Old, new, borrowed and blue

The AEC contentiously green-lights a party called the New Liberals, plus the resolution of the Tasmanian state election and Upper Hunter by-election.

Four entirely unrelated items of electoral news after a week without new poll results:

• The Australian Electoral Commission has approved the registration of a party called the New Liberals. In doing so it rejected a 55-page Liberal Party submission that included CT Group polling to support its argument that voters would confuse the new party with the old. The judgement cited the similarly unsuccessful bid to deny Liberals for Forests in 2001, in which it was determined that a ban on words as generic as “liberal” and “labour” demanded “clear language” from the Electoral Act – although it conceded the name New Liberals landed “much closer to the line”. The Howard government’s dissatisfaction with the 2001 ruling resulted in a new clause targeting names implying a “connection or relationship” with an existing party, but the AEC has ruled this doesn’t catch the New Liberals. The judgement also expressed reservations about the CT Group survey, in terms implying a dubious attitude to much of the modern practice of opinion polling. The Liberals can now apply for an internal review, followed by an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

• The count for the Upper Hunter by-election has been finalised, confirming a 5.8% winning margin for Nationals candidate David Layzell and a two-party swing to the Nationals of 3.3%. Antony Green crunches the ballot paper data (a welcome feature of NSW election counts) to determine how each candidate’s preferences divided between Nationals and Labor, which in aggregate was very similar to the 2019 election.

• Resolution also for the Tasmanian state election, which had a post-script after elected Adam Brooks was charged with firearms offences the day after his election was declared, prompting him to decline his seat. This was resolved through Tasmania’s recount procedure for lower house vacancies using the ballots that elected the outgoing member, which naturally went overwhelmingly to other Liberals. The result was a win for Felix Ellis, a member of the previous parliament who initially failed to win re-election, finishing the distribution with 5881 votes (53.4%) to Stacey Sheehan’s 5132 (46.6%). The party numbers remain Liberal 13, Labor nine and Greens two, with one independent.

• I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday on the recently launched Australian Polling Council’s new code of conduct. Both council and code draw inspiration from the British Polling Council, though to my own disappointment it does not follow the British example in requiring members to publish full breakdowns and weighting bases for each poll. However, pollsters will be required to publish a range of other detail that is often absent from media outlets’ reporting of polls they commission, including margin of error calculations that account for demographic imbalances in the sample. The nine pollsters who are members of the council include most of the familiar names, but not Resolve Strategic and Roy Morgan.

Tasmanian election endgame

A regularly updated post on the resolution of the Tasmanian election, which will occur as the preference distributions are conducted through the remainder of this week.

Wednesday night

The count was completed today in Clark, confirming that the Liberals won two seats in the division and 13 seats overall, and will thereby govern with a majority. Former Labor member Madeleine Ogilvie was the winner of the second Liberal seat, recording 5591 votes to Simon Behrakis’s 5249 before the final exclusion. The distribution of Behrakis’s preferences left Ogilvie with 10,145 votes, just short of a quota of 10,626, but comfortably clear of the only remaining candidate, former Liberal independent Sue Hickey, who had 8716. The full preference distribution can be viewed here.

In Braddon, Roger Jaensch ended the day with a 205 vote lead over Felix Ellis in the race for the third Liberal seat, after see-sawing fortunes throughout the day. Jaensch’s 27-vote lead at the end of counting yesterday turned into a 364-vote deficit after the exclusion of the first Liberal to drop out, Stacey Sheehan, and the remaining Shooters candidate; but he pulled ahead again with the next Liberal exclusion, Lara Hendriks. Next comes the exclusion of Labor’s Justine Keay, whose preferences will overwhelmingly flow to the two remaining Labor candidates, Shane Broad and Anita Dow; followed by independent Craig Garland, whose exclusion should add around 1500 votes to the Liberal tally if the 2018 election is any guide. So Ellis’s hopes likely rest on him scoring a significantly bigger share of those votes than Jaensch.

Tuesday night

The Liberals still look almost certain of gaining the second seat they need in Clark, although such is the spread of votes among candidates that none have yet reached a quota, despite the distribution of preferences from two Labor candidates, two of the five Greens, the Animal Justice, Shooters and Federation Party candidates, and the three ungrouped independents. Further Liberal, Labor and Greens exclusions will surely elect Elise Archer, Ella Haddad and Cassy O’Connor respectively, and whichever of independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey drops out will elect the other.

The Liberals have built up from a collective 1.91 quotas on the primary vote to 1.97, and taking exhausted votes into account, this would be comfortably enough to win them a second seat if it was sustained through to the final count. The question is whether that will reduce significantly when the three weakest Liberals are excluded from the count, and a proportion of their votes transfer to non-Liberal candidates as preferences.

Kevin Bonham’s assessment is that the only potential threat involves Madeleine Ogilvie losing her current lead over Simon Behrakis as the second placed Liberal, and her background as a Labor and independent member being reflected in a “ridiculously” high leakage of around 35% of her preferences to non-Liberal candidates. The reduction would need to be sufficient to cancel out whatever preferences flow to the Liberals with the exclusion of three more unsuccessful Labor candidates and two from the Greens, though this won’t amount to much.

Of the two independents, Kristie Johnston polled 11.0% of the primary vote to Sue Hickey’s 9.8%, a gap that has been little changed with the preferences distributed so far, which have respectively increased them to 11.9% to 10.7%. Hickey will need strong preference flows from soon-to-be-excluded Liberal, Labor and Greens candidates, and the one Labor and two Greens exclusions so far offer little indication that that’s going to happen. As such, Hickey’s only hope is that the Liberals will indeed be reduced to a single seat and a parliamentary minority, with the last seat going to her instead.

There was a noteworthy development in Braddon where three Liberal candidates are fighting it out for the party’s second and third seats, following the distribution of leading candidate Jeremy Rockliff’s large surplus. This went well for Adam Brooks, who now looks entrenched for the second seat, and also for Roger Jaensch, who chased down a 6.9% to 8.9% deficit against incumbent Felix Ellis. Jaensch led by 55 after Rockliff’s exclusion, which reduced to 27 after later exclusions. The result will likely come down to the as-yet-undistributed preferences of the two clearly unsuccessful Liberals: Lara Hendriks with 2788 votes and Stacey Sheehan with 2343. Also remaining to be distributed are two of the three unsuccessful Labor candidates, whose preferences will mostly stay in ticket and elect the party’s two winners; independent Craig Garland; and the lead candidates of the Greens and Shooters.

The Bass count did nothing to deter the assessment below that the Greens would not poach one of Labor’s two seats. A note of technical interest emerged when the overwhelmingly dominant Peter Gutwein’s surplus was distributed, and it favoured Sarah Courtney over Michael Ferguson to such an extent that Courtney was elected first despite having trailed Ferguson 5.7% to 3.3% on primary votes. The Lyons count dispelled any doubt that the second seat would go to Jen Butler rather than Janet Lambert, with Butler extending her lead as White’s preferences not unexpectedly favoured her fellow incumbent.

Also completed today were the preference distributions for the two Legislative Council contests. Windermere was confirmed as a Liberal gain upon the retirement of independent Ivan Dean, with Nick Duigan recording a 4.1% margin at the final count over the Labor candidate, former federal Bass MP Geoff Lyons. Duigan recorded 37.8% of the primary vote to Lyons’ 27.0%. Preferences from the three independents, Will Smith (21.2%), Rob Soward (9.7%) and Vivienne Gale (4.2%) favoured Labor by an insufficient 53.9% to 46.1%.

Labor’s Craig Farrell ended up being re-elected in Derwent with a 5.7% margin over Liberal candidate Ben Shaw, having fallen just short of a majority on the primary vote with 49.2% to Shaw’s 40.8%. The balance of 10.0% went to Animal Justice, whose preferences favoured Labor by a ratio of around two to one. This puts the numbers in the chamber at Labor five (steady), Liberal four (up one) and independents six (down one), which is a record high for the major parties.

Monday night

The count for the Tasmanian election reaches a milestone this morning with the cut-off for arrival of postal votes. My live results facility continues to offer exquisite detail on the vote totals here, but the game now is the complicated procedure of Hare-Clark preference distributions. These are done manually, in contrast to the procedures for the Senate and state upper houses, and will accordingly be take some time to complete — with results from the distribution, I gather, to be published piecemeal as the process unfolds (I must confess to never having paid this much attention to the late stages of a Tasmanian election count). This post will be updated with the details as they emerge.

Electoral commissioner Andrew Hawkey tells The Mercury he expects the all-important count for Clark to be resolved “late Wednesday or Thursday morning”, with Braddon, Franklin and Lyons to follow Thursday afternoon or evening and Bass not to be finished until Friday. To briefly summarise the situation:

Clark. This is presumably being prioritised in the count because it is on this Hobart-centred electorate that the result hinges, with the Liberals to secure a majority of 13 seats out of 25 if it can win a second seat, and Premier Peter Gutwein committed to resigning if the party falls short. Ella Haddad of Labor, Elise Archer of the Liberals, Cassy O’Connor of the Greens and an independent — either Kristie Johnston or Sue Hickey — are each assured of a seat, leaving the last seat as a race between a second Liberal and whoever remains out of Johnston and Hickey. With the Liberals on 1.91 quotas and Johnston and Hickey on 1.25 quotas between them, it will take extremely tight flows of preferences from Labor, the Greens and minor parties to cost the Liberals the second seat. The second Liberal would either be former Labor member Madeleine Ogilvie or Simon Behrakis.

Braddon. The result here will be three Liberal and two Labor, with only the identity of the second and third elected Liberals in doubt. Jeremy Rockliff has overwhelmingly dominated the Liberal ticket with 27.5% of the vote, with the preferences from his 10.8% surplus to decide who wins out of Felix Ellis (8.9%), Adam Brooks (also 8.9%) and Roger Jaensch (6.9%).

Franklin. A formality: Liberal members Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street will be re-elected, Labor newcomer Dean Winter will join incumbent David O’Byrne as one of Labor’s two members at the expense of incumbent Alison Standen, and Rosalie Woodruff will be re-elected for the Greens.

Lyons. The Liberals will win three seats, with incumbents Guy Barnett, Mark Shelton and John Tucker to be re-elected; Labor will win two, with Rebecca White dominating the ticket and her preferences to decide the result between incumbent Jen Butler and non-incumbent Janet Lambert — very likely the former, since incumbent preferences tend to flow to other incumbents.

Bass. The vague prospect that the Greens would poach one of Labor’s two seats having faded, the result here will be three Liberal (Peter Gutwein, Michael Ferguson and Sarah Courtney) and two Labor (Michelle O’Byrne and Janie Finlay).

Tasmanian election live

Live coverage of the count for the Tasmanian state election.

Click here for full display of latest results.

Sunday night

All the results from the pre-poll centres are now in, and there were further votes added to the count today from mobile polling and (I think) some more postal votes. These haven’t changed the picture too radically, including in all-important Clark, where the Liberals’ position has improved about as much as had been anticipated given the usual form of late counting. Kevin Bonham, whose practised eye for Hare-Clark is such that his assessments undoubtedly count for more than my own, has information from scrutineers suggesting the rate of preference leakage to independents is perhaps high enough to make the Liberals uncomfortable. The view seems to be that the Liberals will probably win their decisive second seat, but not by much. Another point to be noted from Bonham’s analysis is that he is not ruling out Roger Jaensch being the winner of the third Liberal seat in Braddon, despite being on 7.0% compared with 9.0% for Adam Brooks and 8.9% for Felix Ellis. This is presumably because the large surplus from Jeremy Rockliff’s 27.4% vote share might be expected to favour other incumbents.

End of night summary

There will be some subtantial progress in counting today, with the Tasmanian Electoral Commission having scheduled half the pre-poll booth counts to be conducted last night with the other half to follow today. My live results facility will, touch wood, continue ticking over as new results are added through the day — it remains the only place where you can find booth results (to say nothing of booth results maps).

The question of whether the Liberals win a majority comes down to whether they can hold their second seat in Clark, since they have retained their three seats in Bass, Braddon and Lyons and their two in Franklin. The threat comes not from Labor, who had a dismal result in the electorate, or the Greens, who did well but not well enough to be in contention for a second seat, but from independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey, one of whom is assured of becoming the first independent elected since the regime of five-seat electorates was introduced in 1998 — more likely Johnston, who leads her by 11.4% to 9.9%.

The three clear winners are Elisa Archer for the Liberals, Ella Haddad for Labor and Cassy O’Connor for the Greens; the other two will either go one Liberal and one independent or, on the minority government scenario, both independent. That seems unlikely but not impossible: Kevin Bonham lays out how the preference distribution might unfold here. Madeleine Ogilvie and Simon Behrakis are in contention for the probable second Liberal seat.

The result in Bass looks like three Liberal and two Labor, although there seems an outside chance of a seat for the Greens at Labor’s expense. The three incumbent Liberals, Peter Gutwein, Michael Ferguson and Sarah Courtney, will all be re-elected, as will Labor’s Michelle O’Byrne; Janie Finlay will win the second Labor seat at the expense of incumbent Jennifer Houston, unless it instead goes to Greens candidate Jack Davenport.

Braddon looks like a status quo result of three Liberal and two Labor (such is the reckoning of Kevin Bonham, to whose wisdom I defer), despite earlier suggestions that independent Craig Garland might win a seat at the expense of a second Labor candidate with the help of Greens and Shooters preferences. It appears that three Liberals will be incumbents Jeremy Rockliff and Felix Ellis and, remarkably, Adam Brooks, who looks set to carry off his comeback bid by defeating incumbent Roger Jaensch, despite a horror end to his campaign. The two Labor incumbents, Shane Broad and Anita Dow, are running close and it is not clear who would have fallen victim in the apparently unlikely scenario that Labor was reduced to a single seat.

Franklin is clearly a status quo result of two Liberal (incumbents Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street), two Labor (Dean Winter scoring highest after initially being denied preselection, reducing David O’Byrne to second place) and one Greens (Rosalie Woodruff re-elected). Lyons will be unchanged in having three Liberal and two Labor members, and perhaps also in the candidates elected: incumbents Guy Barnett, Mark Shelton and John Tucker will win the three Liberal seats, Rebecca White will obviously win a Labor seat, and incumbent Jen Butler will most likely win the other.

Election night commentary

11.33pm. 3751 postals are in from Clark: they are very strong for Sue Hickey, who polled 15.2% compared with 9.1% of the ordinary vote, which might have meant trouble for the Liberals if they hadn’t held up well too. The Liberals have 38.6% of the postals batch compared with 30.2% of the ordinary vote, which is much the same difference between the two as in 2018.

11.18pm. The big Launceston pre-poll booth, accounting for 10,211 votes, has reported in Bass, and once again its swings are well in line with those of the ordinary votes, and thus add no further clarity to the question of whether this will be a 3-2 or a 3-1-1 result, though the view seems to be the former is more likely.

11.12pm. As Antony Green has just related on the ABC, the first pre-poll booth is in from Clark, namely the 5174 votes of the Hobart booth, and both of us agree that it changes little, with the swings being well in line with the election day votes (a bit less good for the Greens).

11.07pm. 2930 postals have been added in Braddon, and they’ve pulled Craig Garland back from 0.40 quotas (which at least was where he was last time I made note) to 0.36, reducing his chances of riding home over the second Labor candidate. The Granton pre-poll booth from Lyons is also in, but that was never going to change anything given the clarity of the 3-2 result there.

10.23pm. I’m no longer projecting the Greens will outpoll Labor in Clark, although they remain ahead on the raw vote and there clearly won’t be much in it.

10.18pm. The first two pre-poll results are in, from Kingston in Franklin and Devonport in Braddon. I’m reading little difference from the election day swing in Devonport but a worse result for the Liberals from Kingston — however, I’m not hugely confident here, because changes in pre-poll booth locations make swings hard to calculate.

9.45pm. Kevin Bonham on Twitter: “Some people are badly underestimating the Liberal position in Clark and the difficulty of 2 candidates overtaking them”.

9.38pm. State political journalist Alex Johnston says this on Twitter: “Not much upper house confidence from the Liberal camp. One astute judge predicting Will Smith and Craig Farrell victories”, which is to say Labor has retained Derwent and an independent may yet squeeze out the Liberal in Windermere. Will Smith is far the best performing of three Windermere independents; the scenario envisions preferences from the other two pushing him ahead of Labor, and preferences from Labor putting him ahead of the Liberals. The first part of this equation seems to me far from a done deal, but Johnston’s source may have meaningful intelligence on preference flows.

9.34pm. Antony now downplaying the possibility of 3-1-1 (i.e. the Greens poaching a seat from Labor) in Bass.

9.29pm. Antony Green just made a significant call in noting that Sue Hickey is fading in Clark, reducing the possibility of a second independent win at the expense of a second Liberal, which is the scenario that threatened to cost the government its majority.

9.21pm. The election day results are mostly in — entirely so in Braddon and Franklin — and what remains won’t change the picture much. We are presently in the now familiar trough in Australian election nights between the election day booths wrapping up and hearing from the pre-poll centres, which receive far more votes and take much longer to report.

9.12pm. The Greens have crept up on me in Bass: I’m projecting 0.57 quotas for them and Labor are only on 1.55, so this would seem a strong chance of a 3-1-1 rather than 3-2, capping a better than expected (by me at least) result for the Greens.

8.30pm. To reiterate the general picture: for as long as it’s unclear the Liberals will retain a second seat in Clark, it will be unclear they will get to a majority. While I’m projecting them to get close enough to a second quota to do that quite comfortably, I’m doing so entirely on the basis of the election day vote. So we’ll have a particularly exciting time waiting on the pre-poll centres, which I assume will be in later in the evening. Sorceror43 on Twitter points out that Labor has done well on pre-poll and postal votes in the upper house seat of Derwent, which is within the electorate, which could prove a worry for the Liberals.

8.29pm. The Liberals have their existing three seats in the bag, but with almost all ordinary polling booths in, it’s an interesting race for the fifth seat in Braddon between Labor’s second candidate (now looking like Anita Dow, who has fallen behind Shane Broad) and Craig Garland: I’m projecting 1.56 quotas for Labor with Craig Garland on 0.40, and the potential for Garland to snowball with preferences from the Greens (0.33 quotas) and Shooters (0.24 quotas), being unusually well placed to attract support from the both.

8.23pm. Labor are actually running a fairly distant third in Clark behind the Greens, having clearly bled a lot of voters to the two independents, who are very closely matched at 10.1% for Kristie Johnston and 9.7% for Sue Hickey. I’d say it was pretty clear that Liberal, Labor, the Greens and at least one independent will win, and that it’s possible the remaining seat will go to a second independent. I would think it would quite a bit more likely though that it will go to a second Liberal, given they aren’t shy of two quotas. However, we have no results from the pre-poll centres, and they could well shake things up a bit.

8.19pm. Interesting to compare my booth results maps for the last election (see the bottom of the page) and this one — more green dots this time owing to the near collapse in the Labor vote in this electorate.

8.15pm. If you’re enjoying my live results pages, which I feel you should be, you may care to consider a donation through the “become a supporter” button at the top of the page.

8.12pm. All told, the swings are pretty small — Liberal down very slightly and a bit of movement from the Labor to the Greens, leaving the former looking distinctly under-nourished.

8.11pm. Intra-party contests of note: Labor’s Janie Finlay to depose Jennifer Houston in Bass; resilient Liberal candidate Adam Brooks likely to unseat Roger Jaensch for the third Liberal seat in Braddon; Labor’s Dean Winter to defeat Alison Standen in Franklin; hard to say who will win Labor’s second seat in Lyons out of incumbent Jen Butler and non-incumbents Janet Lambert and Edwin Batt, but since this will be entirely determined by Rebecca White’s preferences, I would guess they will decisively favour her fellow incumbent.

8.02pm. The consensus seems to be that we’ve got status quo results in Bass, Braddon, Lyons and Franklin, and a question mark over Clark that makes the loss of a Liberal seat at least a theoretical possibility, though one that’s hard to square with my present projection of them getting 1.96 quotas.

7.59pm. I noted before that the early results looked bad for Labor in the upper house seat of Derwent, but they don’t now. However, the Liberals remain in front in Windermere.

7.54pm. Dean Winter leading the Labor ticket in Franklin, ahead even of mooted leadership contender David O’Byrne, which should make a few union leaders feel a bit stupid. Incumbent Alison Standen facing defeat.

7.53pm. Antony reckons it’s at least possible that Craig Garland could win a seat in Braddon, but he’d be doing it at the expense of Labor’s second rather than the Liberals’ third. It would require a strong flow of Greens preferences, and would also be an unprecedented achievement for an ungrouped candidate.

7.50pm. Franklin, I think it’s safe to say, is a status quo 2-2-1, with the Greens winning a lot more easily than they did last time.

7.48pm. Over 25% in now from Braddon — my assessment that they might win four seats has been based on the fact that there’s little swing and they nearly did it last time, but my quota projections make it look very unlikely, so I guess they did well out of preferences last time from Lambie and whoever else.

7.44pm. Clark remains the zone of uncertainty, with a slower count and a very difficult to call final seat. It remains possible that the Liberals will fall to one and lose their majority (though it’s also possible that a fourth seat in Braddon would save it).

7.39pm. So the big picture seems to be that the Liberals are on track for a majority, Labor aren’t doing great, and the Greens are perhaps doing a little better than I’d figured, though without being on track to build on their existing two seats.

7.35pm. Strong early showing for the two independents in Clark holding up with 6% counted — but Labor’s hope that this might upset the Liberal applecart by reducing them to a minority aren’t being borne out, because the Liberal vote is holding up quite a bit better than Labor’s, and the Greens are holding firm as well. Not at all sure how to read this, as I’ve no idea how preferences will flow between and among the major parties and independents.

7.33pm. Approaching 10% counted in Bass, looking most likely to be a status quo result of three Liberal and two Labor, but with Janie Finlay taking Labor’s second seat from Jennifer Houston.

7.31pm. Progress in the Braddon and Lyons counts, both over 15% counted now. Both are looking status quo overall, so I’ll stick my neck out and call Lyons as three Liberal two Labor, while the Liberals can continue to hope for 4-1 rather than 3-2 in Braddon.

7.24pm. The Liberals have early leads in both upper house seats, particularly Windermere, but I’m making no effort at booth-matching here — perhaps Sandy Bay Beach is dominating the early result in Derwent.

7.22pm. A bit of a surge in the Lyons count, which is the first to top 10%. It looks like a status quo result of three Liberal, two Labor — all three Liberal incumbents returned, Rebecca White inevitably dominating the Labor ticket, open race for a second Labor seat.

7.18pm. The count in Braddon is now approaching 10%, and it suggest a similar result to 2018 when the Liberals came close to winning four seats. Despite everything, Adam Brooks is looking competitive or better even if the Liberals can only manage three seats; the two Labor incumbents are closely matched, making it unclear who would lose if the Liberals indeed made it to four.

7.16pm. The first booth from Clark has the two independents is Sandy Bay Beach, which is a blue-ribbon booth — the two key independents have around 20% of the vote between them.

7.10pm. So, to offer my first piece of semi-meaningful analysis: early days, but swings to the Liberals in the two northern electorates, at least leaving open the possibility of four seats in one or the other, which would solve any problems for them elsewhere. Lyons looks status quo three Liberal two Labor; too early in Franklin, no numbers yet from Clark.

7.07pm. Spent the last ten minutes ironing out bugs — hopeful/confident that we’re on track now.

6.58pm. Okay, I’ve uncovered a problem — some of my results were TEC test data, so disregard the last few updates which I’ve now deleted.

6.48pm. My results facility seems to be running far ahead of the online systems of the ABC and the TEC, which is good in one way, but it does mean I’m not able to get the reassurance that I want that my numbers are as they should be. Everything seems to be functioning though, except for the time stamps on the electorate results pages.

6.45pm. Very early days, but what we have so far points to a fairly solid swing against the Liberals — except in Braddon.

6.38pm. Results starting to come through — after clearing a roadblock, I think my results facility is doing its job.

6.15pm. Not sure exactly when we can expect to see the first results, but they will presumably come in relatively slowly due to the complexities involved in counting ballot papers that feature at least 20 candidates grouped by party.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of Tasmanian state election count, for which polls have just closed. The charts above are the summary highlights from my live election results facility, which I’m reasonably confident is going to work, and which can be viewed in all its glory through the link at the very top. It includes total progress results by candidate, projected quotas by party, booth results by party in which you can tab through vote totals, percentages and swings and, in a new innovation, a map-based display of booth results.

I’m not venturing to make projections of seat results, but the projected quotas you can see on both the main page and through a bar chart on the pages individually should hopefully give those who know their way around Hare-Clark a clear idea of where things are headed. These results are based on booth-matching of party vote totals from the current election with 2018. The seat results pages also include swings by candidate for those who have contested consecutive elections, but these are not booth-matched — they simply compare their progress results with their final results from 2018.

Tasmanian election minus one day

Concluding developments from the Tasmanian campaign trail, plus a plug for my live results feature.

As you can hopefully glean from a quick tour of my live results facility, there will be no better place to follow the action online tomorrow night than this site (please consider a donation if you agree, as this naturally involved a great deal of work – also note my more extensive plea for cash in the post below).

Final week developments:

• Peter Gutwein has insisted he will resign as Premier if the Liberals do not retain their majority, and further promises that the Liberals will not form a government in minority under another leader, as occurred when Tony Rundle took over from Ray Groom after the Liberals lost their majority in 1996. A similar stand-off unfolded the last time a hung parliament was returned in 2010, which resulted in David Bartlett being effectively unable to deliver on his promise that Labor would not govern without a majority, with the Liberals refusing to enter an arrangement with the Greens.

Sean Ford of The Examiner reports that “a swing to Labor is being detected by party elders on both sides as the Tasmanian election campaign nears Saturday’s climax, while Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports that early Liberal hopes of “picking up a seat or two in the northern electorates” has been replaced by fears of no gains plus the loss of a seat to newly independent Sue Hickey in Clark, which would deprive the Liberals of their bare majority. The view appears to be that Labor has seized an advantage by focusing on a “health crisis”.

• Whereas the early part of the campaign was dominated by Labor’s candidate trouble, its conclusion has been all about Adam Brooks, whom the Liberals re-endorsed for another run in Braddon despite him having resigned from parliament mid-term after an adverse finding from the Integrity Commission. It has emerged that profiles using Brooks’s photo and a partial account of his personal details existed on two dating sites, which he denies any knowledge of. However, a woman has told the ABC that she dated him while under the misapprehension that he was a non-politician called Terry, and that she had sent him an image of a Victorian drivers licence identifying him as such. Brooks has come under pressure to refer the apparent identity theft to the police, which Peter Gutwein says is a matter for him.

Tasmanian election minus five days

The only poll of the Tasmanian election campaign gives the Liberals a less than spectacular result, though not all are persuaded by it.

The Australia Institute has come good with the only published opinion poll of the Tasmanian election campaign so far, conducted last Wednesday by uComms from a sample of 1023 respondents using automated phone and SMS surveying. When the initial voting intention question and forced-response follow-up for the undecided are rolled together, the results seem at the low end for the Liberals, who are on 41.4% to 32.1% for Labor, 12.4% for the Greens, 11.0% for independents and 3.1% for others.

The high reading for independents, who accounted for 1.1% of the vote in 2018, may suggest strong support for ex-Liberal member Sue Hickey and/or Glenorchy mayor Kristie Johnston in Clark, at least among the kind of people who complete poll surveys, and perhaps also for Craig Garland in Braddon, although he will be hampered by appearing in the “ungrouped” column. Between that and the subdued Liberal vote, the poll suggests a real chance of a hung parliament in which the Liberals drop from 13 seats out of 25 to 12, without holding out much prospect of gains for Labor and the Greens. However, Kevin Bonham offers an extensive list of reasons to exercise caution in relation to the poll.

My comprehensive guide to the election remains open for business here, and I’m currently hard at work on my biggest and best ever live election results facility for the big night. Stay tuned.

Tasmanian election minus two weeks

Highlights of the first half of a state campaign that has proved a particularly bumpy ride for Labor.

The first half of the four-week Tasmanian election campaign has been rather eventful, in terms mostly to the disadvantage of Labor:

• No sooner did Labor dispense with one blow-up through Dean Winter’s belated endorsement in Franklin, than a new one emerged with state party president Ben McGregor’s withdrawal under duress in Clark. McGregor’s offence related to text messages sent to a woman seven years ago which he conceded were “inappropriate”, but nonetheless within the spirit of the “dark humour” of the broader conversation, although their recipient remains rather less sanguine. McGregor claims to be the victim of an act of revenge by the Right over the effort to block Dean Winter, and is threatening to sue Rebecca White for her assertion that he was not “a fit person to stand for a candidate for election for the Tasmanian parliament”.

• Liberal candidate Adam Brooks, who has won his party’s endorsement for a comeback bid in Braddon despite having resigned his seat in parliament in February 2019 following an adverse Integrity Commission finding, has received a summons to appear in court for incorrectly storing ammunition.

• Former Premier Paul Lennon and outgoing upper house independent Ivan Dean have both raised concerns about legal complications arising from the House of Assembly election being held on the same day as the annual periodic Legislative Council elections. The Electoral Act requires that candidates in the latter run their own campaigns with no contributing expenditure by parties, which in Lennon’s view is violated by “every paid generic advertisement” for a party campaign.

• Upon the close of nominations last Wednesday, Labor’s secret fifth candidate in Braddon turned out to be Justine Keay, federal member for Braddon from 2016 to 2019 and (narrow) victor of one of the Super Saturday by-elections of July 2018.

Tasmanian election guide

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s guide to the May 1 state election in Tasmania.

The Poll Bludger’s guide to the Tasmanian state election is now available in all its painstaking glory. It features guides to each of the five electoral divisions, including interactive polling booth results maps, charts and tables of past electorate data, happy snaps and around 1200 words’ worth of information and analysis apiece, and a 2400-word overview of the electoral and political situation as it seems from my admittedly distant perch. What it doesn’t feature is a page for the Legislative Council, but that will be rectified over the next day or so.

Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for nominations, which will resolve a few lingering mysteries about the state of the race, a summary of notable campaign developments so far, some of which my election guide still needs to be brought up to speed on:

• After the first week of Labor’s campaign was consumed by controversy over Dean Winter’s failure to win preselection in Franklin, the party’s national executive has intervened on his behalf at the request of Rebecca White. Winter, the mayor of Kingborough and a former economics adviser to White, had been denied by the state party’s Left-dominated administrative committee because of “anti-union views” on penalty rates and privatisation. One union that disagreed was the Right faction Australian Workers Union, of which Winter is a member, which filed a notice of appeal to have the result overturned. Labor will now have six candidates in Franklin rather than the originally mooted five.

Matthew Denholm of The Australian obliquely reports today on an “internal party debate” as to whether an unidentified Left-aligned candidate should be dumped over “allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a woman”.

• One of the Liberals’ non-incumbent candidates for Franklin, Dean Ewington, was disendorsed last Wednesday for having attended an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne and posted a video on Facebook railing against the government’s “silly restrictions” relating to COVID-19. He has been replaced by James Walker, a podiatrist and Clarence alderman who ran unsuccessfully for the Legislative Council seat of Pembroke in 2017.

The Mercury reported last Thursday that Labor had entered a “secret deal” with the hotels lobby resolving not to repeat its 2018 election policy of removing poker machines from pubs and clubs, which drew immediate fire from the Greens and independent Clark candidate Kristie Johnston.

Tasmanian election: May 1

Tasmania to go to the polls on May 1, as Peter Gutwein seeks to make it an unprecedented three-in-a-row for the Liberals.

Last night’s rumours proved to be true: Peter Gutwein has called a Tasmanian election for May 1, almost a year ahead of time. I have a paywalled piece in Crikey laying out my thoughts on the matter.

The upshot is that an early election is understandable from a Liberal perspective owing to the government’s COVID-19 popularity dividend and its historic difficulty in winning elections in Tasmania (never before has it won three in a row); but that there are nonetheless considerable risks involved in an early election, even allowing for the excuse that the government lost its majority when Sue Hickey quit the party on Monday. Such risks are compounded by the fact that the election has been imposed on Labor leader Rebecca White barely more than a month before she is due to give birth, the Liberal Party’s insensitivity towards women being very much the issue du jour.

I would optimistically say that I’m a week away from publishing an election guide, on which I got started when the rumours began to swirl earlier in the week. As always in matters Tasmanian, you could do a lot worse than follow the election analysis of Kevin Bonham.