Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Denison

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

Denison (Currently 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green). 
Western shore Hobart, primarily Hobart City and Glenorchy City
Inner and outer urban

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.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise.

The order of parties on the ballot paper is T4T, SF+F, Labor, Greens, Liberal


Elise Archer, incumbent, Speaker for most of term, recently promoted to ministry
Simon Behrakis, small businessman (Salamanca Fresh) with economics/stats background, keen conservative culture warrior
Sue Hickey, incumbent first-term Lord Mayor of Hobart, promotions/printing small business background, liberal on social issues
Kristy Johnson, owner-manager of all-female Fernwood Gym, not to be confused (but will be) with extremely popular Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston
Dean Young, newsagent, small business - finance background

Liberal MP Matthew Groom is retiring at this election.


Scott Bacon, incumbent, Shadow Treasurer, son of former Premier Jim Bacon
Madeleine Ogilvie, first-term incumbent whose Catholic Right social-issue positions have often been contentious within the party
Tim Cox, high-profile former ABC radio Hobart broadcaster, recently commercial radio news manager
Ella Haddad, Health and Human Services relations manager, former electorate officer and student union secretary
Zelinda Sherlock, teacher of English for refugee students, former lecturer


Greens candidates are in what appears to be endorsed ticket order

Cassy O'Connor, incumbent, Greens Leader since 2015
Helen Burnet, long-term Hobart alderman and for one term Deputy Mayor, podiatrist, frequent Greens candidate
Dr Mel Fitzpatrick, Antarctic climate scientist, expedition leader
Aaron Benham, Honours student (environmental studies grad), activist
Rose Kokkoris, former teacher

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

Lorraine Bennett, party secretary, retired recruitment/HR consultant/manager

T4T - Tasmanians 4 Tasmania

Alan Barnett, "Consultant, semi-retired" (unsure in what yet), ran for alderman in recent Glenorchy election polling 113 votes (<1%).
Rob Newitt, pensioner party founder, past independent Senate candidate and 2014 Palmer United candidate polling only a few hundred votes each time

For the first time since 2002 (and the time before that was 1979) there are no independents contesting Denison.

Prospects for Denison

Denison is an electorate of two halves - the Glenorchy half which is typically strongly pro-Labor and the Hobart half which has a very high vote for Greens and left-wing candidates.  In 2014 the Liberals outpolled Labor for the first time since 1992, but even then only by 4.5% in the context of a landslide state result.  At their nadir in 2002, the Liberals were even outpolled by the Greens.

Federally Denison is strongly held by the left-wing independent Andrew Wilkie, but attempts to translate this to state level by a rabble of low-profile indies in 2014 failed miserably.

The Greens cleared quota comfortably in 2014, and with no fourth-party threat I strongly expect them to do so again with Cassy O'Connor returned. I don't claim total certainty on this but it would take a big crash in the Green vote statewide and an unlucky breakdown among other parties to place her at any risk.  On the other hand, Greens support seems too low for any chance at two seats this time round.

Among the major parties there is a chance that if the election in general goes badly enough for the Liberals, Labor could claim three Denison seats, reducing the Liberals to one. That requires about an 11% swing, but limited electorate data suggests Denison, having swung less than the other seats last time, is also swinging less strongly back.  Labor won three in 1998, 2002 and 2006, but in all those cases its statewide vote was at least 44%, and it is well shy of that at present.

The main interest in Denison therefore is the within-party contests.  For the Liberals, Hickey is an interesting prospect because of her history of left-wing positions on issues like same-sex marriage and the date of Australia Day, though in some cases these may reflect speaking for a City Council which contains four Greens.  Hickey's term as Lord Mayor hasn't all gone smoothly, but her past electoral record is stellar and suggests that she will bolt in.

Archer was generally respected as Speaker despite occasional conflict of interest claims from opponents. Her sporadic intolerance for the ridiculous level of interjections even in one case extended to benching the Premier.  She has had little time to establish herself as a Minister and would be at risk of losing to Hickey if the Liberals were reduced to one seat. I don't see any of the Liberal support candidates threatening her, but we should keep an eye on the Kristy Johnson name confusion factor.

On the Labor side, Scott Bacon won easily in 2014, while Ogilvie had a narrow (and for me unexpected prior to the election, so I'm being careful this time) win over fellow Labor candidate Julian Amos. The main question here is: what is incumbency as a candidate worth in its own right.  Ogilvie effectively won on Greens preferences, but Greens are likely to prefer other Labor candidates to her now that the word is out on her social issues positions.  Relations between Ogilvie and her party have also been strained (unusually personally compared to other MPs with similar views), though she has had support from even more conservative Labor Senator Helen Polley,  During the campaign party tensions were again hinted at when the Ogilvie campaign placed posters at the location of a closed abortion clinic.

Bacon will be returned, but Ogilvie is at risk - certainly from the high-profile Cox, perhaps also the experienced campaigner Haddad.  Even if Labor gets three, it is possible she'll still miss out.

The Mercury ReachTEL pointed to a 2-2-1 result, but after adjustment for house effects it puts Labor within striking distance of a third seat.  However this would not be easy given that Labor would lose votes to exhaust from Scott Bacon's surplus.

Outlook: Probably 2-2-1, with some chance of 1-3-1 (3 Labor) and an outside chance of 2-3-0.

1 comment:

  1. Haddad has been door knocking in North Hobart, targetting the same areas as Lisa Singh did in the federal election.