Sunday, February 19, 2017

Not-A-Poll Results: Best And Worst Tasmanian Ministers

For amusement and interest, in the last couple of months I have been running two reader Not-A-Polls in the sidebar concerning Tasmania's current Liberal ministry.  As the usual disclaimer goes, these not-a-polls are completely unscientific and represent only the opinions of those site readers (or random ring-ins) who may have chosen to participate.  Polldaddy has more advanced protections against multiple voting than the native polls on the Blogger site that I used to use, but I suspect they could be routed around if anyone was truly determined.  Also, this kind of exercise is especially prone to a word-of-mouth stack, where someone tells a bunch of their friends who would not normally read this site to vote on it.

Indeed there seemed to be something of that sort going on in the final week when there were sudden large gains for both Will Hodgman as best and Guy Barnett as worst.

Anyway, the following are the results for the Best Minister poll (in order), the Worst Minister poll (in reverse order) and a final ranking based on net scores (best minus worst) with position difference (best minus worst, 9 points for best on each scale to 1 for worst) used as a tiebreaker.  Had I used position difference to rank the results with net scores as the tiebreaker, the final order would have been the same.

So the final ranking with some comments (in order):

1. Jeremy Rockliff
(Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Training, Primary Industries and Water, and Racing)

Rockliff has won the not-a-poll by a solid margin after leading all the way with both the highest Best rating and the lowest Worst rating.  His moderate leanings and support for same-sex marriage doubtless endear him to this site's (on average) left-leaning reader base, but it's not just that. Rockliff is widely seen as a quiet achiever who gets on with the job without causing his government problems.

2. Vanessa Goodwin
(Attorney-General, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Justice, Minister for the Arts, Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Council)

The sole Legislative Councillor in Cabinet, Goodwin probably also gets brownie points from this site's readers for being seen as at the socially moderate end of the spectrum.  However I think that she is also seen as competent and efficient in handling legal and legislative business, even if at times required to implement populist policies and juggle a clearly conflicted set of portfolio priorities.

3. Will Hodgman
(Premier, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events)

Hodgman's podium position here comes with an asterisk as there was a surge of perhaps coordinated late voting for him without which he would have placed fourth.  In general, what indirect (real) polling evidence has been available suggests that the Premier remains fairly popular after three years in office.  In his "events" portfolio Hodgman seems more willing than the stereotypical conservative to ride the MONA wave, the politics of which might be worth an article of its own sometime.

4. Peter Gutwein
(Treasurer, Minister for Planning and Local Government)

Gutwein's performance as Treasurer has received strong reviews in the print media, which has seen his budgets as responsible and having improved the state's fiscal position.  Recently he has also been more prominent in his local government role, dismissing one strife-ridden council and suspending another.

5. Rene Hidding 
(Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management)

Hidding has not attracted too much attention either way in his portfolio areas as such, and most publicity surrounding him has involved a bullying claim by Ruth Forrest MLC, which hasn't hurt Hidding's ratings in this Not-A-Poll as much as it might have.  In his fire/emergency portfolio, the state getting through last summer's bushfire shocker without loss of life and little loss of property would have been seen as a good result.

6. Michael Ferguson
(Minister for Health, Minister for Information Technology and Innovation, and Leader of Government Business)

Health is frequently a thankless portfolio, especially in Tasmania, and Ferguson's indifferent ratings in this Not-A-Poll should be viewed in this context.  Ferguson has been especially involved in a revamp of the Royal Hobart Hospital that has been not without problems. As IT Minister he probably got some credit for banging heads together during the widespread Basslink cable-related service failures.

7. Matthew Groom
(Minister for Energy, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Minister for State Growth)

Twelve months ago as dams ran nearly dry, generators were imported amid the Basslink energy crisis and some wilderness areas burned, Groom was widely described as "embattled" and was a frequent target for the opposition parties.  Early in the Not-A-Poll he had about 50% of the "worst" votes, but either he polarises opinions or else his mates and staffers have been much more organised about stacking this exercise than everyone else's.  As a result he has received the most votes for worst but also the fourth-most votes for best.  I suppose the case for the positive would be keeping the lights on (contra South Australia) and his Parks portfolio's position as a part of Tasmania's tourism success.

8. Jacquie Petrusma
(Minister for Women, Minister for Human Services)

Whereas Groom polarised voting, Petrusma came in last on the "best" votes list and third last on the "worst" list (after running second-last on the latter for most of the period.)  Petrusma has been involved in two significant scandals in this term - one involving the disregarding of child protection orders and one involving Safe Pathways.  Admittedly she is not the first Tasmanian child protection minister to wind up at the head of a shambles.

9. Guy Barnett
(Minister for Building and Construction, Minister for Resources)

In fairness to Guy Barnett (yes you will see those words on here, sometimes ...) he has been stiffed here by an apparent stack by green heathen socialists in the final days of voting!  (But for that he would have placed seventh.) As a relatively new Minister he has had little time to build a reputation in his role and hence is disadvantaged in the poll.  I suspect the votes against him here arise from a combination of concerns about his past track record on social issues and his positions on forestry matters.  (I share the former, but on the latter, I was pleased to see him denounce the unscientific farce behind the High Conservation Values assessments in the previous government's "peace deal".)


Unfortunately there was not a lot of Tasmanian political or polling news to cover on this site during the two months the poll ran over so the number of voters was smaller than it might have been.  I may repeat this exercise in future.  For a similar previous exercise see the Not-A-Poll on Best Tasmanian Premier.  Thanks to all who voted.


  1. Probably more on the HCV issue to come in next few months. Upper house might ask why forestry back on the agenda . Could get interesting

  2. Are you able to confirm whether emrs have stopped their quarterly voting intention polls? A few eeks ago I emailed them about their missing November poll but didn't get a reply...

    1. No I haven't heard anything. In a previous case they released two polls at once, so if they were to release their February poll and the November poll about now they would still be consistent with that.

    2. Speak of the devil. EMRS in the field including state voting intention, Senate voting intention (!), pref Premier and other stuff. Whether the results will get released is anyone's guess.