Tasmanian upper house: Nelson, Pembroke, Montgomery

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

Live commentary

8.34pm. Still a few booths to come in from Nelson, but I’m ready to summarise and wrap it up for the night. In short, the Liberals retained Montgomery, and did so off a better result than they managed at the 2016 election; Labor retained Pembroke, and ditto (although their primary vote was lower). In Nelson, what we have at this stage is votes widely scattered between ten different candidates, and little idea of knowing what might happen when preferences are distributed – although Kevin Bonham, who knows a lot more about how preferences behave in these elections, thinks it unlikely that the Liberal will win. The seat will more likely be won by one of two independents (Vica Bailey or Meg Webb), neither of whom is former Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie.

8.03pm. All booths in but the mobile one in Montgomery, plus a batch of postals, and here Liberal leads Labor 43.2% to 25.8%. And again for what it’s worth, the booths here went Labor 41.8%, Liberal 39.6% at the 2016 federal election.

7.58pm. The count has been quick in Pembroke – all polling booths in plus a batch of postals. Labor leads Liberal 45.7% to 24.8% — for what it’s worth, the booths here went Labor 50.0% and Liberal 35.9% at the 2016 federal election.

7.38pm. Montgomery. Leonie Hiscutt is looking good now, on a number of fronts. She has done well in three newly added town booths, essentially maintaining her 2013 vote after falling by around 6% in the rural booths, where she lost votes to Shooters Fishers and Farmers. My projection for her is up to 41.4%, and I’m now inclined to think she will do well on Shooters preferences, if these are voters who supported her formerly. Furthermore, the town booths have put Labor well ahead of independent Cheryl Fuller, setting a final Liberal-versus-Labor count that Labor can’t win.

7.34pm. Nic Street keeps falling in Nelson, now down to 24.0% with nine booths in out of 13.

7.33pm. Nineteen booths out of 29 from Montgomery, and there’s a big disconnect between Leonie Hiscutt’s raw 45.7%, which looks safe for her, and the 6.2% drop in her primary vote out of those 14 booths that can readily be booth-matched from last time. This partly because Hiscutt has weak booths to come in Ulverstone. The projection suggests around 40%, which could be dangerous for her if independent Cheryl Fuller gets ahead of Labor. However, Labor’s lead in that respect continues to widen, increasing the rate of preferences Fuller will need from Shooters to take the fight up to Hiscutt, if her primary vote indeed ends up as low as I’m projecting it.

7.23pm. Six out of 12 booths in from Nelson, and Liberal candidate Nic Street is down to 26.5%. One vote separates Vica Bailey and Madeleine Ogilvie for second place, though the matter will obviously be decided by preferences. Voters are only directed to number a minimum of three boxes, so with 10 candidates in the field there will be a fairly substantial exhaustion rate. Flows of preferences in these circumstances are an arcane subject on which I can offer little insight.

7.10pm. Labor’s Jo Siejka headed for an easy win in Pembroke, now up 19.6% on her vote in 2017 with two booths in out of 12.

7.05pm. My projections for Montgomery with 15 booths in still have Liberal member Leonie Hiscutt inside 40% on the primary vote, which looks dangerous for her, but there are four booths out of the mix which I’m not booth-matching because they weren’t in use in 2013, and those are stronger for her. Labor has pulled into second ahead of Cheryl Fuller, so it looks like Fuller will need a solid flow of Shooters preferences to make it to second, but for which Hiscutt should be able to hold. However, I’m less clear now that she won’t prevail in a final count between herself and Fuller.

7.03pm. First booth in from Nelson is Sandy Bay Beach. With the vote scattered among ten candidates, this is going to be very difficult to read. Liberal candidate Nic Street is well clear on the primary vote on 30.4%, but preferences will presumably flow heavily against him. Independent and former Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie is only in third place on 14.2%, the behind Vica Bailey on 15.2%, who perhaps not coincidentally drew first place on the ballot paper.

7.00pm. The first booth in Pembroke, Mornington, looks very good for Labor incumbent Jo Siejka, who scores 55.4% in a booth where she got 41.1% in the 2017 by-election. This is a strong booth for Labor, so I’m projecting it to 47.5%, though that’s still enough for a comfortable victory. The Liberal vote is steady at 21.4%.

6.45pm. Eight booths in now from Montgomery out of 29, and the previous assessment pretty much still holds – Liberal headed for 39%, Fuller’s raw lead over Labor at 20.7% to 18.8%. I should note however that Shooters are on 16.2%, and their preferences may very well keep Fuller ahead of Labor. If Labor makes second, the Liberal (and we’re talking about an incumbent here, Leonie Hiscutt) should win. Otherwise, she risks losing to the independent, Cheryl Fuller.

6.40pm. There are five booths in from Montgomery, and from the four that can be booth-matched, the Liberals would appear to be down 8.1%, which projects to a total of 38%. I’m guessing that would be too low if an independent finished ahead of Labor, and on that score it’s touch and go, with independent Cheryl Fuller on 20.5% to Labor’s 19.7%. My feeling would be though that Labor might pull ahead as larger booths come in.


Polls have closed for Tasmania’s there upper house elections. To the lay observer, Pembroke and Montgomery may be respectively read as a barometers of partisan sentiment in the south and north of the state, but otherwise these are, psephologically speaking, rather boutique affairs. Live commentary will follow here, but Kevin Bonham will do it better. Precis for the three electorates:

Nelson. Hobart’s riverside southern suburbs around Sandy Bay and the satellite town of Kingston. Jim Wilkinson is retiring after 24 years as independent member, and an uncommonly large field of ten has stepped forward hoping to fill his place. The Liberal Party has a candidate, Nic Street, and Labor has a proxy of sorts in independent Madeleine Ogilvie, which is the opposite of what ususally happens. Both are former members of the lower house – Street got a seat in Franklin on a countback in 2016 when Paul Harriss (a former upper house independent who went lower house and Liberal in 2014) retired, but failed to retain the seat in 2018, and Ogilvie was elected in Denison in 2014 but defeated in 2018, having alienated Labor supporters through her opposition to same-sex marriage. The rest of the field consists of the Greens, Shooters Fishers and Farmers and six further independents.

Pembroke. The Hobart suburbs on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. This has had a particularly partisan record, having been held for Labor by Allison Ritchie from 2001 to 2009; then being won for the Liberals by Vanessa Goodwin at the resulting by-election; and then being won for Labor by Jo Seijka at another by-election in November 2017, held when Goodwin retired after being diagnosed with brain tumours (of which she died on the day of the March 2018 state election). Siejka is opposed by a Liberal, Kristy Johnson; two independents, including Tony Mulder, who held the upper house seat of Rumney from 2011 to 2017, when he was defeated by Labor’s Sarah Lovell; another independent, Ronald Cornish; and Carlo di Falco of Shooters Fishers and Farmers.

Montgomery. Part of Burnie and the coast immediately to its east, including Penguin and Ulverstone. Liberal member Leonie Hiscutt is defending the seat, which she won at the last periodical election in 2013 upon the retirement of Sue Smith, who had held it as an independent for 16 years. She is opposed by Labor’s Michelle Rippon, independent Cheryl Fuller, and Brenton Jones of Shooters Fishers and Farmers.

EMRS: Liberal 47, Labor 30, Greens 14 in Tasmania

A fairly typical post-election honeymoon poll result for Will Hodgman’s Liberal government in Tasmania, which has also laid claim to a seat in the Legislative Council after the recent periodic elections.

EMRS has published its first poll of Tasmanian state voting intention since the March election, and it records the Liberals on 47% (compared with 51.2% at the election and 46% in the pre-election poll in February), Labor on 30% (32.6% at the election, 34% in the last poll) and Greens on 14% (10.3% and 12%). Will Hodgman holds a 47-41 lead as preferred premier, little changed on 48-41 in February. The poll was conducted from May 7 to May 10, from a sample of 1000.

While on the subject of matters Tasmanian, the results for the upper house elections on May 5 have been resolved, and the contested seat of Prosser ended up being a win for the Liberals, who again have a second seat in the chamber after losing Vanessa Goodwin to cancer. The threat to the Liberal candidate, Jane Howlett, appeared to be from independent Steve Mav, but he ended up falling well behind Labor candidate Janet Lambert to be excluded before the final count, at which case he had 5392 votes to Lambert’s 5910 and Howlett’s 6885. With the distribution of Mav’s preferences, Howlett finished ahead of Lambert by 8776 to 7889, a margin of 2.7%.

In the seat of Hobart, independent incumbent Rob Valentine’s re-election has been confirmed by an 11.0% margin over rival independent Richard Griggs, with Valentine recording 11,032 votes to Griggs’ 7051 at the final count.

Tasmanian upper house elections: Prosser and Hobart

Live count commentary and an overview of today’s elections for two seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council.

Live counting

Prosser results

Jane Howlett (Liberal)
Janet Lambert (Labor)
Steve Mav (Independent)
Tony Mulder (Independent)
Booths reporting (out of 27)

Sunday night. A few more pre-poll, postal and other votes have been added in Prosser, with no more than 421 votes still outstanding. None of this provides any illumination on what we need to know, which is whether Steve Mav can overtake Labor to finish second, and if he can gain enough preferences to overhaul Jane Howlett if so. We won’t know that until next Tuesday, as the TEC apparently has no plans to conduct an indicative preference throw. In Hobart, it has been determined that Rob Valentine has a 61-39 lead over Richard Griggs after preferences.

8.23pm. Prosser: Not quite as good a result for Mav from 1411 postals, but he’s definitely still in the hunt. Hobart: Only one booth outstanding, and the only point of interest is the size of Rob Valentine’s final winning margin over Richard Griggs.

7.59pm. Prosser: Sorell, one of the electorate’s three large booths, has now reported, and the numbers are exactly those provided to Kevin Bonham.

7.54pm. Kevin Bonham again: “I’ve seen a scrutineering sheet from prepoll with prefs of Mav and Mulder estimated to be 60-70% to Liberal and those of Playsted even.” So Howlett will clearly win if Mav doesn’t make it to second place.

Continue reading “Tasmanian upper house elections: Prosser and Hobart”

Tasmanian upper house by-election: Pembroke

Preview of today’s dry run for a Tasmanian state election due in March.

Live counting

# %
Doug Chipman (Independent) 4122 19.7%
Carlo Di Falco (SFF) 645 3.1%
Bill Harvey (Greens) 1964 9.4%
Richard James (Independent) 1538 7.3%
Jo Siejka (Labor) 6802 32.5%
James Walker (Liberal) 5388 25.7%
Hans Willink (Independent) 492 2.3%
Formal 20951
Booths counted on primary (out of 11): 11
Total as % of enrolment: 65.4%


9pm. Labor’s Jo Siejka has romped home in the provisional preference distribution with a winning margin of 11,709 to 8674, or 7.4%. The TEC has also published a Labor-versus-Chipman throw in which the winning margin is 2.4%. For that to take effect, Chipman will have to close a 200 vote deficit against Liberal candidate James Walker to make the final count, but the maximum possible number of outstanding postals is only 394.

4.50pm. There turns out to be not much in it between Chipman and the Liberal at the second last exclusion: 6174 to 5974, a margin of 200. I’m not sure about the situation with postals, but it wouldn’t seem likely that the gap is going to close. How Chipman might have done in a final count against Labor will never be known, but he would have needed something like three quarters of all preferences to have won.

4.30pm. Nothing further from the Electoral Commission, but the word on Twitter is that Labor has won comfortably, the surprise packet being Doug Chipman’s preferences, which broke about evenly.

3pm. A preliminary progressive preference count is being published exclusion by exclusion on the Electoral Commission site. So far the two independents and Shooters candidate have been excluded, and slightly more preferences have gone to Labor than Liberal. Still more have gone to Doug Chipman, who now trails the Liberal 5961 to 5311 and needs the distribution of 2387 Greens votes to close the gap – since most will presumably go straight to Labor, this probably isn’t going to happen. That will bring the final count down to Labor and Liberal, with Liberal needing as much as 80% of Chipman’s preferences – and the word from those at the coal face on Twitter is that he’ll barely manage 60% (not allowing for exhaustion, which will raise the bar still higher).

Continue reading “Tasmanian upper house by-election: Pembroke”

Tasmanian upper house elections live

Live counting of today’s three upper house elections in Tasmania, the most interesting of which pits a Liberal-identifying independent incumbent against a Labor challenger.

Rumney results and projection

# % Swing Projection
Cheryl Arnol (SFP) 1220 6.7%
Sarah Lovell (ALP) 6268 34.3% +1.2% 34.0%
Steve Mav (IND) 3549 19.4%
Tony Mulder (IND) 4760 26.0% -2.2% 26.1%
Shelley Shay (IND) 1455 8.0%
Debra Thurley (IND) 1023 5.6%
Booths counted (out of 19): 19


11pm. We now have a “completed” preference distribution — bearing in mind that this is provisional, unlike every other full preference distribution (as distinct from notional two-candidate preferred count) I’ve ever seen, and that late arriving postal votes will still be added to the result — and Sarah Lovell has emerged with 52.3% of the two-candidate preferred vote. This is more than enough, as Mulder has acknowledged by conceding defeat.

6.30pm. The TEC has published the first stages of a provisional preference distribution, with three candidates excluded and three left in the count, and so far Sarah Lovell is getting more preferences than Tony Mulder rather than less — 1676 to 1396, with Steve Mav receiving 1501. Even if none of the votes from the Steve Mav exclusion exhausted, Mulder would need to receive two-thirds of them to win, which seems highly unlikely given what we’ve seen so far. In Launceston, a completed preference distribution finds Rosemary Armitage retaining the seat from Neroli Ellis by a margin of 2.1%.


End of night. Kevin Bonham in comments relates that Labor scrutineers believe they will do it easily in Rumney, with a margin of around 53-47 after preferences. However, the Mulder camp disputes this, and believes it will be lineball. Kevin also disputes my assessment that there will be more than a handful of exhausted votes, based on how things panned out in Rumney in 2011.

8.12pm. Rumney: All booths are now in, together with slightly over 1000 postal votes, and the distinction between the raw count and my projection has now more or less disappeared. Labor performed well in the late performing larger booths, presumably suggesting a tendency to perform will on the edges of Hobart, a pattern that was also evident at last year’s federal election and in Western Australia. The upshot is that Mulder has an 8% gap to close with distribution of preferences from the excluded candidates, who collectively accounted for around 40% of the vote. Past form suggests about 8% out of that 40% should exhaust, so Mulder will be counting on non-exhausting preferences to break about 20% to 12% in his favour.

7.40pm. Murchison and Launceston: Ruth Forrest has clearly retained Murchison, where her lead is now 6.6%. The picture in Launceston is stable, with Armitage leading about 34% to 30% and the result to be decided by preferences, on which I can offer no insight.

7.38pm. Rumney: Two big booths, Lauderdale and Cambridge, have now reported, and the results are very good for Labor, particularly in Cambridge where they’re up 5.0% on 2011, while Mulder is down 10.4%. My projected Labor lead on the primary vote is now 7.7%, which is perhaps enough to make Mulder sweat.

7.27pm. Murchison: Ruth Forrest’s lead continues to inflate, now at 5.1%. Launceston: Neroli Ellis pokes her head about 30%, Rosemary Armitage at 34.0%.

7.26pm. Rumney: Labor gets a good result at Seven Mile Beach and an okay one at Clarendon Vale. Still tracking to win the primary vote by 4% to 5%, with everything down to preferences. For those who have just joined us, voters in these elections are required to number at least three boxes.

7.25pm. Launceston. Norwood both puts both the leading contenders about two points higher on the primary vote, with Armitage’s lead at a presumably sufficient 5.5%. Murchison: Ruth Forrest’s lead now at 4.9%, with six booths still to come.

7.21pm. Rumney: Dodges Ferry and Sandford now in, the two biggest booths so far at 1884 and 1137 votes. Sandford is quite a good result for Labor, Dodges Ferry less so.

7.18pm. Murchison: Evidently Smithton is a focal point of support for independent challenger Daryl Quilliam, as it’s broken 1024-562 his way and cut Ruth Forrest’s lead all the way back from about 9% to 3.9%.

7.15pm. Launceston. Three more booths in (Hadpsen, Five Ways and Youngtown) push Armitage’s lead over Ellis out from 33.6% to 27.2%, which would presumably be sufficient for her.

7.11pm. Launceston. A third booth, Launceston, is consistent with the first two. Murchison: 21 booths in out of 29, Forrest’s lead now more like 59-41.

7.09pm. Rumney: Four booths report all at once — Dunally, Forcett, Primrose Sands and Richmond — and do little to change the overall picture, which is that Tony Mulder is steady and Labor is down slightly. Mulder is only slightly clear of independent Steve Mav in second place, but probably far enough, and I can only assume that mostly conservative preferences will win the day for him.

7.05pm. Launceston: A second booth is now in, Summerhill, and Armitage still has only a slight lead over Neroli Ellis of 410 to 373. So a lot will depend on preferences from Labor and the Greens.

7.02pm. Rumney: Another booth added, Nubeena, is a weak result for Labor, although that may be influenced by the fact that I’ve folded the result from out-of-use Saltwater River booth into the 2011 result for my swing calculation. In any case, Labor leads 32.4% to 25.2% on the primary vote, but the equivalent results from these booths in 2011 was 39.0% to 25.4%.

6.56pm. Murchison: Over half the booths are now in, and Ruth Forrest is maintaining her 57-43 lead over independent challenger Daryl Quilliam.

6.54pm. Rumney: Two more results in, South Arm and Taranna. I’m now projecting a tight race on the primary vote, but presumably preferences, all of which come from independents or Shooters and Fishers, will favour Mulder.

6.52pm. Launceston: The first booth in, South Launceston with 477 formal votes, suggests incumbent Rosemary Armitage (148 votes, 31.0%) is under at least some pressure from independent challenger Neroli Ellis (123 votes, 25.8%).

6.42pm. Murchison: Fourteen booths in now, Forrest leads 1333-1032.

6.39pm. Rumney: Much fewer votes were cast in Port Arthur this time — 107 compared with 185 — and Labor’s share dropped from 43.8% to 27.1%.

6.38pm. Murchison: Ruth Forrest’s early scare had faded. She now leads 452-281 with six booths counted out of 29.

6.36pm. Rumney: The Port Arthur booth is a lot less good for Labor than Copping. But we’re talking 199 votes in Copping and 107 in Port Arthur, whereas Lauderdale, Rokeby, Dodges Ferry and Sorell should be approaching 2000.

6.30pm. The first booth in from Rumney is Copping, and while it’s only 199 votes, it’s encouraging for Labor — their candidate has outscored Mulder 57 votes to 54, which is 5% higher than Labor managed in this booth at last year’s federal election. As you can see, I’ve got my table in action now. The projection is based on booth-matched swings from now compared with 2011.

6.23pm. I don’t know anything about Daryl Quilliam, independent candidate in Murchison, but he’s doing rather well in the two-horse race against incumbent Ruth Forrest — with two booths in, Forrest leads 146-129.

6pm. Polls have closed for today’s Tasmanian elections for the upper house seats of Rumney (running from Hobart’s eastern outskirts through Sorell to Port Arthur), Murchison (covering the west of the state) and Launceston (self-explanatory). Rumney is the most interesting, because it’s a battle between a Liberal-identifying independent incumbent, Tony Mulder, and a Labor candidate, Sarah Lovell, less than a year out from a state election. I will have a table showing swings and a projected primary vote final result when we get some numbers in, which should be reasonably early given there are a lot of small booths involved here, except in Launceston.

Matters Tasmanian

Lots to report from the apple isle: new electoral boundaries, state upper house elections, and an encouraging poll for new Labor leader Rebecca White.

A helpful conjunction of events allows me to condense three pieces of Tasmanian electoral news into one post, namely the publication of draft boundaries of the state’s five federal and state electorates; tomorrow’s elections for three of the state’s 15 Legislative Council seats; and the quarterly poll of state voting intention from EMRS. In turn:

Draft electoral redistribution

Draft boundaries have been published today for a redistribution of the state’s five electorates, which, uniquely to the state, apply for both federal and state elections. A full accounting of my determinations of the new margins can be viewed here. In no case do the changes alter the existing margins by more than 1%, so the present situation where Labor holds four seats and independent Andrew Wilkie holds the fifth is notionally undisturbed. The changes can be summarised as follows:

• Bass is to be substantially altered in shape through an exchange of territory with Lyons, although it will still be dominated by Launceston. The changes are to cost it the north-eastern corner of the state (including Scottsdale and around 6000 voters overall), while adding territory to the west of the Tamar River (including Exeter, Beaconsfield and around 7500 voters all told). The areas gained and lost by Bass are conservative in roughly equal measure, so there is only a modest change to the Labor margin in Bass, from 6.1% to 6.4%.

• Braddon is to gain around 4500 voters from Lyons in the coastal area around Port Sorell, which together with the transfer to Bass costs Lyons the entirety of its territory on the north coast. This is a fairly conservative area, so Labor’s margin in Braddon is reduced from 2.2% to 1.6%.

• In addition to changes noted already, Lyons is to gain around 3500 voters from Franklin, in an area around Old Beach on the eastern bank of the Derwent River, about 10 kilometres north of central Hobart. This area is electorally typical of Franklin as a whole, so the margin in Franklin is unchanged. Lyons being less strong for Labor overall, the change makes a contribution to an overall 0.7% increase in the Labor margin there.

• Denison is to be left undisturbed.

Legislative Council elections

Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of the annual periodical elections for the Tasmanian Legislative Council, the definitive guides to which are provided by local observer Kevin Bonham. The 15 seats in this chamber are elected according to a cycle in which either two or three electorates go to the polls each May (I also observe that a redistribution is presently under way, which had previously escaped my notice, but doesn’t affect tomorrow’s poll). This system causes the chamber to be uniquely dominated by independents, with Labor and Liberal presently accounting for only two members each. One of the two Liberals, former Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin, recently announced she was terminally ill and is shortly expected to resign, leading in due course to a by-election in her eastern Hobart seat of Pembroke.

The seats up for election tomorrow are all held by independents, each of whom is seeking re-election. Defeat for any would be highly unusual. The seats in question are:

Launceston. Rosemary Armitage came to this self-explanatory seat upon the retirement of Don Wing in 2011, running slightly behind the Liberal candidate on the primary vote but finishing well ahead after preferences. The Liberals are leaving the field vacant this time, leaving Armitage to be opposed by Brian Roe of Labor; Emma Anglesey of the Greens, who works as a staffer to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson; Matthew Allen of Shooters and Fishers; and two independents, Neroli Ellis and Mark Tapsell.

Rumney. This electorate is centred around Storm Bay about 25 kilometres east of Hobart, and includes Sorell, Richmond and Port Arthur. Lin Thorp held the seat from Labor until 1999 until her defeat in 2011, and later served in the Senate from 2012 and 2014, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Nick Sherry and then failing to win election in 2013 from third position on the ticket. She was succeeded in Rumney by Tony Mulder, a former police commander who ran in 2011 as an independent Liberal. Mulder’s opponents are Labor’s Sarah Lovell, an organiser for United Voice; Cheryl Arnol of Shooters and Fishers; and three rival independents, Shelley Shay, Debra Thurley and hardy perennial Steve Mav.

Murchison. This electorate covers the state’s lightly populated west coast, and a stretch of the north coast inclusive of Wynyard, Smithton and Somerset (areas covered federally by Braddon). Ruth Forrest has held the seat since 2005, and her only opponent is another independent, Daryl Quilliam.

EMRS state poll

The latest phone poll of 1000 respondents for EMRS, which is the first conducted since Rebecca White replaced Bryan Green as Labor leader, has both major parties well up on the primary vote, presumably because the Liberals have benefited from a drop in support for One Nation, while White has helped Labor soak up votes from the Greens. The Liberals are up four on the primary vote to 39%; Labor is up five to 34%; the Greens are down four to 15%; and One Nation is down three to 3%. Will Hodgman holds only a narrow 42-39 lead over White as preferred premier, after dominating on this measure throughout Bryan Green’s tenure.

Tasmanian upper house elections: Apsley and Elwick

Summaries and live count commentary on today’s elections for two of the fifteen seats for Tasmania’s Legislative Council.

End of night

In the best news Labor has had electorally from Tasmanian in some time, Josh Willie has won the party a second seat in the Legislative Council by taking the north Hobart seat of Elwick from independent incumbent Adriana Taylor. Kevin Bonhan on Twitter says scrutineering indicates that Greens preferences are behaving much as they did when Taylor won the seat in 2010, from which we can infer that Labor has gained a swing against Taylor just short of 10%, whose margin was 6.1%. In the other election today, independent Fiona Rattray has been comfortably returned in the rural seat of Apsley, with almost exactly half the vote out of a field of four candidates. That leaves Labor and Liberal with two seats apiece in the 15-member chamber, the rest being independents.

Live coverage

8.16pm. All booths now in from Elwick, and they point to a 9.2% increase in the Labor primary vote, an 8.6% drop for Adriana Taylor and next to no change for the Greens. A little over 1000 postals are slightly better for Taylor, but she’ll need something pretty extraordinary from here on in to overhaul Labor: like a 78% of Greens preferences, compared with the 54% she got in 2010.

8.04pm. One more booth left to report from Elwick, and I’m projecting the Labor lead at 2.8%.

7.46pm. The Merton booth is slightly better for Taylor, bringing my projected Labor lead back from 4% to 3%.

7.38pm. Things keep looking better for Labor candidate Josh Willie in Elwick, who is now projected with a 3.9% lead from a 10% swing. It would now require something fairly radical on postal votes or Greens preferences to turn it around. The raw figures have Willie on 48.0% and Adriana Taylor on 39.2%.

7.27pm. Elwick: A very good result for Labor from the Lutana booth (swing 16%) and an adequate one in Windermere (7%) leave me projecting an 8.5% swing to Labor and a winning margin of 2.4%. That’s with seven booths, pre-polls and postals outstanding, and a lot of uncertainty over Greens preferences. Apsley: all but four booths in, and Rattray comfortably re-elected with 49.0% of the primary vote.

7.22pm. Elwick: the biggest booth so far, Moonah, delivers another tight result. I’m now recording a 7.2% swing to Labor’s Josh Willie, projecting to a 1.1% lead over independent member Adriana Taylor. However, there is no two-candidate preferred count, so this presumes Greens preferences behave as they did in 2010, with 54.7% going to Taylor and 45.3% going to Labor. We very likely won’t know the real story until preferences are distributed.

7.02pm. The 622 votes of the Rosetta booth are a steadier for Adriana Taylor, reflecting Collinsvale with a swing to Labor of around 2%, rather than the 13% in Goodwood. My projection now has two-candidate preferred tied to the first decimal place. Most booths are now in from Apsley, and the numbers are little changed on the previous entry.

6.54pm. A big win for Labor in the Goodwood booth, with 57.2% out of 470 votes, puts the pressure on Adriana Taylor in Elwick. I’m now projecting an 8.1% swing and a 2.0% lead to Labor. In Apsley, Rattray has dipped slightly below 50%, with the Labor candidate on 24.4%.

6.38pm. Twelve booths in now from Apsley, and Rattray is up to 57.7%.

6.32pm. The first booth in Elwick, Collinsvale, suggests a swing to Labor of a bit over 2%, against Adriana Taylor’s margin of around 6.1%. Another six booths in Apsley bring Rattray down to 52.0%, with Labor second on 22.7%.

6.20pm. The first booth in is the small rural booth of Gladstone in Apsley, and it records 116 votes for Rattray compared with a combined total of 30 for her three opponents.


Today is the day of Tasmania’s periodical elections for the Legislative Council, which come around on the first Saturday of each May. This post will be used to provide commentary on the results as they are reported. What follows is a quick and dirty overview: for greater depth, local observer Kevin Bonham is your man.

Tasmania reverses the usual practice in having proportional representation in the lower house and single-member electoral districts in the upper, which are elected by a semi-optional preferential system in which voters are required to number at least three boxes (so effectively compulsory preferential when, as today, there are four or fewer candidates). The 15 seats are elected according to a rotating six-year schedule where two or three seats are up for election each year. This peculiar system results in low-key elections that are dominated by independents, who once elected are very difficult to dislodge. The major parties don’t bother to field candidates more often than not, although Labor has for both seats today. The Legislative Council currently has two Liberals and one Labor member, with independents accounting for the other twelve. Independents are seeking re-election in the two seats up for election today: Elwick, based around Glenorchy in the north of Hobart, and Apsley, which covers the state’s rural north-east, not inclusive of Launceston.

Elwick was held by Labor until 2007 when the then member, Terry Martin, was ejected from the parliamentary party after voting against laws to speed up assessment of Gunns’ proposed pulp mill at Bell Bay in 2007. Martin was charged on child prostitution offences in 2009, and did not recontest in 2010. A new Labor candidate was then defeated by Glenorchy Mayor Adriana Taylor, a former Labor member running as an independent. Taylor now seeks re-election in face of opposition from Labor’s candidate, primary school teacher Josh Willie, and Penelope Ann of the Greens.

Apsley has been held by Tania Rattray since the retirement of her father, Colin Rattray, in 2004. She won the seat from just 16.7% of the primary vote amid a crowded field of ten candidates, and was re-elected unopposed in 2010. Labor has chosen to field a candidate, for reasons that might make sense to people who are more on top of local politics than I am, in the person of Darren Clark, chief executive of the Tasmanian Police and Community Youth Clubs, who polled fairly well as a candidate in Lyons at the 2014 state election. Also in the field are Greens candidate Sophie Houghton and independent Brett Hall, a local farmer with a background in conservative politics.

Tasmanian upper house elections: Windermere, Derwent, Mersey

Three of the seats for Tasmania’s 15-member Legislative Council are up for election today, including the only one still held by Labor.

Live count

8.02pm. Newnham’s in, so we’re done for the evening. It wasn’t a great result for Dean, bringing his primary vote projection down to 43.0% and Labor’s required preference share to 75.4%. But Scott McLean (16.7%) has more votes than the Greens (11.2%), and not a few of them can be expected to go to Dean.

8.01pm. I had that wrong about the Ravenswood booth not being in use. Now that I have it right, it’s Dean 44.0%, Labor required preference share 78.3%.

7.52pm. I hadn’t been accounting for the fact that the Ravenswood booth isn’t in use this time; doing so increases Labor’s required preference share to 80.5%.

7.47pm. Dilston (628 votes) and Mowbray (783 votes) leave the situation unchanged, Dean at 44.3%, Labor needing 78.7%. Only outstanding booth is Newnham, which with 2235 votes comfortably the biggest booth in 2010.

7.37pm. 1183 pre-polls push Dean’s primary vote projection back up to 44.5%, and Labor’s required preference share to 79.0%.

7.32pm. A weak result for Dean from George Town (1540 votes) brings his primary vote projection down to 43.9% and Labor’s required preference share down to 76.9%.

7.30pm. Inveresk (953 votes) added to the count, leaving the situation unchanged.

7.28pm. Elphin (809) and Hillwood (426) added for Windermere, leaving six booths outstanding, and I have Dean back up to 46.1% – the projections and the raw result (45.8%) having pretty much converged now – and Labor’s required preference share up to around 85%.

7.17pm. Three more booths from Windermere, including 1006 votes at Invermay, 966 at St Leonards and 745 at Waverley, put Ivan Dean at 43.8%. Labor, on around 28%, would need about 78% of preferences to win, which is very hard to see. But Dean’s margin will be much smaller than first indicated.

7.06pm. Mike Gaffney polling about three-quarters of the vote in Mersey, Craig Farrell on 63.9% in Derwent.

7.03pm. 579 votes from Rocherlea brings Ivan Dean’s primary vote projection down still further, to 44.4%. If Scott McLean hadn’t run, it’s possible you wouldn’t be writing Labor off at this point, although they would still have been needing a very large share of Greens preferences.

6.57pm. Biggest booth in from Windermere yet is George Town South, which is slightly less good for Dean and reins his projection back to 46.4%.

6.50pm. 544 votes from Norwood plus 251 from the mobile booth bring Ivan Dean’s primary vote projection down to 49.6%, but with none of the other candidates clearing 20%, we certainly have enough in now to call today’s proceedings an easy clean sweep for all three incumbents.

6.49pm. A second booth in Mersey, at Forth, favours Mike Gaffney 451-152, so you can put down your glasses there if you haven’t already.

6.48pm. A second booth in Windermere, 248 votes at Pipers River, causes me to reel the Ivan Dean primary vote projection in slightly to 51.2%.

6.45pm. Eleven booths now from Derwent, Labor’s own all of them easily, and I’m projecting it at 68.6-36.7.

6.41pm. The first booth from Windermere, 103 votes from Weymouth, is good for Ivan Dean. He’s up 15.4%, from which I’m projecting a primary vote total of 54.6%.

6.38pm. Four booths in now from Derwent, and I’m projecting a 68-32 Labor win.

6.34pm. Mike Gaffney wins the first booth in Mersey 100-47, so no indication of any surprise there either. Nothing yet from Windermere.

6.31pm. To booths in Derwent that gave Labor 39.0% of the vote in 2009 have given them 63.4% now, so clearly there are no surprises in store there.

6.20pm. Polls closed 20 minutes ago. Now I’ll get my act together for live coverage.


Today’s the day for the annual periodical elections for Tasmania’s Legislative Council, in which either two or three of the chamber’s 15 electoral divisions go up for election over a six-year cycle. The peculiarly low-key nature of the elections that result cause the chamber to be dominated by independents, with Labor and Liberal each having only one seat apiece (UPDATE: I beg your pardon – Leonie Hiscutt also won Montgomery for the Liberals in 2013). Among the seats in play this year is the Labor-held electorate of Derwent, while the other two, Windermere and Mersey, find independents seeking re-election. Labor is running a candidate in Windermere but the Liberals have reverted to type in declining to field any candidates, after disappointing performances in the elections held in the wake of Will Hodgman’s landslide win last year. The elections are held under a system of semi-compulsory preferential voting, with voters required to number at least three boxes.

The most interesting of the three contests looks to be Windermere, which covers the eastern bank of the Tamar River, from the mouth through Bell Bay of Gunns pulp mill fame on to the northern and eastern suburbs of Launceston. It has been held since 2003 by Ivan Dean, whom the Liberals once hoped might run as their federal candidate for Bass, and who served concurrently as mayor of Launceston from 2005 until his defeat in 2007. Dean had a fairly modest victory when re-elected in 2009 over former Labor MP Kathryn Hay, in a field that also included now Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. He is now 70 years old, and as Kevin Bonham notes, his re-election would make him the oldest successful Legislative Council candidate since 1965. Labor’s candidate is Jennifer Houston, a project officer with the Department of Community Services. Bonham observes the seat has been “heavily targeted” by Labor, but they may have been done a disservice by the independent candidacy of Soctt McLean, a former forests division secretary of the CFMEU (now listed as an “industry and community liaison officer”) who ran unsuccessfully for Labor in Bass at the 2001 state election. Also in the field is Greens candidate Vanessa Bleyer, a lawyer.

Derwent extends from Hobart outskirts for about 100 kilometres through the Derwent Valley. Labor’s only remaining member in the chamber, Craig Farrell, is seeking re-election, having succeeded former Treasurer Michael Aird on his retirement in 2009. He has an independent opponent in Alan Baker, an IT consultant whom Kevin Bonham rates as “low profile” and unlikely to cause Gaffney serious trouble.

Mersey covers Devonport and its immediate surrounds, and is held by independent Mike Gaffney, who succeeded independent Norma Jamieson on her retirement in 2009. He is opposed by one other independent, business owner Vivienne Gale, who gets the same assessment from Kevin Bonham as Alan Baker in Derwent.

I’ll be conducting live commentary on the count from the close of polls, as will Kevin Bonham, who as you may have gathered is more on top of all this than I am.