Thursday, April 1, 2021

WA 2021 Button Presses And Final Results Comments

 I've just taken a brief break from my extensive coverage of the snap Tasmanian election to return to the 2021 WA landslide because button presses may be imminent - the WA Electoral Commission says buttons will be pressed in the three smallest regions Mining and Pastoral, Agricultural and South-West today from 3 pm WA time.  That said there have been varying reports on social media as to whether this will happen or not.  If the elections are really approaching button press status then it is disappointing that the WA Electoral Commission site does not include the below-the-line vote totals in order for election-watchers to revise our expectations and I hope this will be improved in the future.  

I have had no time to add to what was already up on my postcount thread, which I consider to have been largely overtaken by Antony Green's detailed coverage.  In short no doubt has been raised about Agricultural as 3 Labor 2 National 1 Liberal, and expectations in Mining and Pastoral have settled on 4 Labor 1 Liberal 1 Daylight Savings (of which I will have more to say if that occurs) while the last two seats in South-West (beyond 3 Labor 1 Liberal) are a multi-party mess with about five parties having been in contention at some stage.  I'll add comments on the results when they are up and later when time permits I will also be adding some summary comments on the Lower House final results.  

Monday, March 29, 2021

Legislative Council 2021: Derwent

This is the second of the Legislative Council guides that I am putting out quickly as I am keen to ensure that the LegCo elections do not get neglected (especially as they are currently expected to be on the same day as the state election).  My guide to Windermere is up, and links for all pages will be added to my general state election hub page.

I will be doing live coverage of the state election from 6 pm for The Mercury on their website and I expect this to include the Legislative Council elections too, assuming that they go ahead on May 1 as flagged.  Postcount threads will be posted for any seats that remain in doubt or of interest following counting night.

Derwent: Seat Profile

As its name suggests Derwent covers much of the middle and upper Derwent Valley.  It starts in the suburbs of Glenorchy and takes in Bridgewater/Gagebrook, Brighton, the major town of New Norfolk, and a scattering of small farming, fishing and timber towns up to Lake St Clair and out into the south-west.  It even takes in Great Lake which isn't very Derwent Valley at all.

When I wrote my 2015 guide, Derwent was Labor's sole remaining Legislative Council seat.  They now have five!  Derwent has been held by the ALP continuously since 1979.  Charles Batt and then former Treasurer Michael Aird were long-term occupants of Derwent, and on Aird's retirement in 2011 it was won by Craig Farrell.  Labor has won the seat nine times in a row, Farrell's first win being the only one of these in which it has been taken to preferences.  However, I don't think the Liberal Party has officially contested any of these contests.

Labor's dominance is not surprising given that the seat is strong Labor territory in state elections.  Despite Labor's uncompetitive statewide result in 2018, Labor outpolled the Liberals 45.4% to 41.9% in booths in Derwent, with the Greens polling a mere 4.5%, Shooters 4.0%, Lambie Network 3.6% (didn't contest the Denison (now Clark) portion), and others 0.5%.  Labor's strength in the electorate is the seaward end of the river where most of the voters are: Bridgewater/Gagebrook and the northern Glenorchy suburbs.  As such the common image of the division as centred around New Norfolk is politically misleading.

Derwent: Incumbent

Derwent Labor incumbent Craig Farrell (website, Facebook, Twitter) is the President of the Legislative Council and has represented the seat for ten years since the by-election sparked by Aird's resignation.  In that by-election, Farrell won with a primary vote of 38.6%, nearly double his nearest rival in a field of five.  On preferences Farrell defeated ex-Liberal Glenorchy councillor Jenny Branch 56.6:43.4.  In 2015 Farrell attracted only a single very low-profile opponent, IT consultant Alan Baker, who he defeated 64.3:35.7 in an amicable and low-key campaign.  Farrell won every booth except for a tie in Bronte (all 64 votes of it).  

Prior to this Farrell's electoral record in local government had been reasonable but nothing spectacular.  At the time of his preselection he was Deputy Mayor of the Derwent Valley Council.  In earlier life he had a background in real estate and TV.  

Within a year of his election Farrell was holding probably the most demanding and thankless job in Tasmanian politics of the time as Leader for the Labor/Greens Government in the Legislative Council. His performance in that role was well reviewed.  On the retirement of Jim Wilkinson from Nelson in 2019, Farrell was elected as President of the Council, meaning that he now only exercises a casting vote in the case of ties.  He has flagged potentially using his casting vote on ties to support Labor policy rather than applying neutral speakership conventions (which I have argued should not apply to the Council anyway as it is too small) but I haven't seen this situation come up yet.  Currently left-wing MLCs hold a majority on the floor of the Council with four other Labor MLCs and four left-wing independents. (I hope to find time to revise my voting patterns assessment before the elections.)

Partisan differences aside, Farrell has been generally well regarded and has only attracted very rare and passing controversies, such as a 2017 debate where he compared alcoholism to child sex abuse (and quickly apologised) and a barney the same year where he threatened to withdraw a pair but Labor ultimately backed down.  

Derwent: Challengers (2)

The endorsed Liberal challenger is Derwent Valley mayor Ben Shaw (website, Facebook, candidacy announcement).  Shaw first contested the council in 2014 and was not only elected fourth as a councillor but also won the Deputy Mayor position against the incumbent (57.9% 2CP after preferences). In 2018 in one of the closest contests of the year Shaw defeated Paul Belcher for the mayoralty by 25 votes (50.3% 2CP).  He is currently vice-president of the Local Government Association of Tasmania.

Shaw is a New Norfolk local from a working-class background whose first job was at the Boyer paper mill (which incidentally brought my own family to the state in 1980).  He has also been an electrical engineer.  Shaw's higher political ambitions were launched in late 2020 when he said that he had approached both major parties: "If it was up to me I’d probably be an independent, but it’s just not realistic. " He self-described as a moderate and was reported as not agreeing with the politics of Liberal hardliners Brendan Blomeley and Simon Behrakis.  Having picked a side, however, Shaw seems to have taken to partisan combat with gusto.   

The Derwent Valley Council has been controversial for years and Shaw has been no different.  In 2019 he apologised after groundlessly suggesting that the Governor's husband Richard Warner and a community organisation had misappropriated funds.  Only nine days later it was reported (albeit in a report that didn't note that Belcher was Shaw's main defeated mayoral rival) that Council staff had asked the General Manager to ban Shaw from council chambers to prevent him "from directing staff". Shaw disputed the claims, and said he had been set up by leaks by an ex-staffer.  Other incidents in Shaw's council that year - in which Shaw was not involved himself -  included the poisoning of geese, ducks and plovers at a park (the investigation report was not released for legal reasons) and cases of police being called to council meetings (presumably because of incidents involving increased numbers of residents attending them).   Since 2019, however, the adverse headlines seem to have abated.

The Animal Justice Party candidate is Ivan Davis (Facebook).  Davis is a former farmer, Army musician and SAS trooper who according to his party bio has done a very wide range of jobs: "taxi driving, door to door sales, pruning grape vines, night supervisor in a half-way house, managing a community housing project, shop attendant, bus driver, complementary therapist, abattoir worker, labourer, close protection in an extreme environment, employment consultant, and finally an English teacher in China."  During the campaign Davis has been involved in animal cruelty protests

All three candidates live in the electorate.

It is unusual to see a Legislative Council election without an independent running.  Some previous cases include Derwent 2003 (Labor vs Green) and Newdegate 1969 (Labor unopposed); there may have been others.  

Issues

I will add notes on campaign issues as I become aware of them.

COVID-19 Recovery: Farrell has criticised the Gutwein government, seeking to tie it to the demise of the federal JobKeeper program and expected job losses in Derwent Valley tourism and other regional businesses.  

Protest Laws: Shaw has used social media to highlight Labor's vote against the government's latest version of its laws that seek to restrict obstructive anti-forestry protests.  Forestry is a significant industry in the small towns in the upper Derwent Valley.   

Campaign

I will flesh out the campaign section in coming weeks as time permits.  Shaw's slogan is "A Stronger Voice For Derwent" which seems to be a shot at the incumbent implying that a government MLC would be more effective.  I haven't seen any direct contact between the various campaigns yet.

Davis seems to be campaigning quite actively.  

Prospects

It always seems unlikely Labor would ever lose the jewel in its growing LegCo crown, but is it totally unthinkable?  With the unusual decision to hold the state and LegCo elections on the same day, there's an argument that a landslide COVID election statewide with voters voting about the same way in both houses could produce a shock outcome.  After all, the seat is close (about 53-47 to Labor) if modelled as a two-party contest using the 2018 elections.  

The interesting thing therefore - and in the aftermath we will get great data on this sort of thing - will be to see how many voters split their ballots and vote for Farrell in the Upper House in spite of voting for a Liberal in the Lower House.  

It's hard to know quite what to make of Shaw.  Is he a brash minor mayor with major tickets on himself or is he actually a good pick who will play well in the blue-collar areas that are normally Labor strongholds?  That said, the focus on the state election won't help Shaw to build his profile east of Derwent Valley where the seat will be won and lost.   In the absence of a concurrent state election I would have predicted a 60-40ish Farrell win, but the environment of this year's poll makes much Derwent more worth watching than normal.  

Labor's self-destruct mission in the Lower House campaign through the first week of April seems to have placed Derwent even more in play and I now (as of April 7) think the seat is very loseable.  

As for the Animal Justice campaign, they will pick up what "none of the above" vote there is so their vote will probably be respectable.

Betting

Betting is not reliably predictive (then again with LegCo what is) but it's amusing to keep an eye on it anyway. As of 1 April Farrell 1.42 Shaw 2.75 Davis 15.00.

As of 7 April Farrell 1.75 Shaw 2.00.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Legislative Council 2021: Windermere

With a snap state election called I am scurrying to get my Legislative Council guides out as fast as possible too, as I am keen to ensure that the LegCo elections do not get neglected (especially as they are currently expected to be on the same day).  I've started with Windermere because it is the most interesting on paper; link to Derwent is here and both pages are linked off my general state election main page.  

I will be doing live coverage of the state election from 6 pm for The Mercury on their website and I expect this to include the Legislative Council elections too, assuming that they go ahead on May 1 as flagged.  Postcount threads will be posted for any seats that remain in doubt or of interest following counting night.

Seat Profile

Windermere covers the eastern side of the Tamar River including George Town and the northern and some eastern Launceston suburbs.  At the 2017 redistribution it was expanded, gaining the Lilydale area from the abolished division of Apsley (the nearest parts of which are now McIntyre).  Windermere is a diverse electorate, including the strongly Labor satellite suburbs of Ravenswood and Waverley, the pro-Liberal suburbs of Norwood and St Leonards, and some booths with fairly high Green votes along the river.

Windermere is slightly more Labor-leaning than the federal/state division of Bass as a whole.  In 2018 votes within Windermere were Liberal 54.6% (cf 58.8% for all of Bass), Labor 30.6% (26.4), Greens 7.5 (9.3), Lambie Network 6 (4.6) and 1.3% for an anti-Green independent, Brett Lucas.  The differences are smaller than those noted in my 2015 guide, which speaks to the failure of Labor's 2018 state campaign to recover votes in the outer suburbs.  

Windermere includes most of the former Westmoreland electorate, which had only eight different members in its 114-year history, some with apparent party leanings but none of them endorsed party candidates.  Since the current name was adopted, Windermere has had just two members, "Independent Labor" MLC Silvia Smith and independent Ivan Dean.  It has never been won by an endorsed party candidate.

Retiring Incumbent

Conservative independent Ivan Dean is retiring after three terms.  The timing of the early election has unfortunately deprived him of a valedictory speech.  Dean was a former police commander who trounced Smith (a former ALP federal MP) in 2003, winning 50.1% of the primary vote to Smith's 27.7% (preferences were not distributed).  Dean added the Mayoralty of Launceston in 2005 but concern about him holding two jobs contributed to him losing after a single term to Albert van Zetten, who is still Mayor now after a few close electoral shaves.  

In 2009 Dean defeated "Independent Labor" candidate Kathryn Hay, 55-45 after preferences, in an election dominated by the now defunct Gunns pulp mill proposal.  In 2015 Dean secured a small two-candidate swing to him, winning 55.7-44.3 against endorsed Labor candidate Jennifer Houston (now a Bass MHA).  Dean's victory made him, at 70, the oldest winner of a Council seat since 1965 (but I can hear Joe Biden saying "hold my beer").  

My Legislative Council voting pattern assessments (I hope to find time for a 2021 update soon) consistently found Dean to be a conservative MP and in recent years have placed him to the right of the Liberal Party.  As well as his professional interest in law and order matters, Dean was also noted for his interest in two unusual issues - the presence or absence of foxes in Tasmania and repeated attempts to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21 (another of which failed heavily in his final weeks in office.)

Candidates (5)

Candidates are listed in order of announcement.  More will be added if known.  Candidates are believed to live within the electorate except where noted.

Geoff Lyons (Facebook, candidacy announcement) is the endorsed Labor candidate.  Lyons is best known as Labor's MHR for Bass, 2010-2013.  Lyons ran for Bass on the retirement of Jodie Campbell after one term, picking up a 5.7% swing.  Lyons then lost to the Liberals' Andrew Nikolic with a 10.8% swing in 2013 in an election where the Tasmanian seats were affected by the state Labor-Green government's forestry "peace deal".  Lyons is a current West Tamar councillor and has experience in the health sector, including at the Beaconsfield District Hospital and the Launceston General Hospital.  He is also a sporting administrator (football, netball). At council level in 2014 Lyons polled 8% of the councillor vote and was elected fifth, while in 2018 he polled 7.6% of the councillor vote and was elected third.  Lyons lives in West Riverside which is on the other side of the river to the electorate.  

Will Smith (Facebookcandidacy announcement) is an independent endorsed by Ivan Dean as his preferred successor.  Smith shares Dean's background as a former police officer (a Tactical Operator with the Special Operations Group).  He is the founder of JCP Empowering Youth, a motivational speaking program for schools and young people.  He was the 2020 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year.  Smith shares his name with a famous movie actor (who he has met and who has provided the voicemail message on his phone).  Smith has no known prior electoral form above school captain level.  Smith's campaign material particularly stresses his experience of working with marginalised groups in society ("youth offenders, refugees, migrants, First Nations people, families of social disadvantage, victims of domestic violence, survivors of sexual abuse and individuals suffering chronic mental health issues.")

Nick Duigan (Facebook, candidacy announcement), on the other hand, is an actual screen personality who shares his name with a famous footballer.  Duigan is the endorsed Liberal candidate.  He is best known as the co-host (for 20 years) of the commercial TV fishing program Hook, Line and Sinker.  He is also involved as a volunteer with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, with Marine Safety Tasmania and is a national Neighbour Day Ambassador.  Depsite childhood family business links to Malcolm Fraser's farm, Duigan also has no previous political form, stating "I wasn't familiar with the Liberal Party's stated set of beliefs, necessarily, but I certainly have become familiar with those in the last month or so [..] The Liberal values of 'a hand up not a hand out' and 'have a go, get a go', those sorts of things, they resonate with me."

Independent Vivienne Gale (Facebook) owns a self-storage business and is also a carer for her husband and a master of laws student, having previous tertiary qualifications including B. Comp., MBA, Grad. Dip. Psych (all from Monash).  Gale is on the committee of the QVMAG Arts Foundation and Festivale.  Gale contested the seat of Mersey in 2015 (see guide) where she was the sole challenger to independent incumbent Mike Gaffney.  Gale's 2015 campaign included support for the forest industry and opposition to state-based same-sex marriage and other "trendy left" issues, as well as attacks on Gaffney's voting record.  Despite a vigorous campaign Gale was hampered by lack of profile and connection to the electorate and was beaten 75.3-24.7.  Gale ran again for Rosevears in 2020 but finished last of six with 3.3%.  I believe that Gale lives just outside the electorate (but only by a few hundred metres).

Independent Rob Soward (Facebook, candidacy announcement) is a Launceston councillor since 2009 who served as Deputy Mayor 2014-8 after defeating Danny Gibson by 99 votes after preferences (50.23%).  In 2018 Soward stood again for Deputy but finished fourth out of eight candidates (Gibson won).  He was re-elected eighth as a Councillor, polling a low primary vote of 2.1% in a crowded field but overtaking several other candidates on preferences.  Soward is an educator who has worked as a university lecturer and as Assistant Principal of Launceston College.  He has also been a business development and client relations manager for MyPathway (a national education, training and employment services company), and a director of MyState Financial and the Northern Tasmanian Football Association.  He is currently a Project Officer for the University of Tasmania in the area of health and wellbeing and has also been a school football coach.   In 2017 Soward pleaded guilty to an online harassment charge, however the charge was dismissed and no conviction was recorded.  Soward lives in South Launceston which is outside the electorate by about 2 km.  

Much to my regret in terms of the volume of campaign colour she would have generated for my guide, controversial pro-forestry advocate Kelly Wilton, who announced her candidacy two years before the vote, is a scratching for health reasons.  

Issues

Issues in the campaign may include:

* COVID-19 Recovery: Duigan in particular has tried to use his outsider experience to argue that he will be well-placed to help the government with the community's needs despite his lack of political experience.  While the role of the Legislative Council has traditionally been to review government legislation, Duigan and the Liberals seem to be saying that this is more of an all-hands-on-deck situation where the Government needs as many MPs as it can get.  Lyons in turn has touted Labor plans including TAFE rebuilding, a Sea Highway Plan and also local jobs in hydrogen.  Labor has said that Lyons will be a key member in "ensuring our state does not simply return to normal after the COVID pandemic, because normal wasn’t good enough for too many Tasmanians." Soward has also supported more local jobs including "incentives to encourage businesses to relocate to the industrial zones."

* Independence of the Upper House: In last year's elections, two party candidates replaced two independents meaning that for the first time ever independents are a minority in the Council (5 Labor 3 Liberal 7 Independent).  With Dean's retirement there is the prospect of another party gain, although independents would still hold the balance of power and be a major voting block.  Ivan Dean has endorsed Will Smith in the hope that voters will continue electing independents, but a similar call from Kerry Finch in Rosevears did not prevent Liberal Jo Palmer narrowly winning that seat.  The major parties will as usual argue that independents do not have a "seat at the table" of government or a party room and as such have less influence on government policy.  

* Health: Health system issues, especially surrounding the Launceston General Hospital, are a perennial feature of Launceston area elections and Lyons has experience relevant to these. Soward is also running on health issues including increasing bulk-billing services and more funding for health education and incentives.

* Housing: Launceston is also now experiencing the real estate boom that is currently out of control in Hobart.  Both Smith and Soward have said the government needs to act on rental waiting lists and building more affordable housing.

Campaign

I will flesh out the campaign section in coming weeks as time permits.  On a recent trip through part of this electorate corflutes for Smith and Duigan were plentiful.  I have since heard that Duigan signs are now heavily outnumbering others.

Free publicity for Duigan in Marine and Safety TV advertisements during the campaign period (in which major party candidates will already benefit from saturation party advertising) has been criticised on social media.  

Prospects

In recent years Labor have been winning harder and harder Legislative Council seats, usually against my predictions.  But they haven't done so in the north (where Houston's loss last time was actually one of their better results) and the timing of the Lower House election will not help them in a seat that is not that Labor-friendly.  Furthermore, while Lyons is well known, his council base is on the other side of the river and even there his recent electoral form is solid but unspectacular.  Considering all this I do not think Labor will win this seat.

Duigan has a very thin CV from a legislative perspective but his TV experience in a show watched by everyday voters makes him a good choice for resonance in the outer suburbs and to appeal to blue-collar voters in Ivan Dean's support base.  He will also appeal to the fishing/boating communities in the north of the electorate along the Tamar River. Even in the absence of a lower house election I would have predicted that Duigan would at least make the final two, and the question would then be whether Smith also could.

All the independents are disadvantaged by the concurrent timing of the elections (see my article on why I don't like this) and will need to convince prospective Liberal voters especially to split their votes between the Lower and the Upper House.  This will be challenging given the current political mood.  Smith is the most prominent independent with Dean's endorsement but this does not necessarily guarantee a high vote; it will be interesting to see how he goes.  Gale may get some support as the sole female candidate but otherwise I doubt Gale or Soward will greatly trouble the scorers.  

On the other hand there is one way in which simultaneous elections might benefit Smith.  Turnout for LegCo elections is generally low and it is likely young voters are disproportionately affected.  The fact that they have to vote for the state election might help in getting them to the ballot box and they may then support a young candidate whose campaign is cool enough for them to have noticed it.  OK, this is drawing a fairly long bow here.  

If the final two are Duigan and Lyons, I expect Duigan will win easily.  If the final two are Duigan and Smith, that's more interesting.  All the same Duigan was probably considered the favourite even before the election call.

Betting

Betting is not reliably predictive (then again with LegCo what is) but it's amusing to keep an eye on it anyway.  As of 1 April, Duigan 1.35 Smith 4.50 Soward 8.00 Lyons 12.00 Gale 15.00 As of 14 April, Duigan 1.25 Smith 5.50 Soward 9 Lyons 15 Gale 18.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Holding The House Of Assembly And Legislative Council Elections On The Same Day

Having completed the initial runs of my Lower House guides it's now time to move onto the Legislative Council.  But before I do there is a general matter about the Legislative Council elections that I wish to cover in its own post.  For the first time in the state's history as a state (I am not sure about colonial elections) this year's Legislative Council elections are set to be held on May 1, the same day as the House of Assembly elections.  While there are advantages in holding the elections on the same day, I believe this is unfair to independent candidates because of the Council's strict spending restrictions, and that for this reason the Legislative Council elections should have been moved (perhaps to May 29) and should be moved if this is still possible.  

Historic cases of elections held close together

The following table shows cases where the House of Assembly and Legislative Council elections were held close together:


(Source: Parliament House website).  In the early days, Legislative Council elections seem to have been held on a range of days of the week, resulting in some cases of the elections falling four days apart.

If the elections were to be held close together, it would generally make sense to hold the Assembly election first and then the Council election second.  The reason is that the Legislative Council is a house of review, and in making their decisions about who to elect to review government legislation, it may help voters to know who the government is.  However, holding the Council elections just a week after the Assembly elections must have been confusing with the overlapping campaigns, and wouldn't have helped in drawing attention to the Council contests.  

The 2021 election is the first time since 1989 that this issue has arisen, and only the third case in the last fifty years.  In the 1989 case the Council elections were held two weeks after the Assembly elections. 

In the days of the above elections, nearly everyone voted on the day, so election campaigns tended to peak in the final days.  These days they are more spread out, and elections held a week or two apart would contaminate each other a lot more.  Three or four weeks, not so much.

There is currently no law that prevents the holding of both levels of election on the same day, and indeed voting for both houses on the same day is business as normal federally and in NSW, Victoria, WA and SA.  I am unaware of there having been any law preventing it in the past, but one may have existed.  In any case it never having been done before doesn't automatically mean it is a bad idea, so here are some possible arguments for and against:

For holding elections on the same day

* Cost savings resulting from voters voting twice at once

* Likely increased turnout for Legislative Council elections, which tend to lag state election turnouts because of low voter awareness

* Avoiding unnecessary repeat gatherings of voters given COVID-19

* Avoiding disruption to candidates already campaigning for May 1 elections.

Against holding elections on the same day

* Disadvantage to Legislative Council independent candidates.  Under current spending requirements, Legislative Council candidates can only incur campaign expenses of up to $18,000 per candidate.  This applies both to independent and party candidates, but in the meantime political party candidates will be receiving the benefit of unlimited saturation-level state based advertising spending for their parties.

* Possible counting delays.   It is not yet clear what measures the Electoral Commission will take with the counting of two elections at once under COVID restrictions but at the least I would expect some delays with booth figures on the night.

* Confusion.  The boundaries of Legislative Council divisions overlap state boundaries.  Some voters are likely to turn up to the polling booths not realising they have to vote twice and knowing nothing about the Legislative Council advantage.

* LegCo getting lost in the noise.  In past years much has been done (on this site and by many in the Tasmanian media) to improve the level of coverage of Legislative Council contests and put them on a level with the lower house contests.  Now there is a risk the contests will be a sideshow.

* There is some potential for confusion about formal votes.  For the House of Assembly a voter must vote 1-5 without error, but for the Legislative Council 1-3 is sufficient.  In federal elections it has been clear that the 1-6 requirement in the Senate is causing some informal votes in the Assembly where there are 8 or more candidates.  Of course, if the Government had liberalised the Assembly formality rules this wouldn't matter.  (Instead the final reform report - which won't be acted on this term anyway - verballed my submission as saying that exhaust rates would increase if ACT style savings provisions were brought in, which not only was nothing like what I said but also probably isn't true.)

* And, I should mention, the sheer nuisance value for analysts like me!  It's harder to do covering elections justice when there are lots of them happening at the same time.  

Comments About Holding Both On The Same Day

The following was what was said at Peter Gutwein's press conference:

Journalist: Will there be a Legislative Council election on the same day.

Peter Gutwein: Yes, we will be.

Journalist: Obviously that will give your candidates a huge leg up.

Peter Gutwein: Look that will be a matter for the Electoral Commissioner to manage. I’ve taken advice from the Solicitor General, and I’ve been informed that it will be manageable.

I wonder if the Premier had trouble hearing the question, because he seems to be talking about whether the situation is manageable and legal and not whether it is fair.  For sure running the elections together can be done, but the Electoral Commissioner doesn't have the power to manage away laws that when applied in conjunction create a non-level playing field for independent candidates. 

COVID?

I would also like to address the likely COVID objection to holding the elections separately.  If one considers that holding two separate elections unnecessarily is a risk, then one should also consider that holding one election unnecessarily is a risk, and by that token this Lower House election shouldn't be happening.  

Political impact

I suspect the government is keen to hold the elections on one day because of the mostly difficult time it has been having in the Legislative Council.  Perhaps if it can have a very strong statewide result and avoid a by-election atmosphere around the Legislative Council election, it might be able to improve its standing in the Upper House.  The government could obviously use a hand in defeating an independent opponent in Windermere, but if things go extremely well then dual elections might even make the Government competitive in Derwent and (if it is running there) Mersey, where it would normally have little chance.  

I will add further comments here if anything else comes to light on this matter.  It should be noted that the Legislative Council elections are normally held on the first Saturday in May but can be moved to any Saturday in May without legislation.

Lennon Letter (10 April)

A letter by six independent Legislative Councillors (all except Gaffney who was seeking re-election at the time, he has since been returned unopposed) to the Electoral Commission had no immediate effect.  Indeed Premier Gutwein not only declined the request to postpone the Legislative Council elections but also took issue with the independent Councillors' claim that their role was "holding the government of the day to account".  Gutwein suggested (partly in order for a free shot at Labor) that the Councillors were acting as an Opposition, not a house of review.

Now it turns out that former Premier Paul Lennon, citing advice from former Solicitor-General Leigh Sealy, has written to the Electoral Commission raising the legal issue of generic party spending as it relates to Section 162 of the Electoral Act.  (I say "it turns out" because the age of the letter and the advice are not clear; the letter refers to an election for Mersey but it has been known since April 1 that there won't be one).  S162 states:

"162.   Party not to incur election expenditure

A person must not incur any expenditure for or on behalf of a party with a view to promoting or procuring the election of a candidate or intending candidate as a Member of the Council, whether or not the candidate or intending candidate is an endorsed candidate or intending candidate of the party."

The claim is that generic party expenditure is being incurred partly with a view to promoting or procuring the election of Legislative Council candidates as well as House of Assembly candidates.  I do not have a view on what the Supreme Court would make of this and whether it would see that generic party expenditure for the purpose of promoting many candidates counts as expenditure directed at "the election of a candidate".  

In theory if it was found that expenditure was illegally incurred, this could not only lead to penalties for the offender or their party but could also lead to a successful challenge against the election of Liberal or Labor Legislative Council candidates.  The Tasmanian Electoral Act is vague concerning how the Supreme Court would decide such a challenge (it lacks the explicit limitations on decisions in the federal Act) but in theory it could void one or both LegCo seats requiring a re-run - however if so the winner "on May 1" would be seated while any challenge was being heard.  Probably we shouldn't overestimate the chances of such a voiding happening just yet.  

There is some similarity with a different issue with the LegCo spending requirements.  In the 2013 contest for Nelson, it became apparent that lobby groups could avoid the Legislative Council spending restrictions if their campaigns encouraged the voter to vote for one of a range of candidates without specifying which one, or even to vote for anyone but a specific candidate.  The tactic failed and we haven't seen much of it since.  

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Lyons

This is the Lyons electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Lyons (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
Most of the state
Rural, outer suburban and forested.  
Lots of tiny dispersed towns that take many years for an MP to work

Declared/Expected Candidates

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

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot paper order in Lyons is Liberal, Greens, Shooters, Animal Justice, Labor, Ungrouped.  Candidates appear in rotated order within each column.

Liberal
Guy Barnett, incumbent, ex-Senator, Minister for Primary Industries, Energy, Veterans Affairs
Mark Shelton, incumbent, Minister for Local Govt, Police, Fire, Emergency Management
John Tucker, first-term incumbent elected on recount mid-term, farmer, backbencher
Susie Bower, CEO of Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, Meander Valley councillor
Stephanie Cameron, Meander Valley councillor
Justin Derksen, co-founder of house-building firm Crusader Homes

Labor
Rebecca White, incumbent, Labor leader since 2017
Jenna Butler, first-term incumbent, Shadow Minister for Police, Building, Community Affairs etc 
Edwin Batt, Southern Midlands council Deputy Mayor, farmer
Gerrard Gaffney, seafarer, Maritime Union of Australia member, 2018 candidate
Janet Lambert, Northern Midlands councillor who nearly won in this seat last time and again in Prosser Legislative Council race

Greens
Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order
Liz Johnstone, former community organiser with the Wilderness Society
Tim Morris, former Greens MP for Lyons (2002-2014) 
Jill Pierce, social worker, Eaglehawk Neck community figure
Isabel Shapcott, writer, co-owner Deloraine shop Seppenfelts Emporium (for sale) 
Glenn Millar,  Landcare group president and tour guide, also ran 2014,2018.

Animal Justice Party
Sharon McLay, retired firefighter, farm stay accommodation operator

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Carlo di Falco, target shooter, hunter, gun collector, frequent Shooters candidate

Ungrouped Independent
George Lane, electrochemist, political commenter on social media, 2016 Senate indie, running on platform of reducing house prices

Prospects for Lyons

The Liberals won three seats in Lyons in 2018, off primary votes of Liberal 50.6%, Labor 33%, Greens 6.5%, Lambie Network 5.5%, Shooters 4%.  

The Liberals have benefited at the last two elections from the even spread of votes between Barnett, Shelton and Rene Hidding, but Hidding is gone now and Tucker's personal vote is not so strong.  Thus if the party's vote declines, Tucker could in theory be left on his own short of a quota.  But if it holds firm or goes up, the Liberal ticket will elect three. Barnett (who got great publicity in this term following the award of the Victoria Cross to Teddy Sheean) and Shelton should be re-elected easily, but Tucker won't necessarily be the third (Bower especially has been suggested as a threat; Cameron might also do well).  If there is an exceptionally strong pandemic vote statewide the Liberals might dream of a fourth seat here, but with a somewhat weakened lineup I think that's unlikely and the party will be most concerned about making sure it holds three.  Demographic change in the seat's south is often seen to be favouring Labor, but Labor still needs a swing of about 8% to gain a seat.  

A possible trouble spot for the government is around Westbury where it has proposed to build a new prison, currently on bushland north of the town.  It will be interesting to see any backlash in particular booths as a result (is the preselection of not one but two Meander Valley councillors an attempt to neutralise it?)  

Another trouble spot for the government is in the south.  The government ticket appears lopsided with four candidates from the north, one from the east coast (Tucker) and only one from the south (Derksen) and nobody from White's base in the growing Sorell area.  

On the Labor side, White will be elected.  Butler won narrowly over Lambert in 2018 and is vulnerable to within-party challenges (including Lambert), but will also benefit to some degree from incumbency and increased name recognition.

The Greens' lead candidate in 2018 was a bad fit for the electorate and a liability for the party's campaign generally.  Johnstone may be better but seems very low-profile with a thin political CV. It will be interesting to see what happens with the comparative votes for Johnstone and Morris given that Morris is a well known former MHA, the first time the Greens have run one of their former MPs as a support candidate.  Labor's troubles have opened up what chance they might have - to increase their vote by a few percent with Labor down by several - but even that won't be easy.  

Outlook for Lyons: Probably 3-2-0, but 4-1-0 and 3-1-1 shouldn't be ruled out given Labor's woes.  

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Franklin

This is the Franklin electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Franklin (Currently 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green)
Eastern shore Hobart (Clarence City), much of Kingborough, Huon Valley, D'Entrecasteaux Channel
Urban/outer urban/treechange/rural

Declared/Expected Candidates

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

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot paper order for Franklin is Shooters, Greens, Labor, Animal Justice, Liberal, ungrouped.  Candidates are rotated within each column.

Liberal
Jacqui Petrusma, incumbent, former Minister, backbencher since 2019
Nic Street, incumbent (elected on recount for second time mid-term), backbencher
Bec Enders, Huon Valley Mayor
James Walker, Clarence councillor, podiatrist, was Liberal candidate for 2017 Pembroke by-election
Dean Young, newsagent, previous federal candidate for seat

Dean Ewington, gym owner and Clarence councillor (see section below)

Labor
David O'Byrne, incumbent (two disjunct terms), Shadow Treasurer, often cited in leadership speculation
Alison Standen, first-term incumbent, Shadow Minister for Housing, Climate Change, Environment etc.
Amy Brumby, United Workers Union organiser
Fabiano Cangelosi, prominent criminal defence lawyer, very stridently critical of party's pokies and forest protests policies, supports banning poker machines
Toby Thorpe, 2021 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year, climate action advocate
Dean Winter, first-term Kingborough Mayor, former party staffer and IT professional

Greens
Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order
Rosalie Woodruffincumbent, epidemiologist (Ph.D.)
Gideon Cordover, Kingborough councillor elected on recount 2019, NIDA graduate
Kit Darko, software developer, Greens federal candidate for Franklin 2019 
Phoenix Harrison, pilates and yoga instructor, former beauty clinic owner
Bridget Verrier, nurse, Young Greens convenor as of 2019, party volunteer

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Shane Broadby, trout fisherman and instructor, Nyrstar plant operator, 2018 Lyons candidate
Rebecca Byfieldjournalism and marketing background, responsible hunting advocate, 2019 Senate candidate
Rob Cairns, owner of gun shop Southeast Firearms (see article)

Animal Justice Party
Mark Tanner, "long time animal rights advocate"

Ungrouped independents
Francis Flannery, chef, ungrouped Senate candidate 2019, generally left-wing based on VoteSmart responses
George Spiliopoulos, local businessman (Multi Card ATM etc), philanthropist

Dean Winter Preselection Dispute

The initial non-preselection of Kingborough Mayor Dean Winter is a significant story in Franklin and even statewide.  Winter has long been opposed by elements in the Labor left who allege he is too right wing on economics and insufficiently Labor-y on privatisation and penalty rates.  He was supported for preselection by Labor's three most recent Premiers Paul Lennon, David Bartlett and Lara Giddings but wasn't initially preselected.  

Sue Bailey in the Mercury listed Cangelosi as an expected candidate for Clark only for him to appear as an applicant for preselection in Franklin.  Matthew Denholm at The Australian said that unnamed sources had said Cangelosi had been "persuaded" to switch so that Labor could justify not selecting Winter.  Unnamed sources are often unreliable and according to a later Denholm piece "Mr Cangelosi denies being involved in any such plot".   Bartlett has named two Health and Community Services unionists who he blames for Winter's initial non-selection.

Rob Inglis reports: "It's understood the 22-member administrative committee - which has four members representing the Right faction and 18 represenitng the Left - voted along factional lines when it came to deciding the fate of Mr Winter. This would mean Ms White, believed to have previously objected to the plan to block Mr Winter, voted to do just that on Sunday."  He also quotes an unnamed source (see disclaimer above) as saying there was fear of Winter becoming leader.  However the ABC has since reported that White delegated her vote, and has also reported concerns that the non-selection of Winter might be a ploy to destroy White's leadership by causing the party to perform badly:

"Regardless, the strangest thing, then, is that Ms White ultimately allowed her vote for Franklin preselection to be cast by someone else, then did not intervene by kicking the decision to National Executive — sealing the fate of her former employee, Mr Winter, and perhaps her own."

Opponents of Winter belatedly pointed to specific comments that they feel justify his non-selection but their collection of social media scrapings is weak.  This includes a 2014 discussion about a cafe being closed, in which (including the replies) Winter supported flexibility on penalty rates but only in the context of a general wage increase, and a well-known 2018 dog control incident in which Winter took the side of a dog-owner whose dog the Kingborough Council intended to destroy (a decision successfully challenged in court.)  

Some defenders of the initial non-selection cited a decision by Labor to run only five candidates in each seat, but there is not a strong reason Labor cannot run more.  Indeed they ran more than five in at least one seat at five of the six previous elections under the 25-seat system.  Exhaust is a risk of running more than five candidates but Winter would be very likely to bring more to the ticket than he would cost in exhaust. 

The AWU wrote to the ALP National Executive alleging multiple rule breaches and calling for intervention.  On April 5, Rebecca White foreshadowed a statement on the matter that afternoon, but the statement didn't appear that day.  On April 6, White endorsed Winter to be added - a reversal of previous statements that she wouldn't - and National Executive approved this change.

Dean Ewington Scratching

Amid an otherwise impressive (both in organisation and the calibre of some new candidates) rollout a sore spot for the Liberals was Clarence councillor Dean Ewington.  Ewington's culture-war views are well known to those who follow Clarence Council politics and his preselection was immediately criticised on #politas Twitter for comments about climate change, COVID and Aboriginal reconciliation.  

The first of Ewington's comments to hit the mainstream media was his comments about climate activist Greta Thunberg.  In 2019 he referred to "hysterical rants of an autistic 15-year-old".  [Thunberg was 16 at the time.] Ewington's comments were condemned and he apologised, but the matter gave a free kick to Rosalie Woodruff who called the comments "sexist, ableist and, frankly, revolting" and called the candidate a "troglodyte".  The next cab off the block was COVID - Ewington attended an anti-lockdown rally and has made comments against COVID restrictions including saying that "never again should we allow anyone to lock us up — no matter how well-intentioned they are."  Ewington's comments have been in the news before when he threatened to open his gym irrespective of COVID restrictions and attacked the government for not being transparent or coming up with a plan. Premier Gutwein described his comments as "very disappointing".  What on earth was this candidate (who has also expressed contentious views re Aboriginal reconciliation) doing on the ticket?

On 31 March it was announced Ewington would not be running, with Ewington stating there were "irreconcilable differences" given his views on COVID management.  (Had he not resigned I expect he would have been disendorsed anyway.)  Ewington states he was not intending to run but was approached by the Premier.  He was replaced by fellow Clarence councillor James Walker.

The Premier has said that Ewington's social media had been checked but a four-minute video had not been seen in the vetting process.  However the video added relatively little to previous news about Ewington threatening to reopen his business, readily available via Google News searching for Ewington's name.  

Prospects for Franklin

Franklin is a left-leaning seat at federal level where it has been Labor-held since 1993, but at state level the difference between it and the northern seats is less pronounced.  Votes in Franklin in 2018 were Liberal 48.4%, Labor 34.4, Greens 14.4.

The 2018 election saw Labor recover their second seat after losing it in 2014.  This triggered a very close race between the Liberals' Nic Street and the Greens' Rosalie Woodruff - both of whom were first-term incumbents elected on recounts - for the final seat.  Street appeared likely to win but was defeated by Woodruff by 226 votes as a result of stronger Labor to Green preference flows than seen in previous elections.

Taking into account the redistribution (which has helped the Greens slightly) the Liberals need only about a 0.4% swing to unseat Woodruff or a 0.8% swing to take Labor's second seat.  These are both very plausible outcomes if there is any kind of statewide pandemic surge in the Liberal vote, but their problem is the loss of Will Hodgman's personal vote, which I would expect to hurt them by at least a couple of points.  Petrusma often struggled as a minister and her career has been limited by health issues, while Street has yet to be elected in his own right.  Enders is a very popular mayor who took over a council that had been sent into administration.  If the Liberals win three here Enders should be the third, but if they only win two it is likely that she could oust Street.  Four Liberals doesn't appear realistic even in a landslide election given that a swing of over a quota would be required, but it may be worth noting that I thought about it.  

The delayed selection of Winter and the infighting surrounding it could damage Labor but now that it is resolved he brings more firepower to the ticket.  Standen is at risk both from the Liberals and Winter.  O'Byrne polled about a quota in his own right in 2018 so seems unlikely to be at risk. 

The Green vote could rebound here given the demise of Labor's pokies policy and given that Woodruff has had more time to build her profile. Even so, their seat is very marginal on paper and they are not getting much attention in a campaign dominated by the major parties.

Outlook for Franklin: Could really be any of 2-2-1, 3-1-1 or 3-2-0.

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Clark

This is the Clark electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Clark (Currently 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 Independent)
(When election was called 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 2 Independent)
(2018 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green)
Western shore Hobart, primarily Hobart City and Glenorchy City
Inner and outer urban

Candidates

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

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot paper order for Clark (left to right) is Greens, Johnston, Labor, Federation Party, Animal Justice, Shooters, Hickey, Liberal, ungrouped. Candidates appear in rotated order within each grouping.

Liberal
Elise Archer, incumbent, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Corrections
Madeleine Ogilvie, incumbent, socially conservative former Labor MP defeated in 2018 then returned on recount 2019 and chose to sat as an independent, has mostly voted with government since.
Simon Behrakis, Hobart alderman, parliamentary researcher, former assistant grocery manager
Will Coats, Hobart councillor elected on memorable recount in 2020, small businessman, advisor to Leonie Hiscutt MLC
Harvey Lennon, former Group Chief Executive of Royal Automobile Club Tasmania, Army Reserve major

Labor
Ella Haddad, first-term incumbent, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for Justice and Corrections
Deb Carnes, nurse and former university lecturer, also ALP candidate for seat in 1998.
Chris Clark, organiser for the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, podcast co-host
Simon Davis, hospitality worker, unionist 
Sam Mitchell, events manager and producer, Honours media student

Ben McGregor, social worker, 2019 Clark federal candidate, Tasmanian branch President

(McGregor withdrew before the close of nominations and is not on the ballot - see Labor candidate issues section below.)

Greens
Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order
Cassy O'Connor, incumbent, Greens Leader since 2015 
Vica Bayley, former state campaign manager for Wilderness Society, nearly won Nelson as an independent in 2019
Bec Taylor, social worker, former Hobart Council employee, previous Hobart Council candidate
Nathan Volf, Behavioural Science graduate, social worker
Tim Smith, no not that one!  Disability advocate

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Lorraine Bennett,  former recruitment consultant and HR manager, party secretary, frequent Shooters candidate
Andrew Large, fishing shop manager, fisherman, hunter and bushwalker

Animal Justice Party
Tim Westcott, software developer, small business owner

Federation Party
Justin Stringer, conference and events supervisor, 2014 Palmer United candidate

Major Independents
Sue Hickey, first-term incumbent, Speaker, elected as a Liberal, used several casting votes against own party, quit party after not being preselected.
Kristie Johnston, two-term Mayor of Glenorchy, re-elected in 2018 special election with massive personal vote

Ungrouped Independents
Mike Dutta, first term Hobart councillor and cafe/restaurant owner.
Jax Ewin, florist, radical left Hobart City Councillor and social justice activist who quit the Greens near the end of the 2018 council election and then won.
Lisa Gershwinworld-renowned jellyfish expert (PhD) and author, autism advocate, running on mental health issues

Labor Clark Candidate Issues

Labor's biggest candidate issue in Clark has been the loss of Ben McGregor.  McGregor, who was the candidate most likely to win a second Labor seat if there was one, withdrew his candidacy on the day nominations closed, with knowledge that he was about to do so circulating the night before.  McGregor attacked Rebecca White for requiring him to stand down over inappropriate group chat text messages while White has said he had to go.  McGregor has threatened to sue White for defamation.  Initially there was a lack of clarity regarding why the messages were so offensive but this has now been clarified.

McGregor's replacement recruited at very short notice, Sam Mitchell, has been criticised by the Liberals over alleged crude social media postings that they have linked to claimed images of.  In my view Michael Ferguson has laid it on a bit thick by describing an alleged post endorsing an Australia-themed dildo as "a deeply offensive slur against Australia".  The dildo was a bushfire fundraiser that according to the seller raised $27,000 for bushfire relief, which if true seems a lot more tangible and commendable than "thoughts and prayers".  However the posts, if real, are handy wedge material given what McGregor was sacked over - White will be pressured to also sack Mitchell.  There has never yet been a case to my knowledge of a candidate being disendorsed in a state election after ballot papers were printed.  Mitchell has apologised for his posts on social media.

Prospects for Clark

Clark, which I often refer to jokingly as the "People's Republic of Clark", is Tasmania's most left-wing and idiosyncratic electorate.  It falls into two halves - the Glenorchy part which is traditionally strongly Labor and the Hobart part which has historically had a high vote for Greens and other left-wing candidates, with a small Liberal enclave around Lower Sandy Bay.  Labor usually outpolls the Liberals in Clark, with the most recent exceptions being 1992 and 2014.  In 2002 the Greens also outpolled the Liberals. In 2018 vote shares were Labor 41.9, Liberal 37.7, Greens 17.5.

Andrew Wilkie almost won here when the seat was called Denison in 2010, before going on to win the seat at federal level instead.  Wilkie is now so entrenched at federal level that in 2019 his primary vote exceeded 50%.  However attempts by low-profile independents to emulate Wilkie's success at state level have failed.  

This time two significant independent contenders are in the mix, Hickey and Johnston. Hickey has had her profile further boosted by events surrounding the calling of the snap election.  She may appeal to the Tasmanian fondness for straight-talking rogues, but her appeal may also be limited by her Liberal Party past.  For Johnston, the question will be how successful she can be in translating massive support in local government into state politics, especially with much of that support having no doubt come from people who usually vote Labor.  Johnston - sometimes speculated about as a potential successor to Wilkie at federal level - appears to be running on a broadly centre-left platform with a Wilkie-like anti-pokies position.  

The prospects for independents depend on whether the electorate votes as it would in a normal state election, or whether it joins in a statewide pro-government mood something like that seen in WA.  If the latter, their vote may not be so much.

If one or (less likely I think) both of these independents wins, the question then is which party/parties fails to recover their 2018 seats.  None of Labor's second seat, the Liberals' second seat and the sole Greens seat are completely safe.  The Greens did poll a quota in 2018 despite the success of Labor's now-abandoned pokies policy, and I suspect their base vote without that issue is high enough to afford losses to the independents, but I am not completely sure of this, and they're getting very little attention in the 2021 campaign.  In particular, while it is generally assumed that the swing from Greens to Labor in the inner city in 2018 was driven by Labor's pokies policy, it's always possible this actually wasn't the case.  

Clark is a historically weak seat for the Liberals and going in with only one previously Liberal incumbent may hurt them, but if it is a strong election for the party it won't matter and they will get two anyway.  Labor goes in with only a first-term incumbent, an almost anonymous support crew after the loss of McGregor and weak statewide polling, so despite a strong 2018 result Labor is at major risk of getting only one seat here and I find it hard to see any of their candidates winning besides Haddad.

On the Liberal side Elise Archer will be returned and the others will be fighting for whatever further seat(s) the party may secure.   Ogilvie had no chance of re-election as an independent, but could be returned as a Liberal. In the distant past one Labor-to-Liberal defector (Carrol Bramich in 1956) did sensationally well for his new party, but the circumstances are different and Bramich's defection was much more sudden and spectacular.  However Ogilvie may have to ward off the other Liberals if she is to win.  Of these Behrakis and Lennon have the highest profile.

In extreme scenarios (such as a WA-style landslide or the election going pearshape for the Government) it was conceivable for either major party to win three seats in Clark with the other winning only one, and the fifth going to O'Connor or an independent.  However I think three is off the table for Labor now and they will have a challenge getting two.  The shenanigans on 7 April increase what chance may exist of 3 Liberal but it would still require a very large swing that will be tough with votes also spraying to independents.  

There is a lack of useful polling data concerning the Independent prospects in Clark.  The independents are attracting a lot of interest from the media and political tragics, but that does not necessarily mean widespread support.  Ideally a poll should be conducted that includes Johnston and Hickey by name, but this could be prone to overestimate their support.  A poll omitting their names could severely underestimate it.

Outlook for Clark: It's complicated.  

(If I really had to guess, 2-1-1-1.)

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Braddon

 This is the Braddon electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Braddon (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
North-west and western Tasmania including Devonport, Burnie and Ulverstone
Regional/rural/remote

Candidates

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

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot paper order in Braddon is Shooters, Labor, Liberal, Greens, ungrouped.  Candidates appear in rotated order within each party column.

Liberal
Jeremy Rockliff, incumbent, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education, Trade, Mental Health etc.
Roger Jaensch, incumbent, Minister for Human Services, Housing, Environment etc
Felix Ellis, first-term incumbent backbencher elected on countback during term, plumber
Adam Brooks, former MHA (elected 2010) who resigned seat in 2019 following conflict of interest issues, mining industry businessman
Lara Hendriks, Executive Director of Business and Trade for Department of State Growth
Stacey Sheehan, real estate agent (One Agency Collins), Devonport branch party president

On 8 April it was reported that Brooks is to be summonsed to face charges of failing to correctly store ammunition, which he denies and says he will contest vigorously.  

Labor
Shane Broad, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Primary Industries etc, agricultural scientist (PhD)
Anita Dow, first-term incumbent, former Mayor of Burnie, nurse
Amanda Diprose, Central Coast councillor
Justine Keay, former federal MP for Braddon (2016-9)
Michelle Rippon, teacher, education unionist, candidate for Montgomery (LegCo) in 2019

Greens
Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order
Darren Briggs, emergency doctor, small tourist accommodation operator
Emily Murray, nurse, has co-ordinated election campaigns for party
Tammy Milne, disability advocate, Devonport councillor between 2016-8, "Patriarchy Slayer"
Maureen Corbett, U3A instructor 
Phill Parsons, horticulturalist, also ran in 2018

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Kim Swanson, degree in agriculture, former horse stud manager, boutique winery co-owner, previous candidate

Independents
Craig Garland, fisherman, prominent independent for this seat at Braddon federal by-election, was intending to form new party The Local Party but it could not be registered in time.
Liz Hamer, farmer, also ran 2018 polling 141 votes.
Matthew Morgan, professional fisherman

For those seeking info on obscure Braddon candidates, this transcript of an Australia Institute forum may be useful.  

Prospects for Braddon

Braddon is an electorate where resource development and employment issues have historically been very significant, and the Green vote has lagged behind the rest of the state.  From time to time the electorate votes very strongly for a given party, so the seat produced the only 5/7 seat results in the old 35-seat system (1972 Labor and 1992 Liberal) and in 2014 it produced the new system's first 4/5 seat result.  In 2018 it produced a 3-2-0 result with primaries of Liberal 56.1%, Labor 27.3%, Lambie Network 5.9%, Greens 3.6%.  (The Greens were overtaken by Craig Garland.) 

Unlike in 2014, in 2018 Labor benefited from a relatively even split between their most successful candidates Broad and Dow.  If this split repeats it will be hard for the Liberals to win four seats unless there is a massive result for the party statewide, in which case either Labor MHA may lose.  On the other hand, it would take a big swing against the Liberals to knock them down to two.  

On the Liberal side Jeremy Rockliff will be returned, but Brooks (if re-endorsed) is a threat to Ellis and possibly Jaensch.  Ellis has had little time to build profile although he did receive a lot of publicity for his debut speech.  Jaensch fairly narrowly beat ticketmate Joan Rylah last time but it will be challenging for Ellis to beat him.  Brooks has been a strong vote-getter in the past but his career was sidelined by conflict of interest issues, leading to him resigning from parliament in 2019 after a critical Integrity Commission report about his use of a company email account.  Journalist Sean Ford, who knows this electorate very well, considers that Stacey Sheehan should defeat Ellis even if the Liberals do win four.  

On the Labor side Justine Keay is a within-party threat to the incumbents, perhaps more so Dow than Broad.  I am not sure that being a one-term MHR (and a troubled term at that) is necessarily enough to win, but she has very high name recognition so it will be interesting to see how she goes.  

The Green vote has crashed in Braddon and at the last election they were overtaken on preferences by independent Craig Garland.  The Greens have preselected a more respectable lead candidate this time but are a long long way from winning here again.  There has often been a good vote for fourth parties like Palmer United and JLN in Braddon - and could be in this case for Garland - but not enough so far to secure state seats.  Especially, I don't think Garland will replicate the by-election result, which was fuelled by dissatisfaction with the federal major parties and also by deeply unwise Liberal attacks on him as a candidate.  He is also running as an ungrouped independent, none of whom have won since 1959.  It will be interesting to see if he can increase his vote compared to 2018 (3%) though.

This electorate should also be watched for potential mid-term recounts as there has long been speculation about Rockliff retiring at some stage.  The selection of six candidates may be with an eye to this, but also avoids a 4-1 gender split.

Outlook for Braddon: Have been expecting 3-2-0, but 4-1-0 is possible in view of Labor's campaign issues.

Friday, March 26, 2021

2021 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Bass

This is the Bass electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2021 election preview page, including links to other electorates.) If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.

Bass (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
North-east Tasmania including most of Launceston
Mixed urban/small-town/rural

Declared/Expected Candidates

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

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot paper order in Bass is Liberal, Labor, Animal Justice, Greens, Shooters, ungrouped.  Candidates appear in rotated order within each group.

Liberal
Peter Gutwein, incumbent, Premier since Jan 2020, Treasurer, Minister for Tourism
Michael Ferguson, incumbent, Minister for State Growth, Infrastructure, Tourism etc, former federal MHR
Sarah Courtney, incumbent, Minister for Health, Women, Small Business etc
Lara Alexander, St Vincent de Paul CEO for Tasmania
Greg Kaiser, Mayor of George Town
Simon Wood, Launceston councillor, also 2018 candidate for this seat

Labor
Michelle O'Byrne, incumbent, Deputy Opposition Leader, Shadow Minister for Economic Development, TAFE, Women etc
Jennifer Houston, first-term incumbent, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Janie Finlay, long-term Launceston councillor and former Mayor, nearly elected in Rosevears in 2020
Adrian Hinds, Boags brewery employee
Owen Powell, farmer, hydrogeologist (PhD), candidate in 2018

Greens
Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order
Jack Davenport, social worker with experience in child protection, former local councillor in UK
Cecily Rosol, counsellor (Thrive Launceston), foster carer, former nurse and school chaplain
Tom Hall, doctor, anaesthetist, 2018 House of Reps candidate for seat
Mitchell Houghton, horticulture business owner/operator
Anne Layton-Bennett, writer, library technician, former florist, also stood in 2014.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Andrew Harvey, navy veteran, electrical engineer, arms collector, previous candidate

Animal Justice Party
Susan Woodbury, former animal welfare sector worker, ran for seat federally in 2019

Ungrouped Independent
Roy Ramage, 2016 Senate candidate for Renewable Energy Party, economic development (retired), other experience includes solar panels and computing

Prospects for Bass

Federally, Bass is the "ejector seat" of Australian politics with a long history of almost always throwing out its incumbent.  Outer Launceston suburbs and towns with a strong timber history (eg Scottsdale) often drive this trend.

In 2018 the Liberals polled 58.8%, Labor 26.4%, Greens 9.3%.  The redistribution has knocked a point off the Liberals here but it would take a massive swing against them to place their third seat at any risk.  A more serious question is whether they can gain a swing to them and win a fourth seat.  A reason they might do this is the added profile of Peter Gutwein as Premier.  I expect this to be worth a few points.  If the Liberals can get their vote up to around 62-63 then four seats becomes possible, depending on the breakdown of other parties.  However leakage from what I expect to be Gutwein's enormous surplus will be a factor here.

If the Liberals win only three seats then the question is whether Labor wins two or the Greens recover one.  The Greens won Bass continually from 2002 to 2014 but have now lost incumbency in the seat and their new ticket leader Jack Davenport has only a modest profile from one Legislative Council run and his state endorsement.  

On the Labor side a within-ticket contest is likely for the second seat (assuming there is one) alongside Michelle O'Byrne who polled a quota in 2018.  Jennifer Houston has been Labor's least visible MP (I believe partly because of family health issues) and I expect Finlay to replace her provided that Labor wins two seats.  Labor would benefit from a greater concentration of its vote in its top two candidates and preferably also a more even split than was the case in 2018.  If Labor is reduced to one there is some thought Finlay might unseat O'Byrne, though O'Byrne would have to lose at least a third of her 2018 vote (and probably more) for that to happen.

Exclusion order may be significant in this seat.  In 2018 there was a very close three-candidate point between the fourth Liberal, second Labor and lead Greens candidates.  

Outlook for Bass: Probably 3-2-0 or 4-1-0; 3-1-1 is possible but seems much less likely.