Saturday, May 15, 2021


This is a test post because my website was being blocked by Firefox and Chrome this morning based on a presumed phishing false positive which I've reported.  Individual links are working OK; I just wanted to see if I could post new content or not.  

All seems to be fine now but if anyone has this problem please report cases of it to me by email ( and please excuse any frustrated tones in any reply!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Brooks (Braddon) Instant Recount 2021

Warning: unusually wonky recount ahead.  The Braddon recount has been graded Wonk Factor 4/5.

We have an instant encore to the Tasmanian election with the news that Adam Brooks has been charged with firearms offences and something related to a document in Queensland and will not be taking his seat.  He will notify the Governor that he resigns his seat today. He is currently being treated for mental health issues.  This continues the weirdness of Braddon's pass-the-parcel Liberal seat which was won by Brooks in 2018, resigned by Brooks in 2019 and won by Joan Rylah, resigned by Rylah in 2020 and won by Felix Ellis, won back by Brooks at the 2021 election and is now being resigned by Brooks again.

This is breaking news and it is being reported that there will be a recount for the seat.  I am assuming the Liberals have sorted out the legalities of this which probably consist of Brooks being declared elected then immediately resigning.  There is a misconception that he has to be sworn in first but Section 30 of the Constitution Act only requires that a member must be sworn in to take their seat or vote within the House. Update: A recount will occur and will be initiated next week; candidates will have two weeks to advise whether they wish to contest it.

The sole previous case of a member being elected then immediately resigning thus triggering a recount occurred in 1979 (Eric Barnard ALP, amid infighting that broke out following Labor's election win).  In 1962 Brian Crawford (ALP) was elected on a recount and intended to move to the crossbench (a la Madeleine Ogilive) but was then disqualified on residency rules, resulting in a further recount that elected Lynda Heaven, the first female Labor member of the House of Assembly.  There were also two cases of elected members dying before they could take their place - William Pearce ALP (1922) and Joseph McGrath ALP (1937).

Adam Brooks appears to be the first member of the House to have ever resigned his seat twice.  I found seven cases of MPs resigning their seat (as opposed to retiring at an election) and later returning to the House.  Four resigned to contest other elections, one to take up another position, only one (William Burgess from the colonial parliament in 1891) for reasons of scandal (banking collapse).  After a 25-year break Burgess decided it was safe to face the voters once again.  The seventh - thanks to two readers for this and see comments - was Bill Wedd (1953) who resigned because he was sick of the Opposition criticising him for supporting the Government and dared the Opposition to move a motion calling for his resignation.  Which they did and it was carried on the voices.  

Hare-Clark recounts are of the votes that the resigning member had when they were elected.  It's not about who nearly won a seat or nearly didn't win a seat in the original election.  For this reason it is absolutely certain that the recount will be won by another Liberal and I expect it to be Felix Ellis.  

There is an interesting quirk in this recount because Brooks finished short of quota.  Votes must be thrown to bring Brooks to quota for the recount, but the only possible source of votes is Ellis.  So the count will start by throwing all the full-value votes Ellis had at the end of the count to see which ones flow to Brooks.   Those that do flow to Brooks (I estimate over 8000) will then be reduced in value to the gap between Brooks' final total and the quota, meaning that a value of 802 votes from Ellis will be included in the recount.  Nearly all this value will go back to Ellis, though there will be some votes that were, for instance, 1 Hendriks 2 Ellis 3 Brooks, that would go back to someone else (in this case Hendriks).

This counters the impact on Brooks of the Hare-Clark recount bug which would have otherwise seen him disadvantaged compared to Sheehan and Hendriks.  The bug would normally have been that votes that were 1 Sheehan 2 Brooks and 1 Hendriks 2 Brooks get included in Brooks' recount, while votes that were 1 Ellis 2 Brooks would normally not have done so because Ellis stayed in the count and wasn't excluded.  But in this case the recount includes a mock exclusion of Ellis, and the value of votes coming out of that mock exclusion (802) exceeds the votes passed from Sheehan to Brooks (410) and Hendriks to Brooks (678).

Assuming all of Ellis, Sheehan and Hendriks contests, the relevant votes in the recount by value are as follows:

* 53.2% Adam Brooks primary votes
* 18.6% Rockliff surplus (1 Rockliff 2 Brooks)
* 6.9% Ellis throw to bring Brooks up to quota (nearly all goes back to Ellis)
* 3.5% Sheehan primary value votes (will all go back to Sheehan once all non-Liberals are excluded)
* 5.8% Hendriks primary value votes (will mostly go back to Hendriks once all non-Liberals are excluded but some will go back to Sheehan)
* 12% non-Liberal primary value votes (mostly from Craig Garland and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)

All these will then be thrown to the first numbered candidate who is contesting the recount.  If no-one gets 50%, candidates are then excluded and preferences passed on as in a single seat election.

It is in my view very likely that Ellis will win the recount because he was the most prominent Liberal candidate of the three by far.  He is also the same gender as the departing candidate which has some impact on preference flows, and he should start with a little head-start for the reasons noted above.  It is notable that in Rockliff's surplus, Ellis's share (1074) was not massively greater than Hendriks' (856) and Sheehan's (576) but it would not surprise me if Brooks' votes were a little more favourable to Ellis than that.  Liberal scrutineers may have sampled this situation and may already know what the outcome will be.  In any case it looks like Ellis's holiday from the parliament following his unlucky loss yesterday will be a very short one.  

Does Brooks undermine the legitimacy of the majority result?

Short answer: no.  In the light of this result the issue is being raised of whether Brooks was a sham candidate, run to harvest votes with the intention always being that he would resign immediately or soon.  However, the Liberals won 57.2% of the vote in Braddon (3.43 quotas).  Brooks himself polled a primary vote of 0.53 quotas.  Had Brooks not run, most of his voters would have voted Liberal anyway and the Liberals would have still easily got three seats.  Even if no Brooks voters had voted Liberal without him, they would still have got three.  What could have gone differently is that the even split between Brooks, Jaensch and Ellis put the Liberals closer to four seats than they otherwise were.  In the end Shane Broad was 2051 votes (2.9%) ahead of Ellis.  Had the Liberals not run Brooks, they would not have been able to hold four candidates so high in the count.  Had they won four and had Brooks then immediately resigned, then Brooks would have effectively harvested the seat.

I have some doubts about whether the government would have done this deliberately anyway.  Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, etc.  Votes gained by having Brooks on the ticket were probably not worth the campaign disruption value of his various adventures.  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Senate Surprise: Abetz Demoted To Third

News has just come through that Tasmanian Liberal preselectors have released a ticket with Senator Jonathon Duniam first, Senator Wendy Askew second and Senator Eric Abetz third.  This comes as a surprise after recent Fontcast gossip that suggested Abetz and Duniam would fight out the top spot on the ballot with Askew to be placed third (gender issues notwithstanding).  Askew has only been a Senator for just over two years since being appointed to a casual vacancy.  

Previously Abetz had been on top of the Senate ballot four times in a row since being first appointed to the Senate on a casual vacancy.  Previous pretenders to the top position Guy Barnett and Richard Colbeck were demoted by preselectors to risky positions where they subsequently lost their seats.  (Barnett went into state politics where he has been successful, while Colbeck returned to the Senate after the disqualification of Stephen Parry and topped the 2019 ticket).  

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Almost Everything In West Media's Polling Video Is Wrong

Got my right hand high, with the thumb down ...

I'm writing a long washup piece re the Tasmanian election and its outcomes but my attention has been diverted by clueless Twitter praise of a YouTube video by The West Report, called "Who really is the preferred PM?"  Strangely the video doesn't actually talk that much about preferred PM scores or say who the preferred PM actually is, but it says a lot of other things that are just not accurate.  It's possibly the worst thing I've seen about polls on a vaguely prominent platform since Bob Ellis.  

The video claims at 0:31 that the questions in the polls aren't public while highlighting a statement from Resolve Political Monitor that says "All questions are designed to be fair, balanced and accurate, e.g. voting questions emulate the actual presentation and ranked preferences of ballot papers as closely as possible". The words from the second "questions" on are highlighted.  But in Resolve's case, what appears to include at least some of the questions is published.  It's also perhaps a bit early to judge Resolve on its transparency approach since it has so far done one national poll.  The Newspoll standard questions, however, are not only regularly published verbatim in The Australian but have existed in stable form for just over 35 years.  I can vouch that the questions as published by Newspoll are their questions, exactly, as I have been polled by them a few times going back to the early 1990s.  Granted, it would be beneficial for pollsters to openly publish exact details of the ballot forms they offer voters (including being clear about Resolve's exact voting intentions question), but in Newspoll's case and for some questions for Resolve, we do see what they are asking.  Ditto for Essential, by the way, although Essential unfortunately doesn't usually release the order (if there was one) in which options for issue questions were asked. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

LYONS (2018 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)

SEAT RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor (called)

CALLED ELECTED: Rebecca White (Labor), Guy Barnett (Liberal), Mark Shelton (Liberal), Jen Butler (Labor), John Tucker (Liberal)

Lyons is as dead as it gets as a party level contest with the Liberals on more or less exactly 3 quotas, Labor on more or less exactly 2 and the Greens on just over half, and the rest is mostly Shooters.

Rebecca White has topped the poll with 1.4 quotas.  Guy Barnett is also over quota and Mark Shelton is on .72 quotas and will win, though it will take a while.

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Franklin

 (Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

FRANKLIN (2018 Result 2 Labor 2 Liberal 1 Green)

ALL SEATS CALLED: 2-2-1, Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street (Lib) re-elected, David O'Byrne (Labor) re-elected, Rosalie Woodruff (Greens) re-elected, Dean Winter (Labor) replaces Alison Standen (Labor)

There is no suspense about the count in Franklin: all the incumbents have won except that Alison Standen has lost heavily to Dean Winter and David O'Byrne in a within-party contest.  Winter's campaign was initially blocked by left unionist elements in the party and this was only overturned by federal intervention (at the behest of another union that took exception to the claim Winter wasn't Labor-y enough).  The result confirms the utter senselessness of leaving Winter off the Labor ticket for even five minutes and Labor should identify those irresponsible and ensure they don't get asked to pick the squad again.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Braddon

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

BRADDON (2018 result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)

SEAT RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor 

CALLED ELECTED: Jeremy Rockliff (Lib), Anita Dow (ALP), Shane Broad (ALP)

WITHIN PARTY CONTEST (Liberal): Adam Brooks extremely likely to win, Roger Jaensch vs Felix Ellis for third Liberal seat.  Expecting formal confirmation soon that Brooks and Jaensch have won.   (UPDATE: confirmed)

In Braddon there is nearly 84% counted.  The Liberals have 3.42 quotas, Labor has 1.6, the Greens 0.32, the Shooters 0.23 and Craig Garland has 0.37 (6%) and has beaten the Greens again!  Jeremy Rockliff has topped the poll, of course, and currently has 1.74 quotas.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Bass

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

BASS (2018 3 Labor 2 Liberal)

CALLED RESULT 3 Liberal 2 Labor

MPs CALLED: Peter Gutwein (Lib), Michael Ferguson (Lib), Sarah Courtney (Lib), Michelle O'Byrne (Labor), Janie Finlay (Labor).  

Jennifer Houston (Labor) loses seat to Finlay.

In Bass, we currently have 81% counted, which is pretty good.  Premier Gutwein has already smashed Will Hodgman's 2018 record for the largest number of personal votes ever recorded by a candidate, and his 48.2% primary vote is the second highest of all time, behind Doug Lowe's 51.2% (which was pre Robson rotation).  For the Robson Rotation era he beats Robin Gray's 42.2% by six points, though that was achieved with seven candidates on the ticket and not six.  The concentration of the Liberal vote in Gutwein is amazing and has left incumbents Ferguson and Courtney looking a bit neglected!  They're bound to win on Gutwein's surplus though; indeed Ferguson will probably clear quota right away and Courtney might do so too.  

2021 Legislative Council Postcounts: Windermere and Derwent

(Link to main 2021 page including link to other postcount threads)

WINDERMERE Vacancy (retirement, Ivan Dean, conservative IND)

Nick Duigan (LIB) vs Geoff Lyons (ALP) or Will Smith (IND)

Duigan won after preferences of Smith.  

DERWENT called, Craig Farrell (ALP) has retained.

This is a very brief (initially) postcount thread for Windermere, which I am doing second behind Clark because the Legislative Council matters!  Labor's Craig Farrell has retained Derwent as he is leading Ben Shaw 48.7-41.2 and the Animal Justice preferences (10%) will favour Farrell.  Farrell might win 55-45 or slightly more.  

2021 Tasmanian Postcount: Clark

CLARK (2018 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green, when election called 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 2 IND, when election held 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)

SEATS WON 1 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND.
CALLED WINNERS: Elise Archer (Lib), Cassy O'Connor (Green), Ella Haddad (Labor).
PARTY CONTEST: Liberal vs IND, Liberal well ahead, INDs will gain, both INDs need to overtake Liberals for them to lose.  Liberals strongly expected to win.
WITHIN-PARTY CONTEST: Behrakis (LIB) vs Ogilvie (LIB) for expected
 Liberal 2nd seat. Ogilvie will win.  
IND vs IND CONTEST: Johnston vs Hickey, Johnston ahead and expected to win.

UPDATE: Clark called as wins for Johnston and Ogilvie after exclusion of Davis.  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Tasmanian Election Day 2021

Yes the glorious day has arrived, we are finally there!  We are (checks watch), er, ten months early.  

Tonight I will be doing live coverage for The Mercury.  The link will be edited in to this article when available.  It may be paywalled but there is usually a cheap introductory subscription for non-subscribers.  My live blog for the Mercury will probably start somewhere in the 6-6:30 range and go until late night although I may have to stop it to file articles and do interviews eventually.  I will be based at the tally room.  I ask media outside of the Mercury not to contact me by phone or email between 5:30 and about 11 tonight; once I have finished the live coverage I should be available for other interviews (feel free to say hi in the tally room when I don't look too busy to arrange).   Scrutineers are very welcome to send me news and figures by phone or email.