Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Lyons

I've left the most interesting one for last for alphabetical reasons.  This is my Lyons electorate guide for the 2018 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2018 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)

Lyons (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
Most of the state
Rural and outer-suburban including many forestry towns

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 across the ballot paper is JLN, Liberal, Labor, Greens, SF+F, Ungrouped.



Rene Hidding, incumbent, former leader, Minister for Police, Minister for Infrastructure, yet to produce promised audit into media coverage of same-sex marriage debate.
Guy Barnett, first-term incumbent, former Senator, Minister for Resources
Mark Shelton, incumbent, became Speaker on Elise Archer's promotion to ministry
Jane Howlett, businesswoman, previous candidate for seat (and Federal seat of Franklin) in 2010
John Tucker, farmer, Break O'Day councillor, now one disqualification away from a Senate seat.

John Tucker has an interesting ad.


Rebecca White, incumbent, Labor leader since March 2017
Jen Butler, staffer for David Llewellyn and previously Michael Polley
Darren Clark,  small business owner/operator, PCYC President, also ran for this seat last election and for Apsley in the Legislative Council
Janet Lambert, Northern Midlands councillor, recreational fisher, anti-supertrawler campaigner
Gerard Gaffney, "working class background", Maritime Union of Australia member
Kylie Wright, Break O'Day councillor, employment services worker

Veteran Labor MHA David Llewellyn is retiring at this election.


Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order.

Fraser Brindley, advisor to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, ex-Melbourne and Moreland councillor (Vic), hacker and/or whistleblower depending on your perspective, former member of band Frente
Helen Hutchinson, has worked "as a teacher, for DPAC, in private enterprise and most recently in academic research". Greens candidate for Denison (federal) in 2007
Lucy Landon-Lane organic farmer, nurse, prominent opponent of abandoned Bell Bay pulp mill, previous Greens candidate for Bass (federal) 2013
Gary Whisson, Lyons branch convenor, ecologist formerly working for WA Environmental Protection Authority
Glenn Millar, motorcycle mechanic, Landcare group president, also ran in 2014.

Jacqui Lambie Network

Michael Kent, Mayor of Glamorgan-Spring Bay (only Mayor elected from outside a Council in 2014), former Woolworths supermarket boss, high profile pro-development business figure
Chris Reynolds, hospital and child support worker
Bob Vervaart, former Glenorchy councillor and mayoral candidate, working-class background

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

Allen is the "team leader", the rest are listed in alphabetical order

Matthew Allen, builder, deer-hunter, lead Senate candidate for party 2016, also stood for Launceston LegCo
Shane Broadby, trout fisherman and instructor, Nyrstar plant operator
Carlo di Falco, target shooter, hunter, gun collector
Andrew Harvey, navy veteran, electrical engineer
Wayne Turale, has been a: policeman, store owner, Rural Health co-ordinator, statewide outreach manager, fly fisherman (etc).

Ungrouped (Independent)

Kim Peart, Tasmanian Times eccentric, space obsessive
Tennille Murtagh, community figure, competitive but not elected in 2014 Brighton Council election

Prospects for Lyons

On a uniform-swing based view, Lyons is where majority government stands and falls, with around an 8% swing against the Liberals before they would be expected to lose a seat.  However, there are so many moving parts that even if there is a more or less uniform swing, Lyons may not follow the script.

Lyons is a seat with a lot of timber-town or transitioning ex-timber-town booths (my favourite one to watch is Triabunna) which swing enormously (sometimes over 30%) at certain elections.   In 2014, the Liberals won three seats in Lyons with just over three quotas.  Labor (1.66 quotas) and the Greens (0.68) then went head to head for the final seat. The Greens' Tim Morris lost to David Llewellyn, mainly because of unfriendly fourth-party and indie preferences.  The final margin was 1715 votes.

An increase in the Labor vote should push Labor over or at least near enough to two quotas, especially with its popular leader running in this seat and the recent growth in Labor-supporting areas in the south of the electorate.  Assuming that Labor get their two, the first issue is how far the Liberal vote falls in terms of a possible race with the Greens for the final seat.

But it is not quite as simple as that, because if the race is something like, say, 2.6 quotas vs 0.7, then the Liberals can keep their three if they have an even enough split between their top three candidates (and it was quite close to even last time).  The simple way of saying it is that Hare-Clark is about candidates not just parties, and the complex way (extremely wonky link ahead) is Ginninderra Effect.  It showed up last election in Braddon and enabled the Liberals to win the last two seats ahead of Brenton Best.  For this to work, it's really up to Mark Shelton to keep his vote close enough to that of Guy Barnett and Rene Hidding.  If he's too far behind them, it falls over.

Possibly only White will get quota on primaries, perhaps one or two of the Liberals also might if they poll well.  But after that it's likely to be a long run of exclusions from the bottom up to settle the final seats, and one in which party totals won't be the be all and end all.  If Labor does really well in the election overall, it's even possible in theory for them to keep two candidates ahead of the Greens and the third Liberal and hence win three seats.  But I expect there to be a lot of leakage off White's surplus, and I doubt their vote will be high enough. so I don't like their chances of pulling it off.

A further puzzle is the Greens' candidate situation.  Lyons is an electorate with a lot of tiny communities.  Getting well known around the seat takes years.  The Greens lost their incumbent at the last-election and have made the surprise selection of Brindley, who has political experience enough but seems a strange fit for a rural electorate in which he would be very little-known.  His past involvement in the hacking of a Labor Party database also makes him a target for other parties - voters can understand lying down in front of bulldozers, but what Brindley did and the argument for doing it takes a lot of explaining in a seat where a lot of people don't even use the internet that much.  The Liberals have attacked Brindley over his past, resulting in the Greens accusing the Liberals of dirty tricks, but since Brindley is by his own words proud of breaking the law I'm not sure they have any cause for complaint.  Also, one would have expected the Greens' Lyons candidate to be getting noticed and known with media announcements for months in the leadup to the campaign but in that time I heard more noises supposedly made by thylacines than noises supposedly made by him.  (In case you're curious about Brindley, here's an interview.)

The Lambie Network looked like a possible contender as well, but appears to have faded as a result of a poor campaign.  Based on Senate voting  the Network might be looking at a potential base vote around 8-9% here, should all go well for them, but polling suggests this has dropped off a little.  They'd probably need more than that anyway (eg Tasmania First got 9.9% in 1998 and didn't get that close to winning).  The interesting thing here is their lead candidate.  Michael Kent is far and away the Lambie Network's highest profile contender and would have much respect among swinging pro-development voters based on a long history.  He'd be entering state politics at an age most have MPs retired by, but Kent is well resourced, would come job-ready, and can portray himself strongly as a balance of power alternative to the Greens.   On the other hand he is on the nose with his own Council.  I rather doubt that Kent will poll more than a few thousand votes, but if he does get in the mix on preferences, watch out.

Of the major party candidates, Butler seems to be the obvious heir to the Polley/Llewellyn socially conservative side of the party in Lyons, has also had the most noticeable campaign.    That said, not everybody within Labor likes her, and there is a whispering campaign against her from within the party. This firstly alleges that she normally resides in Sandy Bay, and that her enrolment in Lyons (while valid) is somewhat artificial.  In the final week a further bizarre claim against Butler surfaced, although the Australian confirmed that the minutes were amended to remove the comment present in what I assume to have been a draft.  Those within the party attacking Butler appear to be supporting Wright after Clark's campaign hit a few, er, cracks.

For the Liberals, any of them could go if the party does badly, but I think if one does go it's more likely to be Shelton, as he was the lowest vote-getter of the the three last time.  If the Liberals do well, we should also keep an eye on a possible within-party contest from Howlett, who was thereabouts in 2010.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers also have a history of polling pretty well in this seat and have been trying quite hard for this election.  But I think the presence of JLN will make it too difficult for them.

The Mercury ReachTEL points to a 3-2-0-0 result in Lyons with a strong Liberal primary vote.

Outlook:  Both majors should win two.  The fifth seat is a four-way fight but 3-2-0-0 (status quo) is the most likely result. 


  1. If Michael Kent is elected - the big question after that will be how soon will he declare his split from JLN and become nominally independent ( for the benefit of the Liberal party ), especially if that move leaves him as the sole power broker. I can see it all happening right now..

    1. I gather Lambie and Kent are friends but it's pretty obvious that if elected Kent would just do his own thing. If the Liberals had 12 plus him he might well simply join the Liberal Party.

  2. The most likely result will either be a minority Labor or Liberal government, depending on the Greens for confidence and supply. Despite what Hodgman or White are saying, they will in the end negotiate with the Greens to govern in exchange for their support in confidence and supply at the very least.

  3. Hi Kevin, thinking about Lyons candidate Jen Butler, she could well take a leaf out of Gough Whitlam's book. Back in the day, Gough Whitlam had the choice of two seats, Hughes or Werriwa, his and Margaret’s existing home was in Cronulla which was in the electorate of Hughes. Gough Whitlam chose to contest the pre selection for the seat in Werriwa, so that they would live in his electorate he and Margaret built a new house in Albert Street Cabramatta. That showed commitment,and sent a strong message that it was only about the people. Good Labor value for sure! Cheers!