Sunday, April 14, 2024

Every Child Wins A Prize: Federal Seats With Swings To All Contestants

During last night's Cook by-election count there were a few comments about the swing column.  All six parties/independents had recorded a positive swing from the 2022 election.  In the case of Cook this was not at all surprising - three of the parties and the one independent had not even run in the seat in 2022, so their "swing" was automatically plus.  The Greens were always going to get a primary vote swing with no Labor candidate and no prominent left/centre independent.  That left the Liberals, and the question was whether they could gain enough primaries from the 34.6% who voted Labor, UAP or One Nation in 2022 to compensate for replacing a former Prime Minister and 17-year incumbent with some dude from outside the electorate.  This they did with 7% to spare and lo and behold there's a neat little line of pluses in the swing column for the recontesting candidates:

(Apologies to AEC, I've pinched the Wikipedia version for clearer display)

This is a common event in by-elections where one major party doesn't contest.  It has happened by my count in 9 of 21 such by-elections in the last 50 years, the others being Perth and Batman 2018, Higgins 2009, Isaacs 2000, Holt 1999, Blaxland 1996, Wentworth 1995, and Menzies 1991.  Perth 2018 achieved this feat despite having 15 candidates, however only three parties were recontesting.  Blaxland 1996 had five recontestants - I should note that I treat an independent as such only if it is the same person running and doing so as an independent both times.  

The event sometimes happens at by-elections where both major parties do contest, but very rarely these days - I get twice in 43 chances in 50 years (it was somewhat more common before that).  Groom 2020 was the most recent - with One Nation, Greens, UAP and FACN all not recontesting after polling 28% between them, the majors picked up primary vote swings of 6.5% (LNP) and 8.6% (Labor).  The only minor parties contesting Groom were Liberal Democrats and Sustainable Australia.  The other case in the last 50 years I found was Moreton 1983.  The Australian Democrats had polled 6.7% at the general election and did not contest the by-election; the two minor candidates who did polled less than 1% apiece, and both major parties got a primary vote swing.

But how often, I thought, does this happen in a seat contest at a general election?  The most obvious cases would be cases where a high-profile independent who ran one election did not run in the next, so my first two guesses were New England 2013 (Tony Windsor vacating) and Lyne 2013 (Rob Oakeshott vacating), and these were correct.  But I didn't think it would be common, since both major parties contest every seat and usually there will be a swing against at least one.  It turned out there were some recent elections where the event was more common than I thought.  

The feat becomes more likely the better the federal primary swing results for the major parties,  because if one of the major parties has a big primary vote swing against it, it is likely that there will be a primary vote swing against it in nearly every seat.  It also becomes more likely when a minor party that polled substantially at the previous election either doesn't run at all or runs in fewer seats.  However a minor party recontesting many seats but with a primary vote swing away from it will stop the feat in many divisions.  Also, as well as vacating incumbents there's another case where this event becomes more likely to occur, and that's where the Coalition parties ran in a three-cornered contest at the previous election.

2022 (1 seat)

There was a large primary vote swing against the Coalition, and as a result only five seats had swings to both/all major parties contesting (the "all" is for three-cornered contests).  Of these Hunter had a huge swing against One Nation, and Fraser (UAP), Dawson (KAP, UAP) and O'Connor (ON, UAP) were wrecked by small swings against minor right parties.  The sole survivor was Mallee which very barely recorded a swing to all eight contestants (five recontesting), coming off a three-cornered contest with 16 candidates in 2019.  The swing to Labor in Mallee was 0.22%.

2019 (10 seats)

There were seven seats in South Australia with swings to everybody, all coming off the disappearance of Nick Xenophon Team/Centre Alliance from their ballots: Adelaide, Boothby, Hindmarsh, Kingston, Makin, Spence and Sturt.   Three others ticked the box: New England (no Tony Windsor who ran but lost in 2016), Holt and Menzies.  In Holt the UAP polled less than the combined might of Family First and Rise Up Australia had in 2016, and both majors and the Greens had a swing.  In Menzies five units good for 14.6% between them in 2016 (most prominently independent Stephen Mayne) had not stumped up again and the DLP, UAP and Reason were only good for 7.8%.

2016 (18 seats)

This is the most productive recent election by far for this feat with 18 cases, mainly because the Palmer United Party which polled 5.5% in 2013 disappeared from every seat but one.  Also the primary vote swing against the Coalition (3.5%) was not that large, and the National Party did quite well.  

NSW: Hunter, Lyne, Parkes, Robertson, Riverina, Werriwa

Vic: Mallee, Casey, Gorton, Isaacs, Lalor

Qld: Bowman, Capricornia, Fairfax, Fisher, McPherson

WA: Moore

ACT: Canberra

Here Mallee was coming off a three-cornered contest and Lyne and Robertson had had significant independents in 2013 (giving Lyne two in a row).  In the case of Lalor there had been 11 candidates in 2013 (not sure whether this had anything to do with PM Gillard or her departure from the seat) and in 2016 there were only five.  

2013 (2 seats)

The cases of New England and Lyne were mentioned above.  But they are the only two, because the fairly large primary vote swing against Labor left just five other seats with a swing to both major parties. Those were the inner-city set of Grayndler, Sydney, Ryan and Perth, and also Chifley where Ed Husic must have done something right.  But 2013 also saw a national swing against the Greens, including in all those five seats.

2010 (0 seats)

Nothing!  2010 is the only election since the introduction of the current party registration system at which I find no seat with a swing to all contestants.  A 5.4% primary vote swing against Labor meant very few seats recorded swings to Labor at all, and of these only one (Corio) recorded a primary vote swing to the Coalition.  Corio was coming off a 12.7% vote for Gavan O'Connor, who was dumped by Labor in 2007 and ran as an independent.  However, its bid for solitary positive swing glory was foiled by a 0.3% swing against Family First.

2007 (2 seats)

Just two, Calare (Peter Andren vacancy) and McMillan (coming off a three-cornered contest).  There were another ten seats with swings to both major parties - many of those without any obvious candidate factor driving it - but all those were ruined by swings against various minor parties, including in most cases the Citizens Electoral Council.  There as also a very small swing against Bob Katter in Kennedy.

2004 (5 seats)

2004 has the issue that while neither major party did badly in primary vote swing terms, both the Democrats and One Nation were on the skids but still running plenty of candidates, therefore in most cases one or both of them had a swing against even if the major parties didn't.  The most prospective seats therefore were seats that neither contested, and these five duly recorded swings to everyone: Page, Ballarat, Bendigo, Corangamite and Franklin (the latter is the only Tasmanian case I've found since 1983).  Page was coming off a very large field including a significant independent.  

2001 (1 seat)

Another year that looks good because of benign major party swings, but the swing against One Nation off their 1998 high affects a lot of seats.  The sole winner was Menzies, which was not contested by One Nation and was coming off a significant independent run by euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke against Kevin Andrews.

1998 (1 seat)

A huge primary vote swing against the Coalition (7.7%) made it hard for every candidate to get a swing anywhere in 1998, the only example being Wills (no Phil Cleary).  There were another ten seats with swings to both major parties but Curtin and Moore had the defeat of sitting independents, another seven had swings against the Democrats and in Melbourne there were swings against the Greens, Natural Law and, alas, the Imperial British Party.  

1996 (2 seats)

Another election with a big primary vote swing against one side, in this case 6.2% against Labor.  Everyone got the goodies in North Sydney (on the retirement of Ted Mack) and Throsby (in the absence of Rex Connor who had polled 10.5% in 1993).  The only other seat with a swing to both majors was Denison, which had a swing against the Greens after Bob Brown ran for the seat in 1993.

1993 (5 or 6 seats)

1993 seems promising because there were swings to both major parties after the 1990 election which had been a low water-mark for the major party vote.  However these swings came mainly off the Democrats, and so swings to everyone were only likely in seats that the Democrats did not contest.  There were five of them in NSW: Berowra, Gwydir, Lindsay, Macarthur and North Sydney.  However North Sydney doesn't really count as the swing to independent Ted Mack is from a redistributed baseline that assigned him zero votes in areas that had been outside the seat in 1990.  In raw terms there was a swing against him and there would have been within the areas common to both elections.  A sixth case was Northern Territory (for the second election in a row) as there were only two candidates compared to six.  

1990 (2 seats)

The 1990 election saw swings against both major parties, including a large swing against Labor.  The only cases of swings to everyone were Prospect (coming off an independent Sam Barone getting 14.8% in 1987) and Northern Territory (coming off a three-cornered contest).  

1987 (5 seats)

1987 seems prospective as there was a small swing against Labor and a small swing to both Coalition parties.  However there were a lot more three-cornered contests in those days (this is the Joh for Canberra election) and it's harder to get swings to all of Liberals, Nationals and Labor in the same seat.  The only seats with swings to everyone were Greenway, Mitchell, Riverina-Darling, Wannon and Cowan.  Riverina-Darling and Wannon were both coming off three-cornered contests while Cowan was in fact, unusually, going onto one (if one can call it a contest - the National in Cowan polled less than the 1984 Democrat.)  The first three listed had only two candidates each.

1984 (2 seats)

1984 also seems prospective for the same reason as 1987, but there are similar issues.  Another problem with 1984 is that for both/all major parties to get a swing, the swing needs to come from somewhere, and outside the majors and Democrats (whose result was pretty even) there was only 1.9% of vote nationwide to draw from.  The only seats with all positive swings were Barton and Lyne.

Before 1984

The further back one goes the messier it gets in terms of identifying parties, "Independent Liberal", uncontested seats and so on; these are some draft lists from skimming the Wikipedia pages that are given just to give an idea of how common a swing to everybody might have been in different elections.  

1983 (5): Lyne, Riverina, Corangamite, Griffith, Maranoa

1980: None

1977 (4): Cowper, Farrer, Ryan, Hindmarsh

1975: None (Swing against Labor in every seat)

1974 (8): Banks, Kingsford-Smith, Prospect, Reid, Shortland, Werriwa, Herbert, Denison

1972 (3): Banks, Mallee, Wimmera

1969 (3): Hunter, Lalor, Oxley

1966 (1): Hunter

That's as far back as I feel inclined to go for now.  Corrections welcome, there may well be errors somewhere in this piece.  

2025?

An interesting thing for 2025 will be whether the United Australia Party runs again (presumably under a different name) or not.  If they don't, and if primary vote swings involving the majors are relatively small, then 2025 could be another election with a number of cases of this feat.  If UAP do run again, then large fields in many seats could make it hard for cases of everyone getting a plus swing to occur.  I will update this article sometime after that election.  

One can of course also do this for state elections.  In Victoria 2022 it happened in Geelong, Pascoe Vale and arguably Ovens Valley (all coming off independent runs - in Ovens Valley Labor's swing was zero to one decimal but probably positive before rounding).  In NSW 2023 it happened in East Hills and Wollongong (each had three fewer minor candidates than 2019) - there were two other near misses with tiny swings against the Greens.  In Queensland 2020 it happened in Callide (no One Nation candidate; large swings against One Nation stopped it in most other seats.) SA 2022 was coming off a SA-Best run and swings to everyone occurred in 20 out of 47 seats!  In WA 2021 it didn't happen at all, nor in WA 2017 or WA 2013; there were two cases in WA 2008 (Girrawheen and Willagee).  In NT 2020 it happened in Arafura, Karama, Mulka (no CLP candidate) and Wanguri.  Tasmania has only five multi-member divisions and the last cases of the feat at party level were Bass and Franklin 1986 (both coming off independent runs).  In the ACT, which also has multi-member divisions, it has never happened.  

Saturday, April 13, 2024

2024 Cook By-Election: Well I Don't Think I Should Call It "Live", But Anyway ...

COOK (Lib vs ALP 12.4% - ALP not contesting)
Cause of by-election: resignation of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Lib)
CALLED 6:46 pm Liberal retain - Simon Kennedy replaces Scott Morrison.  
Liberals win on first preferences. 

----------------------------

9:09 Such postals as are going to be counted tonight is in now, and there is no change to the overall pattern with Simon Kennedy on a primary vote of 62.7% and a 2CP of 70.8%.  Nothing to concern the Liberals in one of their safest seats tonight but it is not in such places the next election will be won and lost. Unless something crops up that needs debunking, that is all from me for tonight.  

8:20 Animal Justice are opening up a gap to the Libertarians for third but postals might narrow this.  Overall the Liberal result is no cause for concern - they would expect some aspect of swing against them over the departure of an ex-PM, but also swings to them because there is no Labor candidate; to come out with a gain of 6.5% out of primary vote off those two things seems fine.  But I wouldn't say it's an especially good result because there's no basis for making such a call when the opposition is so weak.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Tasmania 2024: Is This Hare-Clark's New Normal?



Before and after ...


TASMANIA 2024: LIB 14 ALP 10 GRN 5 JLN 3 IND 3
Changes from 2021-based notional result: LIB -3 ALP -1 GRN +1 JLN +3
(2021 election for 25 seats LIB 13 ALP 9 GRN 2 IND 1)
(Before 2024 election LIB 11 ALP 8 GRN 2 IND 4)

Counting is over for the remarkable 2024 Tasmanian election and now come the negotiations.  The Jacqui Lambie Network yesterday announced it was expecting to release a confidence and supply agreement within days and independents are also being consulted.  Premier Jeremy Rockliff has stated he intends to request to be sworn back in, agreement to which would be automatic by precedent just to give him a chance to test his numbers even if the Parliament did intend to remove him.  But with Labor seemingly not interested in governing if it relies on the Greens in any fashion, the remaining crossbenchers' choice is to find some way to back the Liberals (at least on confidence votes when they happen) or else back the sort of instability that could see them defending their seats again within months.  If what the crossbenchers actually extract from the government right away (if anything) seems modest or embarrassing, that is one of the reasons for that.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Legislative Council 2024: Elwick

This is my guide for the May 4th election for the Legislative Council seat of Hobart. On Wednesday I released a brief survey of the Council's voting patterns.  Links to other seats: Hobart  Prosser . There will be live coverage on the night of May 4th.  

At the start of this year the Legislative Council consisted of four Labor, four Liberal and seven independents, with three of the independents strongly left-leaning, one centrist, and three somewhat right-leaning albeit still left of the Liberal Party.  Council voting has also seen a rapid increase in "Laborial" bipartisan voting patterns where the major parties combine against some or all of the indies.  The 2024 Legislative Council elections follow hot on the heels of an extremely messy lower house election, and for the first time since 1909 three seats fall vacant on the same day.  The three vacancies are one Labor, one Liberal and a left independent, so the elections are very important for both the left-right balance of the Council and the independent-major party balance.

The election for Elwick is a by-election.  The winner will hold the seat for four years rather than the usual six, and will be up for their first defence in 2028.

Seat Profile

Elwick includes most of the Glenorchy City Council area in the northern suburbs of Greater Hobart (from Berriedale southwards) and also includes parts of the Hobart City Council area suburbs of Lenah Valley and New Town.  It is an expanded version of the former division of Buckingham.  The once purely blue collar seat has spread south into less working-class territory and the southern Glenorchy area has also gentrified.  Overall it remains a left-wing area.  

Since World War II, incumbents in this area have usually had Labor connections, but have varied as to whether they were formally endorsed.  The sole exception was Ken Lowrie, MLC 1968-1986, who after very narrowly beating a young Doug Lowe went on to be Leader for the Gray Government before being smashed by a now independent Lowe in a long-delayed rematch.  Lowe was followed by Labor Treasurer David Crean, then by popular Glenorchy Mayor Terry Martin, who was later expelled from the Parliamentary Labor Party for his vote against the proposed Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill.  Martin retired after the side-effects of medication contributed to him being charged in a child-prostitution scandal, and Taylor, his successor as Mayor, defeated Labor as an independent at the 2010 contest.   Taylor's term saw her lose touch with her original base and attract some criticism for strange comments in parliament, and she was in turn beaten by Labor's Josh Willie.  Willie then retained the seat easily in 2022 against modest opposition.  

In the 2021 state election at Elwick booths, Labor was so hideously smashed in its former heartland that it was narrowly outpolled by the Liberals and almost outpolled by independents.  In 2024 with Willie running for the lower house Labor recorded an almost 10% swing back to poll 38.1%, with the Liberals getting 26.3, Greens 14.4 and independents Johnston 9.0 and Hickey 4.7.  The swing back to Labor came mostly off the indies, and Labor topped every booth in the electorate.  But it's still not the glory days.

Departing Incumbent

Eight-year incumbent Josh Willie (ALP) resigned the seat to successfully transfer downstairs, a move that was a long time coming.  Prior to politics, Willie was a relatively little-known primary school teacher but was viewed as a new star within the party and immediately delivered by unseating Taylor in his first run for state politics.  A prolific spokesperson for the party, Willie had a relatively trouble-free and successful upper house career, attracting little controversy beyond routine partisan sparring.  At one stage his efforts sufficiently pestered the Government for them to attempt to label him as "Whinging Willie" but the label failed to stick.  He was however in the spotlight of anti-pokies campaigners.  A threatened preselection push against Willie over the issue proved to be freelancing by unrepresentative party members and he was unanimously re-endorsed.  

Willie is currently Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years, Shadow Minister for TAFE, University and Skills and Training, Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for Sport.

Candidates (4)

As the seat is vacated by Labor but the Liberal Party did not contest in 2022, the announced Labor candidate is listed first, followed by other announced candidates in order of announcement.  

Tessa McLaughlin (announcement, Facebook, instagram, Twitter) is the endorsed Labor candidate. McLaughlin is a TasTAFE-fully-qualified electrical tradie from Lutana (within the electorate) and has worked as a Hydro apprentice at Wayatinah.  She is a renter.  Her lists of accounts followed on social media sites suggest a broad interest in Tasmanian/Australian politics.  There is not a lot of information about McLaughlin online though enjoying watching wood chopping competitions is definitely distinctive enough to score a mention (at least in this electorate).  McLaughlin is being marketed as a "real life experience" candidate and Labor MLC Josh Willie has endorsed her very enthusiastically.  

Bec Thomas (announcement, GCC page, linkedin, instagram) is the current Mayor of Glenorchy and is running as an independent.  Thomas came to council in 2018 as a member of the Kristie Johnston led team that swept eight of ten places after the previous council was sacked and sent to an early election.  She was elected Deputy Mayor by fellow councillors in 2020 then won the mayoralty in a 2021 by-election, defeating Sue Hickey 59.6-40.4 after preferences. (From 2019-2021 Thomas had worked as an advisor to Hickey, but Hickey was running for Johnston's councillor vacancy after losing her seat in state parliament to Johnston, and hence presumably ran for Mayor for an increased chance of getting a council seat!) In 2022 Thomas was not even taken to preferences by an unimpressive field, getting 53.6% of the primaries against five opponents.  Thomas also topped the Councillor poll with 29.3% of the vote.   Thomas holds an honours degree in sociology and has worked in policy and project management for the Department of Premier and Cabinet between 2008 and 2017, and in the distant past as a bar and gaming attendant.  She currently runs an empowerment and mental health consultancy.  Thomas obviously has plenty of experience working in government for various governments, but has never been a member of a political party or "party aligned".  Thomas's Council area includes the bulk of Elwick, which also includes the GCC council chambers, and she lives in Berriedale (I have her as just outside the Elwick boundary, by less than 200 metres).  

Fabiano Cangelosi (Facebookannouncement, Twitter, instagram, tiktokWikipedia bio) is the second announced independent candidate and a high-profile barrister who has been involved in many prominent cases, especially defences of criminal charges.  He is also an occasional op ed commentator.  Cangelosi was until very recently an ALP member, but quit the party to run as an independent.  He ran for Labor in Franklin in 2021 where some gloriously outspoken comments against the party's poker machines policy won him much respect from the commentariat but caused yet another headache for the party's trouble-filled campaign, as did his agreement with an article supporting the American police abolition movement.  (He clarified that he did not support abolishing the Tasmanian police force).  In the end, Cangelosi polled 724 votes.  Cangelosi is generally left and his policies include free public transport (Thomas also supports this) and improved protections for renters.  

In the leadup to the 2024 lower house campaign, Cangelosi issued a long and mysterious Twitter narrative primarily about being trapped in a curtain.  All was revealed on 27 February when he issued a release stating that he was seeking presleection for Labor to contest Elwick, but only in terms that could not have been better designed to prevent him being preselected by the present ALP machine, including asking for a free vote. On 27 March at 5:01 pm Cangelosi resigned from the party citing a lack of response to his letters and proposals regarding campaign strategy for Elwick and Hobart.  Cangelosi's law firm office and authorisation address are in Moonah within Elwick but he lives at Margate in the division of Huon. 

Janet Shelley (Linkedin, instagram) is the endorsed Greens candidate.  She is Director of Sustainability at the Department of Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water, having previously worked in Environmental Sustainability for the Bureau of Meteorology - including on reducing the environmental impacts of weather balloons.  She has also been involved in "beach clean-ups, forest campaigns, domestic violence charities, and local fire prevention and traffic management groups."  Shelley was the Greens candidate for Clark in the 2022 federal election getting a 3.9% primary vote swing, and ran for Clark at the recent state election polling 1076 votes.  She lives at Lenah Valley, within the electorate. 

(Note to candidates and connections:

Where I can find one, a candidate's name is a hyperlink to a campaign web presence or Facebook page etc. Subsidiary web presences or announcements are listed in brackets.  Candidates may request one change to the page their name link goes to up until the Saturday before polling day; this will be accepted or not at my discretion.  Requests that include incorrect statements about my coverage will be declined.  Other material will be edited on request only to correct clear errors of fact.  Differences in the length of candidate profiles reflect differences in the amount of available/interesting (to me) material only.)

Campaign

As with the other two seats, Elwick will be fought out against the backdrop of a chaotic election for the lower house and its postscript.  It will also be a test for new Labor leader Dean Winter, albeit in a seat where Labor's main opponent has a major profile advantage.  

It is common for local mayors who run for Legislative Council (which many have done successfully) to run on a relatively apolitical platform in which they see the position as a sort of super-Mayor role, and to campaign on their experience, successes in local government and on services for the local community.  Thomas's campaign is no different to that.  Thomas has been supported on the campaign trail by Nelson MLC Meg Webb.  

Glenorchy Council is local government and this contest is state government, but a lot of the campaign will be about Glenorchy Council anyway. Its issues were briefly in the backdrop to the state election campaign with the Glenorchy War Memorial Pool being closed last year because of leaks and structural issues.  Funding of $5 million for the pool was announced by Labor on the campaign trail and immediately matched by the Liberals, but this did not stop pool supporters from passing a symbolic motion of no confidence in the council at a public meeting triggered by a petititon with over 4500 signatures.  Rate rises have also attracted some comments.

Cangelosi's signs are red, which may not delight his old party.  However, he had them out first. Cangelosi is so unorthodox that his signs have a four word slogan instead of three.  

McLaughlin has posted a Facebook reel video trolling the Liberal Party about their failure to win majority government with a guy saying "you sure about that?" over and over.  

More comments may be added here later.

Prospects

It is not surprising the Liberals gave Elwick a miss; the seat is probably too left-wing to be winnable, especially in the current environment.  The run of recent past winners gives a good idea what to expect here: Labor, Labor Mayor, Mayor, Labor.   The question is whether a Labor candidate who appears to be low-profile can pose a threat to an incumbent Mayor who over half the electorate voted for a couple of years ago.  Glenorchy Council is under pressure over the pool issue as noted above and that could help Labor try to stop yet another Mayor migrating to the red couches; McLaughlin has already seized on it in her opening announcement (as has Cangelosi complete with spooky music). However I'm not sure whether one issue will be enough.  Labor has a generally impressive record in Legislative Council contests in the south of the state in recent years, though they were beaten 44-56 by Adriana Taylor in this seat in 2010.

There is no recognisably right-leaning candidate in this field and Liberal voters could be feeling lost as they confront this ballot paper; many will presumably pick Thomas or perhaps even Cangelosi.  The Greens poll quite respectably in Elwick these days but it's no Hobart for them.  You can vote in the sidebar Not-A-Poll if you have a view about the outcome.

Section 196

This site strongly supports urgent and unconditional reform of Section 196 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act, which makes it an offence to name or depict a candidate in material deemed to be an "advertisement, "how to vote" card, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice" without that candidate's consent.  This section as it stands is highly likely to be federally unconstitutional, and its application to material on the internet is so obscure that the law became an utter laughingstock in the recent state election when the TEC asked Juice Media to modify a mock advertisement.  A sensible reform would be to restrict Section 196 to how-to-vote cards.  The views of parties and candidates on this matter will be noted here where known and candidates are welcome to advise me of their views:

* Fabiano Cangelosi has stated that S 196 should be abolished and has made various comments about it similar to mine.  

* Labor voted with the Liberals on an amendment to restrict S 196 to how to vote cards, but does not have a standalone position I am aware of to repair S 196 without it being a part of an electoral reform package

* The Greens have displayed a strong commitment to reforming Section 196 

During this campaign some Twitter graphics posted by former Glenorchy councillor Kelly Sims  attacking Thomas (a former mayoral contest opponent) were the subject of a takedown request that did not state which of the items in the Section they were considered to be.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Legislative Council 2024: Hobart

This is my guide for the May 4th election for the Legislative Council seat of Hobart. On Wednesday I released a brief survey of the Council's voting patterns.  Links to other seats: Prosser Elwick. There will be live coverage on the night of May 4th.  

At the start of this year the Legislative Council consisted of four Labor, four Liberal and seven independents, with three of the independents strongly left-leaning, one centrist, and three somewhat right-leaning albeit still left of the Liberal Party.  Council voting has also seen a rapid increase in "Laborial" bipartisan voting patterns where the major parties combine against some or all of the indies.  The 2024 Legislative Council elections follow hot on the heels of an extremely messy lower house election, and for the first time since 1909 three seats fall vacant on the same day.  The three vacancies are one Labor, one Liberal and a left independent, so the elections are very important for both the left-right balance of the Council and the independent-major party balance.

Seat Profile

As its name suggests Hobart is mostly inner-city Hobart.  It falls entirely within the state electorate of Clark.  It includes most of the Hobart City Council area with the exceptions of the relatively wealthy Sandy Bay and Mt Nelson areas in the south, and some parts of the far north of New Town and Lenah Valley.  

Hobart (my home electorate, see map) is mostly left-wing middle-class suburbia, with two relatively affluent suburbs (Battery Point and Tolmans Hill) and the very Green areas of Fern Tree, Cascades and Ridgeway on the fringes of Wellington Park.  However, its leftness is a movable feast.  It was once one of the Greenest areas in the country, then became the centre of Andrew Wilkie's Denison federal win in 2010.   At the 2016 election it was the centre of the successful below-the-line campaign to save left-wing Labor Senator Lisa Singh from an otherwise unwinnable ticket position. At the 2018 state election the area saw big swings to Labor as the party's poker machine policy was well received in the area, but these went straight out the door in 2021.  

At the 2024 state election just held, day booths in Hobart recorded results of 33.4% Greens, 25.7% for a resurgent ALP, 20.2% Liberal, 7.6% Kristie Johnston (IND), 4.1% Sue Hickey (IND), 3.1% Ben Lohberger (IND).  The Greens topped every booth except for New Town West and Mount Stuart in the north of the seat, topped by Labor.  I exclude here the Hobart prepoll which would have included many voters from more Liberal-friendly Nelson.  

From the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries there was a larger seat of Hobart which returned three MLCs in a bizarre rotation of single-seat elections for the same seat.  This seat was then split in three in 1946, creating the modern seat, which has had various boundary changes since.  From 1952 until 2012 the modern seat was usually owned by Labor, except for an interruption from 1982-1994.  During that interruption it was held firstly by Hank Petrusma (uncle of Jacquie's husband), a somewhat populist independent and high-profile real-estate agent, and then briefly by conservative independent Jean Moore after Petrusma's attempt to enter the Lower House with his Advance Tasmania party failed dismally.  

Retiring Incumbent

Two-term incumbent Rob Valentine (IND) has decided to hang up his once-famous hat after a long political career in the region.  Elected to Hobart City Council in 1992 on one of a number of then-prominent residents' group Council tickets, Valentine became Lord Mayor in 1999 narrowly defeating one-term incumbent John Freeman.  Valentine then retained the mayoralty by enormous margins four times and became the longest-serving Lord Mayor in Hobart's history.  His switch to the Council in 2012 was more like a promotion than an election especially once it became clear Labor's Doug Parkinson would not recontest (62.5-37.5 vs the Greens) and 2018 was little different (61-39 vs green independent Richard Griggs).  Valentine had no party-type associations beyond a 1992 run as a minor Green Independent.  

Reflecting his electorate, Valentine has been consistently ranked alongside Meg Webb as one of the most left-wing MLCs in my reviews of voting patterns on this site, lately very rarely (14%) voting with the Liberals on contested divisions.  In this he invites comparisons to Wilkie, who represents the same seat federally, but his style was softer and more conversational.  

Candidates (7)

Nominations close April 11 and are announced April 12.  As the seat is vacated by an independent, candidates are listed in order of announcement.  

Cassy O'Connor (Facebook, Twitter, announcement) is the endorsed Greens candidate and former Greens leader.  Originally a journalist and prominent in the Save Ralphs Bay campaign against proposed canal developments, O'Connor arrived in state parliament on Peg Putt's recount in 2008.  She was Greens member for Denison/Clark until 2023, including serving as Minister for Human Services, Community Development, Climate Change and Aboriginal Affairs in the 2010-4 Labor/Greens coalition.  She led the party between June 2015 and July 2023 before resigning to run for Hobart with almost a year of lead-in.  She topped the poll for Denison/Clark twice in 2010 and 2021.  

O'Connor is an accomplished parliamentary performer and also one of the more distinctive presences in the Australian Green movement.  Three quirks that have attracted particular attention are a neocon-like wariness of Chinese Communist Party influence, a line of COVID commentary from the opposite extreme to the anti-vaxxers, and taking the side of Johnny Depp in his legal battles with Amber Heard.  (Greens operatives will never change, so the last caused more internal conflict and even an officebearer resignation than the first two.)  Concerning COVID, O'Connor is an active member of the social media subculture often tagged as "zero COVID" or "COVID isn't over", and was again expressing her view that the treatment of people with disabilities during COVID constitutes "eugenics" as recently as March 25

Charlie Burton (announcement, linkedin, just.equal) is an independent candidate endorsed by both Valentine and Andrew Wilkie.  Burton is a former federal policy analyst and parliamentary researcher who at one point worked for former Denison Labor MP Duncan Kerr.  He is the current Deputy CEO of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service and has also worked in magazine editing, photography, UTAS community engagement and even a rug shop.  He has also served on a range of community and advocacy boards, and holds a PhD in Political Science from ANU.  Burton has been running since December 2023 and is campaigning in an active and organised fashion.   I believe this is his first run for election.  

Stefan Vogel (linkedin) is the second announced independent candidate.  Vogel is a glaciologist, a career he describes as a lifelong destiny after his feet got stuck in snow in the European Alps at age 3. In an attempt to fit even more big words into one sentence than I do he advises that he "worked on underwater robotics developing an ROV and biogeochemical instrumentation to study subglacial hydrological systems including subglacial lakes and the sub ice shelf cavity."  He is also transitioning to a new career in law, psychology and counselling including freelance work in mental health and suicide prevention for parents post relationship breakups.  Vogel is a former Liberal and had a low-key endorsement from the party at the 2018 Hobart council elections, but has left the party citing a focus on short-term economic gains at the expense of sustainability and people in need.  He describes his politics as centrist.  Vogel ran in the 2018 and 2022 Hobart elections polling 160 and 115 votes and in the recent Clark election as an ungrouped independent polling 162. 

John Kamara (announcement, linkedin) is the endorsed Labor candidate after also running in Clark.  He is a long-term Senior Child Protection Worker in the Department of Health and Human Services and the President of a refugee inclusion service and an education pathway service for children from Sierra Leone.  A former refugee from that country himself, Kamara was Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2023.  He is active as a preacher in local Christian communities and attends the C3 church in South Hobart (there is an interview about his faith and the state election here).  He is also co-founder of the Culturally Diverse Alliance of Tasmania.  In the Clark campaign, Kamara generally polled better in the Elwick division booths than the Hobart division booths, but also better in the latter than the Nelson division booths; he got 2.5% of the total vote in the Hobart LegCo area compared to 3.2% outside Hobart.  However, that was just because Labor did better in those booths; his share of the Labor vote was an average just below 10% both inside and outside the Hobart area.  He did especially well at Battery Point West, a booth I've often noted for post-three-party voting.  Kamara gave his location for the 2024 lower house campaign as Granton, about 12 km outside the Hobart boundary.  

John Kelly (announcement, Facebook, Twitter) is an independent candidate and is a high-profile first-term Hobart councillor who came reasonably close to defeating Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds in his first run for council.  Kelly is best known as the long-term former owner of the State Cinema in North Hobart under whose ownership the theatre expanded greatly; indeed he is widely credited with saving it.  He has also been involved in the restoration of other heritage buildings and in the Army Reserve.  He was 2016 Hobart Citizen of the Year.  In 2022 in his first run for Hobart Council, Kelly was fairly narrowly defeated by incumbent Anna Reynolds for the Hobart Lord Mayoralty (53.4: 46.6 after preferences) and was the second highest polling Councillor candidate, very closely behind Reynolds.  

Kelly is difficult to classify politically in an Australian context, with a mix of big picture environmental (eg anti-cable-car) and pro-business views (but not a fan of the stadium).  I am yet to write a voting patterns analysis for the current term of Hobart City Council but expect from what I have observed that I would find that while Kelly does not reliably vote with what I would call the "blue" side (in this term Marti Zucco, Louise Elliot, Simon Behrakis/Will Coats) he more often votes with them than the remaining councillors do.  

Michael Haynes (linkedin) is an independent candidate who is a town planner, consultant in placemaking and the current President of Hobart Rotary.  He currently works in a small architecture and planning business called Future Common, and is also a shoeshiner working recently in both Perth (WA) and Hobart! Haynes was previously state co-ordinator for something called Bicycle Network and Event and Logistics Officer for TEDx.  He has also been involved in street busking festivals and theatre.  I'm not aware of him having any previous political form.  

Sam Campbell (Twitter) is the final independent candidate.  He is a former state co-ordinator of Tasmanian branch of Australian Unemployed Workers Union, and studied History and English with Professional Honours in TESOL.  His website includes work-in-progress policy pages surrounding housing solutions, prioritising public transport (including over street parking on some major roads), systems for community investment and a proposal to get rid of Hobart councillors and replace them with a citizens' assembly model (shudder!)  At the 2022 Hobart Council elections 213 voters disobeyed his request to put him second and at the 2024 state election, where he ran for the Local Network for Clark, 112 did so.  

(Note to candidates and connections:

Where I can find one, a candidate's name is a hyperlink to a campaign web presence or Facebook page etc. Subsidiary web presences or announcements are listed in brackets.  Candidates may request one change to the page their name link goes to up until the Saturday before polling day; this will be accepted or not at my discretion.  Requests that include incorrect statements about my coverage will be declined.  Other profile material will be edited on request only to correct clear errors of fact.  Differences in the length of candidate profiles reflect differences in the amount of available/interesting (to me) material only.)

Speculation

As of April 5 I was amazed that there were at that time only two announced candidates, there had been claims there will be many.  Several other Hobart Councillors were at times mentioned by the rumour mill as possible candidates including Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds (said not interested ), Ben Lohberger, Ryan Posselt (this was an unconvincing Liberal Party trolling attempt surrounding him not being picked for the state election) and Louise Elliot (not running, briefly endorsed Kelly on Facebook but the, on my understanding, unsolicited endorsement was since removed).  

Campaign

As of early April, we shouldn't expect a lot of sparks to fly from O'Connor vs Burton, as their political shopping lists are very similar (health, housing, environment, governance), except that one is an independent and one is a Green and their approaches to the job will be quite different.  O'Connor is a classic Greens political fighter (but has flagged that she would modify her style, somewhat) while Burton is likely to be more a policy/evidence/conversation based MLC, and similar to Valentine.  

O'Connor's position as the first Green to run with what looks like a real chance is a curveball for the age-old debate about the independence of the upper house.  It can be argued that the usual objections to electing party members to the Upper House (strengthened by the recent "Laborial" displays in the chamber) don't really apply with the same force to a Green, at least not when the Greens aren't part of government, so I'll be interested to see how that develops.  It was strange to be seeing the usual lines about party control early in the campaign when there were no major parties running!  Both O'Connor and Burton have been out campaigning for several months now, which is just as well as the pointy end of the campaign is being overshadowed by the scrumptious chaos that has been elected downstairs.  

Wilkie's endorsement of Burton (who is freely using Wilkie colours in some but not all advertising material) has attracted some criticism from two disgruntled former Wilkie staffers on Twitter (one of whom I blocked for a sexist response), falsely claiming that it was unprecedented for Wilkie to openly endorse candidates.  (Once it was unusual but not recently).  They have also complained that the endorsements do not declare that Wilkie was married to Burton in the distant past.  Wilkie commented about the endorsement as I was releasing this guide.  

The University of Tasmania move into the Hobart CBD is an issue mainly in the south of this electorate (but more so in adjacent Nelson).  Kelly and O'Connor are both opposed to the move, while teams of sniffer dogs failed to detect any Labor policy on the matter at the recent state election.  

Kelly has letterboxed a card with a painting showing North Hobart including the State Cinema on one side and a statement on the back, stating "protection of our precious forests, fisheries and freshwater" as his priority.  

A candidate forum hosted by the Confederation of Greater Hobart Business was held at Battery Point on 16 April, attended by all candidates except Campbell who was unavailable.  

Prospects

Hobart is the most left-wing electorate in the Council and among the Greenest in the state.  It is unthinkable that a Liberal could win the seat any time soon.  It has become challenging even for Labor these days (especially with an out-of-area candidate).  However, the preference for independents in the Legislative Council often cuts across ideological boundaries and I am not sure Kelly should be written off as not left enough.  The question more with Kelly is how he goes with a largely last-minute run (though he had previously canvassed running) against candidates who have been doorknocking for months.  Kamara also has this challenge but had the state election for some profile boost; he has been doorknocking quite a bit in the seat (including my house).  

The state election results suggest that there is enough Green vote in the seat that O'Connor should make the final two, unless a lot of voters who did not support indies in the state election but who vote for Wilkie federally also support Burton.  However, O'Connor would want a sizeable primary vote lead as she is potentially vulnerable on preferences against any opponent as there are still plenty of voters in the seat who are to the right of the Greens or who may decide that they prefer independents.   O'Connor's polarising image could also be a factor here.  It's not unusual for me to hear unpromoted even from otherwise loyal Greens voters that they won't vote for O'Connor because they find her too "negative" or "confrontational", but obviously also plenty of people do vote for her.  Burton I think will do well on preferences and the question there is what sort of primary vote he gets, which could fall in a wide range.  

I expect that O'Connor, Burton, Kelly and Kamara at least will all poll significantly and it will be fascinating to see in what order!  

It should be noted that there is some history of high-profile Green attempts to win single seats failing.  Examples include Bob Brown getting only 14% (though that was a big swing to the Greens) in a much-hyped run against Duncan Kerr in 1993, and Gerry Bates not making the final two after preferences in Queenborough 1995.  But this is far more winnable on paper for them than those were.  You can vote in the sidebar Not-A-Poll if you have a view about the outcome.

The Liberal Party never seemed interested in even a token run for this seat, which saves me from working out whether they would finish fourth or fifth.  

Section 196

This site strongly supports urgent and unconditional reform of Section 196 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act, which makes it an offence to name or depict a candidate in material deemed to be an "advertisement, "how to vote" card, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice"  without that candidate's consent.  This section as it stands is highly likely to be federally unconstitutional, and its application to material on the internet is so obscure that the law became an utter laughingstock in the recent state election when the TEC asked Juice Media to modify a mock advertisement.  A sensible reform would be to restrict Section 196 to how-to-vote cards.  The views of parties and candidates on this matter will be noted here where known and candidates are welcome to advise me of their views:

* The Greens have a strong commitment to reforming Section 196 and O'Connor has been at least as outspoken about it as I have been. 

* Charlie Burton has advised me that he supports reviewing Section 196 in view of its ambiguity when applied to online material.

* Labor voted with the Liberals on an amendment to restrict S 196 to how to vote cards, but does not have a standalone position I am aware of to repair S 196 without it being a part of an electoral reform package

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Legislative Council 2024: Prosser

This is my guide for the May 4th election for the Legislative Council seat of Prosser.  Prosser gets to go first because it has the most declared candidates! On Wednesday I released a brief survey of the Council's voting patterns.  Links to other guides: Elwick Hobart .  There will be live coverage on the night of May 4th.  

At the start of this year the Legislative Council consisted of four Labor, four Liberal and seven independents, with three of the independents strongly left-leaning, one centrist, and three somewhat right-leaning albeit still left of the Liberal Party.  Council voting has also seen a rapid increase in "Laborial" bipartisan voting patterns where the major parties combine against some or all of the indies.  The 2024 Legislative Council elections follow hot on the heels of an extremely messy lower house election, and for the first time since 1909 three seats fall vacant on the same day.  The three vacancies are one Labor, one Liberal and a left independent, so the elections are very important for both the left-right balance of the Council and the independent-major party balance.

Seat Profile

Prosser is a fairly large rural and satellite-town seat in the midlands, east and south-east of Tasmania (see map).  Its largest population centres are Brighton, Dodges Ferry and Sorell (all in the south) and other significant centres include Bagdad, Bicheno, Campbell Town, Swansea, Triabunna, Nubeena and Oatlands.  Industries include farming, fishing and what remains of forestry, but around Sorell there has been a rapid increase in young commuting families.

Prosser was created in the 2017 redistribution and held its first election in 2018.  It drew voters mainly from Rumney (a historic swing seat that has lately firmed up for Labor), Apsley (a historically independent seat) and to a lesser extent Derwent (safely Labor).  At the 2024 election booths within Prosser, including the Sorell pre-poll, recorded votes of Liberal 37.5, Labor 33.1, Green 12.3, Jacqui Lambie Network 7.3, Shooters 4.8 and John Tucker 2.7, making Prosser very representative of Lyons as a whole.  

Retiring incumbent

The previous incumbent Jane Howlett (Liberal) resigned from Prosser with a few months to go before the election in order to contest the state election, at which she polled an impressive 6968 primary votes and will within days of this guide going live have been elected.  Howlett had polled well in three previous state elections for Lyons without getting elected and had also run for the federal seat of Franklin.  In 2018 Howlett topped the primary vote count for Prosser with 26.1% in a field of thirteen, and increased her lead very slightly on preferences to win the seat 52.66-47.34 against Labor's Janet Lambert.

Howlett's term was not without controversy.  She served in Cabinet from 2020 to 2022 in a range of portfolios but resigned for personal reasons while also under scrutiny over conflict of interest allegations.  These claims resurfaced in the state election with Labor alleging that Howlett was the subject of a specific Integrity Commission investigation, but as I expected Lyons voters did not care.  Howlett indeed polled much better than I thought she might,  Controversial or not, if she manages to stay out of trouble she could be an important addition to a too-male Lower House party room.

Candidates (5)

Nominations close April 11 and are announced April 12.  Major party candidates are listed first in view of the 2018 result, followed by others in order of announcement.   Note to candidates and connections at the bottom of the list. 

Kerry Vincent (announcement) is the endorsed Liberal candidate and the Mayor of Sorell Council.  Vincent was elected to Council in 2009.  In 2014 he comfortably won the vacant mayoralty over Carmel Torenius, who had been elected Mayor in 2011 but resigned during the term.  Vincent was re-elected unopposed as Mayor and Councillor in 2018 and in 2022 defeated a single off-council opponent for the mayoralty with a two to one margin and topped the councillor ballot with 24% of the vote.  Vincent co-owns a rural supplies enterprise (now run by his son Brent Vincent).  In his 2022 councillor statement Vincent trumpeted "unprecedented levels of investment in education, employment, community and sporting infrastructure" in Sorell.  I am unaware of anything contentious in Vincent's career.  

Bryan Green (announcement) is the endorsed Labor candidate and a former Deputy Premier Opposition Leader.  First elected to Braddon at the 1998 election, Green served as Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Infrastructure among other portfolios in the Bacon and Lennon governments between 2002 and 2006.  In 2006 he was very briefly Deputy Premier but quit the frontbench in a scandal over a deal signed with the Tasmanian Complaince Commission.  He twice faced conspiracy charges in 2007 and 2008 but both trials ended in hung juries and the charges were dropped.  After being re-elected in 2010, Green became Deputy Premier for the second time, serving from 2011-2014 under Premier Lara Giddings.  Following the party's crushing defeat in 2014 Green was left to clean up the mess as leader opposing Will Hodgman, but made little headway and resigned in 2017.   After politics (for now) Green, a passionate angler, started a fly fishing business based near Buckland, within the electorate.  Green has several times spoken candidly about struggles with anxiety and depression during an up and down career, and also of missing the competitive nature of politics.

Rumours of Green's candidacy were floated on Twitter by references to the run being likely to make dolphins happy.

Pam Sharpe (announcement, Twitter) was the first independent to announce for Prosser.  Sharpe is a retired Professor of History at UTAS and founder and co-chair of the Save UTAS group.  From time to time I note when candidates hold a PhD but I do not often get to note that it was from Cambridge; Sharpe has also been a Lecturer in Social and Economic History at the University of Bristol.  She is now sales assistant for a wine business based at Apslawn, within the electorate.  Sharpe describes herself as a "progressive independent".

Phillip Bigg (announcement, Twitter) is the State Secretary of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and ran for them in Lyons at the Lower House election polling 715 primaries.  He also contested the 2022 Derwent Valley Council election, missing the final seat by 51 votes. Bigg, a tradesman and hunter, lives at New Norfolk which is just outside the electorate.   He is a regular contributor to #politas Twitter across a range of issues.  During the state campaign he was featured in an entertaining Guy Rundle piece about the Shooters' struggles to make any impact in the election.  

Kelly Spaulding is the third announced independent, and the first candidate to have run for Prosser twice.  (He finished 10th in 2018 with 2% of the vote).  Having served a much earlier term as Tasman Councillor starting 2002, Spaulding was elected Deputy Mayor from off council in 2014, then elected unopposed as Mayor in 2018.  In 2022 he was defeated for the mayoralty by off-council challenger Rod Macdonald, but was re-elected as a councillor with the second-highest councillor vote.  During his term as Mayor, Spaulding successfully campaigned against amalgamation with Sorell Council.  He is or was owner of Lucky Ducks Cafe Nubeena within the electorate and has also worked in agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism.  

(Note to candidates and connections:

Where I can find one, a candidate's name is a hyperlink to a campaign web presence or Facebook page etc. Subsidiary web presences or announcements are listed in brackets.  Candidates may request one change to the page their name link goes to up until the Saturday before polling day; this will be accepted or not at my discretion.  Requests that include incorrect statements about my coverage will be declined.  Other material will be edited on request only to correct clear errors of fact.  Differences in the length of candidate profiles reflect differences in the amount of available/interesting (to me) material only.)

Scratching

Liberal candidate for Pembroke (2002), Rumney (2023) and Lyons (2024) Gregory Brown announced he would run as an independent but withdrew on 4 April.  Brown contested the seats of Pembroke (2022) and Rumney (2023) for the Liberal Party and was thrashed by Labor in both; Pembroke was 63.3-36.7 and Rumney would not have been much closer.  Brown's campaign in Pembroke was praised despite the heavy defeat, but in Rumney his comments about mandatory sentencing for child sex offenders twice led to trouble on the campaign trail.  In Lyons at the recent state election he polled 1353 primaries (the lowest Liberal tally in Lyons).  Brown had claimed that the Liberals were not going to select Prosser candidates until mid-April (this seems unlikely given when nominations closed) and had also said that he was running for the Liberals in Lyons on the understanding that the party would run him in Prosser.  He withdrew just after Vincent's run was announced; this may have also been a factor.

Campaign 

The campaign for Prosser has mutated quickly following Howlett's transition to the lower house!  Green has been actively campaigning since December and enjoys a large head-start on Vincent and most of the others, as if it was needed given his prior political profile. 

My understanding as of the second week of April is that Vincent has a lot of signage up now; Green's signs have been up along the Midlands Highway for some time but are sparse there.  

Bigg has made a post complaining about the conduct of the lower house election, however I disagree with some of his comments and am not aware of any basis for the others.  Specifically it is not a requirement for scrutineers to be present for counting to occur, the correction of errors in counting is a normal part of the rechecking process (not a "recount") and most of the time taken to get a result in the Assembly is caused by waiting for postal votes to arrive.  

Prospects

Prosser turned out to be a close two-party contest in 2018. As I start this piece it is very difficult to see it as anything but a two-party contest in 2024, but how it goes is another question.  Three concerns for the Liberals would be that in a two-party contest based on the state results they would lose decisively, that they are coming off a very short run to fill a sprawling seat, and that the state election backdrop may not be doing them favours.  On the other hand Vincent is an electorally popular mayor whose municipality covers about 40% of the seat's population, and he seems a good get for the party at such short notice.  

There were many groans online at the announcement of Green as yet another blast from the past for this seat, but he is a very experienced if somewhat battle-scarred campaigner, and a good demographic fit for parts of the electorate.  

More comments will be added here after I have seen more of the campaign.  You can vote in the sidebar Not-A-Poll if you have a view about the outcome.

Section 196

This site strongly supports urgent and unconditional reform of Section 196 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act, which makes it an offence to name or depict a candidate in material deemed to be an "advertisement, "how to vote" card, handbill, pamphlet, poster or notice"  without that candidate's consent.  This section as it stands is highly likely to be federally unconstitutional, and its application to material on the internet is so obscure that the law became an utter laughingstock in the recent state election when the TEC asked Juice Media to modify a mock advertisement.  A sensible reform would be to restrict Section 196 to how-to-vote cards.  The views of parties and candidates on this matter will be noted here where known and candidates are welcome to advise me of their views:

* The Liberal Party has a published commitment to repeal Section 196 and has voted for an amendment to restrict it to how to vote cards.

* Labor voted with the Liberals on the above amendment, but does not have a standalone position I am aware of to repair S 196 without it being a part of an electoral reform package

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Legislative Council Voting Patterns 2020-24

This article is part of my Tasmanian 2024 Legislative Council coverage.  Coverage of the lower house election continues with postcount articles accessible as follows:

Bass Braddon Clark Franklin Lyons Summary

--

In the last four years, Tasmanian Labor has voted more often with the Liberal government than with any of the seven independents in the Legislative Council.  The Liberals have voted more often with Labor than with five of the seven.

I think those are important takeaways to put right at the top of this year's annual curtain-raiser for my Legislative Council coverage.  There are a couple of important aspects at stake at this year's election: not only the overall left-right balance of the chamber but also the balance of major parties vs independents (and where an endorsed Green would fit into that mix).  While such an assessment might fuel concern about the growing "Laborial" mood in our upper house, there are cases where the major parties in my view get it right while the independents don't.  OK, one case - a recent attempt to greatly reduce the scope of Section 196 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act.  

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Tasmania Embraces Chaos: 2024 Election Tallyboard And Summary

TASMANIA 2024: Liberal Minority Government Expected (Subject to will of the parliament)
Labor appears to be not seeking to form government 
Rebecca White resigned leadership, Dean Winter to contest, Josh Willie and others may contest

FINAL RESULT  
LIB 14 ALP 10 GRN 5 JLN 3 IND 3

Links to seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Franklin Lyons

--

Friday 5 April

Dean Winter has publicly announced that he is running for leader, with what he believes is the support of the Labor caucus. 

Informal Vote: Not Good Enough!

Ahead of the release of primary figures the TEC has advised that the informal vote increased from 5.13% in 2021 to 6.31%.  This suggests the informal vote rose with more counting as, eg, cases of duplicate numbers that had been missed on the night were spotted.  6.31% is a bad, though not catastrophic, result.  I warned that an increase in informal voting was likely because votes that were formal at the last election (1-5 with errors later) were informal at this election if the errors were at 6 and 7, but a full review will be needed to detect the specific causes of the increase - which might also be partly down to deliberate informal voting, an increased number of columns, etc.  Certainly I saw some informal votes that should have been saved under transitional savings provisions that I recommended.  In one case a voter had voted 1-6 within the Franklin Greens ticket, leaving a 7th Green blank, then numbered 8-31 in other columns.  The result of this is that their vote did not count at all, whereas in the ACT it would have been good for their first six candidates.  I can only hope that the increased informal rate does not change any outcomes (often it doesn't).   Incidentally, 2024 is the second highest informal vote ever, behind 1946 when for some reason 10.08% of votes were informal (possibly caused by confusing ballot instructions around the introduction of columns).  

The parliament - primarily the government - is to blame for not trying to fix this problem by at least allowing that a vote that was formal in 2021 would be formal in 2024.  However the TEC is also to blame because it has advised the government against measures that might increase exhaust and hence 
"reduce the effectiveness and accuracy of the Hare-Clark counting process".  This stance is addressed in my submission (Hare-Clark Is Not A Rolls-Royce System section) - what really reduces the effectiveness and accuracy of the system is excluding votes from it for no good reason. 

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Lyons

LYONS (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor - At election 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green

SEATS WON: 3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 1 JLN
CALLED WINNERS: Rebecca White (ALP), Guy Barnett (Lib), Jane Howlett (Lib), Mark Shelton (Lib), Tabatha Badger (GRN), Jen Butler (ALP), Andrew Jenner (JLN)
SEAT LOST: John Tucker (IND)

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Franklin Summary)

As I start this piece Lyons is 79.1% counted with the Latrobe polling place still to add on Sunday [EDIT: Latrobe is of course in Braddon so it appears this was an out of division booth that was intended to be counted separately but will now not be.  The reason Lyons is lagging is that it has a much higher out-of-division vote than other seats.]. The Liberals are on 3.01 quotas, Labor have surged late in the night to 2.64, the Greens have 0.83, JLN 0.67, Shooters 0.38, John Tucker 0.26, Animal Justice 0.13 and why did the rest bother.  I expected Lyons to be the hardest seat to follow on the night and it has been but not in the way I expected.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Franklin

FRANKLIN (2021 Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green - At election 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 3 Liberal 3 Labor 1 Green

SEATS WON: 3  LIB 2 ALP 1 IND 1 GRN
CALLED WINNERS: Eric Abetz (Lib), Jacqui Petrusma (Lib), Dean Winter (ALP), Rosalie Woodruff (Grn), David O'Byrne (IND), Meg Brown (ALP), Nic Street (Lib)
SEAT LOST: Dean Young (Lib)

((Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Clark Lyons Summary)

Warning: The Franklin count involves some complicated weirdness and this page has been rated Wonk Factor 4/5

Franklin has reached a glorious 84.5% counted with no further counting to occur this weekend.  The Liberals have 2.73 quotas, Labor 2.20, the Greens 1.55, JLN 0.39, David O'Byrne 0.72, AJP 0.12 and the rest is minor indies and Local Network.  Rosalie Woodruff has topped the poll and is the only candidate with quota.  

There is no doubt now that David O'Byrne has won as he is an independent and cannot leak votes (unlike the Liberals and Greens), and I suspect he will draw leakage from the Labor ticket as well.   The remaining suspense at party level is whether there is any chance at all for the second Green to beat the Liberals and this appears to be highly unlikely.  On current numbers the Liberals have an effective 1500 vote lead, but are more exposed to leakage with about 6400 potentially leaking votes vs 3800 for the Greens.  I'd expect a higher share of the Greens' votes to leak than the Liberals, such that the differences in leakage rates between the two are probably only worth 200 votes.  Animal Justice preferences will knock another few hundred off the lead but it's extremely difficult to see the Greens winning unless there is a large counting error in their favour.  I am pretty much sure the result will be 3-2-1-1 but want to check it further when more awake.

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Clark

CLARK (2021 Result 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 2 IND

SEATS WON: 
2 ALP 2 Lib 2 Green 1 IND
CALLED WINNERS: Ella Haddad (ALP), Josh Willie (ALP), Kristie Johnston (IND), Vica Bayley (Grn), Simon Behrakis (Lib), Helen Burnet (Grn), Madeleine Ogilvie (Lib)

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass Braddon Franklin Lyons Summary)

Welcome to Clark which had all the fun in 2021 and has thrown up something a little bit unexpected in 2024.  The Independents haven't done quite as well as had been thought, and the seat that could have gone to Sue Hickey appears to have gone to the Greens or Labor instead.  As I start, Clark is 79.3% counted.  Still to come are the booths of Kingston, Kingston Beach, Sandfly and the Kingston prepoll.  Labor has 2.49 quotas, Liberals 2.16, Greens 1.61, Johnston (IND) 0.63, Hickey (IND) 0.40, Lohberger (IND) 0.21, Elliot (IND) 0.15, AJP 0.14, SFF 0.11 and ... oh, why were all these people on my ballot paper.  

Johnston as an independent is too far ahead for Hickey to catch her, especially as Lohberger's voters are more likely to be sympathetic to Johnston.  Also because she cannot leak votes she will most likely beat both Labor and the Greens.  The question is can Labor beat the Greens.  At the moment it looks like probably not.  Both Labor and the Greens have similar leakage exposure, but the votes still to add should be significantly better for the Greens as Labor polled dismally in the Kingston prepoll last time.  The Greens will also be assisted by preferences from Animal Justice and probably from Lohberger.  So I don't currently see any reason why Labor stops Helen Burnet from going to state parliament but it is close enough that this will need to be looked at further.    If Burnet wins this will trigger a recount for her Hobart Council seat (which should go to Bec Taylor, Gemma Kitsos or perhaps Nathan Volf) and Hobart will elect a new Deputy Mayor around the table.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Braddon

BRADDON (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)
Notional 2021 7-seat result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND or 5-2

SEATS WON
3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 JLN 
CALLED WINNERS Jeremy Rockliff (Lib), Felix Ellis (Lib), Anita Dow (ALP), Shane Broad (ALP), Roger Jaensch (Lib), Miriam Beswick (JLN)
EXPECTED: Craig Garland (IND) to beat Giovanna Simpson (Lib) after preferences.  Greens eliminated.

Caution: The Braddon count involves some complicated if seemingly unlikely scenarios, this postcount is rated Wonk Factor 4/5

(Links to other seat postcount pages Bass  Clark Franklin Lyons Summary)

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: What Is Leakage?

Leakage is very important in the Braddon result.  Leakage occurs when a candidate is excluded or elected and some of their votes instead of flowing to other candidates within their party flow to candidates from outside the party or exhaust.  Parties are more prone to leakage when they have candidates who are way over quota or when they have several candidates to be excluded with substantial vote numbers between them.  Independents cannot leak and will often gain on parties through the count.  

2024 Tasmanian Postcount: Bass

BASS (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor - when election called 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND)
Notional 2021 7-Seat Result 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green

SEATS WON 3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 1 JLN 
CALLED WINNERS: Michael Ferguson (Lib), Rob Fairs (Lib), Michelle O'Byrne (ALP), Janie Finlay (ALP), Cecily Rosol (Green), Rebekah Pentland (JLN), Simon Wood (Lib)
SEAT LOST: Lara Alexander (IND)

(Links to other seat postcount pages  Braddon Clark Franklin Lyons Summary)

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This year I will do my postcount threads in alphabetical order but some may get more effort at the start than others!   A late-night update in Bass sees the Liberals with 3.04 quotas, Labor 2.40, Greens 0.95, JLN 0.65, Shooters 0.18, Animal Justice 0.12.  The independents are collectively on 0.66 quotas but none of them has any vote to speak of and Greg (Tubby) Quinn is the only one who can hold his head up high, outpolling much more fancied indies who have flopped (though Lara Alexander has just overtaken him).  The count is at 81.9% (it will finish somewhere around 90 probably) and George Town and Scottsdale prepolls are not added yet.

The Liberal vote in Bass has been trashed by an enormous swing currently running at over 20%, but when you start from a base of 60, how bad can it be?    Michael Ferguson has topped the poll with 1.44 quotas in his own right.  Rob Fairs has a little less than half of that.  Ferguson will be the only candidate elected with quota and his surplus will provide boosts to the remaining Liberal candidates.  From then on it will be a long series of exclusions from the bottom up, with occasional surpluses.  Michelle O'Byrne and Janie Finlay will be over quota pretty quickly in that process, and Rob Fairs and Cecily Rosol later.  This leaves two battles.  The first is between JLN and Labor for the last seat at party level and the second is a battle for the third Liberal position.

2024 Tasmanian Election: Late Night Live

This is the late night live blog that fills the void between me finishing my Mercury coverage and unrolling all the seat pages.  It will be used for quick updates over the next hour or so.  

(Updates scrolling to top - refresh now and then)

1:30 Bass is final for night and I nearly have my page for it done.

12:54 An update in Franklin where the Liberals and O'Byrne have moved further ahead of the Greens.

12:48 Finally action in Bass where a first tranche of postals has done very little to the picture and improved JLN's chances but we need to see what the big prepolls do there.  

12:30 An update is through in Clark and Labor have almost matched the Greens total - this is going to be an interesting one!  Note that Helen Burnet has a high personal vote and a high profile and might do well off independent preferences.  

12:25 The count in Bass appears to be stuck or have stopped with no web updates since around 10 pm.  A small update in Lyons with Labor just in front of JLN on notional quotas.  The Greens have dropped back a little but only need to beat one of these two.  

12:10 A note on count progress: Provisionally the TEC will finish tomorrow whatever it doesn't get done tonight as concerns prepolls and early postal batches.  After tomorrow it does not expect to post new figures until Thursday, and then it will be working Easter Monday prior to the start of the preference distribution the day after.  

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