resignation from JLN doesn’t bode well for Lambie’s ability to keep her state MPs in line, obviously.

  36. Libs down nearly 23% on the almost 6,000 postal votes in Bass; down 12.5% in Braddon; down 13.6% in Lyons; Franklin down 12% and Clark down 6.6%.

    Neither the stadium fetish nor the choccie fountain indulgence helped the Libs in their northern seats.

    Update in Lyons appears imminent according to Dr Bonham.

  37. Rebecca at 6.15 pm

    “Tammy Tyrrell’s resignation from JLN doesn’t bode well for Lambie’s ability to keep her state MPs in line, obviously.”

    Tyrrell’s public video statement was the shortest one might think possible, basically giving no details.

    As there is no party structure for the fragmenting “network”, this will help Rockliff buy them all off.

  38. Rebecca – Very true. Especially since Lambie knew Tyrrell personally and hand picked her. I doubt the relationships with any of the 9 candidates from who 3 will become Tasmanian MPs was as close.

    It is almost pointless to being dealing with Lambie, until it is clear that her 3 MPs are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  39. Yes, it is rather odd. Tyrrell had previously been Lambie’s CoS so you would have thought their ideology would have aligned. I wonder if it is not some form of personal issue between the two.

  40. Probably because Jacqui is willing to go into government with the Liberals. Half their party room is right wing Christians and that wouldn’t jell with what Tammy stands for.

  41. B.S. Fairman at 6.56 pm

    Not unheard of in other, much more experienced outfits. What was the one policy issue on which Rudd and Gillard disagreed, at least publicly? Whether Australia should export uranium to India while India refuses to adhere to the NPT and the regulations associated with it. Gillard said yes, Rudd said too risky.

  42. Wolfe at 8.28 pm

    That .03 of a quota from Labor went to the Greens. Shooters up by .01.

    Everything depends on the comparative leakage from Labor candidates compared to “the Network”:

    “In Franklin I found that roughly 18% of JLN votes were leaking from the ticket, which is larger than I would expect from Labor but not enough to change the fact that Labor are more exposed to leakage. I also suspect that in Lyons there will be a higher share of linear 1-3s in the Lambie ticket and therefore it’s possible leakage could be a bit less.”


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