Wednesday, February 28, 2024

EMRS: Liberals Have Big Lead But Still Well Short Of 50

This article is part of my 2024 Tasmanian state election coverage - link to main article page

EMRS Liberal 39 Labor 26 (-3) Greens 12 JLN 9 IND 14 others 1 
Liberals would clearly be largest party
Seat estimate if poll is correct Lib 15-16 ALP 10 Grn 2-3  JLN 2-3 IND 3-5
Just one poll - there will be others!

Advance Comments

A quarterly poll by Tasmania's most experienced state pollster EMRS, which has a rather good track record, has just dropped.  It shows a complex scenario that is also, if correct, a sorry one for Labor.  This poll will have the Liberals happy in that it has them as the only party within reach of a majority while Labor are bleeding votes to independents and JLN.  It follows a YouGov poll that differed mainly in having the Liberals in the low 30s and a much higher Lambie vote.   The poll suggests that if there is a hung parliament, it will be one where Labor will only be able to govern deeply in minority with multiple partners, while the Liberals may have simpler paths to government if anyone will help them.  

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Liberal Agrees Tasmanians Are Ostriches

(This is a special article for my Tasmania 2024 election coverage; click here for link to main page with links to other articles)


It's been widely expected that when Tasmania's supposed AFL team name is unveiled days out from the election (hmmm) the name will be the Devils, Warner Bros' outrageous trademark nonsense based on their cartoons about our animal notwithstanding. Just in case "Devils" isn't available, I've been scratching my head for an alternative, and I've found one.  We can follow the lead of Liberal Bass candidate Julie Sladden and we can call our team the Tassie Ostriches! Here is a jumper mockup.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Lyons

This is the Lyons electorate guide for the 2021 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2024 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar. 

Lyons (Currently 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND). 
(2021 Election Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor)
Most of the state
Rural, outer suburban and forested.  
Lots of tiny dispersed towns that take many years for an MP to work

Candidates (36)

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates becomes large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed or Twitter request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.   

Where a link is available, a candidate's name is used as a hyperlink.  Emails from candidates who do not understand this will be ignored. 

The ballot order for Lyons is Greens, Labor, JLN, Tucker, Shooters, Liberal, AJP, Offord, ungrouped.  Candidates within each column are rotated where there is more than one candidate.

Guy Barnett, incumbent, Attorney-General, Justice, Health, Veterans Affairs, former Senator
Mark Shelton, incumbent, Speaker, former minister Police, Local Govt etc, former Meander Valley mayor
Jane Howlett, incumbent first-term MLC for Prosser, former Sports, Small Business etc minister, 2018 candidate
Gregory Brown, recent candidate for Pembroke and Rumney, farmer, former bartender/licensee
Stephanie Cameron, Deputy Mayor Meander Valley, farmer, deputy president of party
Justin Derksen, advisor to Guy Barnett, background in building, Derwent Valley Councillor, 2021 candidate
Richard Hallett, prominent Hollow Tree farmer, chair Southern Highlands Irrigation Scheme committee.  

A grant to a distillery headed by Justin Derksen's brother Tarrant Derksen has been a public controversy during this term.  
(Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston was announced as a candidate before the election was closed but withdrew)

Rebecca White, incumbent, Labor leader since 2017 except for a few months in 2021
Jen Butler, incumbent, Shadow Minister Veterans, Building, Consumer Affairs etc
Edwin Batt, Mayor of Southern Midlands, 2021 candidate, farmer
Ben Dudman, Meander Valley Councillor, electorate officer for Brian Mitchell, 
Casey Farrell, CEO Enterprize Tasmania (business startups firm), also Neon Jungle (design/technology)
Richard Goss, "high school teacher with a mechanical and construction trade background", Northern Midlands councillor
Carole McQueeney, Glamorgan-Spring Bay Councillor, registered nurse, company director, teacher etc (five degrees!)

(Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis was announced as a candidate before the election was called but withdrew)

Tabatha Badger, past Wilderness Society convenor, Lake Pedder restoration campaigner, former minor Senate candidate
Alistair Allan, Antarctic and Marine Campaigner, Bob Brown Foundation
Mitch Houghton, 2021 Bass candidate when noted here as horticulture business owner/operator
Hannah Rubenach-Quinn, former Break O'Day councillor, chaplain, disability support worker, 2014 state and 2016 federal candidate
Craig Brownretired GP
Glenn Millar, Landcare group president and tour guide, also ran 2014-21
Gary Whisson, ecologist, 2018 state and 2019 federal candidate

John Tucker, incumbent, defected from Liberals May 2023, farmer, former councillor
Angela Offord, Launceston vet, has been involved with Voices for Tasmania

Jacqui Lambie Network
Andrew Jenner, former UK Tory mayor and magistrate (see below), self-employed in catering/leisure, 6th dan judo black belt 
Troy Pfitzner, removalist (Little Green Truck), 2022 Lyons candidate for JLN
Lesley Pyecroft, Army veteran, registered nurse (schools and LGH)

Jenner's occupation is listed as "Retired Magistrate" but the term "magistrate" in the UK has a different meaning to Australia.  A UK magistrate is a voluntary position that does not require a law degree.  

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Carlo di Falco (lead) target shooter, hunter, gun collector, frequent Shooters candidate
Philip Bigg, hunter, tradesman, state party secretary, best beard of the election contender
Shane Broadby trout fisherman and instructor, Nyrstar plant operator, 2018 candidate
Wayne Turale has been a: policeman, store owner, Rural Health co-ordinator, statewide outreach manager, fly fisherman etc, 2018 candidate
Ray Williams owns New Norfolk Mitre 10 and Williams Outdoors, former candidate for Libs (2002), SFF and Citizens Electoral Council

Animal Justice Party
Anna Gralton 2022 Lyons candidate, customer care specialist, sociologist (PhD), gave me some entertainment compiling guide with description of husband as a "rescued animal"

Ungrouped Independents
Jenny Branch-Allen, former Glenorchy councillor, CEO Kidsafe Tasmania
Fraser Millar, Southern Midlands councillor, distillery owner, farmer, media platform entrepreneur
Andrew Roberts, Property maintenance contractor
Loueen (Lou) Triffitt, Mayor of Southern Highlands

Andrew Roberts ran in the 2013 Senate race as a "True Green" independent candidate and had 38,000 anti-gay fliers intercepted by Australia Post and not delivered.  Also later ran for Family First and has signed a trans-exclusion pledge for "Women's Forum Australia". 

Prospects for Lyons

I usually class Lyons as a "northern" seat because it is more similar to Bass and Braddon than Franklin and Clark, but it is less Liberal-leaning than the first two named.  In 2021 the Liberals got 51.2%, Labor 32.5%, Greens 8.9% and Shooters 4.5%.  In the 35-seat system (but coming off a 25-seat election) that would be 4-3-0 or 4-2-1.   For previous elections Lyons would have gone 4-3-0 in 2018, 4-2-1 in 2014, 3-3-1 in 2010 and 2-4-1 in 2006.

The Liberals have lost Tucker, but the replacement of Tucker with Howlett means they probably haven't lost anything in profile terms (he only polled 6.5% anyway).  Nonetheless if there is more than a few points against them then winning four (Barnett, Shelton, and probably at least one of Cameron and Howlett) will get hard.  That's not to say Howlett has a perfect form guide; she resigned from Cabinet in 2022 for personal reasons but was also under pressure over conflict of interest allegations, and despite numerous reshuffles since has not returned, with Labor asking if she is under investigation by the Integrity Commission.  Most voters in Lyons are unlikely to care.  Cameron performed well in the 2021 election. If Howlett is defeated she can most likely run for Prosser again in May.  

White will poll a massive vote again (in fact she polled exactly the same number of primary votes in 2018 and 2021) and Butler has had a second term to further build profile and did well off White's preferences last time.  The recent history suggests Labor don't need a swing to be well in the mix for three, but the minor party / indies mix is stronger here than before too. Some of the arguments I've heard re Labor getting three here refer to White's leadership, but she was also leader in 2018 and 2021 so that's already in the baseline.  If there are only two it will be interesting to see if any of Labor's new candidates (some have suggested Casey Farrell as a chance) can threaten Butler.  

The Greens were close to the 35-seat mark in the last two elections despite candidates who were problematic (2018) and virtually unknown (2021).  Badger seems a way better candidate combining the party's environmental roots with a fresher image for the party, but she doesn't yet have the profile of the Greens' only two previous Lyons winners, Christine Milne (leader of a massive anti-pulpmill campaign) or Tim Morris (who had been Mayor of Derwent Valley).  I doubt the Greens can get quota on primaries in Lyons but can they get enough to make the top seven and stay there?  Will be interesting to see.

Lyons could be the Lambie Network's best or second best prospect based on the federal result for Pfitzner, who polled 10.86% and finished third after preferences.  This wasn't all about Brian Mitchell's social media embarrassments either as the Network was only 1% below him in the Senate.  Pfitzner is a relatable working class candidate who debates well about basic issues and will have name recognition from the federal run.  (Jenner has UK local government experience but wasn't elected to Clarence Council in 2022).

Opinions vary about Tucker, the question being whether his high profile as a crossbench rebel can drag voters across the aisle or from other Liberal candidates, and whether there is the anger at the government in rural Lyons that there seems to be in parts of Bass.  Not all his 6.5% from last time are going to vote for him again given his defection.  Tucker's campaign so far looks well presented though it's short of online presence;  I just hope there will be more ads like this, or this.  The Liberals running Howlett (and also Hallett and Brown, farmers) will help fight for Tucker's former votes but Howlett's first promise on the campaign trail should be no more shopping videos.

Outlook for Lyons (to be refined): The messiest electorate.  While my aggregate has 3-2-1-1-0 as the leader (JLN and Greens win) if Tucker can get a high enough vote he could defeat any of JLN, the Greens or apparently the third Liberal.  Labor chances of three seem to have faded.

Friday, February 16, 2024

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Franklin

This is the Franklin electorate guide for the 2024 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2024 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.  

Franklin (Currently 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 IND)
(Elected at last election 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green)
Eastern shore Hobart (Clarence City), much of Kingborough, Huon Valley, D'Entrecasteaux Channel
Urban/outer urban/treechange/rural

Candidates (31)

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates becomes large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed or Twitter request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.   

Where a link is available, a candidate's name is used as a hyperlink.  Emails from candidates who do not understand this will be ignored. 

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first by position/seniority and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot order for Franklin is Greens, Liberal, O'Byrne, JLN, AJP, Mulder, Labor, Glade-Wright, Local Network, ungrouped.  Candidates within each column are rotated where there is more than one candidate.

Nic Street, incumbent, Minister for Housing, Construction, Sport and Rec, Stadia (yep) etc
Dean Young, first-term incumbent elected on recount, backbencher, newsagent
Eric Abetz, Liberal Senator for Tasmania 1994-2022, Senate Leader for Abbott Govt, famous uberconservative
Aldo Antolli, CEO Pathways Tasmania, Kingborough councillor, Huon candidate 2022
Josh Garvin, President Tas and Vice-President Aus Young Liberals, staffer for Madeleine Ogilvie
Jock McGregor aka Michael McGregor, football operations manager Kingborough Tigers, former footballer and coach
Jacquie Petrusma, MHA for this seat 2010-2022, minister in 3 Liberal govts, advisor to Premier 

Antolli stated in a Kingborough Council meeting in late 2023 that he believed in climate change but was not a believer in "anthropogenic" climate change.

Dean Winter, first-term incumbent, Shadow Minister Energy, Finance, Economic Development, Racing
Ebony Altimira, Business Transformation Lead at MyState, former President Tasmanian Rugby Union
Simon Bailey, Education Manager TasTAFE, AEU TAFE President, past teacher/tradie
Meg Brown, former Sorell Councillor, staffer for David O'Byrne, party branch president/treasurer
Kaspar Deane, Kingborough Councillor, public school teacher
Philip Pregnell, corrections supervisor, UWU Tas Prison Service delegate, past national Apex president
Toby Thorpe, Deputy Mayor Huon Valley, 2021 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year, climate/renewables advocate, previous candidate

Rosalie Woodruff, Greens Leader, incumbent, epidemiologist (Ph.D.) (lead candidate)
Gideon Cordover, Kingborough Councillor, NIDA graduate, past candidate including Huon 2022
Jade Darko,  Clarence Councillor, 2019-22 federal candidate, software engineer
Owen Fitzgerald, organised climate school strikes in 2022
Jenny Cambers-Smith, Huon Valley Councillor, business and content writer, wildlife video filmer
Lukas Mrosek, "professional background in building design"
Christine Campbell, former Huon Councillor, "business woman, community volunteer and academic"

Independents With Own Groups
David O'Byrne, incumbent, former prominent unionist, briefly Labor leader in 2021, disendorsed by party
Clare Glade-Wright, Deputy Mayor of Kingborough, former eco-tourism operator
Tony Mulder, Independent Liberal MLC Rumney 2011-7, Clarence councillor, estranged from Liberals since 2018, serial upper house candidate

Jacqui Lambie Network
Marshall Callaghan, child safety worker and former Defence social worker
Chris Hannan, relationship therapist and clinical supervisor, own business
Conor HallahanEngineering, procurement and construction manager for COVA large machinery firm

Surely the most poetic list of surnames a ticket has assembled since the days of federal Labor's "Four As."  

Local Network
Martine Delaney, high-profile LGBTIQA+ advocate, Greens candidate Franklin 2016 federal

Anna Spinaze was announced as a candidate but did not run

Animal Justice Party
Jehni Thomas-Worth, retired (librarian/information science), 2022 support Senate candidate

Ungrouped Independents
Tamar Cordover, works in empowering rural women with disabilities
Bob Elliston, retired, wildlife sanctuary owner, candidate in 1998, frequent Mercury letters author

David O'Byrne Deselection

A significant change in Franklin that warrants its own guide section is the deselection of David O'Byrne, former Labor leader. O'Byrne was Labor MP for this seat 2010-2014, was defeated at the 2014 election, and was elected again in 2018 and 2021.  In my view, "hard left" forces supporting O'Byrne were the biggest culprits for the faction-fights and incidents that marred the party's 2021 campaign.  After the 2021 election Rebecca White resigned the leadership and endorsed O'Byrne, who defeated Shane Broad in a member/delegate ballot with nearly three-quarters of the vote.  However O'Byrne's leadership lasted just weeks before he was brought down by a scandal involving unsolicited kissing of and text messages to a 22-year old union staffer working for him in 2007-8, before his parliamentary career.  (O'Byrne said that he had thought this was consensual but was later caused to "reflect deeply on the nature of consent".) He was also accused of giving the staffer a performance warning after being asked to desist.  

An investigation found O'Byrne's behaviour to have been "inappropriate and wrong" but to have not breached party rules and no further action was taken by the broader party.  O'Byrne says that the report (which is not public) found he had not engaged in harassment or victimisation as defined in party policy. The complainant rejected the report's findings and processes but O'Byrne's summary of what the report contains has not to my knowledge been challenged.  

O'Byrne resigned from the parliamentary party (which appeared set to otherwise expel him from caucus anyway) and for the rest of the term has sat as an "independent Labor" member, still a member of the broader party but recognised by the Parliament as an independent.  During this time he has been an active representative on traditional Labor community issues, but his fate has distracted the party, with differing opinions even among the federal executive about whether to let him back.  Finally and as a result of Rebecca White's firm stance against reselecting O'Byrne, the national executive endorsed a full ticket that omitted him.  O'Byrne has now quit the Labor Party completely and is running as an independent.  Any Labor member who assists him will be in breach of party rules and risks expulsion.

The Government has attacked Labor for not endorsing O'Byrne, but would also have attacked them if they did endorse him, and rather potently so in the days of #metoo and the Commission of Inquiry.  The real problem for Labor is that having allowed O'Byrne to remain in the broader party throughout, they have sent a message that it was all no big deal really, and created a big mystery as to why he has not been taken back.  

Prospects for Franklin

Franklin is a left-leaning seat at federal level where it has been Labor-held since 1993, but at state level the difference between it and the northern seats is less pronounced.  Votes in Franklin in 2021 were Liberal 42.3%, Labor 33.2%, Greens 18.9%.  Under the 35-seat system this would have been a 3-3-1 result.  Results in previous elections would have been 3-3-1 in 2018 (close to 4-2-1), 4-2-1 in 2014, 3-2-2 in 2010 and 2-4-1 in 2006.  

At the last election Petrusma polled nearly 1.7 quotas for the new system in her own right.  This will be down because of the competition from Abetz and perhaps her temporary retirement but the Liberal team looks strong if Petrusma is a serious candidate.  Abetz is popular in parts of the electorate as witnessed by his high 2022 Senate below the line votes in parts of Kingborough (especially the southern parts of Kingston/Blackmans Bay) - an area which has an element of "bible belt" voting but which still voted Yes in the Voice referendum.  Street has had his first full term as a Minister, his performance has been well regarded and he appeals to moderates.  I think the Liberals' prospects of three here are good unless the wheels fall off but I don't see who they beat to get more.  Although their ticket is strong in experience terms it suffers from a serious gender imbalance with only one woman out of seven.  

Labor has only one incumbent, Winter, who will get a lot of votes, but it will suffer from the loss of O'Byrne, who polled almost a quota in his own right last time.  Some of O'Byrne's past votes will come back to other Labor candidates but it would be heroic to put Labor on three seats as the campaign starts; seems much more likely two.  I suppose after Clark 2021 I shouldn't totally write off that O'Byrne leaving and new fourth party competition knocks Labor down to one, but that does seem very unlikely. Polling suggests most likely two and out.  Assuming Labor win at least two, they get a new MP - young talents Kaspar Deane and Toby Thorpe are contenders here but I wouldn't write off some of the others either.  All of Deane, Thorpe and Winter are from the western side of the disjunct electorate; Meg Brown is one whose profile is more on the eastern side.  

The Greens will win one, and their second candidate could ride high in the count for a while after Woodruff is elected.  Their only pathway to two seems to be O'Byrne flopping.  

It's generally expected that O'Byrne will get a sympathy vote and romp in, with the Fontcast even joking about whether he could win two seats.  The polling on independents for Franklin has been pretty spotty making O'Byrne's seat no guarantee but it would be brave to confidently predict failure.  

Unusually among medium-profile independents, Glade-Wright started running several months ago but she has lately been overshadowed by O'Byrne.  Her council covers about a third of the voter base and she is a good fit for the inner eastern shore too.  Views differ - some see her as a potential winner and others as not a significant contender.  The arguments here are firstly Clark has very high indie voting and the virus could spread to Franklin, and secondly that community-independent style campaigning might work here as it has worked in the teal seats.  I am wary of the latter because in Tasmania there is no strategic reason for a Labor or Greens voter to switch.   Mulder also has profile but mostly in Clarence these days and it's a crowded field.

Finally, the Lambie Network tend to poll worse in Franklin than the northern seats but did get half a state quota in the Senate election.  I'll be surprised if they get close in this field unless they have a really strong result statewide, but a glimmer of a chance has been seen in some polling breakdowns.  

Outlook for Franklin (will revise later): Other things could happen but the lead contender is 3-2-1-0-1 (O'Byrne).  

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Clark

This is the Clark electorate guide for the 2024 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2024 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.  

Clark (Currently 2 Liberal 1 Labor 1 Green 1 Independent)
Western shore Hobart, primarily Hobart City and Glenorchy City
Inner and outer urban

Candidates (35)

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates becomes large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.   

Where a link is available, a candidate's name is used as a hyperlink.  Emails from candidates who do not understand this will be ignored. 

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first by position/seniority and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. On ballot papers candidate names are rotated.

The ballot order for Clark is Labor, Liberal, AJP, Local Network, Johnston, Greens, Hickey, Shooters, Lohberger, Elliot, ungrouped.  Candidates within each column are rotated where there is more than one candidate.

Madeleine Ogilvie, incumbent, previously Labor then Independent MP, Minister Corrections, Workplace Safety, Science, Arts etc
Simon Behrakis, first-term incumbent elected on recount, former Hobart Alderman and Abetz staffer, economist
Mohammad Aldergham, Variety Tasmania CEO
Emma Atterbury, personal development and tech startup consultant, podiatrist
Jon Gourlay, advisor to Michael Ferguson, company director in mining technology and luggage design
Catherine Searle, office head for global engineering/project management firm Jacobs
Marcus Vermey, owner of well-known butcher Vermey's Quality Meats, rowing coach

Catherine Searle is prominent at Cornerstone Presbyterian, a church involved in controversy several years ago over its same-sex marriage views and confrontational street preaching.  Searle has not been involved in any such incidents herself but is shown by Australian Christian Lobby as agreeing with all their candidate question proposals including ceasing government assistance to Dark Mofo.

Ella Haddad,  incumbent, Shadow Attorney-General, Justice, Corrections, Housing etc
Josh Willie, Legislative Council incumbent for Elwick, Shadow Minister Education, Transport, Sport etc
Stuart Benson, Labor State Secretary since 2017
Simon Davis, hospitality worker, unionist 
John Kamara, co-founder, Culturally Diverse Alliance Tas and African Communities Council Tas, 2023 Tas Australian of the Year
Rebecca Prince, Australian Public Service Service Delivery Leader, psychology student
Susan Wallace, communications specialist, former advisor to Senator Anne Urquhart 

(Hobart Councillor Ryan Posselt was seeking preselection but not selected)

(Greens candidates are listed in endorsed ticket order)
Vica Bayley, incumbent elected on recount mid-term, former state campaign manager for Wilderness Society
Helen Burnet, long-term Hobart Councillor and third-term Deputy Mayor, podiatrist
Janet ShelleySustainability Director, Dpt Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, 2022 federal candidate
Nathan VolfBehavioural Science graduate, social worker, 2021 candidate
Trenton Hoare, student, retail assistant Red Parka, board member Equality Tas
James Zalotockyj, early childhood educator
Peter Jones, former history teacher, prominent Quaker, Islamic Studies (PhD) peace and human rights activist 

Independents With Own Column
Kristie Johnston, first-term incumbent, former Glenorchy Mayor, criminologist/lawyer and hotelier
Louise Elliot, first-term Hobart councillor, president of landlord advocacy body, "gender critical" culture war figure, briefly in Liberals before quitting over pets in rentals policy 
Ben Lohberger, first-term Hobart councillor, founding member Save UTAS, Hobart City Mission worker
Sue Hickey, frequently floor-crossing Liberal Speaker 2018-21 (ran as Ind 2021), Deputy Mayor of Glenorchy, ex Hobart Lord Mayor

(Elise Archer announced she was running but withdrew the day after following a media interview in which she appeared to be unwell.)

I could write a whole article re Elliot, if not a small book, but I don't think her chances are significant enough to do it right now.  Of recent note she was suspended from Council following a Code of Conduct finding, which is now under appeal with the suspension part-stayed, but we're still not allowed by the bizarre Code system to know what the finding or its basis is. On 20 March it was announced that this decision had been set aside for want of procedural fairness and a new Panel would reconsider the matter.  She is also currently pursuing an Anti-Discrimination complaint against the Council over alleged discrimination in venue hire.  An Anti-Discrimination complaint against her over comments she made at Hobart's failed Posie Parker rally was recently withdrawn.  

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Adrian Pickin, Senior Regulations and Pricing Analyst at TasWater, practitioner of hunting using ferrets, 2023 Rumney candidate
Lorraine Bennett,  former recruitment consultant and HR manager, party secretary, frequent Shooters candidate

Local Network
Sam Campbell , former state co-ordinator Tas branch AUWU, 2022 Hobart council candidate
Frank Formby, locum palliative care specialist, content producer
David Nunn, co-owner Fern Tree Tavern
Ranae Zollner, student

Animal Justice Party
Casey Davies, storeperson, 2022 federal paper candidate, student of Protected Area Planning

Ungrouped Independents
John Forster business analyst, serial candidate but not for a while
Angela Triffitt cultural awareness and Indigenous community consultant
Stefan Vogel glaciologist and Antarctic scientist, 2018 and 2022 Hobart Council candidate

Vogel received a low-key Liberal endorsement in the 2018 Hobart Council election but is presumably no longer in the party.  

UTAS Move 

This is a significant campaign issue (at least as a source of campaign noise and incidents) in Clark, but unlikely to be a thing anywhere else.    The University of Tasmania's plan to relocate into the city centre was a major issue at the 2022 Hobart Council elections, at which it was rejected about three to one in an "elector poll" of voters (see the issues section of my 2022 Hobart guide for a background to the issue).  The University took a back step in response by withdrawing its redevelopment proposal for the Sandy Bay campus, but the issue is still about with several houses still having signs up from the 2022 campaign.  

Both major parties have been generally seen as supporting the move, but on 27 Feb the Liberals announced they would "keep the University of Tasmania in Sandy Bay".  (The Liberal statement falsely claims Labor amended the Act in 1992 to allow the University to sell land; in fact the Liberals themselves created a new Act containing the provision in question that year.  Labor did nothing in office in 1992 except lose an election on 1 Feb.)  The Liberals' statement, however, says that "The Liberal Party respects the right of the University to establish new facilities in the Hobart CBD, and elsewhere if they wish."  This has resulted in Save UTAS calling the Liberal policy a scam because it enables a situation where the University facilities all relocate leaving only a rustbucket campus.  

The Greens have appeared split on the issue with the incumbent Hobart Council Greens having been supportive of the move but the parliamentary Greens opposed, meaning that diehard UTAS move opponents might support Vica Bayley but not Helen Burnet.  (And diehard UTAS move supporters vice versa).  In late February the Greens formally adopted a policy to oppose the move.

Among the Clark independents, Ben Lohberger, Kristie Johnston and Louise Elliot all have form on opposing the move (Elise Archer was also likely to be an opponent if she ran).    Elliot announced on 24 Feb that Save UTAS had decided not to endorse her on account of her transgender issues views.  (This is always a risk with single-issue movements that draw widely across the spectrum).  

On 25 Feb the Save UTAS group's website was removed and their public Facebook page was set to private.  This site does not suggest or know anything regarding the cause(s), only that the event occurred.  The next day the pages were restored and the group, as long expected, endorsed Lohberger.  

Sue Hickey has worked for the university on supporting the move and strongly supports it.

Prospects for Clark

Clark, which I often refer to jokingly as the "People's Republic of Clark", is Tasmania's most left-wing and idiosyncratic electorate.  It falls into two halves - the Glenorchy part which was traditionally strongly Labor and the Hobart part which has historically had a high vote for Greens and other left-wing candidates, with a small Liberal enclave around Lower Sandy Bay.  At federal level the seat was won by Andrew Wilkie (left IND) from third in a thriller in 2010. Wilkie has since made the seat his own and now gets primary votes of nearly 50%.  

The 2021 Clark campaign was most notable for the horrendous collapse of the Labor vote, Labor falling from 41.9% in 2018 to 22.1%.  Causes of this cratering disaster included the departure of Scott Bacon, the defection of Madeleine Ogilvie leaving only one incumbent, the acrimonious disendorsement of Ben McGregor, obscure support candidates, competition from independents and a bewildered reception to Labor's pokies backflip in the inner city booths.   2021 was also notable for the strong showing from independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey, with Johnston being the only winning independent in the history of the 25-seat system and Hickey coming close to costing the Liberals their majority in one of the most watched postcounts on this site.

The 2021 result (Liberal 31.8 Labor 22.1 Green 20.0 Johnston 11.0 Hickey 9.8 and a long tail of others) would have been 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green 2 Independents under the 35-seat system.  However, previously Labor tended to outpoll the Liberals in Clark, with exceptions being 1992 and 2014.  Other recent elections convert to 3-3-1 in 2014 and 2018 and 2-3-2 in 2006 and 2010 (close to 2-4-1 in the former).  Clark is a huge problem for both majors in their quest for majority, because if you only get two in Clark you need four fours or a five somewhere else.

Three quotas is 37.5%, though a couple of points less would be enough for that.  The Liberals need only a modest swing to get there but they have lost Elise Archer.  Behrakis almost beat Ogilvie last time and should benefit from Archer's absence, though Ogilvie has had more time now to convince Liberals she's one of them.  It's possible the Liberals could drop below two quotas (25%), even so with a likely fairly even vote split I'd expect them to survive.  I have been wondering if Ogilvie could be at risk if the Liberals do only get two, though she does have plenty of campaign presence.  Vermey seems a strong third candidate and could be a risk to the incumbents (or a third winner if the Liberals do exceptionallt well).  

I expect the Labor primary in Clark to grow because of the endorsement of Willie, a high-profile second-term MLC with a good support base in the Glenorchy area.  I expect that he and Haddad will win easily with prospects they can rebuild Labor's base enough to be in the mix for a third.  But a third seat for either major party most likely depends on the Greens and Independents being held to two between them.

With the 35-seat system back the Greens should be pushing hard for two here but I've had early doubts about their shape to do so, and generally they are being outpolled by independents.  They are running Bayley as a specified lead candidate when Clark is most suited to running two lead candidates and trying to split the vote between them evenly (this helps parties to win in Hare-Clark - for very wonky technical details see here).  That said they are at least pushing Burnet as a second candidate, unlike in other seats.  They're without O'Connor who tended to divide opinions but at least was very high-profile, while Bayley is less established and viewed somewhat coolly by Green voters as seen by his narrow countback victory against much less well known Bec Taylor.  Their web presence has been disorganised in the early running (a drop-down link to Bayley was added six months after he elected it and the day after I noticed its absence here.)  I also think Johnston who often votes with the Greens and targets some similar issues could eat into their support base.  This said, Burnet has a history of often very strong performances for the Greens, including polling over 3000 votes in 2010, the highest ever for a Greens support candidate.  Her councillor vote has waned in recent elections - perhaps partly on account of the UTAS move issue in 2022 - but she was still easily re-elected as Deputy that year.  

Johnston seems likely to be re-elected, but if independents only get one it's possible Hickey beats her.  Johnston should have a higher profile from incumbency while Hickey has been out of the parliamentary spotlight since 2021.    On the other hand Hickey has been active on Glenorchy Council, would as noted above have won last time, and has a strong ground game based on her experience in promotions.  Other parties would want the Independent vote to be focused with Johnston to make it easier for them to beat Hickey.  Glenorchy Council has not been everyone's cup of tea lately (pool closure, rates rises) but a lot of Hickey's 2021 support came from Hobart.  

Elliot is a high-profile independent but her views are widely disliked on the left and her profile is mostly in the very left wing Hobart section; she has made a significant effort but I doubt she will do more than knock some size of dent in the Liberal vote.  There is some thought Lohberger is a smokie based on likely appeal to Wilkie voters and the Utas issue.  However, his profile is not that high for a relatively short campaign centred around an issue only half of the seat cares about.  Still both these are worth keeping an eye on.

Outlook for Clark (to be revised later):  The default scenario (2-2-1-0-2 with one Green and both Johnston and Hickey) is the lead suspect here.  If one of the indies falls short that seat could be taken by a third Liberal or a second Green, with Labor looking less competitive for three than earlier in the campaign.  

Thursday, February 15, 2024

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Braddon

 This is the Braddon electorate guide for the 2024 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2024 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)  If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.  

Braddon (Currently 3 Liberal 2 Labor). 
North-west and western Tasmania including Devonport, Burnie and Ulverstone

Candidates (33)

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates becomes large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed or Twitter request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.   

Where a link is available, a candidate's name is used as a hyperlink.  Emails from candidates who do not understand this will be ignored. 

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first by position/seniority and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot order for Braddon is JLN, Labor, Liberal, Greens, AJP, Shooters, Garland, ungrouped. Candidates within each column are rotated where there is more than one candidate.

Liberal (more to add on some)
Jeremy Rockliff, incumbent, Premier since 2022, Minister State Develpment, Tourism, Mental Health etc
Roger Jaensch, incumbent, Minister for Education, Children, Environment etc
Felix Ellis, incumbent, Minister for Police, Fire, Resources, Skills, Racing etc, ex-plumber
Patrick Fabian, English and Humanities teacher now at Leyland Christian School, not the actor of same name
Sarina Laidler, King Island councillor, beef farmer, King Island development admin officer
Vonette Mead, Deputy Mayor Latrobe Council, operations manager building + construction business
Giovanna Simpson, Deputy Mayor Burnie, youth worker, former owner modelling academy, Pres Burnie Harness Racing Club

Sarina Laidler was in the news when she lost her council seat for missing three consecutive meetings without leave while caring for her dying husband.  She was re-elected unopposed in a by-election.

Simpson was (as of December) secretary of the Jacqui Lambie Network board but JLN were unsuccessful in trying to convince her to run as a JLN candidate.  

Tasmanian Times has sent Mead a long list of questions surrounding conflict of interest accusations, based on questions raised by a resident of Latrobe LGA.. I will note any reply if I see one.  On the last day of the campaign this story made the ABC.  

Anita Dow, incumbent, Deputy Leader, Shadow Minister Health, Mental Health, Ageing, former Burnie mayor
Shane Broad, incumbent, Shadow Minister Resources and Trade, agricultural scientist (PhD)
Amanda Diprose, Central Coast councillor, 2021 candidate
Sam Facey, quality assessor at McCains Foods Smithton, AMWU delegate
Danielle Kidd, West North West Working (job hub) project manager, ex UTAS Cradle Coast, 2018 candidate
Adrian Luke, director of DMS Energy (electrical/renewable energy)
Chris Lynch, Burnie councillor, Braddon 2022 federal candidate, sound engineer/musician, family based care

Lynch was a controversial candidate in the federal election after a 1994 conviction for possessing amphetamines for sale was revealed.

Green candidates are listed in party-supplied order
Darren Briggs, emergency doctor, small tourist accommodation operator
Michael McLoughlin, "community services worker", party volunteer organiser, former union organiser
Petra Wilden "environmental scientist"/teacher, 2022 Devonport Council candidate
Leeya Lovell , "teacher assistant", visual artist
Susanne Ward, Workforce Australia and Disability Employment Services consultant 
Erin Morrow, psychologist
Sarah Kersey, "retired small business operator"

Independents With Own Column
Craig Garland, charismatic fisherman, serial candidate, prominent Braddon 2018 federal by-election

For longer Garland background see my 2022 federal guide.

Jacqui Lambie Network
Miriam Beswick, former director of laser tag business Big Big House, carer
Craig Cutts, former SAS medic (Counter Terrorism Squadron) and policeman, 
James Redgrave, military veteran, firefighter, private investigator, Tasmanian Times author.

Redgrave's persistent and at least at times robust questioning of Latrobe Council, which has continued in JLN colours (10:40 in), has contributed to a council report entitled 'Dealing with difficult customers options' and an estimate of $14,000 in staff costs.  See more detail here where Redgrave's name is mentioned 62 times including that he is acting on behalf of clients.  Redgrave was also involved in a rescue incident on the campaign trail.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Dale Marshall (lead candidate), Labrador breeder and pigeon racer, former merchant seaman, industrial hydraulics
Brenton Jones, launch master and marine engineer, previous frequent Shooters candidate
Kim Swansondegree in agriculture, former horse stud manager, boutique winery co-owner, previous candidate

Animal Justice Party
Julia King, music teacher

Ungrouped Independents
Gatty Burnett, former youth worker, social media conspiracy theorist, longer profile in Murchison 2023 guide
Andrea Courtney, Waratah-Wynyard councillor, mental health and hospital worker
Peter Freshney, Mayor of Latrobe, businessman in communications infrastructure
Liz Hamer, West Coast Councillor, Strahan farmer, ungrouped candidate 2018, 2021

Prospects for Braddon

Braddon is an electorate where resource development and employment issues have long been very significant, and the Green vote has lagged behind the rest of the state.  It was once very socially conservative and has been a swing seat federally, but seems to be realigning towards the Liberal Party. Braddon gave the Voice referendum a big thumbs down with 72.2% voting No.  Gavin Pearce held the seat easily at the 2022 election, with Labor criticised for preselecting Lynch on the basis of the above mentioned old drugs conviction.  

There was drama in the Braddon count in 2021 with former MP Adam Brooks recovering his seat narrowly at the expense of Felix Ellis, only to resign hours later after being charged with firearms offences.  Ellis won the seat back on his recount.  

From time to time the electorate votes very strongly for a given party, so the seat produced the only 5/7 seat results in the previous 35-seat system (1972 Labor and 1992 Liberal) and in 2014 it produced the 25-seat system's only ever 4/5 seat haul for the Liberals.   In 2021 the Liberals polled 57.2%, Labor 26.5%, Garland 6.1%, Greens 5.5% and Shooters 3.8%.  This would have been either a 4-2-Garland result or 5-2, depending on candidate effects.  

The 2018 result would probably have been 5-2 (very close to 4-2 with one JLN), 2014 would have been 5-2 or 4-2 with one Palmer United, 2010 would have been 3-3 with one Green and 2006 when Labor won a majority would have been 3 Liberal 4 Labor.  Interestingly if the state election repeats the 2022 House of Reps vote shares, the results would be 3 Liberal 2 Labor and both Lambie Network and Garland - but Garland does not poll as strongly when up against multiple-candidate state tickets.  Garland's vote in this case stood up well despite controversy over sharing conspiracy theories and links to fringe antivax elements.  As at mid-Feb 2024 I am not sensing that Garland is quite as active as in the past but if his vote holds up he is still a contender.  In some scenarios I have found that Garland can win if he can poll as little as 5%, as he is likely to get preferences and leaks from everywhere.  

Peter Freshney was very popular in Latrobe at the last Council election, polling 36% of the Councillor vote despite not having to campaign for Mayor, so there is a foothold there if enough voters want independents but find Garland too niche or out there.  While it was not ideal to be running from the ungrouped column, Garland polled a strong vote there last time.  However I am doubting that Freshney's campaign is of sufficient scale to be successful.  Latrobe has also seen a lot of turbulence that is boiling over into the state election.  

Rockliff's elevation to Premier should boost the Liberals further and they have a reasonably strong ticket with Jaensch (who polled a low primary last time but did well on preferences), Ellis (who has become far more prominent in this term, albeit at times controversially, eg the now-dropped fire levy) and also two female Deputy Mayors (Simpson in particular seems a good candidate).  But even so for the Liberals to win five they would have to have very little swing against them statewide and that seems ambitious on recent polling.  A swing of around 9% would put them in the danger zone for dropping to 3. That seems less of a risk than in Bass.  

Braddon is the Lambie Network's home base and strongest division although Craig Cutts who appears to be their lead candidate is not a high-profile name (indeed James Redgrave is probably better known and reportedly more active) and the party may struggle with leakage as a result.  In 2018 JLN only got 6% in Braddon, whereas in 2022 they got 12.3% in the Senate. 

I had been expecting Labor to retain two easily but a Freshwater sample with the party on a miserable 15% raised the question of whether the strength of Jeremy Rockliff and the Lambie Network could push Labor down to just one seat (Anita Dow) in Braddon with Shane Broad losing.  I understand that there is other concern this could happen too.   The Greens are an outside to remote chance and would probably have to get very fluky with the distribution of votes for other parties, especially as preference flows for them tend to be bad in the area.  The protest vote in Braddon tends to be elsewhere.  

Outlook for Braddon: Aggregated polling estimate is 4-2-0-1-0 (JLN wins seat).  However, Garland could take either the 4th Liberal or 2nd Labor seat.  

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Bass

This is the Bass electorate guide for the 2024 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2024 election preview page, including links to other electorates.) If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only donate in these difficult times if you can afford to do so.  Note: if using a mobile you may need to use the view web version option at the bottom of the page to see the sidebar.  

Bass (2021 Result 3 Liberal 2 Labor, as at election 2 Liberal 2 Labor 1 IND)

North-east Tasmania including most of Launceston

Mixed urban/small-town/rural

Candidates (32)

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates becomes large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed or Twitter request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.   

Where a link is available, a candidate's name is used as a hyperlink.  Emails from candidates who do not understand this will be ignored. 

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first by position/seniority and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise. 

The ballot order for Bass is Greens, Walker, JLN, Labor, Liberal, AJP, Brown, Alexander, Shooters, Davenport, ungrouped.  Candidates within each column are rotated where there is more than one candidate.

Michael Ferguson, incumbent, Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Transport, former federal MHR
Simon Wood, incumbent elected on recount during term, parliamentary secretary, former Launceston councillor (2014-8) and staffer
Rob Fairs, high-profile breakfast radio announcer, former TV host, charity fundraiser and sports consultant
Chris Gatenby, staffer for Sen Richard Colbeck, recent President of state Liberal Party
Sarah Quaile, public school teacher
Julie Sladden, West Tamar councillor, Spectator author, doctor who closed practice over COVID vaccine mandates and maintains that COVID vaccines do not work  (see section below)
Richard Trethewie, financial advice director

Michelle O'Byrne, incumbent, Shadow Minister Police, Women, Heritage etc, former federal MHR
Janie Finlay, incumbent, Shadow Minister Primary Industries, Small Business etc, former Launceston mayor
Melissa Anderson, administrative officer
Roshan Dhingra, "works in retail, investment and has worked for the Labor Party", challenger for best beard of the election
Will Gordon, nurse in paediatrics at Launceston General Hospital, involved in recent COI process
Adrian Hinds, Boags brewer, candidate in 2021
Geoff Lyons, former federal MHR, West Tamar councillor, Windermere candidate 2021, former LGH business manager

(Jenny Hewson was announced as a candidate before tbe election was called but withdrew)

Greens candidates listed in endorsed ticket order
Cecily Rosol, counsellor, foster carer, former nurse and school chaplain, past federal and minor state candidate
Tom Hall, doctor, anaesthetist, past candidate inc 2019 federal
Jack Fittler, digital and community campaigner for federal Greens
Lauren Ball, BA student (politics and policy)
Carol Barnett, painter
Calum Hendry, teacher
Anne Layton-Bennettwriter, library technician, candidate 2014, 2021

Independents With Own Columns
Lara Alexander, first-term incumbent elected on recount, defected from Liberals May 2023, accountant, former St Vincents CEO

Mark Brown driving instructor, former state director of Australian Christian Lobby

Jack Davenport, 2021 Greens lead candidate, advisor to Senator Whish-Wilson prior to campaign, former UK councillor

Tim Walker, Launceston councillor (first elected as a Green, now independent), former ABC journalist and advisor

Brown is not the Mark Brown of Yes AFL Team, Yes Stadium - the candidate Mark Brown is in fact anti-stadium.

Davenport stood for Greens lead position preselection unsuccessfully.  After his independent candidacy was revealed while in embargo, the Greens issued a statement revealing he had run last in preselection with 11 votes.  Greens preselections are normally very opaque.  The move attracted criticism.

Jacqui Lambie Network
Angela Armstrong, lawyer, foster carer, former corporate strategist
Ludwig Johnson, machine shop manager, fitter and turner
Rebekah Pentland, small business (construction/property/labour/apartments), former pharmaceutical business consultant

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Michal Frydrych (lead candidate), Chairperson Rural Businesses Tasmania, infrastructure projects and business development

(Andrew Harvey was listed as a Shooter but didn't run)

Animal Justice
Ivan Davis, lead candidate 2022 Senate, former farmer, Army musician and SAS trooper etc

Ungrouped Independents
George Razay, first-term Launceston councillor, 2022 Bass candidate, LGH doctor (Alzheimers, dementia etc)
Greg (Tubby) Quinn, truck owner/operator

A Quinn post on his personal site gave a platform of banning heart-shaped parmies in pubs.

Julie Sladden Endorsement

Of a number of eyebrow-raising names in the Liberals' candidate rollout the most surprising of all was Dr Julie Sladden, a West Tamar Councillor (elected in 2022 by 3.59 votes, that's not a misprint) who closed her own medical practice in response to COVID vaccine mandates.  Sladden has written for Spectator about COVID and in one of her articles (reproduced here) wrote such things as:

"This ‘thing’ that we have been doing the past two years, is not healthcare. I don’t know what it is, but it is not healthcare, and it was obvious from the start. It is not benefiting the ‘greater good’. It is not looking after grandma. It is not ‘doing our bit and protecting others’. It is not saving lives.

It never was."

This is not just a simple freedom-based or risk-reward approach to COVID mandates that Sladden is taking, she specifically believes that "the latest hospital admission statistics do not support the claim that the unvaccinated are more at risk of serious Covid disease, hospitalisation or death."  There's heaps more of it out there: she clearly believes COVID vaccines are dangerous and have no net benefit.  And in that sphere, she is a very prominent voice, who is interviewed on some pretty out-there radio programs.  For instance she was approvingly interviewed in the same episode as Simeon Boikov in two radio shows on TNT in five weeks in late 2023.  (This is not to say she shares Boikov's views, just that both are attractive to a similar fringe audience.)

Sladden has a Twitter account which is currently @DrJulieSladden but was @JulesSladden until 16 Feb or slightly before.  It consists of almost nothing but anti-COVID-vax/mandate material though after several minutes of diligent struggle I did find a few tweets about other matters, including lowering fuel tax and agricultural protests in Germany.  (Likewise almost all her culture war press publications are on COVID but there are a few on other things, like one against trans-affirmative practices.)  She follows not orthodox Liberals but figures prominent in right-wing culture wars: Bernardi, Babet, Limbrick, Elliot.  In the past few months she has, apparently approvingly, liked tweets by Roberts, Julian Fidge, Topher Field, Elliot, Broadbent, Antic, Rennick, Hanson, Deeming and Craig Kelly and a tweet by "freedom movement" videographer Real Rukshan praising Tucker Carlson's interview of Vladimir Putin.  She has also approved of an address by notorious anti-vaxxer Sucharit Bhakdi (who has compared COVID vaccination to the Holocaust and suggested that it was an example of Jews learning tactics from Hitler) to the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party.

In June 2022 Sladden had a letter in The Examiner declaring that Tasmanians had been "living in an autocracy" and the Gutwein/Rockliff government had not been "in charge".  She also wrote "The Tasmanian Public Health Act must be rewritten to protect our democracy in the event of any future ''health emergency''.", the use of scare quotes around "health emergency" implying that COVID was not really a health emergency.   

In April 2023 Sladden attended a conference called " Dr Peter McCullough Covid-19 Vaccine Conference" that was hosted by, of all things, the United Australia Party.  At this she approvingly interviewed McCullough, an Ivermectin supporter.  In May 2023 she wrote an article supporting Ivermectin and saying that she had been "incited" in 2021 by the official response to this drug.  

Sladden is active through Legana Christian Church which has the amusing habit of praying for political leaders to "encounter the Risen Saviour" and so on.  A former English Channel swimmer, Sladden has coached swimming at a school where Michael Ferguson's wife teaches.  In 2014 Sladden was a supporting member for the short-lived state registration of Australian Christians.  

This. preselection. is. bizarre.  In 2021 Peter Gutwein was re-elected as Premier with the biggest personal vote since the advent of Robson Rotation.  This was in large part off his almost universally acclaimed handling of COVID.  During the campaign he appeared in a viral TikTok video where he got "the jab" and in the process showed off his instantly famous panther tattoo.  His stance was strongly backed by his Deputy - now in 2024 the Liberals preselect a candidate who thinks COVID vaccines are a con?  

It's hard to know whether the Liberals picked this candidate in desperation without checking, or were well aware of her views and think that throwing a bone to the freedom movement, or getting their own candidate cancelled, is a plus.  Or perhaps, they have just figured not many people will care beyond one news cycle.  On that they could be right.

Jeremy Rockliff has defended the preselection on the grounds of the party being a "broad church". No.  A "broad church" in the original analogy referred to a mix of different Anglican interpretations, not to accepting everything under the sun. I don't have the medical knowledge to comment on whether Sladden's claims about vaccines have any merit, but I do have the political knowledge to say that her positions are fringe politics (and I believe they are fringe in the medical community). The rightful home for such views is in so-called "freedom parties" that are not even registered in Tasmania.  

Of minor interest but unrelated to all the above, Sladden is involved in legal action against the Australian Taxation Office over the correct taxation of a million dollar insurance lump sum; a few taxation law websites have commented about this case.  She lost at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal but an appeal is now underway in the Federal Court.  

Prospects for Bass

Federally, Bass is the "ejector seat" of Australian politics with a long history of almost always throwing out its incumbent, though it took a break from the bloodshed (just) in 2022.  Outer Launceston suburbs sensitive to cost of living issues and towns with a strong timber history (eg Scottsdale) often drive this trend.

In the 2021 state election the Liberals polled a massive 60% in Bass to 26% for Labor and 9.2% for the Greens.  Under the 35 seat system this would have split either 5 Liberal 2 Labor or 4 Liberal 2 Labor 1 Green.  However this was driven by Peter Gutwein's immense personal vote and was unlikely to be repeated unless Papi G rode back on his flying panther to save the day. Results for previous elections would have been 5-2 or 4-2-1 in 2018, 4-2-1 in 2014, 3-3-1 (not too far off 3-2-2) in 2010 and 2-4-1 in 2006 when Labor won its last majority.  So it seems like 4-2-1 is the vanilla scenario here given recent statewide polling, but several other things are possible.

The departures of Gutwein and Courtney and the defection of Alexander mean the Liberals have only two incumbents, Ferguson who polled very poorly for a major incumbent in 2021 and Wood who was elected on a recount and has a low profile.  Ferguson will bounce back but a large swing against the Government should be expected here and the question is is it large enough (at least, say, 12%) to knock them below four.  Recent electorate polling suggests a very large swing - parochial dislike of the proposed Hobart AFL stadium is another factor here - and that the Liberals will be struggling to get more than three here.  Fairs is a very high profile candidate who should help fill the gap and has great chances if he campaigns energetically. The preselection of Sladden is causing the Liberals controversy but I am unsure it will harm them in this electorate specifically.  Beyond probably Ferguson and Fairs, the field for a remaining Liberal is very open.  

The party's problems in Bass are not limited to a weak incumbent lineup.  The north-eastern branch imploded amid a stoush between the party and Dorset Mayor Greg Howard and his supporters; Dorset Council is now suspended.  Areas like Scottsdale and Bridport are major vote-baskets for the Liberals and very large swings could occur there - or voters might not see a real alternative.  

The Labor ticket has strong incumbents in Finlay and O'Byrne and I expect both to retain with the size of Finlay's vote of interest after a good first term. Labor should gain something from the government's problems in this seat.  However, Labor needs a solid swing of at least 5%, probably more, to put it in the mix for a third seat.  The party seems to be doing reasonably well on the ground in Bass and with the number of departing Liberal voters this isn't completely implausible.  (Whistleblower Will Gordon is among Labor's prospects here, and Geoff Lyons also has high name recognition even if his council results have been unremarkable.)

The Greens have been fancied for a seat here post the expansion but are likely to be short of quota on primaries on recent form.  If  the majors manage six seats between them then the Greens could be left fighting JLN or others for the final seat with perhaps unfriendly preference flows (their best case here is Labor doing well but not too well).  Cecily Rosol is not a household name and was not even elected to Launceston Council in 2022 after running as a federal Reps candidate (!), so a Green win here while an obvious chance, shouldn't be taken for granted.  The fight with Davenport may do them some harm too, though I do not expect him to get much.   But it could be they still get across the line if there is no-one else on enough to stop them.  

As for JLN the party's 2022 Senate vote translates to 0.66 quotas, but they would have to add a big protest vote to that given the lowish profile of their candidates and it being a lower profile JLN campaign than federally.  Armstrong has some profile through foster care advocacy; I am wondering whether Pentland has actually been the more prominent candidate.  Polls vary as to whether JLN are in a winning position here.

There are too many mostly late-announced indepedents in Bass and I am not sure any of these are going to greatly disturb the scorers.  Alexander is the most prominent indie as a sitting MP who had high publicity in the election leadup, but she comes from a low personal support base.  On one recent visit to Launceston I did detect some level of support for her in terms of corflute presence, but not a huge level.  She is also not easy for the kinds of voters normally attracted to indies to vote for, because of her conservative past issue positions (especially on issues like gay conversion "therapy"). That said she does project a "different" image, including opposing native forest logging, so she is not a straight conservative.  Despite the publicity she will have received from the election leadup I think it will be hard for her to win. 

Outlook for Bass: Aggregated polling estimate for Bass is 3-2-1-1-0 (3 Liberal 2 Labor 1 JLN 1 Green.)  However JLN and Green seats are not safe with plausible alternatives including 4th Liberal, or maybe Alexander or 3rd Labor.  

2024 Tasmanian State Election Guide Main Page


No party has won a majority but the Liberals are the largest party.  

Seat postcount pages will be linked here when written.







Welcome to the main page for my 2024 Tasmanian state election coverage.  This page will carry links to all the other articles about the election that I write prior to the close of polling, and will contain general big-picture stuff and links to all the specialised articles (once these are written).  It will be updated very frequently.  Each electorate will very soon have its own guide page.  Note that these are my own guides and I reserve the right to inject flippant and subjective comments whenever I feel like it; if you do not like this, write your own.  This guide and all the others will evolve over coming weeks.  

I will be covering the election counting night for the Mercury from the tally room; all post-count coverage will occur on this website.  


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Article links

Articles relevant to the election and written during the leadup will have links to them posted here as they are done. 

Effective Voting

Electorate and candidate guides

Other articles

Links will be added here (most recent to top) as other articles are written.

Dates and cause of election

The election was called after the Premier visited the Governor on Wednesday 14 Feb and will be held on Saturday March 23. Key dates are as follows:

21 February, 6 pm: writs issued, roll closes
29 February, 12 pm: close of nominations 
1 March, 12 pm: announcement of nominations 
4 March: prepolling starts
23 March: main polling day
2 April: last day for postals
return of writs by 22 April (probably sooner)

Tasmania is the only state without fixed terms.  The previous election was called ten months early (see previous guide and linked articles) and this one is thirteen months early.  The election has been called after relationships with two former Liberals who had defected to the crossbench in May 2023 continued to deteriorate.  Unlike the 2021 election which rode on the back of the government's success with the pandemic, this early election is not at a favourable time for the government, although it does enable it to avoid further immediate scrutiny over the Commission of Inquiry process. (There is a theory that the election was called now for that reason, but if the Premier was going to go to an election without  Parliament resuming, there was no other sensible date.)

The two ex-Liberals, John Tucker and Lara Alexander, initially agreed to provide confidence and supply and not to support Labor and Greens legislation.  However they continued to support and introduce other motions including procedural and symbolic motions, dissents in the Speaker and motions to compel the Parliament.  This caused several defeats for the Government on the floor of Parliament.  On January 4 Tucker threatened to move a no-confidence motion citing two issues, the commencement of High Performance Centres linked to the proposed AFL stadium, and installing CCTV footage in abbatoirs.  On February 3 Premier Jeremy Rockliff threatened an early election unless the defectors agreed to cease supporting Labor, Green and independent motions.  It is unclear how this would have stopped them from destabilising the government as they could simply have moved the same motions themselves.  Anyway the defectors did not agree and the outcomes of a rather pointless meeting on February 9 were disputed, leading the Premier to call the election.

As in 2021 there have been some suggestions from Hung Parliament Club usual suspects that the Governor should have or could have asked Premier Rockliff to return to Parliament to see if his Government had confidence or not.  This is spurious (whatever the outcome of such a vote would be) and I debunked much of this line of argument in 2021.  

The Backdrop

The Rockliff Government is currently Australia's last surviving Coalition government, not because Tasmania is a conservative place (indeed Tasmania was the most Labor-leaning state federally on a two-party basis for decades until recently) but because of electoral cycle effects.   Will Hodgman led the Liberals to a massive 2014 victory over a 16-year old Labor government reduced in its final term to an unpopular coalition with the Greens.  The Liberal government has succeeded since then by being generally very moderate but maintaining mostly excellent internal relations between moderates and conservatives - until this term.

Hodgman was re-elected in 2018 but with only a one-seat majority, and struck trouble in the form of former Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey who usurped the Speakership and caused the government pain by crossing the floor on gender birth certificate reforms and mandatory sentencing, among other issues.  Hodgman moved on in 2020 and was replaced by Peter Gutwein, who had been in the job just a few weeks when COVID-19 struck the planet.  Gutwein's widely praised handling of the pandemic saw him trade approval records with WA Premier Mark McGowan.  In 2021 Gutwein advised Hickey that she had been disendorsed, Hickey quit the party and Gutwein called an election.  Against a Labor opposition that was wracked by infighting and that had confused voters with flipflopping positions on poker machine reform, the Liberals won the primary vote massively but still secured just a single seat majority again.  Such are the perils of Hare-Clark.

The 2021 election was fought on the key theme of keeping Gutwein in "the Premier's Chair" so a stable Liberal majority government could go on as it had done while protecting Tasmania from COVID.  But now that Premier is gone, the majority is gone, the stability is gone, and the "COVID moat" is ancient history.  Has anybody seen the chair? Gutwein, a notoriously heavy worker, resigned less than a year into this term citing nervous exhaustion and was replaced by long-serving Deputy Jeremy Rockliff.  Rockliff had long been the party's popular "nice guy" MP but has also attracted criticisms: too left, lacks killer instinct, tin ear and so on.  

In early 2023 the political issues mix shifted to football, in particular the state's bid for an AFL licence for which the AFL required a new stadium.  The Macquarie Point stadium proposal was unpopular, and the governance of the stadium issue was one of many catalysts for a couple of grudge-bearing conservative Liberals to defect and become independents.   This was just one of many blows to the government on the personnel front, with a string of resignations and reshuffles including a near-election showdown last October when Attorney-General Elise Archer was forced out over damaging chat messages and bullying accusations (the latter of which she denies).     

Meanwhile Labor had big problems of its own.  After the loss leader Rebecca White initially resigned, and was replaced in a contested ballot of members and delegates by David O'Byrne, who had been strongly supported by the "hard left" faction that had caused much of the damage on the campaign trail.  Within a month, however, O'Byrne was brought down by a scandal involving unsolicited kissing and text messaging of a union staffer in 2007, prior to his parliamentary career. This placed O'Byrne in exile from the party room as an "Independent Labor" MP for the rest of the term.  Meanwhile, the party was under federal administration.   Eventually, O'Byrne was deselected and quit the broader Labor Party.  The party under White has so far struggled to take advantage of the government's misfortunes, its primary vote seemingly glued to the 30% line.  

The crossbench, which started with two Greens and one independent, had doubled in size by the end of the term.  With both major parties in difficulty and the restoration of the House to 35 seats, there is a golden chance for it to grow further.

The election is not just about whether the Liberals remain in government, but also which Liberals.  The moderates have been in charge for a decade and the party is running some very conservative candidates, most notably former Senator Eric Abetz.  Michael Ferguson has been publicly patient and loyal and may well want a go in the top job at some stage if the party is returned.  

The System

The Tasmanian lower house is elected by the multi-member Hare-Clark system, a form of proportional representation with similarities to the Australian Senate system.  At this election, seven candidates will be elected in each of the five electorates for the first time since 1996.  Voters must number at least seven squares and can number as many as they wish.  There is no above-the-line voting and how-to-vote cards cannot be handed out near booths on polling day.

The system favours candidates with high profiles and hence high name recognition, because these are most effective in obtaining not only primary votes but also preferences both from their ticket-mates and from other candidates.  In cases where all a party's candidates have been elected or excluded, a high proportion of that party's vote will exhaust from the system because some voters just vote 1-7 for their chosen party and stop. As a result, for instance, Greens preferences have relatively little impact.  

The system allows candidates to compete with and in cases displace others from their own party as well as from other parties.  Projecting results from opinion poll data and even from primary vote totals is a complex and difficult task, and often there are few if any useful polls to go on.

The House was reduced from 35 to 25 seats prior to the 1998 election, partly with the aim of reducing costs but also with an eye to making majority government easier.  This change was reversed during the current parliament.  See Tasmanian Lower House: 25 or 35 Seats?  for analysis of the impact of the change.  

To win majority government, a party needs to win 18 seats.   Since the number of seats became odd in 1959, the lowest vote share to have won a majority was 44.79% (ALP in 1998) and the highest vote share to not have done so was 47.68% (ALP in 1969).  However, with minor party / independent vote shares increasing, it is possible the former record will be broken soon.  There is only one previous case of government switching from a majority of one side at one election to the other side at the next, and in that case (1982) the government had lost its majority during the term.

The Issues

This section covers some issues that may attract attention on the campaign trail.  This section does not claim to be a complete or representative coverage of the campaign and includes such issues as I find the time to cover.  An issue being an "election issue" does not necessarily mean it will drive votes.  The Liberals are marketing their policy platform as a "Strong 2030 Plan" in a way that created a belief that there was an actual document and then bemusement that no such document existed; rather it seems to be an umbrella term for all their policies.   A list of campaign promises by the three main parties may be found at the ABC's promise tracker page.

* The Stadium: The proposed Macquarie Point stadium as part of the state's AFL licence deal has been one of the biggest issues in the state in recent years.  Although many voters don't consider it a relevant issue at all, associated wedge attempts are inescapable on the campaign trail, especially with the AFL name and jumper reveal landing on March 18.  The stadium is supported by those who argue that it will generate jobs, is essential for the AFL team to succeed and will have other cultural benefits such as catching large rock tours.  It is opposed on the basis of cost, traffic disruptions, perceptions that it is a distraction from health and housing crises, and also the proposed location being close to the Cenotaph.  A more complex and apparently even more expensive "Stadia 2.0" proposal is also being canvassed though the government is very wary of it.  

Independents Tucker and Alexander were able to force the Government to send the stadium through the complex Project of State Significance process in a way such that it will come back to Parliament for a final decision.  The issue is a wedge hazard for Labor which accuses the government of having the wrong focus, but could well end up approving the stadium in government anyway if unable to successfully renegotiate the deal with the AFL.  The government are attacking Labor as wishy-washy for voting to kickstart the POSS process while claiming to oppose spending money on the stadium (Labor even had a petition against the stadium on their website, recently removed.).  

The government has promised to cap the taxpayer contribution to the stadium at $375 million and says there is considerable private sector interest.  However it has not explained what it would do if there was a large blowout and full private sector investment on a divisive project was not forthcoming.  

Labor's position is also unconvincing.  They promise to "renegotiate the deal" but the deal is already signed and the AFL doesn't seem interested in changing it, so what will they do if negotiations fail?  Will they agree to the stadium or kill the deal?  On 12 March Labor released a new position in which they expected the team to prove itself via successful use of existing venues before a stadium would be built.  This would give the AFL abundant room to kill the deal ending the state club, if the AFL wished to do so.  Rebecca White however thinks that the AFL would not do that.  

The Yes AFL Team, Yes Stadium Facebook page is a common source of unabashed cheerleading for the government in connection with the issue.  The Greens, Johnston and Craig Garland are opposed to the stadium at least in Hobart.  David O'Byrne is strongly for it.  Sue Hickey is open to the stadium but prefers the 2.0 version.  

Jacqui Lambie has been opposed in the past (" you can stick it up your bum") but went quiet on the issue lately, with suggestions her position had changed.   She has now stated that she has "a problem" with the Macquarie Point site because it will overshadow the Cenotaph.  One member of her ticket, Andrew Jenner, expressed some sceptical potential to support it before deleting his comments (see gaffes section below).  Another, Troy Pfitzner, is strongly pro-team and has expressed an open position on the stadium and says that JLN have a free vote on it.  Pfitzner is a former member of the Yes AFL Team - Yes Stadium page and shared a post with that group's sticker to that group (it was his wife's car).  A third, Marshall Callaghan, is pro a stadium somewhere.

The launch on 18 March was followed by over 120,000 foundation memberships being purchased although it is not known how many were multiples purchased by the same persons.  The Liberals skipped the launch for caretaker convention reasons; Rebecca White was intending to attend but thought better of it at the last moment.  

(See also strategy section below.)

* Stability: There is a history of minority government avoidance auctions in Tasmanian campaigns, in which leaders threaten to do increasingly gruesome things to their career should their party fail to win a majority.  This seems to have taken a step back so far but both major parties are still limiting their options if there is not a majority.  The problem for the Liberals is that after twice winning a majority yet failing to deliver a fully stable full-term government, the further noises they are making in that area are just like that old song, "won't you take me back and try me one more time?"  

The Liberals don't want to admit that they have run two unstable governments in a row, but they will still try to frighten voters with the idea of a more serious level of instability, hence their clever scare ad warning of a "traffic lights government" and constant mantras of "coalition of chaos".  They have also put out an ad claiming that "Labor say that they won't do a deal with the Greens, but they always do" but that's disinformation.  Labor dealt with the Greens in 1989 and 2010 but in 1996 they refused to do so and the Liberals were left governing in minority with limited Green support.

The point here is that while the government has been unstable for parts of its last two terms, the instability hasn't much affected the executive, in a way that a hands-on coalition partner or an unstable freely-voting crossbench on major economic issues might.  Sue Hickey only caused the government to lose on a few culture war bills, and as soon as Tucker and Alexander threatened to start pushing the government around more broadly, it pulled the pin and called the election.  

But the government - as with several past majority governments - has also delivered chaos of a different sort with affected parties being stuffed around on issues like local government mergers and the proposed fire levy before proposed changes were withdrawn.  It also made a rod for its own back by recalling parliament in mid-December in a withdrawn attempt to suspend Justice Gregory Geason, and that was the day on which Tucker's abbatoir motion was passed.  The Liberals have preselected several candidates with unusual ideological positions or integrity question marks that make them obvious flight risks, making it hard to take any claim that they could be a stable majority government if elected seriously.

Meanwhile Labor is continuing to tell us that it loves being in opposition so much it won't deal with anyone to get out of it.  (Deals with the Greens have in the past been electoral poison, but for instance the Lambie Network?) The repeated early elections have meant that a lot of the business of government is never finished.  (See also "Minority Games" section under Strategy below.)  I will note below any comments on likely basis of support I see from anyone who I think even might poll significantly:

Comments about possible support 

The Greens have said they will pursue issues including climate, housing, health, cost of living and nature.  They have said they would strongly prefer to deal with Labor but are not ruling out supporting the Liberals; Rosalie Woodruff made a comment about having to respect the will of the people but I am not sure what this means in the context of a minority situation (did the proto-Greens do that in 1989?)

The Jacqui Lambie Network has said that it wins the balance of power it will work with either major party if that party will "work with anyone who commits to transparent decision making and makes fixing the health system, addressing the cost-of-living pressures and ensuring every Tasmanian has a home, their priorities".  Or at least that's what their leader says but she won't actually be in the parliament, and most JLN candidates appear to agree that their party has no binding policies.   In a later statement Jacqui Lambie has said it will be up to her candidates to decide who to support.  It appears that she sees any elected JLN members as fulfilling a legislative review role similar to a Senator.   

Louise Elliot has said she would lean towards supporting the Liberals.  Peter Freshney has said that at this stage he would support "neither" party.  None of the current or recent past independents O'Byrne, Johnston, Tucker, Hickey or Alexander have specified which party they would support - they have stressed consensus and stability (O'Byrne), collaboration and integrity (Johnston), rural GP access (Tucker), honesty (Hickey) and "putting Tasmanians first" (Alexander).  (See ABC interview here.)  Johnston has been paraphrased - I am unsure whether accurately - as saying she would work with whoever the Governor appointed but it doesn't work like that (in a minority situation the Governor will reappoint the incumbent Premier if the incumbent Premier wishes to meet the Parliament, and then is guided by the will of the Parliament.)

Labor has sent out a text claiming "Every independent candidate says they'll give the Liberals 14 years."  This is a massive lie; Elliot is the only one of 29 who has even said she would lean towards doing so, and many have made no statement.  

* Institutional Abuse:  An issue last election but that was only the beginning.  The Commission of Inquiry process during this term has been witness to harrowing and at times unbelievably brazen revalations of how, in the last couple of decades while we thought we were living in a modernising Tasmania, sexual and physical abuse were rampant and covered up in state institutions.  Much as I would like to add context to a piece by Nick Feik that has summarised the ordeal for a big island audience, there is precious little more to say (other than that the great Tasmanian sport of senseless departmental reshuffles has been fuelled further in this term by the number of MP resignations).  It has not helped that the Commission of Inquiry process lacked sufficient transparency for the public to know which agencies were culpable.  The next government will need to clean up this mess, but does anyone even know how?  The management of the post-COI process thus far suggests otherwise.  

On 17 March it came out that Michael Ferguson's office was informed of child abuse accusations against Senior Sergeant Paul Reynolds prior to Reynolds being given a guard of honour funeral.  Ferguson states that he did not see the briefing note prior to the funeral, and also that the funeral was a decision for the Police Commissioner.  Meg Webb is not impressed.  Nor are Labor.

* Cost of Living: A staple of election campaigns at the moment.  Labor has long campaigned on power prices and is promising to cap prices and undo rises over the last two years.  The Liberals have dismissed this as a gimmick with their social media team responding to a picture of Rebecca White signing a giant policy pledge with a 2004 picture of Mark Latham doing the same thing.  They have also attacked Labor's promises to cut power charges for small businesses, alleging that Labor has vastly under-costed these.  Labor has promised to scrap Aurora connection and disconnection fees.  

* Long Incumbency: The Rockliff government celebrated its tenth birthday eight days before polling day.  The problem for it with the promises it is energetically wheeling out to do new things is that each one it deploys is an admission that it hasn't done that thing in a decade in office.  Labor is using this quite effectively, asking if a government can't fix something in ten years why should it be expected to fix it in fourteen.  

* The Economy, Stupid: If the government can tell a strong enough story about how the economy is going and where it is going to (and paint government by anyone else as a risk to that) then all the other issues and chaos may not matter overmuch.  Unemployment is still relatively low by Tasmanian standards at 4.3% and at times there have been shortages of labor in some less glamorous industries (eg bus driving, see below).  The economy has been strong, but growth slowed during last year, and one key factor here is that population growth has slowed substantially.  There has also been a blowout of more than $200 million in the state's estimated budget deficit.  

* Health:  A perpetual suspect on these lists and the story is generally the same: that the health sector is under-resourced and overburdened and Tasmania is lagging in outcomes.  For all that it's often hard to discern how it's actually had an impact on election outcomes.  This time around an added dimension is alleged medical fraud with some dovetails with the COI process.  The Liberals have for some reason chosen to destroy their credibility on health by preselecting an anti-COVID-vaccine and pro-Ivermectin candidate, attracting flak from AMA Tasmania.  They have also adopted a policy to "ban ramping" which seems to amount to defining it out of existence by moving patients inside after 30 minutes; whether they will receive quality care in a timely fashion once there appears elusive.  

* Education: Another familiar suspect especially following recent news that irrespective of progress in other areas, Tasmania's year 12 attainment rate remains at an absymal 53%. Various prominent figures including former Labor Premiers Giddings and Bartlett and current Liberal state MP Bridget Archer have signed an open letter calling on the incoming Government to conduct an inquiry into the effectiveness of the system.  Education is sometimes the subject of spurious stereotypes (such as the zombie false claim that around one in two Tasmanians are illiterate - derived from a measure of "functional literacy").  

* Childcare: Labor has announced a policy to build 30 new childcare centres; the Liberals have alleged it will cost several times Labor's estimate. Labor has also announced a policy to make government space available to childcare providers who pay above award wages.  

* Housing: Housing prices in Hobart have finally started to fall - a little bit - but the housing affordability and availability crisis that was an issue at the last election is very much still there, especially for renters.  Homelessness also continues to be a problem with the surge in tent living in near-urban bushland continuing.  The main issues here are construction and supply from existing houses.  Here the Government has a generally laissez-faire approach to houseowners wanting to transfer their houses to the short-stay accommodation market (often spuriously referring to extra houses owned by investors as "their homes") while Labor supports a freeze on new full home conversions.  The Greens support capping rent rises at the rate of inflation. During the campaign the government has introduced a policy of charging a 5% levy to the visitor to short stay accommodation and using this to fund an as-yet unannounced first home buyers scheme. This policy is similar to policies supported by Air BnB and I don't expect it would do anything for renters who are not close to buying their own home, beyond slightly reducing the demand for short-stay rental compared to hotels (Air BnB would apply the levy to all accommodation).  

The Government has also promised to axe stamp duty for first homes up to $750,000 but this seems likely to inflate house prices.  In a compassionate concession to renters the Government announced a move towards pet-keeping as a right but this has run into blowback from parts of the landlord lobby, with Hobart councillor Louise Elliot quitting the Liberals to run as an independent over the issue.

* Macquarie Harbour: As some change from the perennial greenies-vs-loggers battles, a major environmental issue at the moment is the plight of the Maugean skate, an ancient cartilaginous fish now known only from Macquarie Harbour, which is also the site of major fish-farming operations.   Both major parties are keen to be seen as supporting the salmon industry and to downplay its blame level for recent drops in the skate population.  The issue also has a federal dimension.  (As for the greenies/loggers battles, there has been a little bit of a flare-up, including Bob Brown getting arrested for by my count the tenth time.)  The Lambie Network has been a target of wedging over Senator Lambie's position that the farming is a "problem", which at least one of her candidates has also endorsed.  

* Logging: The sleepy above-mentioned greenie-loggers battles ramped up with the Premier announcing the state would start logging 40,000 hectares provisionally reserved under the 2012 "peace deal".  This may provide some desperately needed oxygen for the Greens, who have otherwise been forced to run on mainly human rather than environmental issues.  John Tucker has criticised the plan saying that the controversial sourcing would in fact put the industry at risk.  The Tasmanian Forests Products Association has slammed the policy saying the government could have acted on resource security at any time in the last decade and that the government has different plans.  Labor proposes various relatively minor changes which industry figures have supported. In addition to the Greens' position against native forest logging, various independents including Johnston, Hickey, Glade-Wright and Lohberger - and also some Local Network and AJP candidates - have signed a statement to the same effect.   ALP lay member Ali Alishah, who has a long history of forest protest arrests, has been in jail on a hunger strike during the campaign.  Bob Brown also recorded at least his 10th environmental arrest and palawa elder Jim Everett was arrested in the final week.

* Energy: Labor suffered an embarrassment when it had to rejig a policy to create a new state-owned renewable energy company, having to reverse its plan to move the Hydro's consulting arm Entura into the proposed government business enterprise.  The Marinus Link interconnector project, one of the flashpoints between the government and Tucker, has also been a flashpoint with the government committed to the project but Labor wanting to sell Tasmania's share of the project back to the Commonwealth.  

* Integrity: The Government has from time to time come under fire over conflict of interest accusations and has faced claims that between one and three of its candidates may be under investigations from Tasmania's opaque, toothless and yet still strangely problematic Integrity Commission.  Labor issued an integrity policy that was well regarded, although Labor was itself criticised for failing to support amendments to the Government's electoral reform Bills (which ended up never being proclaimed anyway) - Labor's stated reason for not supporting amendments being that it believed the Government would drop the Bills if it did.  The Integrity Commission CEO issued a statement criticising politicisation of the Commission, but the statement contained an apparent error in claiming that investigations were necessarily private.   There is widespread support from others for strengthening the Integrity Commission, including but not limited to Jacqui Lambie Network, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Sue Hickey and the Greens.  

* Racing: The Tasmanian harness racing industry became a farce on this government's watch with explosive accusations of team driving, animal welfare issues and mishandled investigations.  A review has found these largely substantiated but there has not been any lasting sanction yet.  Both a previous life ban for trainer Ben Yole (for lack of evidence) and track bans on four trainers including Yole (for lack of due process) were overturned on appeal.  The latter came on 23 Feb during the campaign.  Liberal MP Madeleine Ogilvie was especially criticised as Minister for Racing (particularly by Labor's Dean Winter who is an avid follower of the sport) and eventually moved to other portfolios.  

* Women In Politics: In an echo of the Morrison Government's problems with treatment of women, the Liberals started the term with 4 women out of 11 in the lower house but now have one.  None of the resignations (Sarah Courtney and Jacquie Petrusma for family reasons, Elise Archer text messages and alleged office culture issues which she denies, and also Lara Alexander from the party) were specifically because of gender issues but it's a very unfortunate coincidence for the party to have lost nearly all its female MPs.  It does have 3 out of 4 in the upper house, one of whom was given major ministries ahead of John Tucker after only a year and a half in parliament.   The preselection of just 11 women in a team of 35 candidates, including a pathetic 1/7 in Franklin, has not helped the Liberals on this issue.

* The UTAS Move:  moved to Clark guide.

* Gambling: The government caused much surprise when it announced precommitment cards for poker machines in December 2021, but they have not been implemented before the early election.   Labor got burnt in the outer suburbs in 2018 and had a lot of dark money deployed against it after adopting a plan to restrict poker machines to casinos, and in 2021 signed a memorandum with the industry that was subsequently leaked.  It seems doubtful Labor in office would go through with the government's plan.  The Liberals have kept the pot boiling with a promise of some extra funding for their plan.  However the appearance of Liberal election signs on several well-known pokies pubs has resulted in cynicism.

* Real Time Metro Bus Tracking:  This is my guide and I can impose an election issue if I want to!  It is an absolute joke that in 2024 we still do not have real-time tracking of Metro buses in Tasmania, especially as those bus services still running after recent "temporary adjustments" that removed several services can be unpredictably early or late.  Real-time tracking has been on the drawing board for years and is supposedly coming in as part of a new ticketing system.  Parliament should be doing everything in its power to ensure the process proceeds quickly and is funded to make the system as good as it possibly can be. I want to be able to load up a map on my mobile phone and watch a bus icon disappear into the underground bus mall the Liberals promised in the 2018 election.  

Buses became an issue on 21 Feb with the government promising to halve fares on Metro and intercity buses and Labor promising to do the same but also to fix up the bus service.  The Greens support free buses, Sue Hickey supports a permanent halfprice, and David O'Byrne says the Liberals should deliver on past commitments before making new ones.  My own view is that greatly improving the service is far more important than changing the price.  As for real time tracking, supposedly coming later this year.  

The Campaign

The expansion to the 35-seat system together with the snap election has affected the parties' ability to find candidates.  The Labor ticket is rather lacklustre with few obvious new stars (one of whom quit anyway) but it has had a smoother run than the Liberals, who are under fire over several questionable choices.  

The Government's campaign early in the election combined what seemed to be a defensive approach with a high level of energy in policy announcements.  The Labor campaign for its part was modest and fairly tightly focused around a set of issues that the party sees as relatable.   In the second week of the campaign Labor were set back by an energy policy mistake while the Government seemed to have no end of energy for press releases.  Indeed the government put out so many policies that seemed designed to polarise while annoying relevant stakeholder groups that its campaign seemed like a circular procession of dead cat throwing.  The frantic tempo of the government campaign has meant that a depleted Tasmanian press pack has rarely stayed on any one sorepoint for long.  

The Strategy

Notes on campaign strategy matters will be added here.

The Stadium: I find the decision by the Premier to stress that he would limit public funding to the stadium at $375 million to be an unusual move.  Presumably there is an informed perception from his strategists (or should that be strategist, singular?) that the stadium is hurting the government badly and needs to be neutralised.  The issue with this ploy is that it means the stadium is dead if private sector funding is not forthcoming to cover seemingly inevitable blowouts.  So how does one attack Labor for risking "killing the team and killing the dream" (a common government mantra in parliament) if one is potentially committing stadicide oneself?  It seems to throw away any ground from which to attack Labor's policy to renegotiate, and I wonder if the number of voters whose concerns are assauged by the Premier saying he will limit public funding can be worth it.   

Minority Games: At this election so far Premier Rockliff has not ruled out governing in minority but has said the Liberals would govern alone or not at all, and would not do deals with the Greens.  He has also said he would not be trading ministerial positions or policies, or agree to anything that constrained his government, but is open to conversations (suggesting he might agree to minor deals on process or matters that were not the subject of a Liberal policy in return for confidence or supply with other parties or independents.)  Opposition Leader White has ruled out deals with minor parties but has been on and off as to whether that also specifically includes independents (the latest version was it does).  She has explicitly said she could govern in minority with no deals, a la Chris Minns in NSW, who was offered confidence and supply by crossbenchers with no strings attached.  

Premier Rockliff has claimed that if there is a minority situation and his party wins the most seats then that will be a mandate for the Liberals' plans, but a mandate in a hung parliament only exists if a party forms government and even then on such conditions as the crossbench may agree with (and with everything broadly consistent with what parties said at the election).  Thus if crossbenchers supply only minimal support and reserve a free vote on legislation, the parliament could have a mandate to block some government policies, as in the 1996-8 term.  

Opposition Leader White has claimed that only a vote for Labor can remove the Liberals.  This is a bogus line that seems embedded in Labor campaigning nationwide.  For instance in NSW Labor did not get a majority, but wins by independents in otherwise Coalition seats pushed the Coalition so low in the seat count that it could not sensibly even try to stay in government, while Green wins in otherwise Labor seats did not stop Labor winning.  What is most likely to keep Labor in opposition if there is a hung parliament with slightly unfavourable numbers is itself.  (See also "The Formation" section below.)

The Liberals have attacked pretty much everyone who might work with them in an attempt to polarise primary votes, but if they fall short this could well come back to bite them.  In particular Jacqui Lambie has attacked them over an anti-JLN attack site and has said that they are damaging their chances and that Labor is being "a lot smarter".  

Partial Rollouts: Both major parties released slates of candidates in advance of the election being called.  Labor's was just a little short of the target of 35 and was generally viewed as underwhelming (especially after Michelle Dracoulis withdrew).  The Liberals announced only 15 candidates including 11 incumbents and 4 new candidates (one of whom also withdrew), a strange decision which may have been meant to highlight that Eric Abetz was running, but resulted in claims they couldn't find enough candidates. 

Local Campaigning: It was reported by the Fontcast that Labor will adopt the ACT Labor method of regional campaigning in which candidates are given areas to target.  This was not confirmed by the party and less was said about it during the campaign, suggesting that if anything it was only a tendency.

The Formation

There are a going to be a lot of questions about how government is formed if (and I stress that that's still an if not a when) no-one wins a majority.  Firstly, the incumbent Premier is entitled to remain Premier for the time being until they are voted out on the floor, so even if there is an apparent opposition arrangement the Premier is not required to resign immediately (Robin Gray insisted on his right to "meet the parliament" in 1989 but many other Premiers in such cases have not).  If there is a prolonged negotiation phase the Premier may be reappointed temporarily while negotiations continue.  

If neither major party wins a majority or is willing to form a stable government a situation could in theory arise in which the Premier requests and is granted a further election.  However this is unlikely, as in past cases whatever has been said before the election a way has been found for a government to form.

The most likely way things will progress is that either the government will clearly have the numbers on confidence and supply and will continue, or else the opposition will have the numbers, throw out the government, and be installed as its replacement.  

A minority government need not necessarily be a coalition government or form by a deal.  As in New South Wales, a minority government can form based on commitments of confidence and supply unilaterally given by crossbenchers.  There has been a lot of confusion between minority governments and coalitions already.  A coalition exists when a minor party or independent/s joins the Executive as ministers.  Labor/Green coalitions are common in the ACT, but in the states there have been 12 no-majority election results not counting the Liberal-National established Coalitions since 1980, of which only three resulted even arguably in coalitions (and two of those are scraping the barrell). 

In the event of the incumbent Premier being voted down, the next Premier need not be the Opposition Leader.  The Governor can appoint whoever, in their judgement, is the most likely to lastingly command the confidence of the House.  With some polls suggesting crossbenchers could win as many seats as or more seats than the Labor Opposition, a crossbench Premier would be a freak scenario, but not impossible.  

The Debates

Notes on any debates will be added here.    People's jury style "victories" in these debates are worse than useless as a predictor of results.

* Property Council, 12 March 2023.  The debate was generally regarded as not a gamechanger.  

* Sky News People's Forum Rockliff/White scheduled for 4-5 pm 20 March.  Many voters had already voted.  The audience was drawn from Clark and Franklin and is likely to therefore have been left-skewed, especially as Clark voters may be undecided between various left of centre options.  Various reports indicated White as "winning" the debate (eg on substance of health policy or applause levels) but it is unknown to me whether there was an official measure of this or by what margin if so.  Mercury online subscribers, who are likely to skew against Labor, voted Rockliff the winner 64-36.  The debate featured two personal clashes over the proposed AFL stadium.  

The Polling

Polling in Tasmania is usually scarce. At this election there has been quite an amount, but as polling day is approached, most appears to be at least two weeks' old.  In general polls have a double-digit swing against the Liberal Party, with Labor either gaining nothing or going backwards, and the Greens, Jacqui Lambie Network and Independents all in the hunt for multiple seats.  On average the polls have the non-major party vote up about 15 points on 2024 which would be remarkable if true.  

 At the start of the campaign the most recent EMRS poll from November had the Government on 39%, Labor 29%, Greens 12% and unnamed others 19%.  The Government had been as low as 33% after the departure of Tucker and Alexander but had largely recovered to its previous support level.  

A YouGov poll in January had Liberal 31 Labor 27 Greens 15 IND 7 and Lambie Network an improbable 20.

During the campaign the February EMRS had a result of Liberal 39 Labor 26 Greens 12 JLN 9 IND 14 others 1 - see main article.

A mystery poll believed to be commissioned by the THA had the Liberals with about a 35-27 lead.  A further mystery poll later revealed as being by Freshwater had the Liberals ahead about 37.3-22.5.  

Redbridge had Liberals 33 Labor 29 Greens 14 JLN 10 Ind/Other 14 - see article.

Commissioned uComms polls by the Australia Institute Tasmania are seen now and then but the pollster was very unreliable at the 2021 election with a 7.4% underestimate of the Liberal Party primary.  No explanation for this failure has been presented by uComms.  A uComms for this election had Liberals 37.1 Labor 23.0 Greens 13.8 Ind 12.4 JLN 8.5 Others 5.

My polling aggregate for this election (to be revised) suggests 15-10-4-3-3 as a reasonable read of the polls.

Commissioned Community Engagement polls for an unknown source have been seen widely but no claimed results.  This is not a publicly proven reliable pollster in Australia.  Many other unusual internal polls have been reported.  

The Poll Denying

Rebecca White in a Stateline interview on March 15 suggested the polls were unreliable citing examples like Trump/Clinton (where the national polls were in fact accurate, the problem being with polling or lack thereof in critical states) and the 2019 federal election (a 3-point error, far smaller than Labor would need to get a majority).  She also said "and we can do it" (in reference to getting 50% of the vote after one poll had Labor on 23%), supposedly on the basis of a large number of undecided voters (EMRS and Redbridge had 8% and 6% respectively three weeks out from election day).  White also cherrypicked a 16-point loss in support for the Liberals (found in only one of the four most recent polls).   

The Prospects

This section will evolve as the campaign develops. 

The government is ten years old but has the large benefit of being in opposition federally.  Historically in state elections these two factors go close to cancelling each other out in this case, but on average age would be a slightly bigger factor than the federal effect, and the government will be overperforming the national pattern if it survives in majority.  (It also overperformed in 2021 when the Coalition was in government federally and the Tasmanian government would normally have gone backwards but lost no seats.)

The Liberal Party has been severely affected by losses of personnel, scandals and general third-term problems and it will be hard for it to avoid a swing against it, which could be large.  As its 2021 result would have been lineball in the 35 seat system there appears a high risk of the government losing its majority, but it is too early to be sure that this will happen.  A majority would most likely require at least three four-seat electorate results, and while that is vaguely plausible given some of the polls, a further challenge is winning three in Clark.  (Another path is four fours and a two, but with the crowded Franklin field that doesn't seem too likely either.  A third, difficult, path is 5-4-4-3-2).  

On the Labor side there is nothing in pre-campaign polling to suggest the party will get more than three anywhere, and it would seem to be doing very well to even get five threes.  It's not even clear it will get any.  Labor would hope to do well enough to govern without needing the Greens, but that is looking very difficult.  

In the event of a hung parliament a potential problem for the Liberals - even if they win the most seats - could be finding anyone who will work with them, as the most likely crossbenchers are mostly either left-leaning or ambiguous.  For Labor if it can get close to a majority it might be able to function in a NSW Labor style minority without doing the policy deals with other parties that it has ruled out, but it won't form government if deeply in minority by that method.  

The Greens could if things go well increase from their current two seats to about four, though none of the gains are guaranteed and gains beyond four will be difficult.  I think that the Greens, while attracting much less criticism than the major parties in this term, are also struggling for oxygen - to the extent that two of their three campaign issues are human issues (health and housing) and in the case of health I think they will be overshadowed by Labor.

The Jacqui Lambie Network can win a few if it can carry its federal vote over, but it is likely to suffer from having low profile candidates; even so in some seats it looks a good chance anyway.  Independents should win at least two seats (at least one in Clark and David O'Byrne is also seen as likely) with  potential for as many as six.  

This is a messy election because of the unusually large number of competing units, the expansion of the parliament and the potential for a post-election phase before the real winner is known.

The Parties

As well as Labor, Liberal and Green, four other parties are registered:

Jacqui Lambie Network

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

Animal Justice Party

Local Network

The Local Network often claims its candidates to be independents, but they are not, as they are endorsed by a registered party and would be dependent on that party's processes and values for re-endorsement in the event that they are elected.  

Endorsing Groups

As with the federal election this election has seen some non-party groups endorse candidates.  One of these has been Voices of Tasmania, which seeks to endorse community-independent style candidates. This group surprised me with its initial list of 15 endorsements which not only included Local Network party candidates but also included a candidate who is only an independent because his party disendorsed him (O'Byrne), a non-candidate who never publicly canvassed running as other than a party candidate (Ryan Posselt - since removed), and even canvassed whether to endorse Lambie Network party candidates.  Despite Voices requiring their volunteers to abide by scientific consensus, they endorsed Craig Garland who has never denied authorship of the page that endorses the COVID Medical Network (antivax, pro-hydroxychloroquine), among other controversial comments and shares noted in my 2022 federal guide.   (I believe the Mercury's description of Norm Vanderfeen as Garland's campaign director has been disputed but the SMH also reported that the two were campaigning together).  Candidates endorsed by Voices are:  Offord, Garland, Freshney, Courtney, Davenport, Glade-Wright, T Cordover, Delaney (TLN), O'Byrne, Johnston,  Hickey, Campbell (TLN), Formby (TLN), Nunn (TLN).

The Save UTAS campaign group has also been involved in endorsement debates, discussed on the Clark page.  Save UTAS has endorsed, in Clark in order, Lohberger (IND), Bayley (GRN), Johnston (IND) and Vogel (IND), in other seats the lead Green candidates and the Greens broadly and also Tucker in Lyons.  

The Australian Christian Lobby has issued fliers surrounding their claims about the government's anti-conversion-therapy laws impacting on parental control over children's gender decisions.  Their fliers in general endorse the Liberals (B+) over other parties but give Alexander and Abetz (A+) the highest grade and A grades to Sladden, Antolli, Ferguson, Ellis, Petrusma, Barnett, Elliot (IND) and "Independent" in Lyons (presumed to be Tucker.)  They have also issued candidate questionnaires with Liberals Sladden, Antolli and Searle initially shown as ticking every box including defunding Dark Mofo.  However Antolli's box for defunding Dark Mofo was later changed to a cross.  (His answer which remained the same was that he did not know what funding existed and didn't like Dark Mofo and wanted to replace it with "a family friendly winter festival with lights and attractions that offends no-one".)  Kristie Johnston and the Greens collected near-complete and complete collections of crosses.

The Betting

Betting in Tasmanian elections has a dire predictive track record.  In 2006 Labor's odds of retaining majority government were as long as $9 at one point; not only did they do this, but they did so easily and nearly gained a seat.  In 2014 odds-on favourite candidates to top the poll failed to do so in three of the five electorates.  In 2018 "Liberal Majority" (a result that eventually occurred with about 6% of the vote to spare) was at $15 six weeks from the election, and the Liberals did not become favourites to win until a couple of weeks out.  (Even by election day they were only in the range 1.33-1.47.)

One major bookie advertises odds as paying out on who is sworn in, but Tasmania has a requirement to swear in a Premier within a week of the return of the writs, so I am not sure how they handle that in the case of a temporary Premier (a la Robin Gray being sworn in so he could meet the House in 1989, whereupon he was voted out).  

Anyway 15 Feb Liberal $1.50 Labor $2.50.  Shortly after $1.45/2.60 was seen. 
21 Feb 1.60/2.30
28 Feb 1.40/3.00 and some new markets Lib Min 2.10 Lib Maj 4.25 ALP Min 3.10 ALP Maj 34.  Plus seats: Lib 10-12 12.00 13-15 6.00 16-18 1.90 19-21 7.00  ALP 7-9 7.50 10-12 2.20 13-15 4.75 16-18 8.00 (these markets are often bad value, not so clearly here)
29 Feb 1.30/4.00 and someone has thrown money at 13-15 Lib moving it in to 3.50 and 16-18 Lib out to 2.50
6 Mar 1.15/7.00 (quite the blowout) Lib Min 1.70 Lib Maj 4.25 ALP Min 5.50 ALP Maj 34. Lib 13-15 and 16-18 tied at 2.50 (others long), ALP 10-12 at 2.00 and all others at least 7.00
Plus seat markets with favourites being: Bass 4-2-0-1-0 (Lib-ALP-Green-JLN-Ind), Braddon 4-2-0-1-0, Clark 2-2.5-1-0-1 (ALP 2 and ALP 3 tied), Franklin 3-2-1-0-1, Lyons 3-2-1-1-0
8 Mar Lib Min 1.60 Lib Maj 4.25 ALP Min 6.50 ALP Maj 34.  Upload of seat odds and total odds.
15 Mar Lib Min 1.50 Lib Maj 4.75 ALP Min 7.00 ALP Maj 34.  Seat odds and total odds AWOL.
19 Mar 1.10/9.00
20 Mar 1.08/11.00 Lib Min 1.40 Lib Maj 4.50 ALP Min 11 ALP Maj 51
21 Mar 1.08/11.00 Lib Min 1.30 Lib Maj 6.00 ALP Min 11 ALP Maj 51 Other 101 New seat totals upload (points to about 16-11-3-3-2).  

The Electoral Act 

Notes relating to the Electoral Act and other electoral legislation will be included here.

The Act was extensively amended during the term with a new disclosure and public funding scheme put in place but it was not proclaimed in time for this election.  During the amendment process the Legislative Council blocked an amendment that would have allowed for naming of candidates without their consent in campaign material; this has been a past source of argy-bargy between the Electoral Commission and the Greens, though the Electoral Commission has backed off as concerns Facebook posting and so on.  The elections for now three Legislative Council seats soon after this election could be very consequential for the future of electoral reform.  

The Liberals have proposed to ban party-hopping - see separate article.  The proposal is supported by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and opposed by Labor, the Greens, Hickey, Tucker, Alexander and me.

The Government did not introduce new savings provisions to accompany the return to a requirement to number from 1-5 boxes.  Tasmanians had to number from 1-5 at the 2021 state election and 2022 council elections, 1-6 at the 2022 Senate election and now 1-7.  It is possible there will be an increased informal voting rate depending on the quality of awareness campaigns.  Most likely the Lambie Network tickets that run only three candidates will be hurt by this, but not severely (it could cost them, say, a few tenths of a percent).

The postal vote return window includes two Easter public holiday days.  This may affect postal turnout although in Tasmania postal votes tend not to break that strongly compared with other votes.  

Simon Behrakis issued a release asking about a supposed rumour that Labor had done a deal with Ryan Posselt in which he stood down from Clark in exchange for Legislative Council preselection and that this may breach Section 187 of the Electoral Act.  No evidence was presented that Posselt had stood down from anything, he had simply not been preselected.  Even if he had stood down from preselection, the bribery provisions of S 187 refer to a decision to nominate as a candidate, not a preselection decision, so for the theory to fly Posselt would need to have threatened to nominate as an independent (which would have got him expelled from the party if he did).  And I am still sceptical, as courts tend to view promises or threats around preselection as outside the ambit of improper influence laws, and flippantly because even if they didn't one might well debate whether the value of being preselected for Labor for Hobart these days exceeded three fee units (=$5.34).  (This said the unexplained listing of Posselt as an independent candidate by Voices of Tasmania does raise the question of whether he did explore such a run).  

Curiously the same misunderstanding of what "electoral conduct" is appeared in the Spectator when the "Australian Medical Professionals Association" (an anti-COVID-vaccination/mandates group) accused the AMA Tasmania of breaching Section 189 simply for calling for Julie Sladden to be disendorsed by the Liberal Party.  Section 189 deals with violence and intimidation, which simply calling for a candidate to be disendorsed is obviously not (it's an expression of opinion) but also S 189 relies on the definition of "electoral conduct" in S 187, which includes Sladden's decision to nominate as a candidate but does not include someone else's decision to preselect her.  

There is just enough time for candidates who fail to be elected (or even those doing a "Brooksy", ie winning and resigning immediately) to run for the Legislative Council too.  They are ineligible under S 76 1 (b) of the Act to nominate while the writs for the Assembly are out, but the count should finish around April 5 and the writs are returned very quickly after that.  Nominations for the Council close on April 11.

The Examiner has published letters calling on the Premier to hold an indicative popular vote (which Tasmanian law calls a "referendum") regarding the AFL stadium with the election.  This is impossible as a referendum must be authorised by an Act of Parliament and the Assembly has been dissolved.  Even if it was possible the minimum time from a referendum being triggered to it being held is 42 days (Referendum Procedures Act 2004).

The issue of whether non-humans can run for office from time to time excites commentary.  The TEC may have to consider whether frogs and paper tigers are allowed.

Any councillor/mayor/deputy who is elected relinquishes their council seat immediately, triggering:
- for mayors, a by-election for the mayor and one councillor
- for deputies, a round-table election of a new deputy and a recount (or a by-election if no remaining candidates) of the council seat
- for councillors, a recount (or a by-election if no remaining candidates) of the council seat

The Lambie Network complained vigorously after the Liberals registered as an anti-JLN attack site, but don't have a leg to stand on and were very sloppy for not registering it themselves.  Lambie's name and image can be freely used as Lambie is not a candidate.  JLN hit back with a page claiming the Liberals had bought the site for 10,000 GBP from a squatter, but this appears to be based on a listed sale price visible on Wayback in late 2021 and early 2022.  The Liberals say they bought the site from Godaddy for $34.95 in "April last year"; the whois shows the site's registration as being updated 31 March 2023 (likely to be 1 April our time) and does not match JLN's claim that the site was purchased on 10 March 2024.  In my view JLN's claim about how the Liberals got the site is false.   

There have been frequent claims about parties naming candidates online without consent in supposed breach of the archaic Section 196.  The TEC has issued a new ruling about social media usage and S 196; this follows the DPP advising it couldn't be enforced against the Greens in the Huon 2020 Legislative Council contest.  The suggestion is that social media posts are not necessarily covered but some other forms of online material still might be and each case would be considered on its merits.  The only specific enforcement attempt I am aware of was against the green/left oriented satire site Juice Media, which was asked to remove an image of Premier Rockliff after the TEC ruled that one of its mock advertisements was likely to be an advertisement (following a complaint that probably came from the Liberals who support scrapping S196 except for how to vote cards anyway).  However I understand there have been several other takedowns.  [Update: Anti-stadium group Our Place was another, for the same thing.]

Jacquie Petrusma has used signs describing her as "Jacquie Petrusma MP".  This is misleading to the extent that voters may think it means she is a current MP, but it isn't illegal.

What is illegal is putting signs on roadside reserves without authority in breach of the Roads and Jetties Act 1935 but more candidates seem to have done this than are actually in the election.

Gaffes And Colourful Incidents

This is always my favourite section!

* On 13 February an account called was banned from Wikipedia with reason "Username represents a non-profit" after briefly editing the Local Network page with material favourable to the Local Network.  The edit attempt gave the impression of being signed by the party's Registered Officer.  (If the user was indeed connected with the Local Network, this is also a violation of Wikipedia conflict of interest principles.)

* Defending against the charge that the Liberals have a problem with women, their sole remaining female lower house MP Madeleine Ogilvie gave an interview that used the word "I" nine times in four sentences starting with "I’m a big fan of women and, you know, I am one".  If you think that sounds silly wait til you see the video.  

* The strongly-rumoured return of Jacquie Petrusma to the Liberal Franklin ticket was accidentally leaked prior to approval via the publication of a preplanned ad in the Eastern Shore Sun.

* The biggest new name on Labor's first candidate reveal, Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis, was scratched before the election was even called.  Dracoulis had previously quit a Labor ticket interstate.  A shame as I was looking forward to discussing how the self-styled "redneck mayor" would go!  This time the motive according to the Fontcast was being assigned a campaigning region that did not include enough of her council turf (however accounts of whether this was actually the case varied in a later episode).

* Tony Mulder has fought so many elections that recycled Mulder election signs have been seen saying "Tony Mulder ... Fighting For" followed by a yellow taped line over the names of previous electorates.

* The announcement of the independent run by Jack Davenport saw a chain of strange happenings after The Examiner briefly published an article, according to the candidate in breach of a clear embargo.  The Greens issued a brutal statement that he had run last for preselection with 11 votes (itself strange given past opacity on Greens preselections). Simon Behrakis was shown as author of a statement from the Liberals exploiting this, except (whether because of the embargo or the putridly illiberal S 196 of the Electoral Act) the statement was soon blanked, to be replaced by a bland statement by Michael Ferguson the next day.

* JLN candidate Andrew Jenner made Facebook comments suggesting he was being muzzled against his will on the stadium, then made Facebook comments suggesting he wasn't being muzzled, then deleted the comments. 

* Simon Behrakis released a statement attacking Labor for blowing its office spending budget and claimed Labor had spent "an eye watering $94,000 on consultants." but this was sent flying out of the ring by the Mercury's David Killick with "The government spent $56.5 million on consultants last financial year, which was $29.2 million over budget."  Ouch!

* In probably the most serious blunder of the campaign, Labor had to edit its Tasmanian Power Company policy to remove the inclusion of Entura, causing the above mentioned Killick to say the plan "had the half-life of a rare isotope of whoopsadasyium because someone forgot to get the union on board".

* Guy Barnett said "There will be no ramping under our government" in a moment that was a dead ringer for Julia Gillard's "There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead".  

* The Australia Institute issued a press release advertising a press conference by "seven independent candidates" on the subject of native forest logging, but only three of them were actually independents; three were from the Local Network and one from the Animal Justice Party.  

* Liberal Franklin candidate Aldo Antolli was inundated with abuse after a text message flood to Lyons voters attacking the Jacqui Lambie Network defaulted to his phone number.  Antolli called it a "monumental screw-up" and was described as "the Franklin candidate" in director Peter Coulson's explanation of what happened.  

* Probably the best zinger of the campaign: Dean Winter for "Even spuds are deserting the so-called spud farmer" on news that Peter Dutton would not be joining Jeremy Rockliff's campaign.  Harsh!

* Rebecca White emailed policy details to three members of the ALP frontbench and apparently somehow included Liberal Speaker Mark Shelton on the distribution list.  Of all the policies to leak in such a manner it was ... the cybersecurity policy.

* The Examiner published an election prediction by veteran commentator Barry Prismall that among other lesser implausibles had eight candidates (3 Lib, 3 ALP, 1 JLN and Tucker) winning in Lyons.  

* Labor's costings released on 21 March contained mismatches between tables and had to be reissued.  The document also led to a surprise zinger burst from Michael Ferguson, who took a break from being attacked over the Paul Reynolds funeral to call it "the greatest work of fiction since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and said that Labor should have employed ChatGPT.  

* The Liberals tried to use the Distracted Boyfriend meme to troll Labor about their above costings but were cleaned up by Labor's Simon Davis after stuffing it up.

* The Tasmanian Electoral Commission has misspelled the Premier's surname as "Rockliffe" in at least two emails asking people to cease using his image without consent, and also incorrectly referred to the current Act as the 1985 Act (it is 2004) in at least one.

* Not necessarily a gaffe, just interesting: Sue Hickey's slogan "Conviction, Courage and Compassion" was written by ChatGPT! 

Most Irrelevant Intervention

An easy win for film megastar Leonardo DiCaprio, who despite being famous primarily for 1. acting at which he is very good 2. swanning about on gigantic yachts and private jets 3. social media jokes about whether his girlfriends had a useby age of 25, nonetheless purported to lecture our election about ending native forest logging.  

Runner-up: Gerard Rennick for endorsing Julie Sladden on the grounds that she is "taking a stand as a patriot to make sure we stop the communists from taking over the country".


* The last two terms combined have run for six years and 20 days.  However there have been four shorter two-term sequences since World War II: 1946-48-50 (Legislative Council interference followed by grumpy crossbenchers), 1955-6-9 (deadlocked parliaments, one of which included a cross-party defection), 1976-9-82 (attempt to get bigger majority followed by government collapse) and 1986-9-92 (unnecessary early election followed by government collapse)

* (Spotted by Alex Johnston) This is the first time February 29 has happened during an election campaign since 1916.

* The Greens drew first column on the ballot paper in three divisions.  The chance of a specific party that was running in all five divisions doing this well or better is about 1 in 78.

* The total number of non-registered-party candidates is 29 but this is actually not a record; there were 32 in 1982.  However in those days a registerd group had to have more than one candidate, requiring prominent independents to have running mates (this changed in 2004).  

* The Rockliff Government celebrated 10 years since its 2014 election win on March 15.  It was the fourth Tasmanian government by a specific clearly-formed party to reach this milestone and surprisingly the second to do it during an election campaign.  But things did not go well for the first such birthday boy with the Holgate government losing heavily in 1982. 

Scratched/Disendorsed Candidates Tally:

Since Election Called: 3 (IND 1, Local 1, SFF 1 - all withdrawals)
(I have deleted one very low profile self-declared independent who I now believe was never a serious candidate.)

Before Election Called: 3 (Labor 2 Liberal 1 - all withdrawals)


Not-A-Polls are up on the sidebar that you can vote in if you have a view about the results.  Remember that there are 35 seats in total so if you vote in all five polls, try to pick a total breakdown first and make sure it adds up to 35.  In 2014 and 2018 the Not-A-Polls skewed to the left by a seat or two but in 2021 they were spot on.

Other Guides and Resources