Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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


  1. Comment from Toni McLean:

    Here is another candidate for your list. My name is Toni McLean and I am on the campaign team for Angela Offord who is standing as an independent in Lyons. She is a local vet and long time resident in the area. For more information you can contact Angela at

  2. Good morning Kevin, with around 5 weeks to go have you got any insight to if or when the next Tasmanian poll will be released?

  3. I think for major parties the number of seats will be 10 to 15. With a Cross bench consisting of greens,independents and the Lambie network

  4. Comment from John Parry:



    Elected without issue: Behrakis, Ogilvie, Willie, Bayley

    Contest 1: Johnston / Hickey / Burnett (2 out of 3), likely Johnston / Hickey
    Contest 2: Haddad / Benson, likely HaddadLikely result, Lib 2, Lab 2, Grn 1, Ind 2


    Elected without issue: Winter, Woodruff, Abetz

    Contest 1: Deane / Thorpe, likely Thorpe

    Contest 2: Street / Petrusma, likely Street
    Contest 3: O’Byrne / 2nd Green, likely O’ByrneContest 4: (Street/Petrusma), Glade-Wright, Hannan, likely Glade-Wright
    Likely result, Lib 2, Lab 2, Grn 1, Ind 2


    Elected without issue: White, Butler, Barnett, Howlett

    Contest 1: Shelton / Tucker / DiFalco (2 out of 3), likely Tucker, Shelton

    Contest 2: Badger / Farrell, likely winner Badger
    Likely result: Lib 3, Lab 2, Grn 1, Ind 1


    Elected without issue: Broad, Dow, Rockcliff, Jaensch, Ellis

    Contest: Briggs / Garland / Cutts / Mead (2 out of 4), likely Garland, Cutts
    Likely result: Lib 3, Lab 2, Ind 1, JLN 1


    Elected without issue: Ferguson, Wood, O’Byrne, Finlay, Rosel, Fairs

    Contest: Gatenby / Armstrong / Alexander, likely Armstrong
    Likely result: Lib 3, Lab 2, Grn 1, JLN 1

    Total: Lib 13, Lab 10, Grn 4, JLN 2, Ind 6

    1. Thats a great break down John. Those 6 independent, I think at least 3 align Liberal and 1 aligns Labor, with 1 true independent and 1 unknown. So on balance that would result in a Liberal government with a wide cross bench plus JLN support.

    2. I suggest jnl does better
      Not sure Tucker can win
      Alp can win 3 in Lyons and maybe win a second third seat elsewhere.

  5. Hi Kevin, thanks for your comprehensive rundown as per usual. Do you know if the Tas EC publishes the number of voters who have pre-polled either in a daily or weekly digest? I suspect the answer is no, but had to ask

  6. Comment from Todd Wilson
    Hello Kevin,
    I am struggling to find explanation as to why some candidates are categorised under a Group heading such as 'G', 'H', or 'J', while others are lumped together as 'Ungrouped'? And is there a kind of alliance connection between a 'Group H' candidate in Lyons and a 'Group H' candidate in Franklin, for example?

    If you can shed light on this, it would be appreciated.

    Kind regards,


    1. Independents are listed under a Group heading if they apply for their own column with 100 signatures instead of the 10 signatures otherwise required, A non-party Group column can contain more than one candidate but in this case all the non-party Groups are lone independents. The letters simply reflect position on the ballot paper as randomly drawn and are not connected between electorates. The advantage of having a Group listing for an indepedent is standing out better on the ballot paper and getting a better draw than the ungrouped column which is always on the far right.


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