Tasmanian election endgame

A down-to-the-wire preference count in Braddon adds yet more interest to the Tasmanian election result.

Click here for full display of Tasmanian first preference results.


Craig Garland has won the final seat in Braddon reasonably comfortably with 7861 votes after preferences, or 11.1% of the total, to fourth Liberal Giovanna Simpson on 6481, or 9.1%. So the Liberals emerge with 14 seats against ten for Labor, five for the Greens, three for the Jacqui Lambie Network and three independents, which will leave the Liberals relying on both the Jacqui Lambie Network and at least one independent, none of whom are natural ideological allies, to keep the show on the road.


The odds on independent Craig Garland reducing the Liberals to 14 seats by winning the last seat in Braddon continue to shorten. As things presently stand, three seats remain to be decided between six candidates left in the count. One is certain to go to Labor’s Shane Broad, who is 67 votes short of a quota, and another to Miriam Beswick of the Jacqui Lambie Network, who will be elected when party colleague James Redgrave is excluded, the two between them having 917 votes to spare over a quota. Darren Briggs of the Greens, presently on 4901 votes, will then go out. With the distribution of these preferences, Garland will need to close a gap of 5870 to 5479 against the remaining Liberal, Giovanna Simpson. The assessment of Antony Green is that “there are certain to be enough preferences for Garland to gain the required votes to pass Simpson”.


The Tasmanian Electoral Commission is now at a fairly advanced stage of conducting its preference distributions, results for which it unusually reports progressively rather than having a computerised system that calculates it all in one hit. These can be found only on the TEC’s site – the numbers shown on my own results facility, linked to above, are finalised first preferences.

This process has made the result look still more interesting, shortening the odds on the Liberals finishing with 14 seats rather than the generally anticipated 15, with Labor on ten, the Greens on five, the Jacqui Lambie Network on three and two independents. In doubt is one seat in Braddon that could either go to a fourth Liberal, which would get them to 15, or Craig Garland, putting independents at three. What follows is my summary of the situation in each of the five divisions, listed this time in order of interest rather than alphabetically.

Braddon. My assessment shortly after the election was that the Liberals would win four, Labor two and the Jacqui Lambie Network one, “barring some impressive preference-gathering from independent Craig Garland on 0.40 quotas or a late-count surprise for the Greens on 0.52”, potentially reducing the Liberals to three and making the parliament yet more unpredictable. The progress of the count so far has shortened the odds on the first of these scenarios coming to pass, with Garland enjoying such strong preferences from Shooters and leakage from excluded Greens candidates that Antony Green now rates him “favoured to win”.

Garland was outpolled by the collective Greens ticket by 4728 to 3637, but now leads the only Greens candidate remaining in the race by 5118 to 4632. With two Liberals elected and two excluded, their three remaining candidates have a combined 14834, 8875 of which will be used to elect Roger Jaensch, leaving 5959 to spare, some of which will leak when the next Liberal is excluded. Garland, meanwhile, should be further boosted as the one Greens and two Labor candidates are excluded.

What is clear in Braddon is that Liberal incumbents Jeremy Rockliff, Felix Ellis and Roger Jaensch will be returned (the first two having already done so) and incumbents Anita Dow and Shane Broad will win the two Labor seats. None of the three JLN candidates has been excluded yet, but it is clear that Craig Cutts soon will be. His preferences will decide the winner between Miriam Beswick on 3612 and James Redgrave on 3325. Based on the JLN’s form elsewhere, it would be unusual for these preferences to overturn an existing lead.

Bass. It is clear the result here will be three Liberal (Michael Ferguson, Rob Fairs and one to be determined), two Labor (Michelle O’Byrne and Janie Finlay), one Greens (Cecily Rosol) and one Jacqui Lambie Network (to be determined). The front-runners for the third Liberal seat are incumbent Simon Wood and Julie Sladden. Preferences so far have favoured Wood, who has added 1457 to a primary vote of 1949 to reach 3406, over Sladden, who has added 930 to 1747 to reach 2677, and will presumably continue to do so. Similarly, in the race for the Jacqui Lambie Network seat, first preference leader Rebekah Pentland has added 1165 to 2409 to reach 3574 while Angela Armstrong has added 1057 to 2033 to reach 3090, which probably leaves Portland home and hosed.

Clark. My post-election assessment was that Labor had a chance of winning a third seat at the expense of either independent incumbent Kristie Johnston or second Greens contender Helen Burnet, but I may have been out on a limb even then. It now appears clear that the result will be Labor two (incumbent Ella Haddad and former upper house member Josh Willie), Liberal two (incumbents Simon Behrakis and Madeleine Ogilvie, the latter seeing off a threat from Liberal rival Marcus Vermey on preferences), Greens two (incumbent Vica Bayley and the aforementioned Helen Burnet) and independents one (Kristie Johnston).

Lyons. As seemed likely from the beginning, the result here is three Liberal (incumbents Guy Barnett and Mark Shelton and former upper house member Jane Howlett), two Labor (Rebecca White and Jen Butler), Greens one (Tabatha Badger) and Jacqui Lambie Network one (preferences for the first excluded Lesley Pyecroft seemingly deciding the result for Andrew Jenner over Troy Pfitzner, the two having been closely matched on first preferences).

Franklin. The only vague doubt here after election night was which of the Labor newcomers would win the party’s second seat, and preferences have confirmed that it will be Meg Brown, as always seemed likely. The result is duly three Liberal (former Senator Eric Abetz, Jacquie Petrusma making a comeback, and incumbent Nic Street) two Labor (Dean Winter and Meg Brown), one Greens (Rosalie Woodruff) and one independent (former Labor leader David O’Byrne).

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.

145 comments on “Tasmanian election endgame”

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  1. If Libs end on 14 then they’ll have to deal with more than 3 groups. JLN for 3 seats, an indy to get to 18 majority, and another indy to get a speaker.

    Rockliff has shown he’s a terrible negotiator so he’ll either break up his own coalition quickly though pigheadedness or he’ll be running a do nothing government.

    It also means the rest of the parliament can choose to bypass the libs and get up legislation. If the pervious premier Gutwein found himself in this position then I could see a rainbow parliament working quite well. but not Rockliff, and certainly not with Abetz in the parliament pouring poison in everyone’s ears.

  2. Labor may be pulling towards a non contested run for the leadership role. Not sure if this is Winter just positioning himself through a well timed leak or it’s actually likely.

    The Mercury https://archive.md/KuI0s

    Also I went and looked at the indy Craig Garland’s profile. Not likely he’d support a liberal minority. That’d mean one of the 2 southern indys would be needed, both of who lean left.

  3. The government might have to rely on the speaker’s casting vote now and then. I don’t suppose anyone knows his record and whether he’s more likely to follow conventions or the party line?

  4. It doesn’t get spoken about much in Australia, but is there ever a chance of a Grand Coalition? I’m figuring in this term no – Labor wants to watch the Libs squirm and have another early election, but if after that Tassie is back in the same boat… I think it’s something the majors might start to chew over, given how much Tas Labor hates/fears the Greens as a coalition partner.

  5. Zero chance of a grand alliance. At best it’d be a horse trade every single vote until someone came up with the numbers. These parties are in it to kill the other parties.

  6. There’s a swag of reasons why a grand coalition won’t happen, but the biggest is that the Greens would become the official Opposition.

    You know how the Greens are always saying ‘Lib/Lab same same’? Try to imagine how much that would bite if Liberal and Labor were officially on the same side. The Greens wouldn’t be able to believe their luck.

  7. I’ve got a feeling in my waters that four years from now we’re all going to be scratching our heads wondering how Rockliff pulled it off.

  8. >I’ve got a feeling in my waters that four years from now we’re all going to be scratching our heads wondering how Rockliff pulled it off.

    My bet.
    He keeps the government running but the policies that get put through come from everyone and not all of the Liberals policies go through.

  9. Will there be a redistribution after this election. Looks like a quota in Lyons is about 9240 and a quota in Clark is about 7,990.

  10. It’s difficult to see stable Government in Tasmania emerging from this election, but stranger things have happened. As observed by Jack Lang (and later copied by Paul Keating): “In the race of life, always back self-interest — at least you know it’s trying.’’

  11. Tasmania electoral boundaries are re-drawn by the AEC and adopted for use at state elections by the Tasmanian parliament. A Tasmanian redistribution will start after the Federal election under the seven year rule. Given it is Clark that is under quota, there may have to be a significant re-draw of the boundary with Franklin, and/or a push of Clark west towards New Norfolk.

    The last Tasmanian redistribution was completed in November 2017, so seven years are up in November this year but within 12 months of the next Federal election, so the redistribution will be deferred until after the Federal election.

    The 2017 redistribution was released too late to be implemented for the March 2018 state election. They were were first used at the 2019 Federal election and then the 2021 state election.

    Any early state election held before the state can adopt the new Federal boundaries would be held on the existing boundaries.

  12. On today’s update from Kevin Bonham, Braddon result looks pretty set to be Lib 3, Lab 2, one JLN (Miriam Beswick) and Craig Garland?

  13. Luckily for the Taswegian Libs, the TALP don’t want to govern. Ever.

    Luckily for the TALP Rockliff doesn’t play well with same same, let alone with others.

    Labor and Greens need to sort it out well before the next election.

  14. MABWM,

    I agree completely.

    Promises to not work with democratically elected representatives are a childish dummy-spit at best, or even an attempt to blackmail the voters at worst, whichever party does it.

    Labor has suffered many catastrophic defeats in the past, but have always picked themselves up and got on with the job of winning government back. But the last loss of government in Tasmania was different, because they got to say it was all the Greens’ fault and have been fixated on that narrative ever since.

    They need to grow up, accept their own part in the previous disaster, and as you say, sort it out along with the Greens.

    Or else get used to the opposition benches being worn into the shape of their own arses.

  15. @Antony Green

    Can you foresee any situation whereby Franklin would be redrawn so it isn’t split across two different locations with a seat in between?

  16. Re: Chances of an early election.

    Rockliff was convinced the prospect of a hung parliament would send voters flocking back to him in a quest for ‘stability’. He now knows this hypothesis to be a complete load of cods. He won’t make the same mistake a second time.

    Therefore, there are only two circumstances under which the next election is likely to be early.

    1/ The Liberals open up a huge lead in the opinion polls.This is improbable.

    2/ The parliament loses confidence in the government and unequivocally signals this fact via a vote on the floor. This would require the ALP and Greens to work together with two or three other crossbenchers. This is even less probable.

    Conclusion : There’s a strong chance the government will limp along for the full four years.

  17. Franklin result perhaps isn’t looking as clear cut as assumed. After count 52 Libs have 2.83 quotas to Greens on 1.65, with Labor excess of about 0.4 quotas to be allocated. Greens would appear an outside chance to jump ahead of Libs in race for final seat with favourable preferences.

  18. Its really hard to know what is going on with Tasmanian Labor, especially from a distance. From what I can see, they have not said much at all, beyond the obvious which is they will leave it to Rockliffe to attempt to form a Government. Once the results have been finally determined, Labor will elect a new leader, and it seems like Labor is keeping the powder dry until then. Assuming Rockliffe does form a Government, he can expect no favours from Labor and with a difficult cross-bench to manage, let’s see how long he lasts before he loses the confidence of the House. Its only at that point, I think, that any meaningful discussions about an alternative Government might commence (and yes, that means Labor and Greens talking to each other).

  19. Err Rocky it looks like the fisherman is going to get up.His policy shut salmon farms.

    Looks like you will need to deal with lambies but also ex labor and a leftie independent.

    How is that a improvement? ya know the reason you had a election.

  20. Pied Piper: “Err Rocky it looks like the fisherman is going to get up.His policy shut salmon farms.
    Looks like you will need to deal with lambies but also ex labor and a leftie independent.
    How is that a improvement? ya know the reason you had a election.”

    I’m no fan of Rockliff, but I’m sure he would argue that all of the JLN and the (it now seems certain) 3 independents will be easier to deal with than Lara Alexander, with whom I’m told it was more or less impossible to negotiate any sort of a deal.

  21. If you gathered these 35 in a room and took a vote would you really get a majority for Premier Rocky?

    On past performance I wouldn’t even count on 14 from his own team.

    It does look like quite a challenging environment and I can see why Labor members are ordering a truckload of popcorn instead of doing the hard work of cobbling together a coalition.

    It’s not as if the winner gets to be the Mayor of Brizvegas.

  22. Will Craig Garland be the most right-wing MP Tasmania has ever had?

    Strong anti-vaxxer etc. though maybe you can’t pigeon-hole him too easily.

  23. As I noted on the other thread Garland is so far more left than right across the full range of issues. There have long been some way left elements who weren’t with the program on things like vaccines and who had a few other out-there views.

  24. Ok fair enough Kevin, what is Garland left-wing on exactly? (as you say, anti-vaxx is as much far left as far right)

  25. Rockliff and the Libs might have their problems, but this has been simply a dreadful election for Labor. Hobart vies with Canberra for having the most left-leaning voters of any city in Australia, and yet Labor has only secured 4 out of the 14 seats available in Franklin and Clark. If they ever hope to win government in their own right, they will need to win 8 (plus 3 in each of the other three seats and an extra one somewhere). So next election, they’ll be coming from a long way back.

    And, dare I say, their parliamentary team isn’t all that hot. The only fresh face is Meg Brown, whose main claim to fame is that she has worked for Julie Collins for five years, and also set up a netball team.

    Dean Winters looks set to be elected leader and will be expected to perform miracles asap. He’s a clever dude, and he might perform quite well. But I still can’t help thinking that a proper reset for Labor would be to run with a leader from the north: one of Finlay or Broad (Michelle O’Byrne’s career is well past its apogee and Anita Dow hasn’t impressed). Thanks goodness Josh Willie no longer looks to be a contender for the leadership: not only is he virtually unknown outside of Hobart, he is comparatively little known here.

    It’s possible that, if Bec White were to decide to call it quits during the term, Richard Goss might be elevated to Parliament. I have heard that he only ran to help the party and had no great ambitions to be elected to Parliament. He’s a career schoolteacher who, as far as I know, has never worked for any Labor MPs and isn’t related to any leading lights of the party. That makes him pretty special: perhaps they should think about making him leader!

    It all looks a bit grim, but you never know with politics: opposition parties can look like they are off in the wilderness and then suddenly come bounding back. Ask Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    Things might change quite quickly if Winters makes a good impression, and Rockliff struggles to deal to the threats to his government that will come both from without (in terms of whatever deals he makes with the JLN and the independents) and within (Uncle Eric and his merry god-bothering friends). It’ll be interesting to watch (well, not all that interesting TBH).

  26. BTsays,

    I think I linked Garlands Facebook and Twitter account above. One of his main bits is anti salmon farming, also wants a Tas ICAC, I think he’s also anti developed which happens to be wind farm related, his grandad or something lived in lands that’s slated for one. Just cause he’s anti vacc doesn’t make him right wing but perhaps a bit horseshoe(?).

  27. BTSays: “what is Garland left-wing on exactly?”

    The environment (well, sort of. Obviously he looks at the environment from the point of view of someone who wants to keep on harvesting natural resources, which obviously is a bit different to how the Greens look at it).

    Also, accountability/ICAC-type stuff (even though it was Nick Greiner established the first anti-corruption commission in the form of ICAC, it seems to be far more of a left issue these days).

    If he does get elected, he’s going to be something really different in Australian politics. I think his impact will largely be a healthy one.

  28. If Garland wants a Tasmanian ICAC, that’s a point in his favour. Every state, territory, and federal government should have one.

    Credit where it’s due, that was the NSW Liberals’ contribution to world’s best practice.

  29. Under Hare-Clark, count backs for replacement of MP requires the candidate to stand in the count back. If someone has no intention of becoming an MP when there is a count back, they can choice not to nominate. Nobody can be made to become an MP against their will.

    Additional a minority government can exist even if they don’t have a supply and confidence agreement in place. They just need to avoid a vote of no confidence.

    Nobody is in a mood for a fresh election straight away – elections require massive efforts on behalf of candidates and supporters and everyone is currently spent – so I suspect that the Liberals kick on for at least 6 months before they might call it themselves or be forced to call one by parliament.

  30. There have always been left wing anti vaxxers – think Nimbin hippy types who don’t believe in big pharma and drink raw milk.

  31. Garland’s comeback in Braddon is a massive turn-up and I’m extremely curious what Rockliff winds up doing when it puts him one short of majority with JLN. Garland seems more ideologically on side, but also a complete wildcard; otherwise it seems like he has little choice but to reach out to Kristie Johnson, who’s probably considerably more stable, but will disagree on far more, and probably has reason to be concerned about her re-election if she props up the Libs given her 2024 swing against.

    My worry with Garland and his recent conspiracy theory bent is that he might turn out to be something like a male, Tasmanian equivalent of failed Victorian fringe independent Catherine Cumming, with the unfortunate additional trait in that kind of character of actually managing to be right once in a while (unlike Cumming, who was so reliably wrong about everything that if you were ever on the same side you’d be concerned).

    Winter seems to be continuing the Labor trend of raging about the evils of minority government at precisely the point that it’s become clear they won’t be entering government at all in Tasmania without it any time soon. If he’s not smart enough to not start generating quotes that’ll be thrown back at him if he tries to ever actually form government before he’s even won the leadership, god help Tasmanian Labor.

    I always felt Winter was inclined to reinforce all Tasmanian Labor’s worst instincts after a series of elections of them being their own worst enemy, and he’s not gotten off to a promising start. I’ve said it before, but if we wind up going to a new election in six months, Labor needs to pull more of their upper house talent into the lower house so they’re not left with someone like Winter. The incredible decision to pick Bryan Green of all for a winnable upper house spot is more evidence of Labor trying a back-to-the-future approach and repeating what has already failed.

    That said, the Libs are in for a wild ride this time around, and both having Garland in the mix and JLN being so unstable as to lose Tammy Tyrell before they’ve even finished state counting are fun new sources of instability that probably vindicate the state Labor executive’s decision to not even try to form government this time.

  32. Winter is coming.

    (Yuk, yuk, yuk. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I have no sense of humour, so naturally I want to show off the sense of humour I don’t, in fact, have.)

    (edit : Apologies to Terry Pratchett.)

  33. Big thanks to both WB and KB for their sterling efforts covering the Tas election count. A few quid gladly donated both ways.
    I’ve been engrossed by the count since Tuesday. Hare-Clark is as unique and and wonderful as its host state. Thanks for helping to make sense of it, KB.
    WB’s booth maps are awesome. I’m already organising a week’s holiday in Franklin’s ‘Green Belt’ later in the year!
    Thanks also to the Division of Braddon. What an interesting electorate it is.
    Highlight for me was Abetz missing out on a quota. He was elected, but with an asterisk against his name.

  34. Well, it’ll be interesting to watch. Someone describing themself as an “anti-politician” can be a red flag, if he turns out to be a conspiracy theorist or sovereign citizen or something. But if not, he could also turn out to be another “regular guy” Ricky Muir / Jaquie Lambie type, which might be a good thing.

    And for what it’s worth, I agree that intensive salmon farming is a bad thing. What has he said about the stadium etc?

    He might be the kind of independent who is hard to dislodge once he’s there and has a public profile – so the “anti-politician” will be a career politician for as long as he doesn’t retire…

  35. Garland has been a candidate in several elections over recent years and has polled quite well. He might have a few quirks but generally comes across as a pro-environment, pro community person.
    So overall a fairly progressive lower house. A lot of good legislation will be able to be voted through the lower house against the opposition of Liberals and JLN if they are not onside.
    Has anyone produced a run down on the JLN people elected. Expect plenty of split votes on controversial issues would be my ecpectation.

  36. The point of being in Government is get things done. The Morrison idea of being in Government just to pad out your CV, with as many Ministries as possible, yet achieve nothing is just plain stupid. Having said that i don’t see how any Government formed in Tasmania will be able to get anything done. It is going to be like herding cats. So the job of Premier this time certainly looks like CV padding out. Not sure it will be worth the associated headaches though.

  37. It would seem that the ALP – currently leaderless – could be the only party possibly able to form a government though would require the Greens, Johnson, O’Byrne and Garland to reach the magic 18. Would be interesting to know if the ALP have made overtures to O’Byrne to rejoin. Possible also that an ambitious JLN member might make a lunge for a ministry – with or without the blessing of Jacquie. In summary, the ball is now in the ALP court.

  38. Per the latest TEC website update: Garland has ended up nearly 1000 votes ahead of the 4th Liberal in Braddon, so he will be elected with 0.82 of a quota.

  39. The Lyons count has also been completed with the Greens and Lambie taking the last 2 seats.

    Rockliffe now must try and form a Government with only 14 out of 35 seats, and arguably facing a left leaning majority in Opposition and the cross bench. He is going to have to learn some good negotiating skills in a hurry.

  40. Entropy – The point of being in government is to govern. Much of the time this is done by getting things done, but it is also done by making sure what already exists functions well.

    A minority government in such a situation is going to be like is very conservative (small C, so I mean more restrained); there will be no big proposals able to put up, no major law changes…. each bit of government that requires legislative backing will require careful dealing with the crossbench or opposition. But they will still control the executive functions and will be able to do all the things that do not require parliamentary votes.

  41. Outsider at 3.26 pm

    Here is the professional commentary:

    “3:10 Garland wins! The margin is currently just below 1000. Garland’s 5.1% is the lowest winning primary for any lone independent or group ever, the previous lowest I could find being 7.2% for Benjamin Pearsall in 1934.

    4:05 The final margin: 1380. Garland started 2140 behind and made a net gain of nearly 0.4 of a quota vs the Liberal ticket off leakage and better preference performances. Amazing.”


    Rockliff becalmed in larger waters as Garland sails home in Braddon.

    Both Libs and Labor got only 10% (= 1) of the extra 10 seats. Greens got 30%, JL Novices 30% and Indies 20%.

  42. If a Liberal member is elected speaker they get a casting vote only so in effect they would have 16 votes (assuming full JLN support which I wouldn’t bank on) on the floor compared to 18 on the other side so unless Jeremy Rockliff can appease the crossbench independents each and every time I have no idea on how he plans to get much of his “Tasmania 2030 Plan” or any other legislation through without significant change. If a non Liberal speaker is chosen you would assume they aren’t going be as protective of the government as a Liberal speaker would be. The Liberals might control the executive functions of government but the parliament is going to be the wild wild west.

  43. Garland got elected with PV of 5.12% PV quota of 0.4 and 0.88 final quota.
    So Liberal party has only 14 seats.
    The biggest beneficiaries are JLN, who have 2 seats with 6.7% PV.
    So even KB thinks Garland election is amazing. I typed that word and removed it because I thought some poster may say it is not amazing.

  44. JLN got 3 seats for 6.7% = 2.23% per seat. Liberal 14 seats for 36.7% = 2.5% per seat. Labor 10 seats for 29% = 2.9% per seat. Greens 5 seats for about 2.7% per seat.
    If JLN had also stood in Clarke and lost their return would be 2.6 or 2.7% per seat.
    Nothing much in it.

  45. I can’t see anyone wanting to go back to the polls quickly. They’re all broke. A low key campaign costs about $40k if your serious about getting expected. A high key one costs about $80k. Literally no-one has any money left.

  46. I agree with MI. Nobody wants another election ATM: least of all the newly-elected JLN members, who would be worried about the potential for the impact of the Jackie-Tammy bust up on the party’s reputation to strangle their political careers at birth. Kristie and David O’B would presumably also struggle to raise more funds. (I suspect Garland is going to adopt more of a devil may care approach, but I also suspect that the Libs have no interest in doing any sort of a deal with him.)

    Rockliff will be ok if one or both of Johnston and O’Byrne agree to guarantee confidence and supply (and what an odd couple they would be in that set up). Abetz and his cronies will possibly try to undermine Rockliff, but they will be hamstrung by the problem that a leadership coup in the Liberal Party would probably alienate enough of the cross bench to force an election.

    Rockliff isn’t as good a strategist as his predecessor, who I suspect would have lapped this situation up. But, if he is well advised, he can probably keep his government going for 2-3 years or possibly all the way through to the next scheduled election.

    Of course, if he stuffs up, or if Abetz and co are simply unable to help themselves, then it will be on for young and old.

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