Saturday, March 27, 2021

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.

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)

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 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 plausible that she could oust Street.  Four Liberals doesn't appear realistic even if there's a landslide election given that a swing of over a quota would be required, but it may be worth noting that I have 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, but it's just possible that Winter could dislodge him instead of Standen.  For all the madness early in the campaign, the Labor Franklin ticket is politically diverse and strong.  Another candidate to watch is Toby Thorpe, Labor's youngest candidate but who has impressed observers and is likely to compete for Green votes.  (Some have said he is in the wrong party!)  Some in Labor have even dreamed of three seats but the swing required is massive (around 12%) and would require a much closer election than has seemed to be the case so far.  

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: Probably 2-2-1, less probably 3-2-0 or 3-1-1.  An outside chance is 2-3-0.


  1. Typo:

    In intro you misidentify Franklin as Clark

  2. Hi Kevin. When are nominations final? I wouldn't be surprised if Rosalie Woodruff gets rolled by Pat Caruana.

  3. In an article on the ABC site, a Right faction source is quoted as saying "Mr Winter's views "would not be blinked at within the NSW Labor Party". That's probably reason enough for any other State branch to not preselect him!

  4. I think Labor might of dropped a bit of a clanger regarding Dean Winter.

  5. Dean Winter's belated endorsement in Franklin is going to make this seat an interesting one to watch. (I'm in Franklin) Don't know how it will work out when it's all done and dusted

    1. My guess is 3-2-0. Here’s why:

      1. Dean Winter has a significant personal following in Kingborough, despite it normally being the Liberals best council area in Franklin. However, that is countered by Bec Enders in Huon. The big problem for the Greens is they tend to do better in Kingborough and Huon than in Clarence.

      2. It’s become blatantly obvious that the Liberals will concentrate their resources in the South. In particular, the Premier is spending the vast majority of his time in and around Hobart and especially in Franklin. People have said the loss of Hodgman’s personal vote will prevent them getting a third, but in effect, Gutwein is substituting himself into Franklin everywhere but on the ballot. And given he’s more popular than Hodgman was, this might well work.

      He can do this because the North is easily covered by Liberal incumbents anyway. They’re still a decent chance at a 4th in Bass and Braddon, but a 2nd in Clark and a 3rd in Franklin are mathematically easier to reach and likely more realistic than a 4th in Braddon at least.

      3. Minor parties suffer in wave elections. They had a terrible election in WA recently. If that’s replicated here they’d lose their seat in Clark as well (something that’s very unlikely but not impossible given how messy it’ll be there). Woodruff made hay recently with the Liberals and Labor’s preselection issues, but I have my doubts it’ll be enough when she’s got two popular mayors running in her best councils.

      3-1-1 is possible, if the Labor Left throw their toys out of the pram completely. Basically, they pull their campaign resources out of Franklin almost entirely in protest, meaning they get steamrolled by the Liberals on the ground and don’t get enough votes in Clarence to get a second seat. I don’t think this is particularly likely with the National Executive keeping a close eye on things.

  6. If only more Tasmanian Labor leaders were as articulate and interactive as Bec, Dean and a certain deposed Senator from the last Fed contest !

  7. Interesting that the Murdoch journos are so keen on "unnamed sources".
    In 1975 a Murdoch "Special Correspondent" was instrumental in global headlines leading to the fall of the Whitlam Govt. Suspicions are that it came from the very top.
    Its a good way for them to make news while pretending to just report, or at least separate their reporting from editorial comments. I'm sure it can set hares running.
    On a separate issue, I pay subs to my preferred online newspapers/conversation sites even though I am not required to. If I occasionally want to know about local issues I am firewalled out unless I go to the library. Similarly for online research re local issues. Rupert, ever short of a shilling.
    Sorry for sounding so old fashioned!