Saturday, April 9, 2022

Tasmanian House of Representatives Seats Guide (2022)

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This article gives a fairly detailed discussion of the five Tasmanian House of Representatives seats, which will be updated and edited as needed up til election day.

Two seats (Clark and Franklin) are not considered to be in play at this election.  Two (Bass and Braddon) are Liberal marginals with a long history of going back and forth and are in play more or less irrespective of the outcome.  One (Lyons) is fairly comfortable for Labor on paper but Labor's baseline margin is exaggerated so it may be in play if the election is fairly close overall.

National polling as I start this article has been suggesting the sort of swing to Labor that would see Labor easily recover Bass and probably Braddon as well.  However Tasmania has become somewhat detached from national patterns in recent years with national swing only predicting Tasmania's two-party seat result perfectly once in the last 30 years.   Tasmanian federal swings still have some relationship with the national swing but it is a loose one.

State politics is also not a reliable predictor of federal politics as Tasmanian voters frequently vote very differently at the two levels.  Also, even if it was a predictor, the state government's popularity fell considerably in the first EMRS poll this year, so it is no longer enjoying the COVID boom that helped it win the 2021 state election.  It is also just a little bit distracted at the moment.  

Labor performed poorly in northern Tasmania in 2019 (excepting Lyons where it was handed a free win), with some inexplicably Hobart-centric funding announcements a factor along with the general outer-suburban swing to the Coalition at that election.  The issues mix for 2022, especially cost of living pressures (including fuel prices) seems on paper better for Labor.  

Very little Tasmanian-specific federal polling has been seen in this term.  The sub-samples in Roy Morgan and Ipsos federal polling have tiny sample sizes and are hopelessly erratic (and have recently on average been not greatly different to the national swing anyway).  Tasmanian seat polling has a history of inaccuracy even by the low standards of seat polling generally, though the limited seat polling released in 2019 by uComms and Newspoll got reasonably close.

For more details on seats and their history see also the Poll Bludger and Tally Room guides.

A section on Section 44 Eligibility is at the bottom of this article.

Lots Of Candidates: The declared candidate total (44) smashes the previous record for Tasmania of 35 (2013).  Every seat except Clark has more candidates than it has ever had before, with Braddon tying the Tasmanian record set by Clark in 2013.  This is part of an unfortunate national trend likely to lead to high informal voting because of the Parliament's favour to reform informal voting rules.

Note for candidates: as this page has to cover all five seats, the candidate profiles will be kept to a link (if I can find one) and one to a few lines except for (i) incumbents, (ii) Labor/Liberal candidates, (iii) any  candidate who I identify as a credible chance to win a seat based on polling or strong subjective evidence (iv) any candidate who I consider unusually notable or hilarious.  

Candidates may contact me once only to request a change in the link (if any) that their name goes to.  No other changes will be considered except in cases of clear factual error. Length of main candidate profiles is influenced by the volume of available material/dirt. Ordering of other candidates is influenced by past election results for their parties in the seat.  

Bass (Liberal, 0.4%)

Geography: North-eastern Tasmania, consisting mostly of urban Launceston and also the rural north-east with major centres including Scottsdale and Bridport.

History:  Bass is "the ejector seat of Australian politics", having changed parties at eight of the last ten elections, and having had the most MPs of any Australian federal seat. It is the second most volatile seat in Australia in swing terms in recent elections.  The carnage started when Liberal Warwick Smith lost the seat by 40 votes, ending a 17-year Liberal tenure, in 1993.  He then won it back in 1996 and lost it by 78 votes in 1998. Forestry issues played some role in the Liberal wins in 2004 and 2013 but primarily Bass is won and lost in the suburbs of Launceston. The southern and eastern suburbs have been especially volatile in recent elections but in 2019 usually rusted-on booths in the north-eastern suburbs joined the party too.  Bass was the only seat in Australia to record double-digit 2PP swings in both 2013 and 2016.  In 2016 Andrew Nikolic (Lib) was defeated after a single term, with the crushing loss (of a scale unforseen in polling) being generally attributed to health issues including the Launceston General Hospital and Labor's "Mediscare", and also to a GetUp! campaign which was strongly supported by left-wing locals displeased with Nikolic's abrasive style.  With all these issues out of the mix in 2019 (but with Labor running a campaign perceived as Hobart-centred) there was a big swing back and the Liberals recaptured the seat from Ross Hart (Labor) by 563 votes.  

Incumbent: The Liberal MP for Bass is Bridget Archer.  Archer is the former Mayor of industrial George Town.  She polled 1803 votes for the party at the 2018 state election but was not elected as the Liberals already had three incumbents in the seat.  She was then endorsed for the federal election and won the seat in 2019.  Archer is a Liberal moderate and her term has seen three cases where she has not voted with her party.  Firstly, she strongly criticised, and abstained from voting on, a motion to expand the reach of cashless debit welfare cards and make existing trial sites permanent.  (The motion still passed; it would have failed had she voted against.)  Secondly she, alone, crossed the floor to vote for a failed attempt to suspend standing orders to debate a proposed federal anti-corruption commission.  Thirdly and most notably she was one of five Liberals to cross the floor and insert protections for transgender students into the government's Religious Discrimination Bill, resulting in the Bill's withdrawal.  

Main challenger: The Labor candidate is Ross Hart, the MP for this seat from 2016-2019.  Prior to politics, Hart was a lawyer with a long involvement at Rae & Partners, of which he was a Director and Managing Partner.  Following the 2019 election Hart started his own law practice.  Hart was elected in 2016, defeating Andrew Nikolic with one of the biggest 2PP swings in the nation (10.1%) During his term Hart, a member of the Labor Left, had a "nice guy" reputation and was a relatively low profile MP on the national stage, except for one 2018 interview where he repeatedly declined to back Bill Shorten's proposal at the time to reverse tax cuts for medium-sized businesses.  This contributed to leadership speculation at the time and the proposal was soon withdrawn.  In mid-2021 Hart was endorsed for a rematch with Archer, the first candidate rematch in Bass since Warwick Smith and Silvia Smith contested the seat three times in 1990-6.

Other candidates:

Cecily Rosol (Greens) counsellor, foster carer, former nurse and school chaplain, minor candidate for party in 2021 state election
Bob Salt (Jacqui Lambie Network), manufacturer, small businessman, 2018 Launceston council candidate.  Salt has withdrawn from active campaigning after the party recommended preferences to Archer ahead of Hart but has not yet "resigned" or been disendorsed.  
Kyle Squibb (United Australia), fire risk manager, also previously in water emergency management and biosecurity
Melanie Davey (One Nation), small business/stay at home mum, formerly retail and customer service at Commonwealth Bank
Stephen Humble (Liberal Democrats), technical officer and electrical engineer, contested 2018 Mayo by-election.  Does not live in Tasmania.  
George Razay (Independent) General Physician and Geriatrician at the Launceston General Hospital for 25 years, platform is generally left-wing including climate change action and free education
Alison Baker (Animal Justice) admin clerk

The Examiner says Baker and Humble are paper candidates who are not campaigning.  Unfortunately The Examiner's editorial strongly implied that voters' preferences are determined by parties, including through preference deals, a claim included in the AEC's Disinformation Register ("Parties direct preferences").  A voter can vote however they like (including for paper candidates and other micro parties) and their vote will follow their preference.  How to vote cards and "preference deals" have no impact unless the voter chooses to follow them, which most don't.

The ballot order in Bass is Razay, JLN, Greens, Liberal, AJP, LDP, UAP, PHON, Labor

In Bass, One Nation are recommending preferences to Hart ahead of Archer while Jacqui Lambie Network are recommending preferences to Archer ahead of Hart.

Polling (Voting Intention)

1. Australia Institute uComms 52.4-47.6 to Liberal. 13 Dec 2021. Robopoll 814 respondents.  Primaries (undecided reallocated) Liberal 41.9 Labor 32.9 Green 8.9 PHON 5.1 UAP 4.0 Local Party (not known to be running) 0.9 IND/other 6.8.  Polling included usual Australia Institute questions about truth in political advertising, and an Integrity Commission. The former failed to mention that some misleading advertisements (those relating to casting a vote) are already illegal.  76.8% of the sample said that Archer crossing the floor on an integrity commission made them more likely to vote for her. These questions are pretty useless as voters always overestimate the impact of an issue in isolation, and the lead-in questions about an integrity commission would have influenced the response.  Nonetheless that is a very high result as such things go.  

2. Telereach/KJC for Newscorp 57-43 to Liberal.  17-19 March.  Robopoll 800 decided respondents.  Primaries Liberal 45 Labor 33 Green 7 One Nation 10 UAP 3 Other 2.  One of a series of Telereach polls which collectively showed very wide variation in swings (probably caused at least partly by sample noise) and tended to have high One Nation votes.  Telereach has had relatively little public testing at previous elections and seat polling is unreliable.  Candidate approvals Archer net +42 Hart net -2.  Leader approvals Morrison net -32 Albanese net -20 preferred PM (skews to incumbents) Albanese 40-39.  

3. Redbridge (incomplete details available) reported in Daily Telegraph 9 April.  Both major parties on 36 primary, but this may be without reallocating undecided voters (not sure yet).  

4. YouGov MRP model: The YouGov MRP poll-based model estimates 51-49 to Labor (Liberal 39 Labor 36 Green 11 ON 3 UAP 1 (seems too low) others 10

Polling (Other)

1. Everybody's Home (housing) A housing advocacy group released results of a survey supposedly showing support for its views but despite the amount of detail provided there was no detail concerning polling method, pollster, weighting (if any) etc.  Claimed results should be ignored until this information is released.

2. (apparently) Australian Christian Lobby A poll asking voters about Bridget Archer's recent vote on the Religious Discrimination Bill was reported on 13 April.  The ACL is campaigning to unseat Archer.

Prospects:  Only the sitting member might save it.  Bass is a volatile seat and its history of throwing out incumbents means it is almost never safe.  It is also vulnerable to cost of living pressures.  Indeed based on the government's poor national polling and the absence of the factors that cost Labor the seat in 2019, there is more than enough for Labor to take the seat back despite the loss of incumbency.  Archer is also being heavily targeted by the right, including the Australian Christian Lobby and (on preference recommendations) One Nation.  The only real argument for why Bass shouldn't fall again is Archer herself - Tasmanian voters often like rebels and political characters, and Archer may make some connection with the division's battlers.  While I do not place much weight on the Telereach poll's voting intentions, it does suggest Archer is more popular than her leader in the seat by a massive margin.  Normally, local member popularity only goes so far - is this case different? Also, for all the attention from political junkies, I am not sure that transgender rights or a federal ICAC are front and centre for Bass voters.  The place is not exactly Wentworth.  

Braddon (Liberal, 3.1%)

Geography: North-west and western Tasmania, including the small regional cities of Devonport and Burnie and the large town of Ulverstone, the rural north-west (Smithton, Wynyard) and the west coast mining and tourism towns (Queenstown, Zeehan, Strahan)

History: Decades ago the north-west was infamously socially conservative, but Braddon has changed greatly in the last 25 years.  Braddon was Liberal-held from 1975 to 1998 but has since become another swinging marginal seat, changing hands at six of the last eight general elections, like Bass including the last three in a row.    

Labor's Justine Keay won the seat from the Liberals' rather unpopular incumbent Brett Whiteley in 2016 but her tenure was disrupted by having to contest a mid-term by-election caused by Section 44 issues.  Keay won but by Labor's result was still mediocre (and could have been worse had the Liberals not made hamfisted attacks on local indie Craig Garland).  The Liberals had a big win in Braddon in 2019 and the seat has rarely been in the headlines since.

Incumbent: The first-term Liberal incumbent is Gavin Pearce.  Prior to parliament, Pearce was a local beef farmer and Vice-Chair of a local farming lobby group, President of the Wynyard RSL, a former professional concreter and a decorated Wing Sergeant Major with 20 years Army service.   Pearce was overlooked for the 2018 by-election in favour of Whiteley.  His win in 2019 with a 4.8% swing was the more impressive for having to deal with disruption from a former preselection opponent Craig Brakey who polled 10.9% as an independent, with almost half of that flowing to Labor on preferences.  Sold as an everyday bloke candidate, Pearce has been far less prominent than Archer on the national stage and has had a quiet term in terms of media attention with no special controversies.

Main challenger:  The Labor challenger is Chris LynchLynch is a Burnie City Councillor.  Elected ninth of nine by 16 votes at the second attempt in 2014, Lynch was again elected ninth in 2018, extending his margin to 23 votes.  Lynch is a widely-travelled sound engineer and musician who has also worked as a Vocational Education and Training teacher, trainer and assessor, a Joblink program co-ordinator, a social worker and (currently) a Program Co-ordinator in disability support.  He also has many community involvements.  Lynch was endorsed in mid-2021 so has had nearly a year to build profile.

On 5 May The Advocate, the main newspaper in Braddon, reported as its front page that Lynch had been convicted in 1994 (when he would have been in his early 30s) of possessing methylamphetamine valued at $1200 which he on-sold to a friend for $200 profit.  He lost his job and was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.  This does not affect his eligibility.  I understand the party was aware of the conviction but did not insist that Lynch disclose it.  When the Advocate posted a link to their report on Facebook, every comment in response supported Lynch in the few hours before comments were switched off.  The Liberals have asked why the matter was not public sooner.  

Other candidates:

Craig Garland (IND): Charismatic fisherman and anti-salmon-farm campaigner who polled 10.6% in the 2018 Braddon by-election.   In 2019 his Senate vote (1%) was damaged by voter confusion regarding a blank above the line box.  In 2021 he polled an impressive 6% in Braddon at the state election.  Since milkshake-ducked by sectors of the left, as in Jan 2022 Twitter users noted his Facebook was awash with antivaxxy posts and also included shares of an anti-trans post and a conspiracy theory denying Michael Mansell's Aboriginality.  He has also been endorsed by a local page called The Battler which claims that he is informally endorsed by the wacky Australian Citizens Party. This all blew up with a further expose during the campaign. But hey if you're sick of politicians hugging babies and puppies, here's an anti-politician with a decorator crab.  

Sophie Lehmann (Jacqui Lambie Network): Ulverstone-based project manager
Ludo Mineur (One Nation): former carpenter, farmer, project officer working in unemployment and even Alpaca Man for Tourism Tasmania!
Darren Briggs (Greens): lead Greens candidate at state election, emergency doctor, small-scale tourist accommodation operator
Darren Bobbermein (UAP): accountant, has worked in hospitality and small business
Scott Rankin (Local Party): writer/director, co-founder and CEO of arts not-for-profit Big hART.
Duncan White (Liberal Democrats) IT professional, project manager
Keone Martin (Animal Justice), software developer, nature enthusiast

The ballot order for Braddon is PHON, Greens, Liberal, Local, Labor, UAP, Garland, AJP, JLN, LDP.

In Braddon, One Nation are recommending preferences to Pearce ahead of Lynch while Jacqui Lambie Network are recommending preferences to Lynch ahead of Pearce.

Polling (voting intention):

1. Australia Institute uComms 17, 21 March.  Robopoll 829 voters.  53-47 to Labor (respondent preferences) but I estimate 50-50 by last-election preferences.  Primaries with undecided redistributed: Liberal 35.8 Labor 34 Green 5.5 PHON 7.3 UAP 3.1 JLN 7.9 Garland 2.6 others 4.6

2. YouGov MRP model The YouGov MRP model estimates 52-48 to Liberal (Lib 37 ALP 31 Green 5 ON 7 UAP 2 others 18)

Prospects: Looks tight.  On paper Braddon is somewhat safer than Bass but it is also not much less volatile.  Braddon is a low-income seat that is also vulnerable to the cost of living issues mix (and that has been especially pestered by COVID outbreaks, for what that may be worth.)  Even if the election is close overall, the Liberals' ability to hang on to Braddon may hang on what communities on the coast make of the performance of their latest local member (I have not seen any personal polling for him so far.)  Braddon has a very low Green vote these days but strong support for minor populists whose voters' preferences could play a big role in the outcome, and in this sense Pearce could be rewarded for not having antagonised social conservatives and rednecks to the extent that Archer has.   Braddon is also fond of battlers so Lynch's old drug conviction is not necessarily fatal depending on how the story plays out, but it is going to test that fondness to its limits. 

Clark (Ind, 22.1% vs ALP)

Geography: Western shore Hobart.  Includes two very different halves - the working-class Glenorchy half which used to be strongly pro-Labor), and the Hobart City half which is one of the greenest areas in Australia (with small pockets of strong Liberal support). 

History: After winning the seat from the Liberals in 1987, Labor's Duncan Kerr held the seat for 23 years.  On his retirement Labor flubbed both the preselection and the campaign, resulting in independent Andrew Wilkie very narrowly winning the seat on preferences from third place.  Wilkie has since been re-elected three times with massive margins and in 2019 managed to win on primary votes alone (just).   Independent voting spread to state level in 2021, with Kristie Johnston elected to state parliament as a rather Wilkie-like independent and Labor reduced to a feeble 22% and just one seat out of five.  

Incumbent: Andrew Wilkie is a former army officer and intelligence analyst who blew the whistle over the Howard government's support for invading Iraq. He ran for the Greens in Bennelong 2004 and Tasmania Senate 2007 then left said party, narrowly missing a seat in the Tasmanian House of Assembly as an independent in 2010.  Later that year he won Denison.

Wilkie initially supported the Gillard Labor government in the 2010-3 hung parliament but withdrew support after the government did not follow through on its agreements with him concerning poker-machine precommitment.  Wilkie has again been blessed with close numbers from 2016 on and there was especially a perception that the PM's door was always open in the hung parliament end of the previous term.

Wilkie is a generally left-wing independent with forthright, often black-and-white moral views on issues, and whose major issues have included gambling, asylum seekers and health services..  He was also the first plaintiff in one of two failed legal challenges to the holding of the same-sex marriage "postal survey".  Polling in the 2016 leadup showed very high approval ratings of Wilkie; none has been seen since perhaps because the answer is obvious.  Early in his career Wilkie rarely endorsed other candidates but in recent years it has become very common for him to do so (see Franklin section).  

Labor Challenger: Simon Davis has drawn the short straw for Labor this time around.  Davis is a United Workers Union organiser and formerly worked in hospitality including as a Wrest Point Casino dealer.  Davis was one of four relatively low-profile candidates left supporting incumbent MP Ella Haddad in the state election for this seat after the disendorsement of Ben McGregor.  He was the highest-polling of the four with just under 2000 votes.

Liberal Challenger: Will Coats is a first-term Hobart Councillor after a remarkable two-vote win from fourth place in a recount following the resignation of former Liberal candidate Tanya Denison from the council.  Coats was also a candidate in the state election polling 1690 votes.  Coats has an IT and business analytics background and has worked for RACT and MyState.  

Other candidates:

Janet Shelley (Greens) Environmental Sustainability officer at Bureau of Meteorology
Sandra Galloway (United Australia) Former Territory Manager in the pharmaceutical industry, Case Manager at Salvation Army Employment Plus and public servant
Ian Ramsden (Liberal Democrats) former accountant, commercial advisor in construction industry
Michelle Cameron (One Nation) carer, ON profile page refers to support for disability services and single parents
Casey Davies (Animal Justice) zoology grad studying Sustainable Living, works in a warehouse and at a pet store

I have not seen any campaign activity at all from either Cameron or Davies, however I did receive an anonymous email that said Cameron had been active on the campaign trail with significant personal disruptions.

The ballot order in Clark is PHON, Labor, LDP, Liberal, Greens, Wilkie, AJP, UAP.

The Greens have surprisingly issued an open How To Vote card recommendation in Clark, making it the only seat where they have not recommended preferences to Labor ahead of the Coalition, despite having incorrectly claimed that they have put what they see as the nasty parties last everywhere.

Polling (voting intention):

1. YouGov MRP model: The YouGov MRP model (a complex polling-based projection model) has been published with a 61-39 2CP for Wilkie vs Labor (Liberal 15 Labor 21 Green 9 One Nation 5 (too high) UAP 2 others 48.  However others would be nearly all Wilkie and the strong preference flows to him in this seat mean that it would be more like 69-31 on those primaries.

Prospects: Wilkie retain. Last time I said it would be interesting to see if Labor could make any inroads; this time my only interests are (i) whether Wilkie can break 50 primary again (ii) which major party makes the final two.  Perhaps his profile has been a little lower in this majority parliament than the tail-end of the previous, but any speculation that Wilkie's vote might decline has a poor track record so far.  

Franklin (Labor, 12.2%)

Geography: An oddly shaped electorate containing the eastern shore Hobart suburbs within the Clarence council area, and also the Kingborough area, D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Huon Valley areas on the other side of the river.

History: Franklin has been won by Labor at every election since the 1993 retirement of Bruce Goodluck, who had held the seat for the Liberals since 1975 (often by force of personality or electorate work rather than by party identification).  Franklin attracts a high Greens vote, but not enough to threaten to win the seat. It was vaguely competitive when previous incumbent Harry Quick departed but since then Julie Collins has held it comfortably, assisted at times by the Liberal Party using the seat as a dumping ground for bad candidates.  Franklin is among Australia's leading anti-bellwether seats.

Incumbent: Julie Collins is a five-term incumbent who served as a Minister in various portfolios (including Social Services) under both Gillard and Rudd in the 2010-13 parliament.  She is currently Shadow Minister for Agriculture, having also had portfolios in Ageing and Mental Health, Regional Development, Local Government and Employment Services in previous parliaments.

ReachTEL polling in the 2016 leadup showed quite strong personal ratings for Collins but also a fairly high non-recognition rate, suggesting that her profile had been low in Opposition.  I am not aware of any more recent polling of her approval.  In 2013 a remarkably tongue-tied 2010 press conference was used by the Liberals in an attack ad but that was about the last notably negative publicity that Collins ever had.  These days she stands out as a respected experienced party figure (for instance representing the party on the ABC's state election night panel).  

Main Challenger: Kristy Johnson (not to be confused with Kristie Johnston) is the endorsed Liberal candidate.  She is the owner-manager of the all-female 24-hour Fernwood Gym, and also of Glenorchy Health and Fitness, and has 20 years' involvement in the fitness industry.  She is also Treasurer of the Canterbury Hockey Club.  Johnson has had two previous runs for the party: in Clark (formerly Denison) at the 2018 state election (polling over 3000 votes) and for the Legislative Council seat of Pembroke, where she made no impression against Labor incumbent Jo Siejka in one of the Council's few two-party swing seats.  

Other Candidates:

Jade Darko (Greens) software developer /programmer, candidate in 2019 polling 16.3% (party's second highest vote in Franklin ever), also support candidate for state election
Chris Hannan (Jacqui Lambie Network), mental health/workplace wellbeing consultant, former defence social worker
Lisa Matthews (United Australia), communications and workplace relations advisor, former news editor and workplace policy advisor,   
Stephen Hindley (One Nation), anti-COVID-vaccine doctor stripped of his licence, conspiracy theorist whose interview was so extreme that even One Nation banned its minor Tasmanian candidates from addressing the media
Anna Bateman (Local Party) former TV producer including for ABC, Australia Institute communications, advisor to Jacqui Lambie.  Endorsed by Andrew Wilkie.
Duane Pitt (Liberal Democrats) tradesman, Duty Manager at Hobart Airport
Katrina Love (Animal Justice), campaign manager for Stop Live Exports, frequent AJP candidate

The ballot order is Local, Labor, LDP, PHON, UAP, JLN, Liberal, AJP, Greens

What The Heck Is The Local Party Anyway: The Local Party, founded by Bateman, Senate candidate Leanne Minshull and Garland (the latter now an independent) is a Tasmanian-centred left-populist minor party that claims to be a network of independents.  I'm not convinced.  While it prides itself on giving anyone it ever gets elected a conscience vote on everything, this is really not much different to the status of Liberal backbenchers (it is Labor that is the odd one out in this regard).  

The party has a few distinctive trimmings.  Candidates must live in their electorates, with existing community involvements, and must commit to holding citizens' juries to inform their decision-making.  There are obvious tensions between the party's expectations that candidates will be evidence-based and committed to certain issue stances (implying deselection for future elections if not) and the claim that MPs will not be told how to vote.  Nonetheless it will be interesting in coming elections to see if the novelty value of this outfit which has some experienced campaigners behind it has any traction (especially among voters for Greens or greenish independents.)

Polling (voting intention):

1. Unknown poll:  Andrew Wilkie has mentioned unknown polling (I expect Climate200 or similar) which had Bateman and independents on 8% combined, "comparable with the Jacqui Lambie Network and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, and not too far behind the Greens."    There are no independents so whatever share was for independents was probably a glorified dunno.  Also, ON will not get 8% in Franklin.  

2. YouGov MRP model: The YouGov MRP model has 63-37 to Labor (Liberal 28 Labor 39 Green 17 One Nation 2 UAP 3 others 11). 

Prospects: Labor retain.  Johnson appears to be better than a few recent Liberal candidates for Franklin but Collins' cushion is a big one and there is no threat on the two-party front.  The only wildcard here is Wilkie's endorsement of the Local Party candidate Bateman, which came with an argument that Franklin could be a rerun of Denison 2010.  For sure, Franklin has a similar structure (high Green vote, low Liberal vote) so an "independent" polling 20% there could surf home on everybody's preferences.  Also, Bateman has political and media experience.  However, the Local Party brand seems from polling seen thus far to have little appeal (polling way behind the Greens in the Huon by-election), and Franklin isn't Wilkie's patch.  Furthermore, Wilkie won Denison as a vacancy, against an especially poor ALP candidate, and neither of those things apply here. Indeed Collins is a former and potential future Minister.  Someday Julie Collins will retire and Franklin could be very interesting.  But this election's not that day.

Lyons (Labor, 5.2%)

Geography: A mainly rural seat including the large regional town of New Norfolk, the fringes of Hobart and Launceston, and numerous small towns dotted across the centre and east of the state.  Lyons has a sharply north-south voting divide, with the northern part much more pro-Liberal.

History: Partly because of the difficulty of building name recognition in a seat with so many scattered communities, Lyons (formerly Wilmot) had only three incumbents (two Labor, one Liberal) between 1946 and 2013. Long-serving Labor MP Dick Adams was dislodged by the nation's largest swing caused by anger over the state's forestry "peace deal" in 2013 (having survived a similar scare in 2004) but his replacement Eric Hutchinson lasted only one term before Brian Mitchell regained the seat for Labor.  

Lyons often votes similarly to Bass and Braddon but with a little bit extra for Labor, and could have been very close at the 2019 election.  However, firstly the Liberals were slow finding a candidate in a seat where candidates are often picked years out to work the electorate.  That need not have been fatal by itself but their eventual choice was a disaster.  Jessica Whelan was disendorsed over not so old social media posts after her name was already on the ballot paper, and Mitchell helped himself to a small swing on top of a helpful redistribution, while the Liberals ended up endorsing the Nationals candidate instead.

Incumbent: A former journalist/editor and later media consultant, Brian Mitchell did not fit the mould of a typical winner of this rural seat at all, but he did at least have one or more appropriate hats.  Preselected two years in advance of the 2016 election, Mitchell worked the electorate and was rewarded when he dislodged Hutchinson with a 3.5% swing.  He is a member of Labor's Country Caucus and Deputy Chair of the Agriculture and Water Resources committee.  Mitchell has said he would like to be a minister in a future Labor government.  

Mitchell is a larrikin who unsurprisingly adapted well to parliamentary rough and tumble, being one of Labor's more frequently suspended MPs in the 2016-9 term.  In one instance in 2017 he got a bit too feisty in defence of a colleague and had to apologise (though he denies using the word alleged by the ABC, which is indistinct on the audio).  During the current term he has enjoyed sparring with Liberals both federal and state without getting in any more trouble than the intermittent ire of the Speaker.  

After Mitchell's opponent was cancelled last election, an attempt to cancel him too by trawling his social media only ended up embarrassing itself.  However, a more thorough dig around his old social media in the 2022 campaign has produced more significant embarrassment.  Mitchell has apologised for the old tweets and posts and as of 3 May has taken down his Facebook and Twitter accounts.  After an initial lack of pickup of the story there have been renewed attempts as of 7 May, including a question at a press conference which Anthony Albanese batted aside on account of the age of the tweets, and also a Twitter thread by Liberal Senator Jane Hume professing outrage.  The Liberals have used the material against Mitchell in online attack ads.  

Main challenger: Also an atypical Lyons pick, Susie Bower is the endorsed Liberal candidate.  Bower is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone.  She was a Meander Valley councillor before resigning to focus on a year-long campaign for Lyons.  She is also a former University lecturer in business and earlier served for ten years as Director of Community and Economic Development at Dorset Council.  Bower was a candidate for the Liberals at the 2021 state election but her 2517 votes was the lowest of the six Liberal candidates, including being outpolled by fellow councillor Stephanie Cameron despite Cameron's weaker local council vote-getting record.  

Other candidates:

Liz Johnstone (Greens), former community organiser with the Wilderness Society, low-profile lead candidate for the party in 2021 state election
Emma Goyne (One Nation),  hairdresser, mounted archer, studying for physiotherapy diploma, claims to have been prevented from studying by vaccine mandates (read: by choosing not to get vaccinated).  
Jason Evans (United Australia Party) "running his own small business, working in community radio and community services focusing on mental health, homelessness and housing."
Troy Pfitzner (Jacqui Lambie Network) "small business owner".  After much trawling through Facebook videos I believe he drives removals trucks. 
Rhys Griffiths (Liberal Democrats), customer support clerk
Anna Gralton (Animal Justice), agricultural researcher (PhD)

Ballot order in Lyons is Liberal, LDP, Labor, AJP, UAP, JLN, PHON, Green

Assessment:  Getting a bit murky.  The Jessica Whelan saga means that instead of thinking of Lyons as ALP 5.2%, it makes more sense to think of it as something like ALP 1% - so if it's a close election or Tasmania doesn't deliver for Labor then the Liberals could get it back.  At this stage however, given the national swing, it hasn't seemed at major risk of falling.  This might change following the adverse publicity for Mitchell in early May especially if more old social media material emerges.  Mitchell is a prolific social media user, and if nothing else the loss of his accounts takes away one of his campaign methods.  That said Lyons is not a very "online" electorate.  

Section 44 Section

Many uncompetitive candidates at this election will be ineligible under Section 44.  That only means they will be disqualified if elected, not that they cannot run, are likely to be subject to any penalty, or that their ineligibility will impact the result.  However it is surprising that parties still expose themselves to embarrassment by running candidates who appear to be ineligible. 

The candidate checklist system in use is flawed as a result of proposed changes not being passed - in particular details of the candidates' places of birth are usually absent.  However the forms are a chance for candidates to demonstrate that they are clearly eligible and a number have not done this.  

I am not a lawyer and do not have full information but there are a number of candidates who I am yet to be convinced are eligible after reading their form and online descriptions of relevant countries' laws, especially concerning automatic citizenships by descent.  They may nonetheless be eligible (eg for the UK, citizenship by descent often depends on whether parents were married.) If I become convinced they are eligible I will note this accordingly.  These include:

* Salt (JLN, Bass), Rankin (Local, Braddon) and Griffiths (LDP, Lyons) -  parents from UK

* Ramsden (LDP, Clark) - parents from UK, renunciation submitted but no evidence of processing being completed (must be completed by nomination date to be eligible)

* Baker (AJP, Bass) - parents both German

Razay (Ind, Bass) has renounced UK citizenship, argues that he cannot renounce Syrian citizenship (which is acceptable if true) but form also does not make it clear why he is not a Turkish citizen by descent.   Also the form for Love (AJP, Franklin) is a bit confusing as it says she renounced a claim to UK citizenship in 2019 but was never a citizen herself (father from UK so not clear why not).  


6 comments:

  1. You've referred to Johnson as Johnston in the Franklin prospects section.

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    1. Ta; caught and fixed before comment was cleared.

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  2. What sort of first preference vote would Garland need to have a shot of overtaking second and winning from third? (Not that it would happen.)

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  3. Telereach poll Labor should be 33 not 43

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  4. Thanks for the in-depth summary, Kevin. Have you looked at https://thebattler.com? It seems to be the home of the "Braddon Alliance" and also hosts Craig Garland's candidate page (http://garland.thebattler.com/). Among many other things, it says that the Australian Citizens Party aren't running any candidates in Tasmania but have endorsed (I guess in an unofficial capacity) Garland.

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