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.

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

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 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.

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