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. I doubt greens will reach a quota in Lyons, so those votes won’t preference back to alp anymore than leakage allows. So still possible for alp, but I wouldn’t say position has improved from earlier

  2. In Dunstan they added 112 formal votes today. Which broke 57:55 to Labor whose lead went from 345 to 347. I suspect the 50.8% that Labor now lead in the seat might end up the final margin. As there must be very few votes to come now.

  3. As far as I can tell Greens have clearly won Lyons and 2 in Clark and are still distantly hanging in in Braddon. The Braddon count is very messy because of key points involving Briggs, Garland and the point at which JLN 2 whoever that is gets excluded.

  4. Tasmanian constitutional rules for forming a government are the same as anywhere else except that there is a tight deadline for the initial swearing in. So the Governor must swear in a Premier within a week of the final results (from memory) but the same right exists as everywhere else for the incumbent to “meet the parliament” and test their support on the floor should they choose to do so, even if it looks like they will be defeated. The sitting Premier can resign without meeting the House (a la Perrottet) and recommend that the Governor swear in someone else but the Governor would want to be satisfied that person was the person most likely to command the confidence of the House.

  5. So, as per the Thursday report, we could yet see 12 Labor, 5 greens and 2 independents. Hmmmmmmm. Fascinating times in Tasmania. If the numbers fall that way rockliffe’s Trumpian claims of victory on the night begin to look very hollow.

    Labor and Greens may yet have to grow up and work together.

  6. If Labor gets to 12 seats, what will look particularly odd would be the decision of the Labor Executive that the party had officially lost the election necessitating a spill of the leadership position.

  7. @williambowe im not sure your Thursday update numbers are correct. Surely liberal should be 15 and greens 5 unless you’ve seen information about greens beating liberals for 2 in Franklin or 1 in Braddon (as you’ve already mentioned)

    Greens have at present
    1 bass
    0 Braddon
    2 Clark
    1 Franklin
    1 Lyons

  8. There is some discussion of the reasons for the Tassie election results by Martyn Goddard at:


    Apart from factional and personal divisions, Labor failed to articulate policy in the crucial area:

    “Policy development, particularly in the crucial health area, was chaotic. There was no narrative: voters were given no idea of what a Labor government would do if it won office. Throughout the term, the pitch to voters was that the Liberals were doing a bad job: well, everyone knew that already but no credible alternative was being offered.”

    The experienced outfits all failed, to various degrees:

    “Of the three established parties, the Liberals have had only one worse result in the past 35 years; Labor has had three worse results. And the Greens result is, at best, underwhelming.”

    Overall, it was a dismal as well as a bland election, until the counting began with its complexity:

    “According to surveys, voters are most concerned about, in order, the health system, cost of living, and housing. Neither major party went to the election with any coherent plan to address any of those concerns.

    Public hospitals are the most inefficient and inadequate in the country. School retention rates remain as bad as ever. In a state without any pressure from increasing population, the housing and homelessness crisis is unforgivably bad.”

    The last comment does not take into accounted segmented housing markets. For background discussion of housing c. Oct 2021 by Saul Eslake, an associate of the GBS (Great Big Stadium), see:


    Note that the vote for Abetz in Franklin was only marginally above that for D. O’Byrne. Since O’Byrne may get more prefs, he could finish ahead of Abetz.

  9. I’ll leave the Tassie experts to debate the fine details of the Tasmanian electoral system, but it is obvious from an outsider perspective why the ALP should not form or attempt to cobble a coalition minority government.
    This early election was called by Rockliffe due to the instability within his Liberal
    government – his team created the mess, let his team deal with the consequences.
    When the Liberal coalition government inevitably collapses, as an unstable ALP led one would do, the ALP can campaign on a return to stable government blaming Rockliffe for the ensuing chaos.
    Labor has formed government with The Greens before and we all know the disastrous consequences of those decisions.
    The JLN, like One Nation, The Nick Xenophon Network, UAP is a populist personality cult devoid of real issues and policy.
    It was interesting to note that Jacqui & Tammi didn’t announce their parting of the ways until after the Tasmanian Election.
    After May 2025, Tammi may be a Senator representing an organisation which doesn’t exist.
    Whether you agree or disagree as to the economics of the Tasmanian Devils AFL team, or the proposed Hobart stadium, her populist anti-stadium may come to haunt her in southern Tasmania as will the 175 000 people who have signed on as foundation members. I accept that some of this cohort are children, but they have voting parents, grandparents etc and by my reckoning if the majority of these people vote for anyone else but Jacqui, she is gone.

  10. Let’s have a quick reality check for anyone thinking a chaotic Liberal government now will lead to a majority Labor government at the next election.

    Kevin Bonham estimated the required vote share for a majority Liberal government to be about 45 percent. We can probably guess the requirement for Labor as about the same.

    The Labor share at this election was twenty nine (29) percent. I’ll repeat that, twenty nine. Yes, that’s right, it starts with a two.

    Does anyone seriously believe Labor can lift its vote from under thirty to mid-forties in one electoral cycle?

    If Labor continues to point-blank refuse to work with democratically elected crossbenchers to form government, they’re set to stay in opposition for a loooooong time.

  11. @AnteMeridian, not sure Labor would need a primary vote in the mid 40s . As elsewhere the benefit from a strong preference flow from the Greens. Mid 30s might be enough.

    But the 2 northern seats in particular they need to turn 2 MPs into 4 MPs, and they won’t benefit as much from Greens voters as there’s less of them. That’s the bridge too far. And they’ve effectively locked in an independent seat in Franklin that should be Labor’s. That won’t come back to them for an election cycle or two.

  12. Mostly Interested,

    You’re being unduly optimistic.

    Labor only gets Greens preferences where the Greens themselves are not elected. Every quota the Greens get is about 85 percent of a quota Labor can’t get.

    Mid 30s to Labor might get Labor + Greens to a majority, but not Labor alone.

  13. The libs do not have a majority in either the upper or lower houses of parliament in Tasmania. So government will be very difficult. They will be blamed for decisions they did not make. This is a recipe for big change ie an alp government at the next election

  14. It will be an exciting week coming up in the Tasmanian count. It could be especially interesting given Dr Bonham’s suggestion that the Greens may well take the last seat in Braddon off the Liberals, but the final stages of Hare-Clark counts may also throw up some other surprises eg, if Labor knocks off the Lambie candidate in Lyons.

  15. Sorry if it’s been mentioned before, but does anyone know what day and time the “button push” happens for the final results of who gets elected?

  16. Kirsdarke: “Sorry if it’s been mentioned before, but does anyone know what day and time the “button push” happens for the final results of who gets elected?”

    I was wondering this myself this morning.

    I’m assuming the process of distributing surplus votes and preferences will start tomorrow. It’s a bit more than a button push: by my recollection it takes 2-3 days to complete.

    By my count, today is day ten after election day, the day on which postal votes cease to be accepted. But it a public holiday for the Tasmanian Public Service, so I assume that there are tumbleweeds blowing through the offices of the Tasmanian Electoral Commission today, but that they will be hard at work from early tomorrow.

    Obviously Dr B is the font of all wisdom on this matter, and perhaps he will pop up later on and provide a definitive answer to your question.

  17. from the blog of Dr B (https://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2024/03/tasmania-embraces-chaos-2024-election.html)

    TCApril 2, 2024 at 9:26 AM
    Kevin, amazing work as always. I had a couple questions I hope you could answer for me:
    1. At what date will the official results be finalized?
    2. At what date can we expect Tas Labor to choose a new leader?
    3. When can we expect an announcement of confidence/supply between JLN and the Libs?
    4. At what date do you expect the new Parliament to sit for the first time?


    Kevin BonhamApril 2, 2024 at 9:55 AM
    1. About this Saturday 6th unless there are recounts; any recounted seat by Wednesday 10th.
    2. If there is a contested ballot then based on the 2021 contested ballot I would expect it to finish around early May.
    3. The Government has to negotiate individually with each of the JLN members at least based on what the party has said so far. That would commence once it was known which JLN MPs were elected and could well result in an announcement within days but there is no time limit as to how long it might take.
    4. Possibly mid to late May after the Legislative Council elections.

  18. There is no “button push” in Tasmania (because it is a manual system not a data entry system), just a gradual unroll of the preference flow until all preferences are distributed, which is expected to be around Saturday.

  19. It looks like I was a bit unfair to the Tasmanian Electoral Commission in my earlier post. Looking at their site, they have clearly been working hard today, finalising the first preference votes in all seats.

    They have also declared Woodruff, Rockliff and Ferguson elected in, respectively, Franklin, Braddon and Bass, and have begun distributing some minor party preferences in Clark. I expect we will see a lot more action tomorrow.

    It’s a slow process, but I think that adds a great deal of intrigue.

  20. Can anyone please explain what Dr Bonham means by the following, on his Braddon update, from last night? “Also any prospect of using within-ticket splits for the Liberals seems gone here.”

  21. In basic terms, if liberals had 1.6 quotas and greens had .7 quotas, theoretically liberals would use 1 quota getting liberal A elected, then greens would get the last seat winning .7 over .6
    Liberal A – 1 quota
    Green -.7 quota
    Liberal B -.6quota – eliminated

    However if the liberal vote is split .8 for candidate A and .8 for candidate B, then the green on .7 would get eliminated first, and the liberals would get both seats.
    Liberal A – .8 quota
    Liberal B – .8 quota
    Green- .7 quota – eliminated

  22. In Braddon after top 2 liberals elected

    Liberals 1.57 quotas
    Greens .52 quotas
    Garland .42 quotas.

    Jln not at a quota (.92 between 3 candidates) so still soaking up preferences.

    Animal justice, and shooters and fishers preferences still to come….

    This is looking exciting

  23. Just because you vote 1 for a party, doesn’t mean you will vote 2-7 for candidates in the same party. When votes leave a party due to this it is called leakage. So

    Green – 700 votes
    Liberal A – 600 votes
    Liberal B – 110 votes

    If all of liberal B votes went to liberal A then liberals would win. (710-700) If however there was 10% leakage (or exhaust), then only 99 votes would go to liberal A and the other votes would go to other parties (or exhaust) leaving liberals on 699 and losing the seat.

    Or in Kevin bonhams words – https://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2024/03/2024-tasmanian-postcount-braddon.html

    INTRODUCTORY NOTE: What Is Leakage?

    Leakage is very important in the Braddon result. Leakage occurs when a candidate is excluded or elected and some of their votes instead of flowing to other candidates within their party flow to candidates from outside the party or exhaust. Parties are more prone to leakage when they have candidates who are way over quota or when they have several candidates to be excluded with substantial vote numbers between them. Independents cannot leak and will often gain on parties through the count

  24. Adding to Wolfe’s explanation, remember there’s no above-the-line voting in Tasmania. A voter has to manually declare a preference for individual candidates. This means the chances of leakage are much higher than in the Senate.

  25. Re leakage, so far The Greens seem to have had about a 20% loss to leakage in Bass. That seems very high to me, is it unusual?

  26. ‘Leakage’ is used when some who votes 1 for a candidate from one party gives subsequent preferences to other parties. It’s an unfortunate term because it could be seen to imply that this is not a good thing. In fact, it is perfectly within the right of voters to cast a ballot that is, for example, 1 for Rosalie Woodruff in Franklin and then give 2nd preferences to whomever they think is the next best choice, which may be Labor, or Liberal, or another Green.

  27. For anyone still interested in Dunstan (in the face of the looming excitement in the Tasmanian count), ECSA completed the full distribution of preferences yesterday, with the final results being a margin of 362 votes (10,914 to 10,554). This indicates that the late arriving postal votes were slightly in Labor’s favour. Turnout was 80.7% and the informal rate was 1.9%. A solid Labor win, with a final 2pp vote share of 50.8%.

  28. The leakage rates in this Tasmanian election are a fair bit higher than normal. I think this is partly because the Greens did not make a serious attempt to publicise their support candidates, they were basically a list of names.

    It looks like Garland’s getting the final seat in Braddon, he’s passed the leaky Greens ship and should clean up the Liberals on their preferences.

  29. I just want to thank Kevin Bonham for his insightful and clear commentary over the last two days as the cut up has been proceeding. The whole process is calm and carefully undertaken, and in the end the Parliament elected by the voters will really represent their will as it was on election day. If only all Parliaments were elected in such a democratic way.

  30. More votes have leaked to the Libs than have to Garland from the other 6 Greens so maybe the same happens when Briggs is excluded and Libs get the final seat in Braddon

  31. I just noticed that with the Green leaks going more to Liberals too – then I checked 2021 where the same thing happened prior to the Briggs exclusion heavily favouring Garland.

  32. It would certainly be ironic if the (very left-wing) Green prefs cost the Libs a seat by favouring the (very right-wing, anti-vaxx etc.) Garland over Libs.

    Greens and Craig Garland must be about as opposite ends of the political spectrum as you can get.

  33. Garland isn’t right-wing as far as I know. Apart from his COVID views and spreading a few other conspiracy theories (and allegedly something TERFy though I never saw it) he’s generally left and similar to the Greens.

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