Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Bass

This is the Bass electorate guide for the 2018 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2018 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)

Bass (Currently 3 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green). 
North-east Tasmania including most of Launceston
Mixed urban/small-town/rural

Declared Candidates

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates is large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.

The order of the parties across the ballot paper in Bass is Liberal, JLN, Greens, Labor, Ungrouped


Peter Gutwein, incumbent, Treasurer and Minister for Local Government
Michael Ferguson, incumbent, Minister for Health, former federal MHR for seat
Sarah Courtney, first-term incumbent, backbencher, institutional financer
Bridget Archer, Mayor of George Town
Simon Wood, Launceston councillor


Michelle O'Byrne, incumbent, Deputy Opposition Leader, Shadow Minister for Education, former federal MHR for seat
Adam Gore, Army musician, former university tutor, staffer for Michelle O'Byrne, also 2014 candidate
Jennifer Houston, sociologist, community development officer, ALP candidate for Windermere in 2015
Owen Powell, farmer with a PhD in hydrogeology (check this out!)
Brian Roe OAM, prominent sports administrator, ALP candidate for Launceston in 2016


Greens candidates for Bass are listed in endorsed ticket order

Andrea Dawkins, incumbent, previously ran vegetarian restuarant Fresh
Emma Anglesey, musician and staffer for Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, 2017 Launceston LegCo candidate
Emma Williams, Launceston councillor
Tom Hall, anaesthetist
James Ireland, town planner

Jacqui Lambie Network

Michelle Hoult, Navy veteran, teacher, lead Nick Xenophon Team candidate for Senate 2016
Joshua Hoy, healthcare professional, rehabilitation consultant
Gary Madden, Army veteran
Daniel Groat, branch supervisor at Ullrich Aluminium

Ungrouped (Independent)

Brett Lucas, anti-Green candidate who ran in 2014 securing 167 votes, 11 of which leaked to the Greens.

Prospects for Bass

Federally, Bass is a volatile seat with a long history of booting the incumbent at almost every election.  Outer Launceston suburbs and the north-eastern timber towns (foremost Scottsdale) are especially swing-prone.

The Liberals' third seat in Bass is almost certainly a must-hold seat if the party is to retain majority.  The Liberals won three seats in 2014 with a 57% primary vote, and about an 11% swing against them is required before the seat becomes likely to fall.  However the exact swing needed depends a lot on where the other parties finish.

The Greens held off Labor for the final seat by just 1.6% in 2014, although it would have been 3.3% but for the even split between the two leading Labor candidates (an advantage Labor will not have this year).  Coming off a primary of just 23.3%, Labor seems well-placed to gain enough to at least keep their eventual second candidate ahead of the Greens this time, which if so would pitch the Greens into a battle with the Liberals that would depend on the Liberals falling well below three quotas.  The election would have to go very badly for Labor (or unexpectedly well for the Greens) for Labor to fail to get two seats.

A wild card is the Jacqui Lambie Network with Hoult as a fairly well known lead candidate with some political experience.  One seat poll suggests JLN is vaguely competitive here, but I don't see them as a major threat at this stage (Jan 21).

In the event that the Liberals do lose a seat, some have suggested Gutwein, or more commonly Ferguson, might fall.  I think these comments are more wishful thinking given the huge votes both amassed last time, although Ferguson's Health portfolio is famous for not doing wonders for its holder's vote.  At more risk in my view is Courtney, who has been marketed heavily but little seen on anything of substance - which is surprising given her credentials.

For Labor, O'Byrne will be returned but it's hard to pick who would be joining her from a fairly evenly matched ticket, assuming the party wins two.

The Greens have held Bass since 2002, but famously saved it by just 136 votes in 2006, and came pretty close to losing in 2014 too.  Incumbent Andrea Dawkins polled few primaries in 2014 and was elected on countback after ex-leader Kim Booth resigned.  Unless the Greens vote lifts markedly statewide she will be very dependent on the breakdown of the other parties, but can retain if the swing against the Liberals is really on.  The party thinks Dawkins is popular (and I have heard some journalists agree).  However, I am unsure if her profile is high enough if she gets involved in a close preference battle for the final seat.

A Bass-specific poll was discussed here.  The Mercury's ReachTEL sample has the seat on a knife-edge between Labor and the Greens, but if any adjustment at all is made for historic polling skew, Labor wins the final seat.

Outlook: At present I think 3-2-0 is the most likely result with 3-1-1 the next most likely and chances of 2-2-1 having faded through the campaign.

1 comment:

  1. Jacqui Lambie should contest the next state election as a candidate now, now that Steve Martin has rudely accepted his Senate position blocking her immediete return.

    Ideally, Plan A would be disendorsing Michael Kent for not being a team player on the pivotal issue of pokies and salmon and having unfavorable emotions with the Liberal party, she would put herself forward as the Lyons lead candidate to replace him.

    This however could be a messy public relations exercise so running in Braddon with her other candidates there would be the next best thing to do.

    Jacqui Lambie contesting the election herself would elevate the party's success significantly, probably guaranteeing JLNetwork 3 seats ( Braddon, Bass, Lyons ) and balance of power in their own right.

    This would keep Jacqui Lambie in the political spotlight as a 'Tasmanian fighter' re-establishing her political profile which seems to have descended into a C rating TV soapie type personality of late.

    She would guide her team in the House of Assembly until the eve of the next federal election ( about a year ) then resign to run for the Senate again, having built her political stocks back up again. Her casual vacancy would be another JLN member so the power block in parliament remains the same unless/until Michael Kent decides to split away.

    If i was advising her to maximise her political influence this would be my game plan, it's close to perfect.