Monday, October 3, 2022

How To Make Best Use Of Your Vote In The Tasmanian Council Elections

I had a request for information about this, so here is a quick primer on how I think voters should make best use of their votes in the current Tasmanian council elections.

Note that I have a very detailed guide to Hobart City Council and a slightly less detailed one for Clarence.  

How many boxes to number?

For the Councillor elections, you are required to number the boxes from 1 to 5 (exception: King Island) each once and once only for a valid vote.  If that's all you feel you can do, fine.  But if you want your vote to be more powerful then the more boxes you can number the better.  If two candidates are competing for a position and your vote numbers neither, then your vote can't help decide between them and the decision will be made by other voters.  If you have numbered one ahead of the other, or one and not the other, then your vote may help if it happens to be still active in the preference process at that time.

Often people stop when they run out of candidates who they like.  If there are any candidates you are strongly opposed to, then it is better to keep going so that you can put other candidates who you might dislike slightly or have never heard of ahead of those you really cannot stand.  

Some voters are afraid of doing this because they think that numbering a candidate you don't much like might help that candidate beat one of your top picks.  That's not the way it works.  Your vote only affects one candidate at a time - your number 1 vote stays with your number 1 candidate until they are elected or excluded.  If they are excluded, it then passes to the next remaining candidate on your list at full value.  If they are elected, it may pass to the next remaining candidate at a reduced value.  If you rank candidate X ahead of candidate Y, the fact that you have ranked candidate Y at all can never help candidate Y beat candidate X.  

Numbering more boxes also makes it more likely your vote will appear in future recounts if councillors quit partway through a term.  

For the Mayoral and Deputy boxes, you only have to number 1, but again, your vote is more powerful if you rank as many candidates as possible.  I recommend numbering all the boxes (or leave the last one blank if you like, it makes zero difference.)  

I personally always number all the boxes for all three ballots.  That's a big ask for Hobart where there are 44 candidates, some of them very obscure. 

Should I vote for different candidates for Mayor, Deputy and Councillor?

A person who is elected Mayor or Deputy has to also win election as a Councillor to take their place on Council.  So if you think someone would be the best possible Mayor/Deputy and the best possible Councillor, you should vote 1 for that person for both positions.  There has never yet been a case where someone was elected Mayor without also winning as a Councillor, but there have been a few cases where elected Deputies were not elected as Councillors and failed to take their seat.

On the other hand, it seems that some voters are voting 1 for a candidate who is not their most preferred Councillor candidate just because they have also voted 1 for that person as Mayor and realise their preferred Mayoral choice has to also win as Councillor.  Especially in the cities, this is unnecessary - it's extremely unlikely that anyone elected Mayor won't bolt in as Councillor. 

In general I recommend this: put the Councillor candidates in order of your preference for them as Councillors, and do the same for the Mayor and Deputy candidates for those positions.  In thinking about where to rank the Councillor candidates, ignore what else they are running for.  (I generally do the Councillor ballot first.)

If you're tossing up the first position on your Councillor ballot between a lesser known candidate who you think will be a great Councillor and a prominent Mayoral contender, I recommend voting 1 for the lesser known candidate.  They might need your first preference more.

Where can I find out about the candidates?

Outside perhaps of the very small councils where everyone knows everyone, candidates should have taken advantage of the free chance to submit a website link with their candidate statement.  However a lot of city candidates will at least have Facebook pages even if they didn't submit a web link.  I often find that candidates are evasive or too modest about their work backgrounds in candidate statements (eg saying they are in "small business" and not saying what sort it is) and I frequently find linkedin far more useful to get a view of what candidates have done and are currently doing professionally.  

It is up to candidates to inform you about who they are and what they've done.  If you feel you don't know enough about a candidate, that's on them, and it's a good reason to mark them down if you feel so inclined.

I recommend reading the candidate statements, but reading them critically.  A good statement tells you about what the candidate's background is, about how this will make them a good councillor and about how they intend to approach the role (or have approached it if they are an incumbent).  There are a lot of meaningless cliches - "common sense", "balance", "progressive" and so on.  

What are tickets?  Are they the same as parties?

Despite predictions of mass party infiltration, the candidate mix at these elections seems pretty similar to normal.  Most candidates are not party-endorsed though some are party members or have backgrounds of running for parties (especially the case in the cities).  

Sometimes candidates run on tickets where members of the group campaign together using common branding and cross-endorsements.  These tickets have no actual formal status, they are just groupings of convenience. Often the candidates who run together on tickets agree broadly on their approach to council politics, but even that's not guaranteed.  I recommend ignoring what ticket a candidate is on and judging them as a candidate, but for voters who don't have time for that, ticket cues can be useful.  

How councillors behave on councils doesn't always have a lot to do with any party connections they might have.  Greens will tend to vote a certain way, but when there are multiple Greens on a council they won't necessarily vote together all the time, and it's fairly common for endorsed Greens who get elected to councils to later become independents.  Labor members can slot in on either the left or right sides of their councils, and some Liberals can be hardliners while others will be Council centrists.  

More answers may be added to this guide later.

Clarence City Council Candidate Guide And Preview 2022

All candidates are directed to the note for candidates at the bottom of this page. 

Introductory Waffle

To see how it goes this year I've decided to expand my detailed coverage of Tasmanian council elections from just one to two, adding Clarence to Hobart.  If it is successful and I have far more time on my hands in 2026 than in this mess of a year I may do even more councils next time.  This guide is similar to my Hobart guide but, partly for time reasons and partly because I don't live there, will be a lot less detailed.  My core aim here is to ensure voters who want to be aware of the past party involvements of candidates have that awareness.  

During the campaign period voters will get official statements by the candidates, with photos supplied by them.  The online version includes web links for those candidates who have submitted them, but surprisingly that's only 17 out of 27.  At the start of this guide I will be including an official web link where a candidate has given one in their TEC statement, and failing that a social media or other web link if I can find one.  Unlike my Hobart guide, I will start with only one link for each candidate, but may add others.

This is a big election for Clarence.  As well as the arrival of compulsory voting, Doug Chipman (Mayor since 2011 and a councillor since 2000), is retiring.  The incumbent Deputy, Heather Chong, is running for Mayor.  Clarence will have a new Mayor, a new Deputy, and at least three new Councillors.  With two of the three departing Councillors coming from the right end of its voting pattern spectrum, Clarence council could be significantly reshaped.  

As a prelude to this article, I have compiled an assessment of Clarence council voting patterns in the current term.  Again, enormous thanks to Thomas Chick who did a huge amount of work entering data from the minutes, saving me time it has turned out that I wouldn't have had.  I think the results have been very interesting.  

Donations to cover my time in writing this guide are very welcome - but not from CCC candidates or their direct connections during the campaign period.  There's a PayPal button on the sidebar or you can email me (click "About Me" link in sidebar for my address) for bank account details. Please only donate if you are sure you can afford to.

Vote Formally, Vote Well

This section is copied from my Hobart guide, with minor changes.

After excessive rates of unintended informal voting marred the 2014 and 2018 elections for many of the city councils, the State Government has reduced the number of boxes you need to number on the Councillor ballot to 5 (meaning that any Councillor vote with at least the numbers 1 to 5 once and once only is valid even if it stops at 5 or contains numbering errors.)  The most important thing is to check you have the numbers 1 to 5 each once and once only on your Councillor vote.  

However, the more boxes you number the more effective your vote will become.  You can never harm your most preferred candidates by continuing to number more boxes.  There's a view out there that it's best to stop once you've numbered all the candidates you like, but it is generally better to keep going and put those you are lukewarm about ahead of those you might mildly oppose or feel like you know nothing about, and those ahead of any who you really cannot stand.   

For Lord Mayor and Deputy preferencing is optional.  I recommend numbering all the boxes (or leaving only your least preferred candidate blank is the same thing.) 

Candidates for Mayor and Deputy

The following are declared candidates for Mayor, all of whom are listed in the councillor guide.   A candidate cannot run for both Mayor and Deputy, and the winner of each position needs to also be elected as a councillor to serve.  Candidate names appear on ballot papers in rotated order.

Mayor candidates (4)

Blomeley, Brendan (incumbent councillor)
Chong, Heather (incumbent councillor and Deputy Mayor)
Mulder, Tony (incumbent councillor)
Warren, Beth (incumbent councillor)

Deputy Mayor candidates (11)

Figg, Mike
Hulme, Daniel
Hunter, Bree
James, Richard
(incumbent councillor)
Kennedy, Wendy (incumbent councillor)
Peers, John (incumbent councillor)
Ritchie, Allison
Tilley, Dave
von Bertouch, Sharyn (incumbent councillor)
Walker, James (incumbent councillor)
Willink, Hans Jurriaan

Candidates (27)

The following are the candidates.  There are three vacancies following the retirements of Doug Chipman and Dean Ewington and the election of Luke Edmunds to the Legislative Council.

Each candidate's name is a link that goes to what I deem to be their main web presence, if I can find one.  Where a candidate currently serves or has previously served on the council their years of service are given after their name.

Note that candidate Simon Walker was initially inadvertently omitted from this list on its release on 3 Oct - the error was rectified at 10:30 pm 4 Oct.

Bateman, Anna - television producer including formerly for ABC, formerly communications manager for Australia Institute and media advisor to Jacqui Lambie.  Local Party candidate for Franklin (federal) 2022.

Blomeley, Brendan (2000-8, 2018-present) CEO of Tasmanian Racing Club Inc and Racing Clubs Tasmania, Chairman of Parents Beyond Breakup, former David Bushby staffer and former long-term Federal Group business manager.  Prominent Liberal and golliwog fan.  

Chong, Heather (2009-present, Deputy Mayor 2018-present) Rotary director and long-term member, recently retired orchard CEO, former Treasurer of Asthma Foundation, various other past board involvements, Labor state candidate for Franklin 2014 and 2018

Collins, Jimmy - has Diploma of Business Administration and is completing studies in Antarctic & Climate Science at IMAS

Combey, Matt - vocational trainer specialising in management, communication, finance, and governance training, former finance industry planner/strategist, member of Human Research Ethics Committee (UTAS), 

Darko, Jade (Tasmanian Greens) - software engineer, environmental and social justice advocate and volunteer, Greens federal candidate for Franklin 2019 and 2022

Figg, Mike - runs small business mentoring service, former Australian Federal Police officer, member of Apex, Jaycees, Rotary, Toastmasters, Advance Lauderdale Association, TAFE teacher  2014 Palmer United Party candidate

Goyne, Emma - horse and mountainbike rider, recreational shooter, archer and four wheel driver, One Nation candidate for Lyons (federal) 2022

Harb, Noelle (link goes to ticket page) - "master energy healer" and business organiser, has been Traffic Offender Program Coordinator at PCYC Sutherland (Sydney)

Hulme, Daniel (2014-8) - former student union and Young Labor president, Labor MP for Franklin 2009-10 and 2022 minor Labor Senate candidate, taxation and computing background, ALP staffer 

Hunter, Bree - bushland manager and planner at Hobart City Council, has worked in invasive species management in New Zealand and on Macquarie Island, volunteer on residents and sporting committees

James, Anthony (link goes to brochure on ticket page) - self-employed providing disability services, background in business management, social science research, organisation etc 

James, Richard (1984-89, 1994-present) - veteran councillor, returned serviceman, former deputy chair Southern Waste Strategy Authority, distant past candidate for Liberals (1979) and Democrats (1996), frequent Legislative Council independent candidate

Jenner, Andrew - former magistrate and head of Chamber of Commerce in UK, former "Mayor of the Royal Borough Windsor and Maidenhead including Windsor Castle also Chairman of Planning"  Currently self-employed in catering and leisure

Kennedy, Wendy (2018-present) - former high-profile TV newsreader, Director of Tasmanian Racing Appeals Board, Executive Officer Tas Mens Sheds Association, Director Marketbiz and Bigchair Production & Public Relations

McPherson, Kaye (link goes to ticket page) - historical geographer and archaeologist, well-known writer on Tasmanian Aboriginal issues, President of Manuta Tunapee Puggaluggalia Historical and Cultural Association; Cultural Custodian and Spokesperson for the Lia Pootah Aboriginal Community

Mulder, Tony (2005-2011, 2018-present) - former Tasmania Police commander and "Independent Liberal" MLC for Rumney 2011-7.  Liberal state candidate 2010 but ran against party as an independent in 2018 and 2019 LegCo seats, no longer a member

Peers, John (1999-present) - veteran councillor, 2014 Palmer United state candidate, described at the time as "managing a successful business"

Rainbird, Kate - graphic designer (Bluekat) specialising in corporate communications, investor relations and publications,  Masters in Politics and Policy student, #3 Labor candidate for Senate 2022

Ritchie, Allison - Labor MLC for Pembroke 2001-9, Minister for Planning and Workplace Relations 2008, director of Tasmanian Nationals party 2014, President Boxing Tasmania, General Manager Hobart PCYC, President of lobby group “People Protecting Children”, operates family farm

Tilley, Dave - lawyer, Director with Department of Justice, former police officer and investigator on Glenorchy Board of Inquiry, Chairperson of Mental Health Council Tasmania

von Bertouch, Sharyn (2007-present) - "law, education, counselling, company directors qualifications; community sector/government management experience"

Walker, BJ - "self employed business owner in the Building, Construction and Renewable Energy Sector for 19 years.", member of Rokeby Hills Landcare

Walker, James (2012-present) - local podiatrist who has also worked in practice management and health workforce planning.  Liberal candidate for Pembroke 2017 and Franklin (state) 2022.  

Walker, Simon - compliance professional of 15 years with 10 years internal financial audit experience, involved in campaigns for open space especially in Mornington area.

Warren, Beth (Tasmanian Greens) (2018-present) has worked in COVID operations (Dept of Health), in Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (Dept of Justice), as advisor to former Greens Minister Nick McKim, teacher, software engineer, trainer, business analyst. TSO chorus singer and writer.

Willink, Hans Jurriann -  IT consultant, former army bomb disposal officer, has also worked for the police, the public service and the HEC and as an advisor to Tony Mulder. Tasmania's first ever Uber driver.  Past candidate for Liberal Party (1990s) and Science Party (2016), many independent runs.  

Form Guide

This section includes a summary of past election performances (where any known) and histories of any known party or quasi-party involvements, and also assessments of past voting patterns.  This one is again in reverse alphabetical order.  Many new candidates have no previous known electoral form, but this section isn't about saying that more or less electoral form is good.  It is mainly for the purpose of saying how people have gone in the past for those interested in trying to guess how they'll go in the future - and also for knowing about party connections.  That said, as my voting pattern assessment shows, party connections are a rather weak predictor of how Clarence councillors vote.  

Note that for the 2014 election the number of seats elected at a time was increased from (usually) six to twelve, resulting in large drops in the primary votes for several incumbent councillors.

Bateman, Anna - contested Franklin at the 2022 federal election for the Local Party; was endorsed by Andrew Wilkie leading to some interest in her prospects, eventually polled 4.96%.  

Blomeley, Brendan -  Elected sixth of six to Council in 2000, polling 7.9% and defeating Kim Peart by 98 votes.  Increased vote to 9% in 2005 and elected fourth of seven.   Resigned mid-2008.  Returned to council at the 2018 election but only just - elected twelfth of twelve with 3.1%, beating Kay Macfarlane by 43 votes.  Frequently mentioned in dispatches as a possible Liberal Party candidate for state or federal politics without ever actually running,  In the current Council Blomeley was the most right-leaning Councillor, often voting together with Dean Ewington and Chipman.  

Chong, Heather - Elected sixth of six to Council in 2009, polling 3.9% and defeating incumbent Beverley Evans by eight votes.  In 2014 polled 4.6% in the larger field and elected 6th of 12, also finished a distant second to Jock Campbell in the Deputy Mayor contest.  In 2018 polled 4.5% and elected 7th out of 12, but more importantly defeated James Walker by just 80 votes to win an 11-candidate Deputy Mayor contest.  Ran for Labor in Franklin (state) 2014 and 2018 polling 760 and 2136 votes.  In the last term of Council I have assessed Chong's voting pattern as centre-right.

Darko, Jade - Greens candidate for Franklin at the 2019 and 2022 federal elections polling 16.3% and 17.4%.  Polled 671 votes as minor Greens candidate for Franklin at 2021 state election.

Figg, Mike - Previous candidate in 2005 (2%) and 2018 (1.1%).  Also Palmer United candidate for Franklin 2014 (state) polling 413 votes.  Criticised PUP campaign saying it was too much about Clive and not enough about the party (duh!)

Goyne, Emma - One Nation candidate for Lyons at 2022 federal election polling 5.4%.  

Hulme, Daniel - former President of student union at Launceston 2002-3.  Support candidate for Labor in Franklin at 2006 state election polling 620 votes, but then became a state MP on a recount after Paula Wriedt resigned in 2009.  Polled 2055 votes in 2010 but lost seat.  Got 5.8% at first run for Clarence council in 2011, finishing 8th in race for 6 seats.  At second attempt got 4.2% in 2014 and elected 10th out of 12, but vote slumped to 2.1% in 2018 and was defeated after not submitting a candidate statement.  #4 Labor candidate for Senate 2022 polling 1175 votes.

James, Richard - Councillor from 1984 to 1989 and 1994 onwards and has run in more elections than I have room to list.  Candidate for the Liberal Party in the 1979 state election and the Democrats in 1996, unaware of any party memberships since.  Contested Pembroke for the Legislative Council six times between 1989 and 2017, including three distant second places, with most recent result (2017) the weakest at 7.4%.  A strong vote getter at recent Council elections, first elected at the 2007 and 2011 half-elections, then elected second with quota (8%) in 2014, but dropped a little to 5.8% and elected fourth in 2018.  In the last term of Clarence council I have assessed his voting as the most left-wing of the current councillors, with a strong tendency towards lone dissents and often being on the losing side of motions.

Kennedy, Wendy - Elected at the first attempt in 2018 polling 5.7% and crossing the line 5th out of 12. In the last term of Clarence council I have assessed her voting as centre-left.

Mulder, Tony - Elected 6th of 7 with 6.8% in 2005.  Re-elected 5th of 6 with 7.0% in 2009.  Liberal candidate for Franklin at 2010 state election polling 1,986 votes, ultimately losing a fairly close contest for the final seat to Jacquie Petrusma.  Ran for Rumney 2011 as an "independent liberal" and unseated trouble-plagued Labor incumbent Lin Thorp (about 53-47 two-candidate preferred).  However then lost the seat to Labor's Sarah Lovell in 2017 by a similar margin after one term.  Recovered Council seat easily in 2018 coming second with 11.4%, losing the mayoral race to Chipman around 44-56.  Has also had Legislative Council runs for Prosser 2018 and Pembroke 2019 finishing 4th and 3rd respectively.  As a Legislative Councillor Mulder tended to vote on the right, but not very predictably.  In the last term of Clarence council I have assessed his voting as centrist and slightly left-leaning. 

Peers, John - First elected in 1999 with 6.9% rising to 11.3% (second) in the 2005 half-election but modest results in 2014 (4.4%, 8th of 12 elected) and 2018 (4.0%, 11th of 12).  Palmer United candidate at 2014 state election in Franklin polling 613 votes.  Ran for Pembroke 2007 polling 9.3%, and 2009 polling 9.6%.  In the last term of Clarence council I have assessed his voting pattern as centrist.

Rainbird, Kate - #3 Labor Senate candidate for Tasmania 2022 polling 2106 votes.  

Ritchie, Allison - Elected as Labor MLC for Pembroke in 2001, the youngest MLC ever elected, defeating incumbent and former Mayor Cathy Edwards 53.8-46.2.  Re-elected easily in 2007 polling 42.9% in a field of six.  Briefly Minister for Planning and Workplace Relations but resigned from the ministry in 2008 for health reasons, then quit parliament entirely in 2009 following controversy over the appointment of family members to her office.  Challenged her successor Vanessa Goodwin in 2013, this time as an independent, but Goodwin beat her by 15% on primary votes (which would have closed somewhat on Greens preferences).  In 2014 became state director (but not a candidate) for the Tasmanian Nationals, a weird outfit that was at times connected to the federal National Party before having its affiliation cancelled, and that polled a ridiculously small tally of votes.

von Bertouch, Sharyn - Elected as a Greens candidate in 2007 with 8.8% (5th elected of 6).  Ran as an independent in 2011 and was elected 2nd with 9.1%, then 4th in the 2014 full election with 6.1% before slipping to 4.1% (8th) in 2018.  In the current term of council I have assessed von Bertouch's voting pattern as centre-right, albeit with a fairly high tendency to have a different opinion to other councillors.

Walker, James - Thereabouts but unsuccessful in 2009 (4.1%, 9th) and 2011 (4.7%, 8th) but then got elected on the recount when Mulder moved to the Legislative Council.  Retained (4.3%, 9th of 12) in 2014 and again retained in 2018 (3.6%, 10th of 12), the year in which he just missed out to Chong as Deputy.  Liberal candidate for Pembroke at the 2017 by-election where he just shaded Chipman for second but Chipman's preferences were unhelpful and Labor were much too far ahead anyway.  (In this campaign Liberal operatives targeted Chipman over his age and lifestyle, and were widely condemned for doing so).  Also ran as a replacement Liberal candidate for Franklin at the 2021 state election, polling 2468 votes.  In the last term of council I have assessed Walker's voting pattern as basically centrist and just a whisker to the right.  

Warren, Beth - Elected third in 2018 with 6.9% as endorsed Greens candidate.  In the last term of council I have assessed her voting pattern as left, but considerably less left/prone to vote against a lot of things than James'.

Willink, Hans Jurriaan - Among the state's best-known serial candidates with twelve previous unsuccessful runs (six Clarence, three LegCo, two House of Assembly and one Senate), all of these as an independent bar running for the Liberal Party in 1996 and the Science Party in the 2016 Senate race.  In the very distant past a Liberal branch president.  Has had some colourful scrapes including being heavied by the Liberal Party with a ludicrous cease and desist letter after running as an "independent liberal" for Nelson in 2013, and also not making Andrew Wilkie's Christmas card list with a "Like Wilkie? Try Willink" state campaign in 2014.  But he might be finally getting closer - in 2018 Willink missed a Clarence seat by just 120 votes, and his Pembroke 2022 LegCo vote of 9.3% was far from shabby.  

Issues - Under Construction

Issues to be added as time permits.

1 . Kangaroo Bay Development: A large hotel and hospitality school development at Kangaroo Bay was approved by the council in 2017 after a high-profile debate but building on the site has not commenced.  In December 2020 the council voted 7-5 to grant a two-year extension (James, Kennedy, Peers and Warren against and Edmunds abstaining and counted as against).  The company involved, Chambroad, now intends to build a hotel only and a deadline for substantial commencement is about to expire.  The company is seeking a further extension; both the Greens and the Blomeley/Ritchie "Better Clarence" ticket are supporting returning the land to public ownership.  In a Facebook comment in what appears to be a reference to Blomeley's stance, Mulder writes "By then [Chambroad] have to apply for extension. If they do we must consider there reasons (contract) and can only reject if we disagree with reasons, otherwise we will get shafted by the courts.some aldertypes have backflipped which is pleasing but they've come out in the media without an application being made and without seeing the reasons, let alone assessing them."

Campaign - Under Construction

Comments on notable campaigning issues to be added as campaign develops.

1. Sign silliness: in a bit of a change to the usual story about signs being ripped down by rivals, an old poster for Beth Warren has somehow ended up on the fence of Dean Ewington's business, probably as a joke at Ewington's expense.  

Teams and Tickets

Some candidates choose to run on tickets with other candidates.  Tickets are not necessarily parties - they are alliances of convenience that may have an ideological basis but that are not always good at predicting future voting patterns.  The following tickets have been detected (others if detected will be added, as will notes on cross-endorsements that fall below ticket level):

Tasmanian Greens - Warren, Darko

Better Clarence - Blomeley, Ritchie, Harb, Anthony James, McPherson

Chong/Walker Mayor/Deputy ticket (a Labor/Liberal member ticket which is not as unusual as it sounds - in fact Chong has voted somewhat to the right of Walker on the current council)

Prospects - Mayor

The Mayoral race is a good one because the candidates each represent a recognisable slice of the council's voting patterns over the last four years - Blomeley has been on the right, Chong in the centre-right, Mulder slightly left of centre and Warren on the left.  Also they are all serious candidates and there are no tryhards cluttering the mayoral ballot paper.  It is hard to read too much into Chong and Mulder's respective forms from 2018 because Mulder was running for Mayor while Chong was not, and candidates for Deputy often seem not to do too well on Councillor ballots under the new system.   Also Chong has been the established Deputy over the past four years.  I would think either of the more central candidates would have an advantage over Blomeley or Warren on preferences if they were to make the final two against one of those two, but there's a fair chance that won't happen and the final two will be Mulder and Chong.  Here from both sides there are interesting preference dynamics because Chong has a Labor past and Mulder has a Liberal past, yet in voting pattern terms Mulder has been left of Chong in this term of council.  Gender voting dynamics could also play a role in preferencing here.  

Prospects - Deputy Mayor

Urgh I'm sorry, but 11 candidates for Deputy Mayor is a bit messy and I really think there should be deposits for running for city councillor and extra deposits for running for leadership positions.  Anyway this field has five incumbents in it (James, Kennedy, Peers, von Bertouch and Walker).  Most of these didn't set the world on fire electorally in 2018 but that didn't stop Walker nearly winning this position anyway.  The interesting one here is Kennedy because 2018 was her first election, so has she built support?   On the outside we have Ritchie who is a very well-known name (which might help under compulsory voting) even if not all of the knowledge is positive.  I don't know enough to say none of the others are in this either, though if either Figg or Willink win I will be suitably astonished.

Prospects - Councillor

Here I really don't know enough about the field to say which new candidates are going to get up from the start - some of the new ones appear very well credentialled - so I'll make this very general.  This is far from a "bases loaded" election  - there are a cushy three vacancies and so incumbents whose councillor performances looked a bit fragile in 2018 (eg Peers, von Bertouch, Walker) may well be lifted.  That said there is enough quality and profile in the challengers, and compulsory voting to affect the picture as well, that I'm not sure all the incumbents are safe.  The mayoral contenders should all be fine - while Blomeley's return last time was far from emphatic, he should benefit from the departures of two councillors with similar voting habits.   Clarence should be a place where party cues have some benefit in harnessing votes under compulsory voting so Labor connections might stand Rainbird, Hulme (and maybe Ritchie too, see above) in good stead.  It will be interesting to see how James holds up and whether his support base translates to compulsory voting given the surge in support for the Greens at recent elections and competition from new non-Greens environmentally focussed independents and teal-style candidates  More comments may be added.

Note For Candidates

I haven't covered Clarence council before so I don't know if Clarence candidates can be as annoying as a small minority of Hobart ones.  In general in covering elections, I find that most candidates are sensible but there are always a few who seem to think that because I am voluntarily covering the election they are running in that makes me their slave.  Almost as annoying are those who think that if they fail to put information somewhere where I'd find it, that's my fault.  

The rules for my Clarence guide are slightly different to Hobart.

Candidates or their connections may contact me via email or on Twitter at any time to seek corrections of anything in this guide that is clearly factually incorrect or clearly misleading.  Please do not stretch the concept of factual error to include differences of opinion, interpretation or emphasis.  

Candidates or their connections may contact me once only for the following purposes:

1. To have their link changed or a link added in the event that there is not one already (this is the link that the candidate's name goes to.)

2. To supply extra links to bio material that is publicly available online or in brochure form to the voters and that I may find of interest for the candidate list sections.  (Do not email me material for inclusion or suggestions for edits/changes to bios, I am only interested in using publicly available material and will use it as I see fit.)  Note that I strictly limit my bio section to three lines per candidate.  

3. To request that their name not carry any link at all.

Requests that blame me for not unearthing information, or are in any way disrespectful or threatening will result in that candidate getting no links at all!  

Where candidates or their connections fail to read the instructions and send me emails showing they do not understand that their name is a clickable link, such candidates may be criticised publicly by name for wasting my time.

Any comments about this guide that I become aware of by any means including indirect hearsay are on the public record, especially if stated otherwise.  
Candidates are welcome to whinge about alleged bias etc in comments.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Clarence City Council Voting Patterns 2018-22

(Note: Clarence council guide will be available from about 2 pm  Monday)

Advance Summary

1. This article presents some statistics and comments concerning voting patterns in the Clarence City Council 2018-22.

2. Voting on contested matters on Clarence council has been significantly less factionalised than on Hobart City Council in the same period.

3. While all councillors vote independently and only tend to vote more or less with other councillors, there has been a recognisable "right" grouping of Brendan Blomeley, Dean Ewington and Mayor Doug Chipman. 

4. The most frequent opponent of the "right" grouping is Richard James, followed at some distance by Beth Warren.  James also has a very high proportion of lone-dissent votes.

5. Many of the Clarence councillors do not side especially strongly with one side or the other and some are more or less centrists.

6. The relationship of Clarence council voting patterns with known party memberships or associations is quite weak.

7. A possible "left-to-right" ordering of the 2018-22 Clarence council was James, Warren, Kennedy, Mulder, Edmunds*, Peers (centre), Walker, von Bertouch, Chong, Chipman*, Ewington*, Blomeley.

(* = not recontesting.)


For this year I decided years ago that I would try to expand my detailed Tasmanian local council coverage from one council to two, and do Clarence as well as Hobart.  So why Clarence?  I've never actually lived in Clarence, though I did work there roughly every second workday between 2014 and 2018.  My main reason for covering Clarence is that it has a fair bit in common with Hobart politically, in that it also has a lot of overlap with state politics.  A lot of people who have run for state politics also run for Clarence, and vice versa, a recent example being first-term Clarence councillor Luke Edmunds storming into the upper house at the Pembroke by-election.  A lot of Clarence council candidates have party-political histories, and Clarence also features some of the same development-vs-environment battlegrounds as Hobart.  Clarence council is also famous for the inter-personal spats that develop involving particular pairs of councillors, which makes it a fun one to look at for voting pattern purposes.  

I will be posting a Clarence guide (which won't be as detailed as my enormous Hobart guide) sometime before anyone who takes their time has voted on Monday, but firstly I want to set the scene with a look at voting in Clarence council in the current term, along the lines of my Hobart analysis.  I haven't done this analysis for past terms, so have no standard of comparison for saying if it's always been like this.  In preparing this piece I have had massive assistance from Thomas Chick (@Tantusar on Twitter) who saved me many hours of time that I certainly don't have by not just keying in the divisions from Clarence Council in this term but also categorising them in numerous ways and preparing more tables than I have even found time to look at in detail yet.  

Thomas's notes say that the dataset he prepared includes just about every vote with the exception of a range of minor and mostly procedural motions.  The dataset covers the whole term through to 19 September.  It includes, in total, 253 votes where there were at least two councillors on one side, and another 126 with a lone dissenter.  As with any council, many motions put on Clarence council are passed unanimously and are not interesting for an article like this one.  (46% of the motions in Thomas's dataset are unanimous and this percentage would increase if including procedural motions.)  My interest here is in the split decisions only.

There is a fairly significant cultural difference between Hobart and Clarence voting.  In Hobart this term the Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds abstained from a snap no-confidence motion in her leadership without leaving the room and the abstention was recorded as a vote against under the Local Government Act.  I had never seen this situation before in many years of covering Hobart Council voting.  But on Clarence this kind of abstention (as distinct from an absence where the councillor has excluded themselves from the vote because of a formal conflict of interest) is reasonably common.  

There are a range of different and equally valid ways to deal with these abstained-equals-against votes for voting patterns purposes.  I experimented with a few and found they didn't make more than 4% difference to how often any given pair of councillors were counted as agreeing with each other, and didn't affect my conclusions to any degree that mattered.  In the end I prepared one set of figures that treated abstentions as equivalent to votes against, and one that treated abstentions as equivalent to absences, and averaged them.  In effect, therefore, I'm giving such an abstention half the weighting of a vote against.  Most of these abstentions are irrelevant, though in the whole term I found two motions that had been lost because of abstentions that would have passed had abstentions not counted as votes against.

Agreement matrix and left-right sort

I have called the axes on Clarence council left and right because I have not studied the issues that breed them in detail and am not sure whether the blue/green classification I use for Hobart council applies here.  I think it's safe to assume that if arch-Liberal Brendan Blomeley appears on one side of the voting ledger that side can be treated as the right side and the opposite tendency as the left, though this may not correspond that well to right and left in the broader world, whatever that is.

This is my simplified measure (with abstentions treated as discussed above) of how often the councillors vote together on motions that have at least two councillors on either side.  

For instance, the chart shows that Wendy Kennedy and Dean Ewington vote together on about 48% of these multiply contested motions.  

I've highlighted agreement percentages of 70 and above.  The first cluster that is obvious here is that involving Doug Chipman, Ewington and Blomeley, who all agree with each other more than three-quarters of the time.  This cluster also connects to Heather Chong, though Chong doesn't vote with Ewington all that often.  Sharyn von Bertouch often votes with Chong and votes with Chopman and Blomeley more than with most other councillors, and hence can be considered linked to this grouping, though she also has a relatively low tendency to agree with anyone.

On the other side the councillor most obviously opposed to the Chipman/Ewington/Blomeley group is Richard James, who votes with Blomeley in only 20% of such votes.  However unlike Hobart council where the councillors who always vote against the right have close allies, James doesn't vote with anyone on more than 60% of these motions.  There are then a scattering of fairly high agreement percentages connecting Beth Warren to Kennedy and Kennedy to Edmunds and John Peers, but Peers agrees more with Chong and Chipman than with Warren so therefore can't be simply placed as a member of the left group (which is not a very strongly defined group anyway).  

That leaves two councillors who don't have any agreement percentages of 70 upwards or 30 and below with anyone, Tony Mulder and James Walker.  I haven't used these two or Peers in calculating ratios to sort the councillors, but Mulder's numbers clearly tend towards the soft-left side of council while Walker is harder to place, with Chipman and Edmunds the two he most agrees with.  

The agreement ratios are based on agreement with James, Warren, Kennedy and Edmunds on the left side vs von Bertouch, Chong, Chipman, Ewington and Blomeley on the right.  A ratio in green is more left than right, one in blue is more right than left (with apologies to any colourblind readers as usual!)  

What is notable here is that Clarence council is way less factionalised than Hobart has been in its current term (which has, admittedly, been one of its most polarised ever).  Only four of the councillors (Ewington, Blomeley, Chipman and James) have very strongly realised voting patterns.

Given that most of these councillors have had party links it is also interesting how the Liberals and ex-Liberals are scattered across the landscape with Mulder (who used to be a rightie in the LegCo, albeit an erratic one) on the left side, Walker almost dead centre and Blomeley on the right.  von Bertouch on the other hand is a former Green who now tends to the right of Council on average.  Also, Chong and Edmunds come from the same party background (ALP) but you really wouldn't know it from these numbers.

The patterns seen are more strongly realised on planning matters.  On these Thomas Chick's spreadsheets show that Blomeley and Ewington agree 92% of the time, for instance, while James votes with Blomeley, Ewington and Chipman each well below 20% of the time, and Warren votes with James 72% of the time.  

In two dimensions

Clarence was an interesting case where I had to actually look at a two-dimensional Principal Components Analysis graph to get my head around what was going on with the data.  A PCA graph tries to squash the different voting patterns into two dimensions, and the data accompanying it is useful in trying to say whether a council is a simple left-right axis or there is more going on.  I am accustomed to going through this process and finding that the left-right axis overwhelms everything (both with Legislative Council and Hobart City Council) but for Clarence this is not the case at all.  They're all over the place!

In these PCA graphs, closeness to the centre means that an individual's voting pattern is not as strongly realised as if the dot is further from the centre.  Thus Chong and Chipman display a very similar kind of voting pattern, but in Chong's case it is less strongly developed; likewise the line in Mulder's case suggests his voting pattern isn't a very strongly defined one.  The most obvious cluster of similar voting patterns is Blomeley/Ewington/Chipman/Chong and the rest are spread all over the place, which is quite different to some graphs I have done where everyone ends up in two tight clusters.

Here the left-right axis on the graph pretty much is the actual left-right axis (slightly distorted) but the vertical axis, which explains 32% of variation, isn't so easy to define and may not have any specific meaning. It does have the more prone-to-disagree councillors at the bottom, for what that's worth.

Lone haranguers!

The pattern of lone dissenting on Clarence council also underlies the voting patterns for multiple dissents.  The two councillors who tend to least often vote with their colleagues on average lead the way on lone dissents, with James recording a massive 39 lone dissents and 27 lone abstentions and Von Bertouch 17 lone dissents.  Well behind came Mulder (9 lone dissents and 3 abstentions), Ewington (5 and 5), Blomeley (5 and 1), Walker (0 and 5) and Warren (3 and 2).  Chipman and Edmunds delivered two lone abstentions each, Peers a solitary full lone dissent, and Chong and Kennedy didn't rock this boat all term.

The pattern with James extends to him being by far the least often on the winning side of the multiply contested motions.  He is on the winning side of just 38.4% of such divisions.  Four others are on the winning side less than 70% of the time: Warren (64.1), von Bertouch (64.2), Mulder (65.1) and Ewington (65.7).  While Mayor Chipman has been recognisably on one side of council in this term, it hasn't stopped him being the councillor most often on the winning side of motions, 79.7% of the time.  I generally think it is good for mayors if they have a relatively high vote-winning percentage.

Out of the 253 multiply contested motions, 53% had only two or three councillors on the losing side, compared to 48% for Hobart (and Clarence has had fewer cases of councillors being absent).  But there were also a reasonable number of ties, 25 in all (including one tied by abstentions).

Looking ahead

This Clarence election sees the departure of three councillors: Luke Edmunds who has been promoted to the premier league of local government* and Dean Ewington and Doug Chipman who have both retired.  Overall while it is hard to put all the councillors in right-left camps as is the case with Hobart's current 6-6 split, the right side of Clarence council has had the better side of things in this term.  The right side's voting patterns were for the most part more strongly realised, and what passes for a left side is mostly councillors with only a relatively weak tendency to vote more with each other than with, say, Chipman and Chong.  But with two of the three councillors from the Blomeley/Ewington/Chipman grouping gone, this could be the end of all that.  More on this in my guide which is not now far away ...

If time permits I may add more comments and I also welcome assessments from locals who are paying much closer attention to the underlying basis of these patterns than I am.  Candidates are also welcome to comment in comments.  The usual fine print to deter any silly stuff (though I suspect that that only happens in Hobart): 1. Comments on this site are accepted in full or not at all; any comment that I consider legally or otherwise problematic will probably be rejected.  2. Any feedback about my coverage that I receive, including indirectly if someone makes it to someone likely to pass it on to me, is on the public record, especially if claimed to be otherwise.  

(*aka the LegCo, not really local government, but ...)

Monday, September 19, 2022

Hobart City Council Elections Candidate Guide And Preview 2022

All candidates are directed to the note for candidates at the bottom of this page. 

Introductory Waffle

As perhaps the biggest (in terms of advance action) campaign ever ramps up, here is my resource page for the 2022 Hobart City Council elections.  This guide (like my 2014 guide and 2018 guide) includes a list of candidates who are running for the Council for the 2022-26 term.    The guide includes brief bio details and links, descriptions of candidates' past electoral form (where any) and some vague speculation about prospects.  It also covers the campaign generally, polling and the related elector poll.  All sections will be updated regularly as time permits and more information comes to hand.

During the campaign period voters will get official statements by the candidates, with photos supplied by them.  The online version will include web links.  This piece is published first for the interest of those who don't want to wait for the candidate statements, but will stay up to present a less filtered view of candidate backgrounds. 

Donations to cover my time in writing this guide are very welcome - but not from HCC candidates or their direct connections during the campaign period.  There's a PayPal button on the sidebar or you can email me for bank account details. Please only donate if you are sure you can afford to.  

A note that for the candidate profile section Darcy Murphy's efforts in pre-compiling candidate links have saved me what would have been hours of link-hunting.  In what has been the most severely time-deprived year of my life I cannot express what a blessing this has been.  Thanks also to my mother Pru Bonham for a bit of extra help with candidate-spotting and other comments.

For some complex background to the voting patterns of incumbent councillors, see Hobart City Council Voting Patterns 2018-22. By way of a quick summary, while most councillors are technically independent, and even the party-endorsed candidates don't vote the same way as each other all the time, I've historically found that most councillors belong to two loose clusters of generally likeminded councillors.  I refer to these as the "greens" (including The Greens and somewhat likeminded others) and the "blues" (who more often favour the interests of commerce and development when environmental conflicts arise).  Note that "blues" are not necessarily Liberals; indeed councillors with past Labor connections have from time to time cropped up in both groupings.  The 2014-8 term saw these tendencies less apparent than before, and this was also the case early in the current term, but from about early 2020 the Council's voting on contested motions has become more factionalised than I have seen for some time, with an unusually large number of tied votes.  There have also been quite a few votes with most of the Council on one side and, say, the endorsed Greens and/or Dutta on the other side, and quite a few with most of the Council on one side and, eg, Behrakis/Coats/Zucco on the other.  (The rejection of the proposed cable car was a case of the latter).

Voting is compulsory.  The election will also include a non-binding voluntary elector poll on the question of the University of Tasmania's plans to move to the CBD (see item 1 in Issues section).  The poll was requisitioned by the Save UTAS Campus group which opposes the move after it cleared the very low bar of 1000 signatures.  (The state government's local government reform process which was to include abolition of petition-requested elector polls stalled years ago.)

I am aiming to do a similar but briefer guide for Clarence council before voting starts if I can.  I've selected Clarence because it too has a strong history of councillors with an involvement in party and/or state politics.  Alas I don't have time to do them for all councils.  

Vote Formally, Vote Well

After excessive rates of unintended informal voting marred the 2014 and 2018 Hobart elections, the State Government has reduced the number of boxes you need to number on the Councillor ballot to 5 (meaning that any Councillor vote with at least the numbers 1 to 5 once and once only is valid even if it stops at 5 or contains numbering errors.)  The most important thing is to check you have the numbers 1 to 5 each once and once only on your Councillor vote.  

However, the more boxes you number the more effective your vote will become.  You can never harm your most preferred candidates by continuing to number more boxes.  There's a view out there that it's best to stop once you've numbered all the candidates you like, but it is generally better to keep going and put those you are lukewarm about ahead of those you might mildly oppose or feel like you know nothing about, and those ahead of any who you really cannot stand.   A good example of why preferencing matters is Zelinda Sherlock's win in 2018.  Sherlock was 17th on primary votes but overtook six other candidates to win, including Ron Christie who started with almost twice as many votes as her.  

For Lord Mayor and Deputy preferencing is optional.  I recommend numbering all the boxes (or leaving only your least preferred candidate blank is the same thing.) 

A reader has posted a tool where you can order your vote and make notes as you go here.

"Alderman" vs "Councillor"

Hobart Council made the unusual decision to allow councillors to choose the term "alderman" or "councillor" as their title.  Currently Aldermen Zucco, Briscoe, Sexton, Thomas and Behrakis use the "alderman" title and Councillors Reynolds, Burnet, Harvey, Dutta, Fox, Sherlock and Coats use "councillor" (a perfect green-blue split except for Coats.)  This guide uses the term "councillor" as a collective term for members of the council.  However if I find it desirable to refer to a given incumbent with a title then I use their preferred title.

Candidates for Lord Mayor and Deputy

The following are declared candidates for Lord Mayor, all of whom are listed in the councillor guide.   A candidate cannot run for both Mayor and Deputy, and the winner of each position needs to also be elected as a councillor to serve.  Candidate names appear on ballot papers in rotated order.

Lord Mayor (8 candidates)

Bai, Marcus
Bloomfield, Louise
Coats, Will (incumbent councillor)
Elliot, Louise
Harvey, Bill (incumbent councillor) 
Kelly, John
Reynolds, Anna (incumbent Lord Mayor and councillor)
Marti Zucco (incumbent alderman)

If you want a go at tipping who will win, there is a Not-A-Poll open in the sidebar.

Deputy Lord Mayor (10 candidates)

Behrakis, Simon (incumbent alderman)
Briscoe, Jeff (incumbent alderman)
Burnet, Helen (incumbent Deputy Lord Mayor and councillor)
Christie, Ron
Davies, Owen
Dutta, Mike (incumbent councillor)
Jackson, Michael
Posselt, Ryan
Spender, Duncan
Thomas, Damon (incumbent alderman)

Candidates for Councillor (44 for 12 positions)

The following are the candidates in this record field.   There is one vacancy (Peter Sexton). 

I am trying to keep this section close to neutral without it being totally boring. Some biases may sneak through (or be overcompensated for) but my main interest in this section is in providing a resource.  

Each candidate's name, with a few exceptions where I haven't yet found a campaign page, is a link to what seems to be the main page or a campaign page or other web presence for that candidate.  For incumbents and former council members I give years of HCC service in brackets after their name.  

Ticket/team webpages, if any, are listed in the Tickets/teams section below.

All current councillors have a Councillor page on the HCC website.  For each candidate a set of alternative links, where available, follows in brackets at the end of their mini-bio.

Candidate names appear on ballot papers in rotated order.

Bai, Marcus (Xuesong) (Dr) - business lecturer and academic at the University of Tasmania, consultant, first Chinese-Australian candidate for Lord Mayor.

Behrakis, Simon (2018-present) - parliamentary researcher, former Eric Abetz staffer, state Liberal candidate, Young Liberal vice-president, economist, former assistant manager of grocer Salamanca Fresh, enthusiastic culture warrior (  linkedin, Instagram, Twitter )

Bloomfield, Louise - accountant, Volunteer Chairman and founder of Confederation of Greater Hobart Business Ltd, regular volunteer speaker at NEIS programs mentoring new businesses, Rotarian for years, also Soroptomist (female version of Rotary), Rostrum member (FacebookTwitterlinkedin)

Briscoe, Jeff  (1994-present) - second longest serving alderman ever after Zucco, teacher, eg of maths, computing and chemistry (now at Guilford Young after very long career in public system), credit union director.  ( other Facebook pageTwitter, Instagram, linkedin, Zoominfo )

Burnet, Helen (Tasmanian Greens) (2005-present, Deputy 2009-11, 2018-present) - frequent Greens state candidate, Podiatrist at Royal Hobart Hospital, volunteer on range of non-profit boards. (Facebook, Twitter)

Campbell, Sam - former state co-ordinator of Tasmanian branch of Australian Unemployed Workers Union, studied History and English with Professional Honours in TESOL  (More to be added).

Chopra, Raj - Campus manager, founder of Intercultural Sports League (article), VP Culturally Diverse Alliance of Tasmania Inc., comedian/musician.  Also pastor IC Church Glenorchy. (FacebookTwitterinstagram, linkedin)

Christie, Lili - wife of Ron Christie, fellow tea cafe operator (see below). Beyond appearing in ticket advertising, I'm unaware of any campaign activity as of 5 October.

Christie, Ron (1999-2000, 2002-2018, Deputy 2011-18, Lord Mayor 2018) - former Deputy promoted to Lord Mayor on Sue Hickey's resignation, former radio and TV host, marketer and Eisteddfod president, tea cafe operator (Twitter (old))

Coats, Will (2020-present) - state/federal Liberal candidate, advisor to Leonie Hiscutt, former Young Liberal State Pres, has worked in IT for Mystate and RACT, VP Volleyball Tasmania, Hobart Football Club volunteering co-ordinator, directs hair style products company, Catan grandmaster  (Facebooklinkedin)

Corr, Brian - President of Hobart Not Highrise (lobby group re building heights), Founding Vice-President Newtown Community Association, former WA local councillor and ALP state candidate.

Davies, Owen G - on Christie's "Hobart Community Team" ticket.  Advertising suggests partner of  Rothery. There is a person by this name who posts lovely daffodil snaps on Facebook but I am unsure it is the same person.  Beyond appearing in ticket advertising, I'm unaware of any campaign activity as of 5 October.

Dutta, Mike (2018-present) proprietor of Macquarie Street Foodstore cafe/restaurant, former teacher, lawyer and Minister of Religion. (Facebook, Twitter)  

Elliot, Louise HR consultant, former HR manager for Department of Health and Human Services, runs Tasmanian Residential Rental Property Owners Association, prominent cancer survivor, Katherine Deves supporter (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Etherington, Matt law graduate, disability and mental health advocate, Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year and Hobart’s Young Citizen of the Year 2019, human rights volunteer, disability soccer coach (Facebook, Twitter, linkedin)

Fox, Jax (2018-present) florist/barista, early childhood educator, social justice, LGBTIQ+ and homelessness activist, quit Greens during 2018 campaign and was then elected anyway (Facebook, Instagram)

Gao, Ling Ling - on Christie's "Hobart Community Team" ticket.  Partner of Bai. Beyond appearing in ticket advertising, I'm unaware of any campaign activity as of 5 October.

Geng, Daniel - social science/pol sci graduate, came to Tas as refugee, formerly: Eric Abetz and Liberal Party staffer, Centrelink interpreter, member Multicultural Council of Tasmania, chair Abiem Community Federation Aus, Rostrum member. Describes as "Independent" with "Liberals Allied" values.

Grech, Joe - long-term bus driver who has become a cable car supporter

Harvey, Bill (2007-14, 2016-present) (Tasmanian Greens) former English teacher, frequent Greens state candidate, formerly involved in Malaysian/Chinese business college and boutique wine delivery, Landcare board member and chair (Facebook, Twitter, linkedin)

Jackson, Michael - doctor, motivated to campaign by e-scooter and UTAS issues, recently commented on COVID management  No candidate statement submitted.

Johnstone, Edwin - hair salon owner, former web administrator/co-ordinator in DIER and State Growth, founder of Hobart Parking Action Group (Facebook, Twitter, linkedin, Instagram)

Kelly, John - former long-term owner of State Cinema, Hobart Citizen of the Year 2016, Vice President of North Hobart Retailers Association and Hobart Heritage Tram Association, sporting, Army Reserve and charity involvements (Facebook, Instagram)

Kelly, Kate - artist, background in arts and community organisations, founding member of Housing with Dignity Committee and Hobartians facing Homelessness, member and proponent of Housing cooperatives, Hobart Citizen of the Year 2020 (Facebook, Twitter, Togatus interview)

Kitsos, Gemma (Tasmanian Greens) - health professional in stroke research at the Menzies Institute, holds degrees in occupational therapy and music, cyclist (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Liu, Yang - driver testing professional and driving instructor, former pay clerk in Army Reserve, road safety advocate, former Coles trolley boy and checkout operator

Lohberger, Ben - Hobart City Mission worker, Save UTAS Campus founding member, has worked in media and journalism (eg Huon Council, Aurora), long-term Tasmanian Times writer and has provided very detailed coverage of UTAS move issue on Twitter, gardener (Twitter)

McKee, James - Young Liberal, UTAS law student running on issue of UTAS move to the city (candidacy announcement, Facebook, Instagram)

Mitchell, Cadence  -  musician and accommodation provider, role-player, has worked in local government (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)

Phipps, Steven - climate scientist (formerly UTAS, CSIRO and UNSW and now director of Ikigai Research), Red Cross volunteer, convenor of Voices of Tasmania (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Posselt, Ryan - Paramedic of 12 years with qualifications in "Paramedic Science (CSU), Nursing (UTAS) and Health Research, focusing on system performance (UTAS).", mountain biker and hiker (Facebook,  Instagram,  Twitter)

Reynolds, Anna
(2014-present, Lord Mayor 2018-present) incumbent Lord Mayor, former CEO for Multicultural Council of Tasmania, former Greens advisor (and sometime candidate) and climate change organiser for WWF, PolSci graduate.  (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Rothery, Karen - on Christie's "Hobart Community Team" ticket.  Advertising suggests partner of Davies. Beyond appearing in ticket advertising, I'm unaware of any campaign activity as of 5 October.

Sexton, Tiina - Non-executive director of St Giles, Paramedicine Board of Australia Member, former wine company secretary,  (linkedin)  

Shaw, Juniper - "owner and operator of hospitality and entertainment businesses in southern Tasmania for three decades"  Current proprietor of Grand Poobah alternative live music venue.  Former federal Greens candidate (Instagram)

Sherlock, Zelinda (Dr) (2018-present) - experienced educator, Lecturer of Law (UTAS), teacher of English for refugee students, founder and adviser of Culturally Diverse Alliance Tasmania, 2018 Labor candidate for Denison (state) ( Twitter, Instagramlinkedin)  

Spender, Duncan - briefly a Liberal Democrat Senator and long term LDP party official, CEO of Oysters Tasmania, previously CEO Multicultural Council of Tasmania, former Manager in Treasury (Australia and NZ) (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Stagg, Jono - General Manager of Hobart Mountain Bike Tours, also runs The Stagg cafes.  (Linkedin)  No candidate statement and I'm unaware of any campaign activity as of 5 October.

Taylor, Bec (Tasmanian Greens) -  owner of small business "based around sustainability and a local circular economy", social worker, former Council employee for 11 years, sports administrator, coach and player (Facebook, Instagram)

Thomas, Damon (2009-present, Lord Mayor 2011-4) - business consultant, Korean consul. Formerly: Adjunct Professor (UTAS),  Crown Solicitor, Ombudsman, CEO of Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  (Facebook, linkedin)

Thurley, Debra former Clarence councillor (2014-8), President Tasmania Police and Community Youth Clubs Inc., Non-Executive Director COTA Tasmania, Deputy President Zonta International Hobart. former Pres Aus Local Govt Womens Association   (Twitter, Instagram, linkedin)

Vogel, Stefanglaciologist and Antarctic scientist, has worked "over the course of 34 years in the Manufacturing Industry, Tourism, Education, Leadership Training and Academia from Europe via Antarctica and the USA to Australia." (linkedin, Facebook)

Volf, Nathan (Tasmanian Greens) - social worker, youth and housing advocate, 2022 Tasmanian Young Achiever Award for Leadership, disability advocate (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

Zucco, Marti (1992-present) longest serving alderman in Hobart's history, businessman, veteran restaurateur, frequent candidate for state and federal politics, one-man political popcorn generator. (Twitter, linkedin)

Retiring Councillor

Peter Sexton has announced his retirement from the Council. Sexton was first elected to Council in 1999 on a recount and has remained on Council ever since, albeit very narrowly in 2018.  He was almost elected Deputy in 2009 (losing to Burnet by 76 votes) and briefly served as Deputy in 2018 after a 6-5 round-table vote by councillors.  My assessments have usually classed Sexton as the most moderate member of the "blue" grouping or at times as a "blue"-leaning centrist.  

Teams/Tickets (etc)

There is a long history of candidates sometimes forming tickets and alliances to contest council elections though there is little evidence that non-party tickets generate effective preference flows. At present 27 of the 44 candidates, including 9 of the 11 recontesting councillors, are known to be on some kind of team or ticket. Tickets are sometimes described as parties but they are not.  Tickets and alliances detected so far (with ticket websites where known) include:

Your Hobart Independents: Reynolds, Dutta, Sherlock, Chopra, Corr, Etherington, Kate Kelly, Shaw - this ticket headed by the incumbent Lord Mayor is an left ticket that supports public transport and climate change action and opposes the proposed cable car.  At least two members are former Greens, two are ex-Labor and four have no party background I'm aware of.  The ticket initially seemed to talk up teal links but Reynolds has since walked away from the teal label saying they are "aqua".  

* our Hobart Community Team: Apparently (based on advertising in the Hobart Observer) this is three couples: Bai/Gao, Christie/Christie and Davies/Rothery.  Yet another odd ticket concept involving Ron Christie after his "Hobart's Home Team" in 2014, and yet again running more than one candidate on the same ticket for Deputy.   Bai's website is in Chinese and most other members of the team have not campaigned actively as of 27 Sep.  

* Tasmanian Greens: Burnet, Harvey, Kitsos, Taylor, Volf

* Back to Basics:  Behrakis, Bloomfield, Coats,  Liu, Thurley and Zucco are running using the slogan "Let's Get Hobart Back To Basics" on social media and some corflutes with identical graphic design apart from different colours.  Zucco and Behrakis also have a number of apparently co-ordinated sign placements.  I have not seen any central presence or ticket announcement as yet but am treating them as at least a team for campaign purposes.  Also two days after the unveil of these candidates' logos, a Hobart Chamber of Commerce ad in the Mercury also included the words "Back to Basics".  The Chamber of Commerce often endorsed tickets circa the 1990s.

* Elliot / Briscoe Lord Mayor/Deputy ticket

An article in The Examiner has warned voters against tickets, alleging they could lead to more factionalism, but in fact tickets are more like alliances of convenience that don't predict voting behaviour on Council very well because there's nothing to hold them together.  Sherlock was elected on a ticket with Thomas but has voted with six other councillors more often than him.  Briscoe was first elected on a left ticket but has voted with the right more often than not for much of his career.  

An interesting example is the presence of Chopra on the Hobart Independents ticket.  This ticket is likely to appeal to the secular left and I have no evidence (unless approvingly posting a very generic misquote of Ayn Rand counts) that Chopra's politics are any different from other members, but Chopra's independent church has hosted and been encouraged by the President of the Australian Christian Churches (nee Assemblies of God Australia) as part of its religious outreach.  

As usual there have been several endorsements of candidates by other candidates, eg Fox has endorsed the Your Hobart Independents ticket and Behrakis has endorsed McKee.  

Behrakis has issued a how to vote card that endorses the remaining five "Back to Basics" candidates on an equal footing with Elliott, Spender, McKie, Briscoe, and Geng.  

Form Guide

This section includes a summary of past election performances (where any known) and histories of any known party or quasi-party involvements, and also assessments of past voting patterns.  This one is again in reverse alphabetical order.  Many new candidates have no previous known electoral form, but this section isn't about saying that more or less electoral form is good.  It is mainly for the purpose of saying how people have gone in the past for those interested in trying to guess how they'll go in the future.

Note that for the 2014 election the number of seats elected at a time was increased from (usually) six to twelve, resulting in large drops in the primary votes for several incumbent councillors.

Zucco, Marti - First elected to Council in 1992, Zucco's record is of always being re-elected comfortably without ever polling quota, and sometimes struggling to get preferences.  Missed out for Deputy in 2011 when beaten by Christie by six votes at key exclusion point; not competitive in other leadership tilts.  In 2014, elected fifth as Councillor, but also finished only fifth for Deputy Mayor.  In 2018 elected eighth.  Independent candidate for Legislative Council a few times (best 25% in Newdegate 1993).  Unsuccessfully sought preselection for Liberal Party for 2010 state election, attempt squelched by pro-Elise Archer forces, quit party.  Palmer United Party candidate for Franklin 2013 federal election polling very respectable 6.1%.  Involved in dispute with Jacqui Lambie, quit party and ran as independent for Denison polling 788 votes.  My assessments have consistently shown Zucco to be one of the most hardline pro-commerce ("blue") councillors on council.

Volf, Nathan - Support candidate for Greens in Clark 2021, polling 442 votes.

Vogel, Stefan - Candidate in 2018 with low-key Liberal endorsement, polling 0.76%

Thurley, Debra - Clarence councillor 2014-18, elected 11th out of 12 with 3.0% of the primary vote.  Vote dropped slightly to 2.9% in 2018 and defeated, had also lost narrowly in 2011 attempt.  Palmer United Party candidate for Denison 2013 federal (1576 votes) and Franklin 2014 state (743 votes as one of five on ticket).  Contested Rumney 2017 LegCo as an independent polling last of six with 5.7%.

Thomas, Damon - First elected to Council in 2009 polling 8.7% of the councillor vote and finishing fourth after preferences.  Then won Lord Mayor at first attempt (2011) defeating Helen Burnet narrowly on preferences with 51.5% two-candidate preferred.  Defeated by Sue Hickey 52.5-47.5 in 2014; polled second on Councillor ballot with 16.3% (over two quotas).  Second in Mayor ballot in 2018 but way behind Reynolds; elected fourth as a Councillor with vote falling to 7.4%.  My assessments have generally shown Thomas as a fairly moderate member of the pro-commerce ("blue") grouping on council. 

Taylor, Bec - 2018 Greens candidate polling 256 votes.  Greens support candidate for Clark 2021 (state) polling impressive 943 votes (eg much higher profile Vica Bayley polled 1372).

Spender, Duncan - Liberal Democrats Senator for three months in 2019 filling casual vacancy caused by David Leyonhjelm's failed attempt to switch to state politics.  Defeated at 2019 Senate election with party polling 1.9% in NSW.

Sherlock, Zelinda - Labor candidate for Denison (now Clark) at 2018 election polling 1998 votes.  Ran on a Damon Thomas led ticket and polled 2.2% of the primary vote in 2018 Council election but had very good preference flows and overtook six candidates to be elected 11th.  In this term Sherlock has been the most moderate member of the "green" (left) grouping in Council voting patterns.

Shaw, Juniper - Greens candidate for Clark at the 2019 federal election polling 9.6%.

Reynolds, Anna - Greens candidate for Denison (now Clark) at 2013 federal election polling a rather modest 7.9%, but then polled 571 primaries (3.2%) for Council in 2014, unseating fellow Green Harvey. Also polled 1433 below the line votes as Greens #3 for Senate 2016.  Although elected as a Green, voted more like a Greens-leaning independent in her first term on Council, not voting with any other councillor on more than 67% of contested motions.  Ran for Lord Mayor as an independent in 2018 and won spectacularly, polling 23.4% of the mayoral primary in a field of 11 and defeating Damon Thomas with over 62% of the two-candidate vote; also elected first as Councillor with 15.3% (just over two quotas).  In the 2018-22 term has been one of the more moderate members of the "green" (left) grouping in Council voting patterns.

Harvey, Bill - Elected to Council at the third attempt in 2007, polling over 600 primaries and performing strongly on preferences.  In 2011 (as lead candidate in that year's slate) got more than half the Green ticket vote and was easily re-elected.  Shock defeat by fellow Green Reynolds in 2014, attributed in some circles to his moderate voting record, but returned on a recount in 2016.  Topped the Deputy Lord Mayor primary count in both 2011 and 2014 as the sole Green but beaten 46:54 and 45.1:54.9 by Christie after preferences each time.  Ran as a heavily promoted second candidate for the Greens in Denison at the 2013 state election, and seemed an outside chance to get elected based on some polling, but ultimately Green vote was not that high and he polled 1614 votes. In 2018 ran as Greens candidate for Lord Mayor, boosting his Councillor primary vote to 7.1% and was elected third.  I have consistently assessed Harvey as a lighter shade of green than Burnet and former Greens Councillor Philip Cocker; in this term he became far less likely to vote with the "blue" hardliners than before and had the second "greenest" voting pattern after Burnet.

Fox, Jax - Greens support candidate at 2018 Franklin (state) polling 909 votes.  In 2018 contested the Council election as an endorsed Green but left the party during the final days of voting, claiming the party had a vertical power structure following fallout over the parliamentary party's views on alleged Chinese influence attempts in Tasmanian politics. Polled 3.0% and was elected tenth anyway.  Contested Clark 2021 (state) as an ungrouped independent polling 537 votes (0.8%).  In this term I have found Fox to be one of the more moderate - or perhaps less predictable is more accurate - members of the council's "green" (left) grouping.

Dutta, Mike - Dutta contested the 1996 election as a minor candidate on the Valentine/Bonham-led Hobart Community Team, polling 270 votes (1.5%). Much more competitive in 2014 when he polled 467 votes (ninth on primaries) but as with many non-incumbents did poorly on preferences and finished 17th. In 2018 improved his vote to 860 (4.1%) and was elected ninth.  Contested Clark 2021 (state) as an ungrouped independent polling 615 votes (0.9%).  In this term I have found Dutta to be the third most "green" (left) member of Council.  

Corr, Brian - Elected second in ward to Joondalup (WA) council in 2006.  Re-elected unopposed 2007 and overwhelmingly against one opponent in 2011.  Labor candidate for state seat of Kingsley (WA)  in 2013 but there was a 2PP swing of 10.2% to the Liberal incumbent in the seat (just a few points larger than average in the context of an overall 5.4% swing to the Barnett Government plus a sophomore surge for his opponent).  Ran for Hobart Council in 2018 polling 2.1%.

Christie, Ron - Elected to Council for a two-year term in 1999, defeated 2000, fifth elected in 2002. Almost defeated in 2007, surviving a fight with fellow incumbents Lyn Archer and Eric Hayes by nine votes after reportedly clearing his desk in the belief that he had lost.  In 2011 polled much more strongly than before, being third elected as councillor and winning DLM over Zucco by six votes at the crucial exclusion. In 2014 ran at the head of an otherwise obscure "Hobart's Home Team" ticket and retained his Deputy position easily. Polled a very weak councillor primary (just 455 votes) but was elected 4th on a strong flow of preferences from mayoral contenders Hickey and Thomas.  For a while Christie was one of the most hardline and at times even quirkily extreme members of the "blue" cluster of pro-commerce councillors. However from about 2012 his voting behaviour became more moderate while still placing him in the "blue" cluster.  Briefly became Lord Mayor in 2018 but performance in the role was much panned (see 2018 guide) and lost his councillor seat by 20 votes.  Said he would "do a Turnbull and disappear" thereafter though as of Sep 27 this is a pretty fair description of his campaign to date.  

Coats, Will - Polled just 1.1% in the original 2018 election (where he ran with low-key Liberal Party endorsement) but became a Councillor in January 2020 on Tanya Denison's recount where he was fourth on recount primaries but won after preferences by just 1.77 votes.  Ran for Clark (state) for Liberals in 2021 election polling 1690 votes.  Polled 15.8% as Liberal federal candidate for Clark 2022.

Burnet, Helen - has a long history of mostly strong electoral performance for the Greens. Came within about 200 votes of beating the party's endorsed ticket-leader to a seat at her first Council attempt in 2002, then  easily elected in 2005 with 14.6%, which rose to 19.2% in 2009.  After a competitive loss to Ruzicka for the Deputy Lord Mayor position in 2007, Burnet defeated Peter Sexton by 76 votes to win it in 2009.  Ran for Lord Mayor in 2011 losing narrowly to Damon Thomas with 48.5% two-candidate preferred.  Polled over 3000 primaries as #2 Denison Green candidate in the 2010 state election, but narrowly excluded behind Andrew Wilkie in the cut-up (with Wilkie nearly winning on her preferences).  Contested the Greens' process to replace retiring Senator Bob Brown, but they preselected Peter Whish-Wilson instead.  (Instead ran as #2 candidate for 2013 Senate).  In 2014 Burnet was third elected with 12.4% (1.6 quotas) as a Councillor but was third for Lord Mayor.  Also again Denison Green support candidate at the 2018 state election but less successful than in 2010.  In 2018 councillor primary vote fell to 6.9% (probably because Harvey ran for Mayor) but elected second anyway,  and won Deputy with a 35.5% primary vote in a field of 11, nearly three times that of any other candidate.  I have consistently assessed Burnet as one of the two greenest councillors alongside Philip Cocker (when still on Council) and with Cocker retired Burnet has been clearly the greenest councillor in the current term.  

Briscoe, Jeff - Narrowly elected as councillor in 1994 and consistently increased his primary vote at every election from then until 2011 (when he topped the councillor poll with well over a quota.)  However in 2014 he polled only 502 councillor votes and was elected sixth.  In 2018 he more than doubled this and was elected fifth with 5.3%.  Ran for Lord Mayor three times unsuccessfully (polling in the 20-30% range each time, two of those against Rob Valentine). Briscoe was initially elected on a ticket linked to local residents' groups and progress associations but soon switched to the "blue" side of Council.  I've generally assessed him as a member of the "blue" cluster, though not very predictably and with a strong green tinge on certain issues such as the cable car. Briscoe contested the Legislative Council seat of Hobart for the Greens in 1994 (polling 23%) but a falling-out over preselection order saw him quit the ticket and run as an independent for Denison (state) in 1996, polling 551 votes.  He later joined the Liberal Party and contested Franklin for it in 2002 polling just 787 votes.  He was a supporter of Sherlock's (ALP) campaign in 2018 and was supported at the 2018 election by Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey (who ran with him in 2014) but I am unsure if he is now associated with any party.

Bloomfield, Louise - Polled 1.2% in 2018 where she ran on a ticket with Zucco and also with low-key Liberal Party endorsement.  Then beaten by Coats by 1.77 votes in the above-mentioned recount.  

Behrakis, Simon - Liberal Candidate for Denison (state) in 2018, polling 2317 votes.  Then stood for Legislative Council seat of Hobart, finishing third with 19%.  Elected sixth in first Hobart Council bid in 2018 with 4.7% of the vote, and with low-key Liberal Party endorsement.  Narrowly failed in bid to enter state parliament in 2021 Clark contest where he polled 3722 votes and came just 346 short of dislodging ex-Labor Liberal Madeleine Ogilvie.  My voting patterns assessment found him to be one of the two most hardline "blue" (pro-development) members of the council, with a very similar voting record to that of Marti Zucco.


This list is not necessarily in order and will be expanded.

1. UTAS Move to The City - The University of Tasmania has been buying up buildings in the CBD and moving from its present Sandy Bay campus to the city.  Supporters argue that the move will make the university more accessible and modern, revitalise the CBD and free up current campus land for housing developments.  Opponents argue that the new university will lack campus culture, that the university has lost focus on education while so absorbed in real estate speculation, that the CBD will not be revitalised because students don't spend much, that businesses will be actually adversely impacted, and that the university's proposed housing developments would have environmental impacts.  From time to time completely silly arguments are seen such as a claim that people from Chigwell don't go to the current university because they'd have to catch two buses.  

I believe the matter is ultimately for the Tasmanian Planning Commission not the Council but various councillors and candidates have taken positions.  A motion moved by Briscoe on the matter in March saw a wide range of responses to particular clauses with only Zucco voting with Briscoe on all clauses and only Burnet voting against all of them; only Zucco and Dutta supported Briscoe's call for an upper house inquiry.

A list of candidates who have expressed a general view will be expanded below, this is an incomplete list at this stage.  Some candidates - especially some sitting councillors - appear to have shifted their positions over time and I will note this where I find links to a previous position that clearly contradicts their current view.  (Readers are very welcome to send such links.)

In favour: Christie, Bai, Burnet, Harvey, Volf

Against: Lohberger, Bloomfield, Briscoe (but in 2016 he was for it), Elliot, John Kelly, Johnstone, McKee, Thurley, Coats, Zucco, Chopra, Grech, Jackson, Dutta (though with some hint a yes vote in elector poll might change his position if it happened), Liu, Etherington, Behrakis

Other positions: 

Reynolds (partial move, will abstain on elector poll)
Posselt ("Neither", sees move as inevitable but supports repurposing campus in a different way to Utas)
Corr (personally against but will follow result of elector poll)
Kate Kelly (will follow result of elector poll - personal position "Leave existing Sandy Bay faculties in situ. Upgrade existing assets. Finish the city refurbishment of already purchased sites")
Taylor (similar to Corr but was initially positive prior to experiences with Utas)
Sherlock (has conflict of interest, cannot vote)
Spender (will ignore poll, will apply planning scheme and does not state any prior position)
Phipps (argues that some parts of the campus cannot be moved but supports compromise)
Thomas (supports continuing presence at Sandy Bay but also successful operation in city, states he supports Save UTAS campaign but I am not sure of his exact position)

Speeches at a Save UTAS forum can be viewed at own risk.  The tone of the debate about this issue has been an issue in itself.  Extreme metaphors including Putin comparisons from some opponents of the move have attracted criticism.  There have also been instances of vandalism, a deleted accusation of spying and defamation threats.  

2. Affordable/Available Housing and Short Stay Accommodation -  Hobart has seen a boom in house pricing and a shortage of rental properties in recent years with an ongoing debate about the extent to which (i) increases in short-stay accommodation (ii) the state's recently good economy and (iii) buy-ups by investors from elsewhere are causing the issue.  Council has moved towards limiting new conversions of entire houses to short stay accommodation.  The issue poses a quandary for the "green" side of council because the "blues" can often argue that a development the "green" side would normally oppose on the basis of aesthetic or neighbour concerns would also help reduce the housing crisis.  Fox has sometimes voted with the "blues" for this reason.  Some of the "blues" and their supporters publish selected voting records to support their case.  

3. Scooters - An e-Scooter trial commenced in the city in early 2021.  The scooters have been popular with users and have a high approval rating in (albeit under-documented) polling but have also created some problems including a small number of significant accidents and users (far from all but too many) leaving them badly parked on footpaths.  Some candidates with known views (more to be added) include: 

supportive - Posselt, Kitsos, Chopra

opposed - Lohberger, Grech, Jackson

cautiously supportive - John Kelly 

somewhat critical - Elliot, Briscoe

A donation received and voluntarily declared by Reynolds from a person later involved in a scooter operation was the subject of conflict of interest claims by Briscoe and Elliot.

4. Crowther Statue - William Crowther, a doctor and local business figure who was Premier for less than a year in 1878-9, has had a statue in his honour in Frankin Square since his death in 1885, apparently for no real reason compared to greater notables in state history other than that there existed the money to pay for it.  This statue has been increasingly contentious because of Crowther's alleged and still debated role in the mutilation of the remains of Tasmanian Aboriginal man William Lanne. Following a reinterpretation art process, Council voted 7-4 to remove the statue from Franklin Square (entire "green" side and Thomas in favour, Behrakis, Briscoe, Coats and Zucco against).  However the issue may be revisited by the next Council.  

5. Cable Car - The cable car proposal was the main issue in the 2018 campaign (see 2018 guide).  With approval now in the hands of the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal following the Council's 9-3 rejection of the proposal (more than a day's worth of footage here!) the issue may not play as big a role this year, but then again if the appeal judgement drops during the campaign that is bound to be significant.  All sitting councillors except Behrakis, Zucco and Coats voted against the cable car approval.  All Greens and Hobart Independents candidates oppose the cable car as does John Kelly; new supporting candidates include Grech, Liu and (depending on the proposal) Elliot.

6. Roads, rates and rubbish, or more?  The current council - as with many before it - has been criticised by some opponents who claim it spends too much time on broader political issues that are not the core business of a council.  By my own count broader, arguably extra-Council issues accounted for maybe 12% of the contested motions in the current term of Council (and doubtless a much lower percentage if including uncontested motions.)  But while cases like Council involvements in symbolic statements about non-Hobart issues are easy to demarcate, there was a good example of how blurry lines can get in some comments by Elliot and Sherlock.  Elliot said that domestic violence, obesity, smoking and literacy were not council issues and Sherlock and Dutta both asserted that they were, referencing the Local Government Act and identified review directions.  

7. Parking - car parking is a major issue for a range of candidates across matters including lack of parking space in the city, pricing, competition for spaces around North Hobart's busy restaurant strip, difficulties with metering systems, and impact of parking pricing on businesses.  I expect to add more detail to this section as I am seeing a lot of comments about it as I add profiles.

8. Lord Mayoral Chief of Staff - a rather weird late breaking item with Behrakis raising the matter of apparent informal headhunting for a putative Lord Mayor Chief of Staff position, a $170,000 position that it seems is being actively explored by staff independent of the current council.  This raises the issue of how much control council really has over its own expenditures.  

9. AFL Stadium - during the campaign a proposed AFL Stadium was announced for Macquarie Point by the state Liberal government.  Labor and the Greens oppose the plan.  I have not seen that much candidate engagement but expect plenty of candidates will be against it too.

Campaigning Issues

This section deals with issues of campaigning that are not based on specific issues:

1. Elliot Central!  I can't remember any new Hobart candidate ever being involved in so much pre-election discussion as Louise Elliot who has been the subject of numerous social and mainstream media battles - such that she even has a 13-point (!) FAQ style page on her website that seeks to rebut several of the claims made against her.  I'm sure I have not even seen 15% of the stuff that is out there yet and could easily write a full article about it all but examples have included:

* The Mercury reported that Elliot was accused of but disagreed with a claim of racism made by Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaign co-ordinator Nala Mansell in response to a question from Helen Burnet.  A descendant of William Crowther had referred to "the tragedy that was the final days of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people" (a wording that is very offensive to many Tasmanian Aboriginal people since it wrongly implies they are extinct) and Elliot had criticised outraged responses by saying he was referring to the last "full blooded Aboriginal people" and that this was "biological fact". (There is plenty more from the Crowther statue debate here but it's pretty tedious going.)

* Lord Mayor Reynolds was accused of grabbing Elliot's arm and physically detaining her to accost her following a meeting.  (Reynolds agrees she touched Elliot and employed the word "bullshit" - for which she apologised - but denies that Elliot was grabbed forcefully or detained.) There is a current Code of Conduct complaint awaiting resolution re this incident.

* Elliot made a Code of Conduct complaint against Reynolds regarding the electric charging of Reynolds' car.  The complaint was dismissed in full with part (but not all) of it deemed "vexatious, meaning, that it was brought without sufficient grounds."  (This is far from the only campaign incident involving Reynolds' car - she has been targeted by Behrakis and Zucco who claim that her use of a car including to drive to a meeting about parking is inconsistent with her views about cars in the city.)

* Reports of legal threats/concerns notices/claims about defamation involving Elliot in both directions, publicly including:

(i) correspondence between Elliot's and Kate Kelly's lawyers re posts by Kelly (reported by Tasmanian Times)

(ii) a request from Reynolds regarding moderation of content claimed to be defamatory on Elliot's Facebook page.

(iii) an email from Elliot to Togatus and writer Desmond Marcenko threatening legal action over an article in Togatus attacking Elliot.  The article, which I have seen, has been removed. 

(iv) a Concerns Notice sent by Thomas Ellison's solicitor to Elliot that Ellison now says will result in legal action.  

Informally I understand the above are not the only legal claims and threats in this council election campaign and that there has been at least one not involving Elliot in either direction, but it is often hard for me to comment without having seen all the material.  I am not aware of any actual writs being lodged yet.  

* Various left-wing candidates have claimed they were attacked by racists and pseudonymous trolls during online debates involving Elliot.  There is no suggestion that Elliot instigated the attacks.

* Elliot signed off an email reportedly about Fox's views on landlord and tenant issues in 2020 as "Kermit (Louise) Elliot" in a apparent allusion to Fox's non-binary gender identity.  

* On 6 October Elliot posted black and white images of a man and offered a $500 reward for the man's identity without explanation, an action criticised by Kate Kelly, Sherlock and Mitchell, and probably by the time you read this others.  

Whatever one thinks of Elliot there seems no doubt that if elected she will take over the mantle of #1 media magnet of the Hobart City Council, which was held by Zucco for at least 25 years before he was overtaken in the current term by Fox.  Some journalists are rumoured to be reluctant to report any more because they have reported on one candidate so many times already.

2. General Narkiness:  There is a perception about that this is, alas, the nastiest and most personal Hobart City campaign seen for some time.  While there may be elements of rose-coloured glasses in this, Facebook seems to have been a breeding ground for conflicts between several rather volatile candidates.  There have also been reports of racist graffiti against Dutta and Sherlock.  The tone of the campaign featured in an ABC radio report about Elliot and Briscoe using an image of Cruella de Vil to attack Reynolds' ticket.  As well as legal issues and UTAS campaign issues there have also been various alleged incidents of doxxing.  

3. Signage: Elliot's use of billboards outside the campaign period attracted criticism from Dutta who said this was an attempt to circumvent spending caps, a claim which Elliot rejected as 'offensive to hard-working people'.  (Mercury paraphrase.)  In general there has been rather heavy early use of signs and in cases billboards by many candidates and some tickets.  Of note is a Sherlock sign which makes a play on her surname with a magnifying glass over the O.

4. Compulsory Voting: In 2018, around 62% of Hobart voters returned a vote (some of these being disallowed) and with compulsory voting this will increase (it will be interesting to see how high the turnout gets).  Previously voting in Council elections has been very age-skewed statewide with younger voters less likely to take part.  It may be expected that compulsory voting will result in more left-leaning outcomes for this reason, but it could also be that younger left voters are over-represented in the existing turnout compared to other young voters, and the changes may not be that large.  

5. A Long Campaign: This campaign has been notable for the number of new candidates (eg Posselt, Johnstone, Kate Kelly, Chopra) who were involved in online campaigning long before the election and indeed even before voting was made compulsory.

6. General Manager's Rolls: In 2018 there was a lot of concern about possible stacking of the General Manager's Rolls with Asian students and the like, but this proved to be groundless (not to mention xenophobic) since the number of non-citizen enrolments was not that large (comparable to business enrolments) and the candidate supposed to benefit the most polled poorly.  This election I have so far seen more complaints about business voting.  Note that voting for enrolments on these rolls is voluntary.

7. Corr Restraining Order: On the first day of voting the Mercury reported that Brian Corr, a candidate on Reynolds' ticket, had breached an interim restraining order by sending a letter during a neighbourhood dispute.  He was sentenced without conviction or costs to a 12 month good behaviour undertaking.  Corr alleges the matter is being used by opponents as dirt.  Given the existing controversy over the altercation between Reynolds and Elliot I would not be surprised if opponents tried to connect the two matters.  


A private poll attributed to local firm Myriad Research and conducted through the Q&A Research panel has been widely reported.  The client is unknown but appears likely to be the university or some other supporter of the move.  It is primarily concerned with voter views of the UTAS move and includes a message testing section where the voter is given various statements for and against the move to agree or disagree with and then asked if their view of the move has changed.  The survey appears well designed compared to many other message testing attempts and is not a "push poll".  The poll canvasses approval ratings for Reynolds, Briscoe, Elliot and UTAS Chancellor Alison Watkins.  It is unknown whether any results will be published.

Prospects: Lord Mayor

I am being cautious about any predictions for these elections because of the change to compulsory voting and because there is no standard for measuring the impact it might have.  However, when elections had massive margins last time, a 50% increase or so in the voter base is only going to do so much, all else being equal.  

Reynolds won the mayoralty by an enormous margin in 2018, in contrast to close elections in 2011 and 2014.  In the past, Lord Mayors who have won by large margins have been re-elected by large margins, while those who have won narrowly have often lost (as with one-termers Broadby, Freeman and Thomas).  Of the sitting Councillors, only Harvey, Zucco and Coats are running against Reynolds.  Harvey and Zucco weren't a threat in 2018 though Zucco should poll better in the absence of Briscoe and Thomas, while Coats has had only half a term and a state election run to establish himself.  The less predictable challengers are the high-profile outsiders Kelly and Elliot, though Elliot at least may be too easy to brand as right-wing in what has become a very left-wing city.  Do their criticisms of the council bite across the political spectrum?  We'll see but I'll be surprised if Reynolds isn't returned.  

Prospects: Deputy Lord Mayor

The Deputy contest is a little trickier because despite the large size of Burnet's victory last time, there is room for an argument that Greens voters were over-represented in voluntary voting in an election where the cable car played a major role, and might not get such a high primary vote this time around.  Nonetheless votes will scatter and to some degree exhaust between the four incumbent and ex-Council "blue" candidates.  The remaining competition comes mainly from first-termer Dutta and off-council candidate Posselt.  Maybe in theory if someone other than Burnet gets a decent primary they might outperform Burnet on preferences but there's no evidence of that being a thing in the 2018 flows where in fact she drew away from her nearest challengers as the count continued.

Prospects: Councillors

I am being especially cagey about the Councillor race because when one is talking about seats that are sometimes decided by only dozens of votes, it would be overconfident to try to say what happens when you boost the voter pool by 50% and change the issues mix.  This is uncharted territory! I wouldn't be surprised to see some turnover and I think there's enough strength in the challengers here to potentially kick out a few incumbents - it's just not that easy to pick who.  It's possible on the other hand that compulsory voting will favour incumbents (or high-profile names from the past like Christie) but I wouldn't be that sure of that either.

The current Council is 6-6 "blue"/"green".  I don't take it for granted that this election will again return that balance, and if new candidates are elected we'll have to see how they will vote, which isn't clear in all cases.  To start with the incumbents, on the "blue" side there is a vacancy with Sexton quitting.  Four others were elected in this order last time: Thomas, Briscoe, Behrakis, Zucco with Coats getting in on a recount.  None of these polled a big enough vote last time to be individually sure that they are safe from the normal shifts in Council primary votes between incumbents and the impact of compulsory voting and it is also hard to avoid noting that all these incumbents are blokes. Behrakis is now far more prominent after almost winning in the state election and I would expect his vote to go up.  Coats has also had a boost from state and federal runs.  Thomas may benefit from the departure of Sexton.   "You snooze you lose" could apply to almost any incumbents so all of these seem well advised to make a proper effort.

On the "green" side Reynolds will be re-elected as a councillor.  The endorsed Greens vote has been good for three seats in 2014 and 2018 (albeit in the latter case narrowly and with a candidate who had quit the party), but with competition from Reynolds' ticket and a range of other left candidates they could struggle to still be good for three.  Running Harvey for Lord Mayor and Burnet for Deputy in 2018 appeared to shore up Harvey's councillor seat after he lost to Reynolds in 2014, but it damaged Burnet's primary vote and it will be interesting to see whether compulsory voting sees any level of generational shift within the Greens ticket.  I don't know whether Dutta and Sherlock will be both re-elected, though I expect at least one of them will.  Fox (who has had a high-profile but turbulent time on the council) has a degree of left-underground and LGBTIQA+ support but faces a big challenge especially under compulsory voting and without Greens endorsement.  

On the likely "blue" side Elliot and John Kelly (though Kelly is anti-cable car and might slot in as a more  moderate "blue" or perhaps just all over the place) are the most obviously prominent outside challengers. Bloomfield has a somewhat higher profile than on the first attempt and has done a lot of doorknocking.  Thurley has won a Council election before and is fairly high profile but I am not sure how established that profile is on this side of the river yet.  On the likely "green" side several of the Hobart Independents candidates could be competitive, especially if Reynolds' personal vote increases (among these Kate Kelly has to my knowledge been campaigning for the longest). Posselt has run a big campaign on social media but I am unsure what his support base in the broader community is like.  Johnstone is a little harder to pigeonhole politically from his mix of issue positions but is another who has been very active.  But with the shift to compulsory voting there may well be surprises and names not on my radar yet at all could well get elected.  I ask everyone not to take my speculations here seriously!

Note For Candidates

Most candidates are sensible but there are always a few who seem to think that because I am voluntarily covering the election they are running in that makes me their slave.  Almost as annoying are those who think that if they fail to put information somewhere where I'd find it, that's my fault.  

Any candidate may contact me once only to have their main link changed (this is the link that the candidate's name goes to, if I can find one) and/or links added, or to supply extra bio information (which I will use or not use at my discretion, and I will not go beyond 3 lines per candidate).   Requests that blame me for not unearthing information, or are in any way disrespectful or threatening will result in that candidate getting no links at all!  Feel free to whinge about alleged bias (etc) in comments though.

Where candidates fail to read the instructions and send me emails showing they do not understand that their name is a clickable link, such candidates may be criticised publicly by name for wasting my time.

Anyone may of course advise me of any clear factual errors or clearly misleading content and I will fix these, but please do not stretch the concept of factual error to include differences of opinion, interpretation or emphasis.  Also 
I will not remove material from bios where I consider it to be something that voters should know.  Again, the comments section is open to anyone wishing to comment.  

Any comments about this guide that I become aware of by any means including indirect hearsay are on the public record, especially if stated otherwise.  In the past there have not only been threats but also blatant attempts to "get at" my coverage by commenting about it to people likely to pass comments on to me, and none of this will be tolerated.