Happy new year everybody. Limiting our brief to known knowns, we have the following entries in the 2011 electoral calendar.

• The NSW Labor government’s date for the electoral mincer is set for March 26. Mumble man Peter Brent has bravely ventured that Labor “will do better than opinion polls in 2010 said they would, perhaps emerging with around 30 out of 93 seats”. My tip is that this prediction of Brent’s won’t scrub up quite as nicely after the event as those he made in relation to Victoria.

• John Brumby’s exit from politics will result in a by-election in his ultra-safe northern Melbourne seat of Broadmeadows, probably in February or March. According to David Rood of The Age, early contenders for Labor preselection include “former Brumby adviser and Labor state secretary Nick Reece, former adviser to Steve Bracks and lobbyist Danny Pearson, Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, ex-Labor party officer and right-wing figure Mehmet Tillem, recently defeated Labor upper house MP Nathan Murphy and former Hobsons Bay Council mayor Bill Baarini”. One might surmise that other Victorian by-elections will follow before the year is through.

• Four of the 15 seats in Tasmania’s Legislative Council will become vacant this year, with elections almost certain to be held on May 7. These include two of the three seats held by Labor, with the other two being among the 11 held by independents (Vanessa Goodwin in Pembroke being the sole Liberal). In the normal course of events, two or three seats are on rotation to become vacant each year: this year is the turn of Launceston, Murchison and Rumney. Veteran independent Don Wing is retiring in Launceston, which will be constested for the Liberals by state party president Sam McQuestin. Sitting independent Ruth Forrest will seek another term in Murchison – she will be opposed by a Labor candidate in the person of Waratah-Wynyard mayor Kevin Hyland (UPDATE: Kevin Bonham in comments advises that Hyland is no longer a starter), but not by the Liberals. Labor’s Lin Thorp is up for re-election in Rumney, and I can find no mention of potential challengers (it’s not unknown for Legislative Council members to be returned unopposed, but the Greens at least can be relied upon to take a shot in metropolitan seats). The bonus fourth seat is a by-election caused by the retirement of former Treasurer Michael Aird. Labor’s new nominee is Derwent deputy mayor Craig Farrell.

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