Pembroke by-election live

Live coverage of the count for today’s by-election for the Tasmanian Legislative Council seat of Pembroke.

8.16pm. With all the booths now in, and 4539 pre-polls besides, that’s it for the evening. Labor did markedly better on both pre-polls and postals, which increased in number by a third, than election day votes, which were down 13%. Their candidate — whose name, I should observe, is Luke Edmunds — ends the night on 39.5%, with Liberal candidate Gregory Brown on 28.8% and Deborah Brewer of the Greens on 18.7%. I would imagine that Labor’s winning margin after preferences would be pushing 10%, little changed from 8.65% in 2019.

7.30pm. Howrah booth brings the swing against Labor inside 7% and the Greens vote down to 19.3%. This has been by some distance the biggest booth, with 2616 formal votes to Lindisfarne Village’s 1251.

7.27pm. There are also 1447 postals in and they have been strong for Labor, such that I’ve now got their swing down to 7.4% and their projected total to 37.8% with the Liberals on 27.8%. As I suspected, these votes have drawn the Greens back to 21.2%.

7.23pm. Bellerive booth in. Swing against Labor now up to 9.2%, but that’s matched by a continuing rise in the Greens vote, now at 23.3%. Preferences will presumably prevent the Greens finishing second, as they will be from Shooters and an independent with a background in the Liberal Party.

7.15pm. Lindisfarne Village also fails to change the situation, except to note that the Greens vote has crept up to 22.9%. It will probably come down a bit on postals though.

7.10pm. Geilston Bay makes four booths out of ten. I now have the primary vote swing against Labor up to 8.4%, which doesn’t fundamentally change the situation.

6.56pm. The Montagu Bay and Mornington booths are in, making for three out of a total of ten, and I now make it a 1.4% primary vote swing to the Liberals with Labor down 6.6%. The Greens are still riding high on 21.7%, and I’m projecting primary vote totals of 38.6% for Labor and 26.7% for Liberal. That suggests a pretty comfortable win for Labor with a similar margin to last time, regardless of what might happen with the preferences from Shooters and the independent, who are on 3.4% and 9.8% respectively.

6.44pm. The first booth in is Tranmere, and the raw numbers suggest a fairly close race that Labor would be well placed to win on Greens preferences, although it’s still far too early to say. The outstanding fact of the result is that the Greens are on 20.0% with 106 votes out of 529. Labor is duly down 7.3% on its 2019 result, when there was no Greens candidate, while the Liberals are up 5.5%, which is reflected in a lower independent vote — conservative independent Tony Mulder polled 22.8% at this booth in his comeback attempt in 2019, whereas the only independent at this election, Hans Willink, is on 11.9%. However, there are only 529 votes for the booth this time compared with 2063 last time, so it’s probably in a different location and not entirely amenable to swings based on booth-matching.

6pm. Polls have closed; results from the Tasmanian Electoral Commission will be published here. This being an urban electorate with fairly large booths, I would not expect the count to be particularly swift, but there may be at least one booth result along in 30 to 45 minutes or so.

5pm. A by-election is being held today to fill a vacancy in Tasmania’s 15-member Legislative Council for the seat of Pembroke, which covers the eastern shore of Hobart’s Derwent river directly opposite the city centre, from Lindisfarne south through Bellerive to Tranmere. This follows the resignation of Labor member Jo Siejka, who defeated a Liberal candidate by 8.65% to win the seat’s last periodic election in 2019. Unlike a lot of elections for Legislative Council seats, this is a fully partisan contest involving Labor, the Liberals and the Greens, together with Shooters Fishers and Farmers and one independent. Polls will close as always at 6pm local time, followed here by live coverage of the count.

Preference flows and by-elections (open thread)

A look at preference flow data from the 2019 and 2022 elections, and the latest on looming by-elections in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and (sort of) Western Australia.

Something I really should have noted in last week’s post is that the Australian Electoral Commission has now published two-candidate preferred preference flow data from the election, showing how minor party and independent preferences flowed between Labor and the Coalition. The table below shows how Labor’s share increased for the four biggest minor parties and independents collectively (and also its fraction decrease for “others”) from the last election to this and, in the final column, how much difference each made to Labor’s total share of two-party preferred, which was 52.13%.

Note that the third column compares how many preference Labor received with how many they would have if preference flows had been last time, which is not the same thing as how many preferences they received. Labor in fact got nearly 2% more two-party vote share in the form of Greens preferences at this election because the Greens primary vote was nearly 2% higher this time.

State and territory by-election:

• Six candidates for the August 20 by-election in the Northern Territory seat of Fannie Bay, in ballot paper order: Brent Potter, described in a report as a “government adviser, army veteran and father of four”, for Labor; independent George Mamouzellos; independent Raj Samson Rajwin, who was a Senate candidate for the United Australia Party; Jonathan Parry of the Greens; independent Leah Potter; and Ben Hosking, “small business owner and former police officer”, for the Country Liberals.

• Following the resignation of Labor member Jo Siejka, a by-election will be held for the Tasmanian Legislative Council seat of Pembroke on September 10. Siejka defeated a Liberal candidate by 8.65% to win the eastern Hobart seat at the periodic election in 2019. There will also be a recount of 2021 election ballots in Franklin to determine which of the three unelected Liberals will replace Jacquie Petrusma following her resignation announcement a fortnight ago. As Kevin Bonham explains, the order of probability runs Bec Enders, Dean Young and James Walker.

• Still no sign of a date for Western Australia’s North West Central by-election.

Tasmanian upper house elections live

Live coverage of the count for elections for three of the 15 seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council.

8.20pm. All booths are now in from Huon, plus 1511 pre-polls: Labor is on 26.2%, Dean Harriss 23.3%, the Greens 21.9% the Liberals 21.1% and the Local Party 7.4%. I would guess that the Greens will go out after the Local Party and their preferences will increase Labor’s lead. The question will then be if Liberal preferences flow heavily enough to Harriss to overcome it. This being my last update for the evening, I will reiterate that Labor incumbent Josh Willie and independent incumbent Tania Rattray have retained their seats of Elwick and McIntyre. So Huon could either boost Labor to five seats in the chamber out of 15, or leave them on parity with the Liberals at four, and weaken them in that an ex-Labor independent will be replaced with what I presume to be a conservative one, based on his father’s history as a Liberal MP.

7.16pm. All but three of 21 booths in now from Huon, and the results of Labor 26.3%, Dean Harris 24.9%, Greens 22.0%, Liberal 18.9% and Local Party 7.9% are more closely resembling my projections.

7.05pm. Thirteen booths out of 21 in from Huon, the latest batch including the large Cygnet booth. There’s now little to separate the Greens on 25.4%, Dean Harriss on 24.1% and Labor on 23.4%. My previous assessment still holds. To reiterate: Tania Rattray looks set to win McIntyre with between 50% and 60% of the primary vote, Labor’s Josh Willie will hold Elwick with around half the vote and the rest split evenly between an independent and the Greens.

7.00pm. I’d forgotten the fact that the elections in 2020 were postponed from May to August due to COVID. Presumably we will not see a repeat of nearly half the vote being postals. As such, my booth-matched projections in Huon are probably underselling the Greens, whose current 26.0% primary vote may be nearly as impressive as it looks. But I still suspect they will have a hard time staying ahead of both Labor and Dean Harriss, the latter of whom should get a strong flow of preferences from the Liberals, who at present seem likely to go out before the Greens.

6.52pm. The raw results in Huon still look good for the Greens at 26.4% with seven booths in out of 21, after which there’s a crush between Dean Harriss, Labor and Liberal, presently in that order, at around 20%. But there were a huge amount of postals in 2020 — actually slightly more than election day votes, this being the peak of COVID — on which the Greens did not poll well, which is why I’m projecting them to finish third if not fourth. That suggests it will come down to who out of Labor and Dean Harriss, evenly placed on the primary vote, get the most preferences.

6.47pm. Five booths now in from Elwick, with hardly any change: we’re looking at around half the vote for Labor and a quarter each for the Greens and the independent.

6.45pm. Howden booth in from Huon — this booth wasn’t used in 2020 so I have no accommodation for it in my booth matching. But it’s a stronger result for the Liberals, whose candidate has now moved into third place ahead of Dean Harriss. The Greens lead Labor 27.5% to 23.1%, but my booth-matching suggests it will be downhill for them from here.

6.43pm. Collinsvale booth in from Elwick: Labor’s Josh Willie a fraction under 50%, Greens and independent 25.1% apiece.

6.41pm. A very quick count in McIntyre, courtesy of its many small rural booths. Tania Rattray is now a shade below 60%. But nothing yet from Elwick.

6.37pm. Two more booths in from Huon. Greens candidate Gideon Cordover still leads on 29.6%, but I’m now recording his swing at only 2.2%, since the new booths were ones where the Greens did well last time also. Labor’s Toby Thorpe is second on 22.7%, which is a 10.9% swing against, remembering that the Liberals weren’t in the race this time but are now. Dean Harriss’s 20.6% is a swing in his favour of 7.9%. If these swings hold, the result will be Harriss 24.1%, Labor 20.4% and Greens 19.7%. I would guess that Labor and Greens preferences will heavily flow to each other, so it’s likely a question of which one wins. The Liberals on 16.3% and the Local Party on 10.8% are not in contention. I do believe the Greens have never won a seat in the Legislative Council before.

6.34pm. Tania Rattray is down to 61.6% with six booths in from McIntyre; David Downie won the Epping booth, maintaining the pattern of him doing well enough in Northern Midlands but not making much of an impression elsewhere.

6.31pm. Huon is off to an interesting start with two booths in, with the Greens candidate leading on 29.4%. This is a 12.5% swing to them compared with the 2020 election result. Labor is on 22.6%, a 17.1% swing against. Independent Dean Harriss is in the mix with 20.2%, a 5.0% swing in his favour compared with his result in 2020. The Liberals so far seem to be striking out on 16.3% (they did not run in 2020).

6.26pm. Three booths in from McIntyre, and with Tania Rattray on 250 votes out of 359, I think it’s clear already that the other independent, David Downie, won’t threaten her. One of the three is Avoca, from Downie’s turf in Northern Midlands, and while the margin there is a lot narrower, Rattray has still won the booth.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Tasmanian Legislative Council elections for Huon, McIntyre and Elwick, which I name in what seem to be to be descending order of interest. The former pits Labor against Liberal in a Labor-held seat, but also has an independent who could prove competitive. McIntyre pits an independent candidate against what seems a reasonably well credentialed independent challenger. Elwick, unless I’m missing something, seems very likely to stay with Labor. The current numbers in the chamber are Liberal four, Labor four and independents seven. Labor did have five, but the now retiring member for Huon resigned from the party last Augus

Boothby and ACT Senate polls

Labor looking good in Boothby, a promising result for ACT Senate independent David Pocock, and a quick look at today’s upper house elections in Tasmania.

Two bits of private polling to have emerged over the past day:

The Advertiser reports a uComms poll for the SA Forest Products Association finds Labor with a 55-45 lead in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, held by the Liberals on a margin of 1.4% and to be vacated with the retirement of Nicolle Flint. The primary votes are Liberal 32.6%, Labor 31.7%, Greens 10.5% and independent Jo Dyer 5.5% – an element of the remainder would have been undecided and posed a forced-response follow-up, for which the results are not provided. Respondent-allocated preferences among the independents and minor parties flowed over 70% to Labor. The automated phone poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 810.

• The Canberra Times reports a Redbridge poll of the Australian Capital Territory Senate race for Climate 200 had Labor Senator Katy Gallagher on 27% (down from 39.3% in 2019), Liberal Senator Zed Seselja on 25% (down from 32.4%), independent David Pocock on 21%, the Greens on 11% (down from 17.7%), independent Kim Rubenstein on 6% and the United Australia Party on 6% (up from 2.3%). These figures suggest Seselja would lose his seat to Pocock, although the fall in the Labor vote is enough to suggest that any combination of two out of Gallagher, Seselja and Pocock is possible. The automated phone poll was conducted on April 23 and 24 from a sample of 1064.

The Age/Herald had a report yesterday based on a combination of the last two Resolve Strategic federal polls, allowing journalist David Crowe to analyse New South Wales, Victorian and Queensland breakdowns from plausibly large sample size (though only as high as 509 in the case of Queensland). However, since breakdowns for these states are published with each monthly poll, it’s old news as far as I’m concerned.

In other electoral news, today is the day of Tasmania’s periodic Legislative Council elections, which this year encompass the Hobart seat of Elwick, which seems likely to be retained for Labor by Josh Willie; the north-eastern rural seat of McIntyre, where long-serving independent Tania Rattray might or might not be troubled by independent rival David Downie; and what is technically a by-election in Huon, covering the towns south of Hobart, resulting from the resignation of Labor-turned-independent member Bastian Seidel. The latter would seem to be a competitive race involving Labor, Liberal and three other candidates, and constitutes an electoral test of sorts for the state’s new Premier, Jeremy Rockliff. This site will feature live commentary of some description from 6pm.

Liberals by any other name

Electoral law changes rammed through parliament, New South Wales state boundaries finalised, and some by-election news.

Significant electoral developments of the past few days:

• The federal government’s package of four electoral bills, which were explained in this earlier post, whizzed through parliament this week with the support of Labor (UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that one of the four, dealing with the threshold for registering as a political campaigner, was in fact not considered). Most contentiously, this will give the Liberal Party exclusive rights to the word “liberal” in their registered party name, with the effect that the Liberal Democrats and the New Liberals will have to change names before the next election. It is unclear what the former plans to do, but Victor Kline, leader and registered officer of the New Liberals, says the party will simply identify itself as TNL.

• The new laws also mean that parties will need to have 1500 members to maintain their registration unless they have a sitting member of parliament, which by the reckoning of Kevin Bonham could affect as many of 24 out of the 45 currently registered parties. Those privy to the sitting member exemption include Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, thanks to former Liberal MP Craig Kelly’s decision join, along with the Centre Alliance, Jacqui Lambie Network, Katter’s Australian Party and Rex Patrick Team.

• The state redistribution for New South Wales has been finalised, without much change to the draft boundaries that were published last November. Antony Green has a pendulum with estimated margins for the final boundaries.

Two minor by-elections coming up:

• For the Northern Territory parliament: a by-election will be held on September 11 for the Darwin hinterland seat of Daly, where Country Liberal Party member Ian Sloan has retired due to ill health a year after an election at which Labor was returned to power. Sloan held out against Labor by 1.2% at the election, at which he succeeded retiring CLP member Gary Higgins. The CLP’s candidate is Kris Civitarese, a Barkly councillor; Labor’s is Dheran Young, a former advisor to Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

• For the Tasmanian Legislative Council: a by-election will be required for a yet-to-be determined date early next year for the seat of Huon, encompassing the southern edge of Hobart and its hinterland, after Labor member Bastian Seidel announced he would quit parliament at the final sitting for the year in December. Seidel has complained of a “toxic environment” and “obvious problems” in the party, which would appear to refer to the sexual harassment allegations against David O’Byrne, who was compelled to resign as party leader in July after just three weeks in the job and is now facing calls from within the party, including leader Rebecca White, to quit parliament.

Preselections, defections and state elections

Jockeying begins in earnest for Liberal preselections in Warringah and for the Tasmanian Senate ticket, and a new milestone in the decomposition of Nick Xenophon’s party.

There probably won’t be any polls this week, with the fortnightly Essential Research and tri-weekly Newspoll having dropped last week. But there will of course be a Northern Territory election on Saturday, which is the subject of its own thread here.

Other news:

Sue Bailey of the Launceston Examiner reports that Eric Abetz is expected to retain the top position on the Tasmanian Liberals’ Senate ticket at the next election, contrary to earlier reports that Jonathan Duniam was planning to topple him, after the two “kissed and made up”. However, the report further says that “another senior Liberal” is doing the numbers for the third candidate who will be seeking re-election, Wendy Askew, who filled the Senate vacancy created last year when her brother, David Bushby, took up a diplomatic post in the United States. Also: “It is believed Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants the pre-selection delayed until next year so as not to be a distraction during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Michael Koziol of the Age/Herald has a story on the willing Liberal preselection contest in Warringah, which Tony Abbott lost to independent Zali Steggall at last year’s election. Abbott loyalists are said to be advancing the claim of Sacha Grebe, a former Scott Morrison staffer and employee of lobbying firm DPG Advisory, whose principal is David Gazard, a Morrison ally and candidate for Eden-Monaro in 2010. Grebe backer and local party activist Walter Villatora is engaged in a seemingly forlorn bid to have the preselection held as soon as possible. Others said to be in the hunt are “state MP Natalie Ward, state executive member Alex Dore and Menzies Research Centre manager Tim James”.

• There has been a change in the party balance of the Senate with Rex Patrick’s resignation from the Centre Alliance to sit as an independent. The Advertiser ($) has also reported the party’s two remaining members, Stirling Griff in the Senate and Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie, are the subject of approaches from Liberals to defect to the party, although the notion is meeting bitter resistance from conservatives.

• The results of Tasmania’s recent upper house elections have been finalised, and as expected have resulted in the election of Labor’s Bastian Seidel in the seat of Huon south of Hobart, and of Liberal candidate Jo Palmer in Rosevears. The former was achieved over independent incumbent Robert Armstrong by the comfortable margin of 7.3% at the final count (12,284 votes to 9,152), but the latter proved a close run thing, with Jo Palmer landing 260 votes clear of independent candidate Janie Finlay, 11,492 votes (50.6%) or 11,232 (49.4%).

Tasmanian upper house elections: Huon and Rosevears

A look at the two contests to be decided on Saturday for seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council.

Live commentary

Final for night. Labor’s Bastian Seidel appears headed for a comfortable win over independent incumbent Robert Armstrong in Huon, who he has outpolled 31.4% to 19.0%, with the Greens on 17.2% and conservative independent Dean Harriss on 16.3%. According to Kevin Bonham in comments, preferences from the Greens are flowing to Labor with such force that preferences overall are likely to increase rather than reduce Seidel’s existing margin. Conversely, Rosevears, which is being vacated by a retiring independent, might be won either by Liberal candidate Jo Palmer, on 41.4%, or independent Janie Finlay, on 30.8%. Labor’s candidate made no impression, polling 9.1%, with the Greens on 7.3% and the remainder divided between two independents.

9.25pm. The postals are in from Huon, and independent incumbent Robert Armstrong has moved to second place with 19.0%, with the Greens on 17.2% and Dean Harriss on 16.3%, but Labor’s Bastian Seidel still well in the lead on 31.4%. Presumably that will mean a final count between Seidel and Armstrong, with the former’s lead still looking insurmountable.

9.19pm. That pretty much is all the pre-polls actually, except out-of-division ones, which will be negligible.

9.13pm. The promised batch of around 5000 postals has been added in Rosevears, and both seats have had pre-polls added, though I’m presuming not all of them. These have only slightly improved Liberal candidate Jo Palmer’s lead over independent Janie Finlay in Rosevears, which is now at 41.4% to 30.8%. Voters in these elections can number as few as three boxes, so around 10% of preferences exhaust. That leaves Finlay needing a bit more than 70% of allocated preferences, which seems doable, although Palmer may be more popular with minor party voters than the average Liberal. The pre-polls in Huon haven’t changed the situation much.

8.00pm. All booths now in from Rosevears, Palmer’s lead at 30.0% to 16.4%.

7.52pm. Kevin Bonham, who follows all this a lot more closely than I do, says around 5000 postals will be added in each seat later tonight, which should add around a third to the vote totals when they happen. Postals tend to favour major parties, so Jo Palmer (Rosevears) and especially Bastian Seidel (Huon) should still be rated the front-runners. Still one more booth to report from Rosevears.

7.43pm. All but one booth now in from Rosevears — my contention that the Launceston booths might favour Janie Finlay isn’t being borne out, with Jo Palmer now leading 40.3% to 30.7%.

7.38pm. All booths are now in from Huon, and the situation is much as per my last update, except that Labor are back above 30% now. A point I’ve been failing to emphasise throughout this is that there has been a big increase in postal and pre-poll voting. I can’t see that changing the dynamic in Huon, but Rosevears remains up in the air.

7.33pm. Only Blackmans Bay remain to be added in Huon. Labor’s vote is now inside 30% at 29.4%, and the Greens are inside 20% at 19.7%, while little separates incumbent Robert Armstrong and conservative independent Dean Harriss, both a bit below 17%. I would guess that one of the latter two will make it to second place on the other’s preferences, but Greens preferences would then have to behave very strangely to deny Labor a win.

7.30pm. Eleven booths in now from Rosevears, with another two to come (both in Launceston and probably quite big), and Palmer’s lead has actually widened to 41.8% to 30.7%.

7.28pm. Sixteen out of 19 booths in from Huon, situation there much as before.

7.21pm. Now eight booths in from Rosevears, and there has been a significant break in favour of Liberal candidate Jo Palmer, who leads independent Janie Finlay 40.2% to 32.3%. However, the outstanding booths are mostly in Launceston, which is Finlay’s council turf. Too close to call.

7.11pm. A fifth booth in from Rosevears brings a slight narrowing in Jo Palmer’s lead, now at 37.3% to Janie Finlay’s 36.1%, meaning the latter still looks a likely winner to me.

7.04pm. Fourteen booths out of 19 now in from Huon, Greens now down to 19.7% but otherwise only small changes.

7.00pm. With 10 booths in out of 19, the order in Huon is now Labor (30.7%), Greens (21.2%), Armstrong (16.2%), Harriss (14.8%). It may be that Armstrong is appreciating as the urban end of the electorate comes in, but it’s still hard to see how he overcomes the combination of Labor and any normal-looking preference flow from the Greens.

6.56pm. Four booths in from Rosevears, which is very much a two-horse race between Liberal candidate Jo Palmer on 39.6% and independent Janie Finlay on 37.1%. Palmer would need the gap to be wider than that to hold out what will presumably be a strong flow of preferences to Finlay.

6.52pm. Seven booths in now from Huon, and Labor has softened to 30.1%. Greens candidate Pat Caruana doing well with 23.7%, though presumably not well enough. My guess is that there will be reasonably tight preferences between Robert Armstrong and Dean Harriss, both of whom are a bit below 15%, such that one or the other will finish second, but that Greens preferences will ultimately decide the contest for Labor. However, there will be a lot of variables in play requiring local knowledge that I’m not on top of.

6.46pm. First results from Huon are no less surprising, and in this case far happier for Labor. With five booths in, independent incumbent Robert Armstrong is running fourth on 14.9%, and the Labor candidate is well in the lead with 35.4%. Pat Caruana of the Greens is second on 16.5%, Liberal-friendly independent Dean Harriss third on 15.4%.

6.43pm. Two booths in from Rosevears (Kelso and Prospect), showing remarkably weak results for Labor, who are on all of 9.0%. This looks like a contest between the Liberal candidate, Jo Palmer, and independent Janie Finlay, who are on 40.5% and 36.0% respectively.

6.08pm. Make that 45 minutes, because the TEC advises that COVID-19 measures should delay results by around 15 minutes.

6pm. Polls have closed. I guess we’ll get results from some of the smaller booths in Rosevears in about half an hour — this is the more interesting of the two contests for mine, as in the absence of any reason to think differently, I would expect Robert Armstrong to win comfortably in Huon. I’ve got a spreadsheet set up to calculate projections in Rosevears by comparing booth results with equivalents from the federal election, inclusive of a two-party projection, assuming the Labor and Liberal candidates are indeed the ones that make it to the final count.

Overview

The periodical elections for Tasmania’s Legislative Council, normally scheduled for early May but held off on this occasion due to COVID-19, will finally be held on Saturday. The members of the 15-seat chamber are elected annually two or three seats at a time over a six-year cycle. A related feature of the chamber is that it is dominated by independents, with elections often having more of the character of local government elections than highly charged partisan affairs. The Liberals have generally been more relaxed about this state of affairs — as Kevin Bonham puts it, the party “doesn’t run against incumbents who don’t annoy it”. Labor currently holds four seats in the chamber, all of them in and around Hobart, and the Liberals hold two regional seats.

The two seats up for election tomorrow are both held by independents, one of whom is seeking re-election and the other is retiring. Both major parties are contesting the vacant seat, but the Liberals are leaving the field free to the incumbent in the other.

Huon

Candidates in ballot paper order: Debbie Louise Armstrong (Independent); Robert Armstrong (Independent); Garrick Cameron (Shooters Fishers Farmers); Pat Caruana (Greens); Dean Harriss (Independent); Bastian Seidel (Labor).

Huon covers the southernmost parts of Tasmania including Blackmans Bay and Margate on Hobart’s southern outskirts, small towns to the south including Huonville and Cygnet, and the unpopulated southern part of the World Heritage area in the state’s south-west. Seeking re-election is independent Robert Armstrong, who came to the seat at the previous election in May 2014 after being mayor of Huon Valley since 2001.

The seat was vacated in 2014 after Peter Harriss, who had held the seat since 1996 as an independent, was elected as a Liberal for the lower house division of Franklin at the state election the previous March. The highest profile candidate in 2014 was the endorsed Liberal, Peter Hodgman, the 67-year-old uncle of Will Hodgman and the younger brother of his father, the late Michael Hodgman. Hodgman led the primary vote from a field of seven candidates with 26.1%, but preferences flowed to Armstrong with sufficient strength to give him a 6.9% winning margin at the final count, off a primary vote base of 20.4%.

Kevin Bonham’s monitoring of parliamentary votes leads him to conclude that Armstrong is a “conservative independent who usually votes with the Liberal Party”, which no doubt explains the party’s decision not to field a candidate. This leaves Armstrong facing Bastian Seidel of Labor, a general practitioner; Pat Caruana of the Greens, a former journalist and current staffer to Senator Nick McKim; Garrick Cameron of Shooters Fishers Farmers, a rough-as-guts social media celebrity; and two rival independents. The latter are Dean Harriss, a Huonville builder and the son of Paul Harriss, and Debbie Armstrong, a Huonville hairdresser and distant relative of the incumbent.

Rosevears

Candidates in ballot paper order: Jack Davenport (Greens); Janie Finlay (Independent); David Fry (Independent); Vivienne Gale (Independent); Jess Greene (Labor); Jo Palmer (Liberal).

Rosevears includes the western suburbs of Launceston, which provide about 60% of its voters, and extends north-westwards to the coast through rural territory on the western bank of the Tamar River, encompassing the mining town of Beaconsfield and nearby Beauty Point. It will be vacated at the election with the retirement of Kerry Finch, who came to the seat in 2002 after building a high profile in 24 years as a local ABC Radio presenter. The 2014 election was a two-horse race between Finch and Liberal candidate Don Morris, but the latter’s attempt to portray Finch as being “just like the Greens” failed to prevent Finch winning re-election with 60.3% of the vote.

In Finch’s absence, each of the three main players in Tasmanian party politics are in the field: Jo Palmer, former Seven Network newsreader, for the Liberals; Jess Greene, West Tamar councillor and Community and Public Sector organiser, for Labor; and Jack Davenport, a social worker, for the Greens. There are three independents: Janie Finlay, who has been on Launceston City Council since 2000, and was mayor from 2002 to 2005; David Fry, a Cricket Tasmania administrator who held a lower house seat in Bass as a Liberal from 2000 to 2002; and Vivienne Gale, a self-storage business owner with conservative political views.

The week that was

Party turmoil in Victoria and Queensland, state and territory seat entitlements for the next federal parliament determined, and more polling on attitudes to demonstrations in the United States.

After a particularly eventful week, a whole bunch of electorally relevant news to report:

• The last official population updates have confirmed next month’s official determination of how many seats each state and territory will be entitled to in the next parliament will cause the abolition of seats in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and the creation of a new one in Victoria for the second consecutive term. Antony Green offers detailed consideration of how the redistributions might look, suggesting Victoria’s will most likely result in the creation of another safe Labor seat in Melbourne’s outer north-west, while Western Australia’s could either mash together Hasluck and Burt in eastern Perth, or abolish the safe Liberal south-of-the-river seat of Tangney, with knock-on effects that would weaken Labor’s position in Fremantle and/or Burt.

• In the wake of the 60 Minutes/The Age expose on Adem Somyurek’s branch stacking activities on Sunday, Labor’s national executive has taken control of all the Victorian branch’s federal and state preselections for the next three years. Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin have been brought in to serve as administrators until January, and an audit of the branch’s 16,000 members will be conducted to ensure that are genuine consenting members and paid their own fees.

• Ipsos has published polling on the recent demonstrations in the United States from fifteen countries, which found Australians to be supportive of what were specified as “peaceful protests in the US” and disapproving of Donald Trump’s handling of them, although perhaps in slightly lesser degree than other more liberal democracies. Two outliers were India and Russia, which produced some seemingly anomalous results: the former had a strangely high rating for Trump and the latter relatively low support for the protests, yet both were uniquely favourable towards the notion that “more violent protests are an appropriate response”.

• The Tasmanian government has announced the periodical Legislative Council elections for the seats of Huon and Rosevears will be held on August 1, having been delayed from their normally allotted time of the first Tuesday in May.

In Queensland, where the next election is a little over four months away:

• After floating the possibility of an election conducted entirely by post, the Queensland government announced this week that the October 31 state election will be conducted in a more-or-less normal fashion. However, pre-poll voting is being all but actively encouraged, to the extent that Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath says there will be an “election period” rather than an election day. This will mean “more pre-poll locations, longer pre-poll hours, and more pre-poll voting days in the two weeks prior to the election”.

• The Liberal National Party opposition was thrown into turmoil last week after the Courier-Mail ($) received internal polling showing Labor leading 51-49 in Redlands, 52-48 in Gaven, 55-45 in Mansfield and 58-42 in inner urban Mount Ommaney. The parties were tied in the Sunshine Coast hinterland seat of Glass House, while the LNP led by 52-48 in the Gold Coast seat of Currumbin, which it recently retained by a similar margin at a by-election. Frecklington’s supporters pointed the finger at the state branch president, Dave Hutchinson, who was reportedly told by Frecklington that his position was untenable after Clive Palmer hired him as a property consultant in January. The party room unanimously affirmed its support for Frecklington on Monday, as mooted rival David Crisafulli ruled out a challenge ahead of the election.

• The Queensland parliament this week passed an array of electoral law changes including campaign spending caps of $92,000 per candidate and limitations on signage at polling places. The changes have been criticised ($) by the Liberal National Party and Katter’s Australian Party, who complain that union advertising will now dominate at polling booths, and that the laws was pushed through with indecent haste on Tuesday and Wednesday.