Tasmanian election late counting update

The Tasmanian election has been sadly neglected at this place, but here at least is a review of the results, and an opportunity to follow the down-to-the-wire race for the last seat in Braddon.

The Tasmanian election count will conclude later this afternoon, the one result remaining in doubt being Braddon, which might go either 4-1 or 3-2 to the Liberals ahead of Labor, the former being an unprecedented result. After all five electorates went two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens in 2010, the Liberals built their landslide this time on gains from Labor in Bass and Franklin, gains from the Greens in Lyons and Braddon, and potentially a further gain from Labor in Braddon in as well. That will leave the final numbers in parliament at either 14 or 15 for the Liberals, seven or eight for Labor, and three for the Greens. A call of the board for each electorate in turn:

Bass: The Liberals have won a third seat at the expense of Labor, down from two to one, with the Greens retaining their seat. The Liberal vote was up from 42.6% to 57.2%, or 3.43 quotas. This re-elected Michael Ferguson (down slightly from 25.0% to 22.4%) and Peter Gutwein (up from 14.2% to 23.3%), the successful newcomer being Sarah Courtney, whose 4.7% share of the vote compared with 4.0% and 2.8% for party colleagues Barry Jarvis and Leonie McNair. The Labor vote was down from 34.5% to 23.3%, or 1.40 quotas – only enough to re-elect their highest profile member, Michelle O’Byrne, who was down from 17.8% to 10.6%. The other Labor incumbent, Brian Wightman, was up from 5.9% on his 2010 debut to 8.2%, but it availed him not. The Greens were down from 21.0% to 12.7%, or 0.76 quotas.

Braddon: The Liberals are grappling for an unprecedented fourth seat out of five, with a 58.8% share of the vote (3.53 quotas, up from 45.2%) set to add one or two newcomers to re-elected incumbents Adam Brooks (25.0%, up from 10.8% on his 2010 debut) and Jeremy Rockliff (up from 17.1% to 23.6%). Roger Jaensch (4.7%) is slightly ahead of Joan Rylah (4.1%, but performing better than Jaensch on preferences) in the race for the third seat, leaving Rylah hoping for a fourth. Both finished well ahead of a fifth Liberal candidate, Kyron Howell (1.4%). Labor veteran Bryan Green (down from 17.4% to 10.3%) comfortably outpolled maverick colleague Brenton Best (down from 11.0% to 5.7%, for all his efforts to distance himself from the government), who is grappling with the Liberals for the last seat. As Kevin Bonham relates, Best requires a strong flow of Greens preferences that he is unlikely to receive, given his vocal hostility to them. The Greens vote was down from 13.7% to 7.0%, or 0.42 quotas, resulting in the defeat of their incumbent Paul O’Halloran. They were slightly outpolled by the Palmer United Party on 7.2%, who were nonetheless unable to win the seat for which they held the highest hopes.

Denison: Denison produced the one status quo result of two seats each for Labor and Liberal and one for the Greens. The Liberals were up from 29.8% to 40.2% (2.41 quotas), but with Andrew Wilkie’s 8.4% vote from 2010 up for grabs, the changes for the other parties were relatively modest, with Labor down from 36.3% to 33.9% (2.03) and the Greens from 24.9% to 22.9% (1.37 quotas). The Liberal ticket was dominated by incumbents Matthew Groom (up from 15.1% to 21.6%) and Elise Archer (from 4.7% to 10.5%), both of whom entered parliament in 2010, as was the Greens ticket by Cassy O’Connor (down from 16.2% to 15.2%). The only Labor winner from 2010 seeking re-election was Scott Bacon, who in the face of considerably weaker competition for the Labor vote was up from 11.5% to 22.6%. Newcomer Madeleine Ogilvie is struggling to hold off Julian Amos, a former MP seeking to return, their respective vote shares being 3.4% (up from 1.0% in 2010) and 3.0%, with Amos narrowing the gap on preferences. The fifth Labor candidate, Alphonse Mulumba, polled 2.5%.

Franklin: Labor is in the awkward spot of having potential leadership contender David O’Byrne squeezed out by the Liberals winning a third seat at his expense, the Liberal vote having risen from 41.2% to 49.8% (2.99 quotas), with Greens leader Nick McKim securing re-election from a party vote of 16.8% (1.01 quotas, down from 27.4% in 2010). The Liberal vote was up from 41.2% to 49.8%, or 2.99 quotas, their ticket dominated by Will Hodgman (up from 31.7% to 35.2%), with incumbent Jacquie Petrusma (6.7% compared with 3.9% on her debut in 2010) to be joined by outgoing independent upper house MP Paul Harriss (5.4%). Labor’s vote was down relatively modestly from 30.5% to 28.6%, their 1.72 quotas securing election only for Lara Giddings (up from 15.1% to 16.4%), who landed well clear of O’Byrne (8.4% after his 2010 debut of 7.6%). A leadership transfer to O’Byrne could nonetheless be accomplished if Giddings left parliament, in which case O’Byrne would be certain to fill her vacancy on a countback.

Lyons: The Liberals (up from 36.1% to 51.9%, or 3.12 quotas) gained a seat here from the Greens (down from 21.1% to 11.4%, or 0.68 quotas), Labor retaining two seats despite a fall in their vote from 36.1% to 27.7% (1.66 quotas). Former Liberal Senator Guy Barnett polled nearly as well as the incumbents on his state election debut with 14.7%, only slightly behind former party leader Rene Hidding (up from 11.8% to 16.7%) and ahead of Mark Shelton (12.1% after his 8.2% on debut in 2010). Michael Polley having retired, the only Labor incumbent was Rebecca White, heading the Labor ticket with 12.9% after recording 10.0% on debut in 2010. The second Labor seat goes to 71-year-old David Llewellyn, who resumes a parliamentary career that was interrupted after 24 years when White defeated him in 2010, his 7.9% share of the vote comparing with 10.3% in 2010. The defeated Greens member is Tim Morris, who after the conclusion of preferences had 8462 votes (12.8%) to Llewellyn’s 10,177 (15.3%).

Tasmanian election call of the board

One clear change of government overnight at least, with a landslide win for Will Hodgman’s Liberals and a grim night for Labor, Greens and PUP alike.

Late news: a thumping win for Will Hodgman and the Liberals in Tasmania, on 14 or maybe even 15 seats in a chamber of 25. A very quick review of the results which I’m just now perusing for the first time, as much to get this straight in my head as anything else:

Bass. The ABC computer is calling it three seats to the Liberals and one to Labor, and it seems to me the last seat is likely to stay with the Greens, which would amount to the Liberals gaining a seat from Labor. So Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson re-elected for the Liberals and likely to be joined by Sarah Courtney; Michelle O’Byrne re-elected for Labor, but fellow incumbent Brian Wightman defeated; and Kim Booth re-elected for the Greens.

Braddon. Liberals three, Labor one; the last seat might be a fourth for the Liberals, which would be quite something. Or it could be a second Labor seat or a first for the Greens. What it won’t be is a win for Kevin Morgan of the Palmer United Party, for whom the party had high hopes. Adam Brooks and Jeremy Rockliff re-elected for the Liberals, newcomers Roger Jaensch and Joan Rylah fighting it out for a third or potentially both getting elected. Bryan Green to retain his seat for Labor, fellow incumbent Brenton Best only to make it if Labor wins a second seat. Greens MP Paul O’Halloran struggling to hold his seat.

Denison. A status quo result of two Labor, two Liberal, one Greens. Matthew Groom and Elise Archer re-elected for the Liberals; Scott Bacon re-elected for Labor, the second seat a four-way lottery between newcomers; Cassy O’Connor re-elected for the Greens.

Franklin. The Liberals gain a seat from Labor for a result of three Liberal, one Labor, one Greens. Will Hodgman and Jacquie Petrusma re-elected for the Liberals, to be joined by upper house ex-independent Paul Harriss. For Labor, Lara Giddings re-elected and David O’Byrne defeated, although the latter would be back on a re-count if the former didn’t hang around. Nick McKim re-elected for the Greens.

Lyons. Three Liberal, one Labor, with Labor and the Greens grappling for a final seat. So a Liberal gain either from Labor or the Greens. Rene Hidding and Mark Shelton re-elected for the Liberals, to be joined by Guy Barnett. Rebecca White re-elected for Labor, possibly to be joined by David Llewellyn, attempting to return after his defeat in 2010. Tim Morris struggling to win re-election for the Greens.

Tasmanian election live

A thread for discussion of the Tasmanian election count as the results roll in.

Polls have closed in Tasmania, and votes should start coming in any tick of the clock. I’ll be preoccupied this evening covering the South Australian election count for ABC Television. ABC News 24 will be alternating through the night between the South Australian coverage and the Tasmanian, the latter of which is being handled by Antony Green on account of its high-maintenance electoral system.

Newspoll: Liberal 53, Labor 23, Greens 16 in Tasmania

Newspoll’s pre-election entry for Tasmania points to humiliation for Labor and an emphatic majority win for the Liberals.

I’m too busy to offer any commentary on late campaign polling, so it’s just as well that these numbers speak for themselves. The personal ratings are similarly devastating for Labor: 29% approval and 62% disapproval for Lara Giddings, 53% and 36% for Will Hodgman, and 27% and 64% for Greens leader Nick McKim. On preferred premier, 53% for Hodgman, 22% for Giddings and 14% for McKim. The poll also foreshadows a disappointing result for Clive Palmer, with the Palmer United Party recording only 4%.

ReachTEL: Liberal 47, Labor 24, Greens 18 in Tasmania

The latest ReachTEL survey suggests the die is well and truly cast for next Saturday’s Tasmanian state election.

A ReachTEL automated phone poll of 2600 respondents conducted last night for The Mercury shows the Tasmanian state election situation much as it’s been for a very long time now, with the Liberals on a commanding 47.4% (up 0.2% from the last poll on February 13) and Labor on a dismal 23.6% (down 1.0%). The Greens are on 18.2%, up 1.0% on last time, while the Palmer United Party is down 0.8% to 6.7%. Electorate breakdowns and other detail presumably to follow in tomorrow’s paper.

UPDATE: Kevin Bonham has detailed results and better-informed analysis than I would be able to manage.

Tasmanian election guide: Braddon

The second of our profiles for Tasmania’s five electorates ahead of next Saturday’s state election covers the most promising prospect for the Palmer United Party.

Part two of the five-part B-to-L guide to the Tasmanian election, which continues to proceed alphabetically (and for which I should probably pick up the pace). The first entry, for Bass, can be viewed here.

Dominated by Burnie and Devonport, the electorate of Braddon covers Tasmania’s north-western coastal areas plus King Island. Smaller centres include Currie, Penguin, Savage River, Smithton, Stanley, Ulverstone, Waratah and Wynyard. This is an electorally mixed area, with conservative small towns and farming districts balancing timber and mining industries that traditionally provided a solid working-class base for Labor. Antony Green observes that the parties “tend to try and balance their tickets with candidates from different areas”: for Labor, Brenton Best dominates in Devonport while Bryan Green does so in Burnie, which for the Liberals were respectively the strongest areas for winning candidate Adam Brooks and defeated incumbent Brett Whiteley at the 2010 election.

Labor was dominant in Braddon in the 1960s and 70s, but decline in the area’s industries combined with the Franklin Dam controversy dramatically tilted the balance in the Liberals’ favour in the early 1980s. The pendulum would not swing back until the late 1990s, with Labor dominating at state and federal level from 1998 to 2007, barring the telling interruption of the 2004 federal election when a backlash against Mark Latham’s conservationist forestry policy returned the seat to the Liberals for a turn with a 7.0% swing. This result also pointed to the area’s relative weakness for the Greens, who failed to win seats at the first three state elections held after the number of seats per electorate was cut from seven to five in 1998.

The Greens broke through at the 2010 election when the Labor vote fell from 50.8% to 40.2%, putting them well below three quotas, while the Liberal gain from 37.3% to 45.2% remained well short of what they needed for a third seat. With the Greens up from 10.3% to 13.7%, their lead candidate Paul O’Halloran was able to absorb much of Labor’s surplus after the election of their second member, allowing him to poach a third Labor seat that had been vacated by the retirement of former Deputy Premier Steve Kons. On the Liberal side of the equation, incumbent Brett Whiteley was unseated by newcomer candidate Adam Brooks, who outpolled Whiteley 10.8% to 8.6%. Whiteley has since returned to politics by winning the federal seat of Braddon from Labor’s Sid Sidebottom at the 2013 election.

Labor has two incumbents, both of long standing – Bryan Green, a member since 1998, and Brenton Best, since 1996.

Bryan Green emerged as his party’s strongest performing candidate in Braddon at the 2002 election, and comfortably remained so in 2006 and 2010. He was mentioned as a potential rival to Paul Lennon when talk of a leadership challenge briefly surfaced after the 2004 federal election debacle, and became Deputy Premier when David Llewellyn stepped aside after the 2006 election. However, he was in the position for only four months when he was obliged to stand down over a deal that offered a company part-owned by former Labor MPs a monopoly over accreditation in the building industry. Green faced two trials on charges of conspiracy and attempting to interfere with an executive officer, but both ended with hung juries and the charges were dropped in March 2008. He returned to cabinet after the 2010 election, since which time he has served in the primary industries and water, energy and resources, local government, planning and racing portfolios, and resumed the deputy premiership when David Bartlett made way for Lara Giddings in January 2011. This amounted to a clean sweep of the leadership positions for a Left faction with which Green has been associated since his pre-parliamentary career with the Forestry Union.

Brenton Best is also a member of the Left, having emerged through the Federated Engine Drivers and Fireman’s Association. He was elected to Devonport City Council in 1994 and then to parliament in 1996 off 4.4% of the Braddon vote, which increased to 7.3% in 1998. His vote was again up in 2002, to 10.6%, but was nonetheless only narrowly able to win Labor’s third seat on the latter occasion, holding off Latrobe deputy mayor Michael Gaffney. In 2006 he went untroubled, despite his vote easing slightly to 10.5%, and he managed to increase his share of a diminished Labor vote in 2010 to record 11.0%. Best’s fiercely critical attitude to the governing alliance with the Greens has made him a thorn in the side of Lara Giddings, whom he has called on to make way for David O’Byrne as leader. He has at all times remained on the back bench.

Labor’s newcomer candidates are Shane Broad, a Central Coast councillor and former staffer to Sid Sidebottom, who was the best performing of Labor’s non-incumbent candidates in 2010, polling 5.1%; Justine Keay, a Devonport City Council alderman and former electorate officer to Bryan Green; and Darryl Bessell, who “works on a dairy farm at Smithton, after being made redundant from McCain Foods”.

Seeking re-election for the Liberals are Jeremy Rockliff and Adam Brooks, who have respectively held seats since 2002 and 2010. Jeremy Rockliff was a former state Young Liberals president and factional moderate whose family’s connections with the Sassafras farming region reportedly go back 150 years. He was one of two new Liberals elected when incumbents Tony Rundle and Carole Cains retired at the 2002 election, emerging the star performer of the Liberal ticket with 13.1% of the vote, and his share of the vote progressed to 14.8% in 2006 and 17.1% in 2010. Since 2006 he has served as the party’s deputy leader, having secured the position in a post-election party room vote. He presently holds the shadow portfolios of health, primary industries and industrial relations.

Adam Brooks was well known around Devenport before his election in 2010 due to business interests which a local newspaper report identified as including “Total Performance Sports and recently opened Essentially Mobile in Devonport plus Xcel Fitness in Shearwater as well as Port Sorell take away”. He by all accounts put a considerable amount of his own money into a high-visibility campaign which enabled him to pull off the difficult feat of unseating Liberal incumbent in Brett Whiteley, recording 10.8% of the vote to Whiteley’s 8.6%.

The new Liberal candidates are Kyron Howell, who has worked as a musical performer and tour manager in Japan, and currently works as a Japanese interpreter and trade consultant; Roger Jaensch, executive chairman of the Cradle Coast Authority and a former member of the Tasmanian Climate Action Council; and Joan Rylah, founder of pro-development group Unlock Tasmania.

Greens member Paul O’Halloran was assistant principal at the Tasmanian Academy’s Don campus before entering parliament at the 2010 election, at which he succeeded on his third attempt as the party’s lead candidate. Rounding out the Greens ticket are Chris Cornell, Melissa Houghton, Philip Nicholas and Sally O’Wheel.

Others: Kevin Morgan of the Palmer United Party candidate is being styled by his party as its “candidate for Premier of Tasmania#148;. He worked as an adviser in the Department of Premier and Cabinet from July 2010 to April 2013, during the tenures of David Bartlett and Lara Giddings, and polled 9.3% as PUP’s candidate for Braddon at the September 2013 federal election, and 14.5% as an independent candidate for the upper house seat of Montgomery the previous May. Also in the field are three Nationals candidates, one for the Australian Christians and two independents.

Tasmanian election guide part one: Bass

Launceston-based Bass kicks off a five-part review of Tasmania’s electorates ahead of the March 15 state election.

Welcome to part one of a five-part B-to-L guide to the Tasmanian election, which I’ll eventually get around to gussying up with charts and photos and publishing as a Poll Bludger election guide in the usual fashion. We shall proceed alphabetically, so first up …

Bass covers the eastern part of Tasmania’s northern coast along with Flinders Island, and derives 70% of its voters from Launceston. Other centres include George Town, a Labor-voting coastal town at the mouth of the Tamar River, and the more conservative Scottsdale, a hub of surrounding timber and farming communities. Bass has long been an arm wrestle between the major parties at federal level, changing hands in 1975, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2013. This has been reflected at state level both in terms of vote share and seat totals. Relatively mild shifts were recorded amid the statewide realignments to Liberal in the early 1980s and Labor in the early 2000s, and the division was the only one in the state which delivered equal numbers of seats to Labor and Liberal in 2002 and 2006.

This trend was disturbed by the 2010 election result, at which Bass joined Franklin as one of two electorates to record well above-par swings against Labor, in this case a 15.1% drop to 34.5%. The yield was divided roughly evenly between the Liberals, who were up 8.8% to 42.6%, and the Greens, who were up 7.4% to 21.0%. However, the seat result was again unchanged, with Labor and Liberal winning two seats each and the Greens winning one, as had been the case in 2002 and 2006. This reflected the extreme narrowness with which Labor failed to win third seats on the two previous occasions, and in particular the 138-vote margin of Greens member Kim Booth’s win over a third Labor candidate in 2006.

Labor’s aggregated vote share of 2.07 quotas in 2010 illustrates the difficulty they will have in sustaining the status quo in the face of a further swing. With both opinion polling and the 2013 federal election result pointing to a surge for the Liberals in northern Tasmania, a Liberal gain here looms as an indispensable element of any scenario in which they achieve a parliamentary majority. The Greens also cannot take a seat in Bass for granted, as illustrated by their failure to win a seat at the last election under the seven-member regime in 1998.

The senior of Labor’s two incumbents in Bass is Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne, who entered politics as the federal member for Bass from 1998 until her defeat in 2004. On contesting the state election in 2006, O’Byrne emerged as Labor’s strongest performing candidate in Bass, outpolling 17-year Labor veteran Jim Cox. She was promoted to Community Development Minister seven months after her election, and then to Environment Minister in February 2008 and Health Minister after the 2010 election. Reflecting the decline in support for Labor, O’Byrne’s share of the vote fell from 23.3% in 2006 to 17.8% in 2010. Her brother, David O’Byrne, was elected in the division of Denison at the 2010 election, and immediately elevated to cabinet. Both have backgrounds in the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, and are accordingly aligned with the Left.

The second Labor candidate elected in 2010 was Brian Wightman, a former principal of Winnaleah District High School. Wightman won promotion to cabinet in the reshuffle caused by Treasurer Michael Aird’s retirement in November 2010, taking on the Attorney-General and environment portfolios. Wightman’s 5.9% share of the vote in 2010 placed him ahead of seemingly higher-profile candidates in Scott McLean, the forests division secretary of the CFMEU (4.8%), and Brant Webb, who won brief national fame as one of the two survivors of the Beaconsfield mine disaster in 2006 (4.2%)

Rounding out the Labor ticket are Andrew Connor, a Meander Valley councillor who works in information technology; Adam Gore, who has worked as a musician in the army and as a teacher; and Senka Mujkic, who works at the Migrant Resource Centre in Launceston and was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The highest-polling Liberal candidate in 2010 was Michael Ferguson, making his state electoral debut after serving as federal member for Bass from 2004, when he unseated Michelle O’Byrne, until 2007, when he was defeated by Labor’s Jodie Campbell. Ferguson polled an exceptionaly strong 25.0% to take a second Liberal seat vacated by former party leader Sue Napier, who bowed out a month before the 2010 election owing to a recurrence of the breast cancer to which she succumbed the following August. Ferguson was noted as a social conservative and a member of the state party’s ascendant Right, having been director of the Tasmanian Family Institute. He has accordingly been identified with causes including opposition to gay adoption laws, abortion and stem cell research.

In the wake of Napier’s departure, the only Liberal incumbent at the election was Peter Gutwein, who first won election in 2002 with 9.1% of the vote. His win came at the expense of fellow Liberal David Fry, who had filled a vacancy mid-term. Gutwein went against party policy in his debut term by calling for an end to old-growth logging, and was briefly dumped from the front bench after voting in favour of a Greens motion calling for a commission of inquiry into child sex abuse. He was restored after the 2006 election in education and further gained police later in the year, before recovering Treasury when Will Hodgman relinquished it in August 2008. Currently he holds Treasury together with forestry and industry.

The Liberals have a further three candidates vying for a hoped-for third seat for the party: Sarah Courtney, owner of a Tamar Valley vineyard; Barry Jarvis, the mayor of Dorset; and Leonie McNair, co-principal of the Launceston Preparatory School.

Kim Booth returned the Greens to Bass at the 2002 election after they emerged empty-handed at the last election held under the seven-member regime in 1996, and the first one for five members in 1998. Curiously, Booth’s background was as the owner and operator of a building and saw-milling company, and also as deputy mayor of Meander Valley. After running unsuccessfully in 1998, Booth was comfortably elected in 2002 as the party scored fractionally short of a full quota in their own right, easily making up the rest on Labor preferences. He had a much tougher time in 2006, when the Greens vote fell from 16.5% to 13.6%, and was initially thought by most observers to be headed for defeat. However, he eventually prevailed by 138 votes after benefiting from a high rate of exhausted Labor votes, and from Labor voters who crossed to the Greens after casting a personal vote for Michelle O’Byrne. There were no such problems in 2010, when the Greens vote rose to a new high of 21.0%. After the election, Booth revealed he had been the only dissenter in the five-person Greens party room against the Labor-Greens alliance which saw his collegues Nick McKim and Cassy O’Connor assume positions in cabinet. His running mate on the Greens ticket is Amy Tyler.

Others: The lead candidate of the Palmer United Party would appear to be Chris Dobson, a bus operator and former RAAF airframe fitter. Also on the ticket are Mark Hines, a former electrical engineer with the army; Tim Parish, a George Town councillor; and Brian Gunst, a teacher. There are two further candidates: Ray Kroeze of the Australian Christians, and independent Brett Lucas.

Tasmanian election: March 15

Another headache for election watchers as Tasmania again goes to the polls on the same day as South Australia.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has confirmed March 15 as her government’s date with the polls, which for the second successive occasion means a super Saturday on which elections are held in both Tasmania and South Australia. My most recent poll aggregate chart is featured below, encompassing the crudely bias-adjusted results of 14 EMRS and four ReachTEL polls.

UPDATE (17/1): Kevin Bonham and Ben Raue at The Tally Room have typically excellent reviews of the situation, complete with candidate overviews and such. My own overview will appear in Crikey later today.