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Tasmanian Politics

May 4, 2013

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Live commentary

8.18pm. Final results for the night have Jim Wilkinson re-elected with 48.8% in Nelson, and Vanessa Goowdin comfortably home with 51.2% of the vote in Pembroke to 35.9% for Allison Ritchie. Postals are still outstanding in Montgomery where Liberal candidate Leonie Hiscutt is on 45.6% with second-placed Cheryl Fuller on 30.0%.

7.53pm. Kevin Bonham observes a “very horrible result” for the Greens in Pembroke (12.8% with one booth to spare) but a “fairly good one” in Nelson (24.9%). Though presumably the lack of an alternative for Labor supporters in Nelson had a lot to do with this.

very horrible result in #Pembroke but a fairly good one

7.35pm. With all but three booths in, Liberal candidate Leonie Hiscutt is down a little to 48.1% in Montgomery. Still a very clear winner though.

7.33pm. Better looking numbers now for Vanessa Goodwin in Pembroke: 52.7% to Ritchie’s 34.4%. Very good night for the Liberals.

7.21pm. More good results for Montgomery Liberal candidate Leonie Hiscutt in two big booths. A clear win for her, and a big result for the Liberals. Expect federal Labor’s prospects in Bass and Braddon to feature heavily in the after-match commentary.

7.12pm. Five booths in out 13 in Pembroke and the result is settling in at around 50% for Goodwin, 37% for Ritchie and 12% for the Greens. Without having given the matter too much thought, this is a softer result for Goodwin (and a stronger one for Ritchie) than I would have expected.

7.06pm. Wilkinson’s vote down 13.2% according to Antony Green, although he may have faced a less competitive field last time.

7.03pm. Jim Wilkinson has faded to 49.0% in Nelson with four booths reporting out of 13, but he’s still home and hosed.

7.01pm. Lots of booths now from Montgomery, and while the biggest ones are still outstanding, the Liberal candidate is polled strongly in the South Burnie booth and is now looking a clear winner on 50.8% of the vote to 27.1% for Cheryl Fuller in second place.

7.00pm. And now the large (1890 votes) booth from Lindisfarne Village is in, and Goodwin’s vote edges up to 51.5%. Ritchie is down to 35.3%, but Lindisfarne was a strong booth for the Greens who are up to 13.3%.

6.59pm. In Pembroke, the Agfest booth is better for Goodwin than the Mornington booth, as I guess you’d expect it to be, and she now leads Ritchie 50.9% to 41.9%.

6.56pm. I failed to notice that there were 1079 postal votes in that result as well. So Wilkinson definitely in the clear.

6.55pm. One small booth in from Nelson provides no indication that independent member Jim Wilkinson will be troubled (59.1% of the vote from 155 votes counted).

6.53pm. Antony Green’s projection for Pembroke, going off the previous upper house election, is even more favourable for the Liberals: 49.4%.

6.49pm. First booth in Pembroke (Mornington) has what looks to my eyes a surprisingly strong result for Allison Ritchie, who is on 46.8% to 44.7% for Liberal member Vanessa Goodwin. Perhaps this booth is a Labor stronghold?

6.47pm. On the basis of the result just noted, Kevin Bonham’s model, which works off 2010 state election results, projects Hiscutt’s primary vote at 44%. If so, that should be enough for her. That would mean a second seat for the Liberals in the Legislative Council. Can any local scholars tell me when there were more official Liberal than Labor members in the chamber?

6.44pm. Nine booths in from Montgomery (one of those is the mobile booth, if you think that doesn’t count as a booth), and Hiscutt’s vote has faded only slightly to 50.4%. However, all are small rural booths (324 votes at most) and the ball remains in Burnie’s court. Cheryl Fuller is a clear second place on 29.9%.

6.34pm. Three admittedly small booths in from Montgomery, and Liberal candidate Leonie Hiscutt is polling very well indeed on 55.8% of the vote. You would want to see some booths in from Burnie though before drawing any conclusions.

6pm. Polls have closed, so welcome to the live coverage. I imagine the very first booths will report in half an hour or so.

Overview

As happens on the first Saturday of every May, there will be a partial election today for Tasmania’s Legislative Council. This chamber is composed of 15 representatives of single-member districts which face election over a six-year cycle, with either two or three seats up for election each year. This year is the turn of three electorates, two in and around Hobart and the other in the state’s north. The Legislative Council is overwhelmingly dominated by independents, with elections being subdued and locally oriented affairs that have more of the flavour of local than state government elections. However, the major parties sometimes win seats in Hobart especially. Labor held five seats at its electoral high-water mark from 2001 to 2007. Four of those have since fallen by the wayside, and the Liberals gained their one and only seat at a by-election in 2009. That was in the electorate of Nelson, which is one of the three up for election today. The other two are held by independents, of whom one is retiring and one seeking re-election.

Nelson. Hobart’s outer southern suburb of Sandy Bay and the satellite town of Kingston. Jim Wilkinson is seeking re-election after 18 years as independent member. He has attracted one Greens and two independent opponents. The independents are Helen Richardson, an Australian Education Union organiser who Labor presumably wouldn’t mind seeing get up, and Hans Willink, a former Liberal branch president and state election candidate who is running because of Wilkinson’s opposition to same-sex marriage legislation. The Greens candidate is Tom Baxter, an accountancy lecturer at the University of Tasmania. Kevin Bonham relates the results of the only opinion polling I’ve ever known to be conducted of a Tasmanian upper house election. Voting intention was not broached directly, and the results probably wouldn’t have been all that accurate if it had been, given the low intensity of Legislative Council contests.

Pembroke. The Hobart suburbs on the eastern shore of the Derwent River. This is the most intriguing contest from a partisan perspective, as it pits the chamber’s only Liberal member, Vanessa Goodwin, against former Labor member Allison Ritchie, who is running as an independent. Ritchie quit parliament in mid-2009 after enduring a storm of controversy over her appointment of several family members to her staff. Such were Labor’s diminishing stocks that they did not bother to field a candidate in the ensuing by-election, in which Goodwin won an easy victory from a crowd of eight candidates with 38.6% of the vote. Also in the field is Greens candidate Wendy Heatley, a legal aid lawyer.

Montgomery. Most of Burnie and the coast immediately to its east, including Penguin and Ulverstone. Sue Smith is retiring after 16 years as the seat’s independent member. The election has attracted an endorsed Liberal candidate and three independents. The Liberal is Leonie Hiscutt, a marriage celebrant and president of the Central Coast Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Hiscutt polled 4.2% as a candidate in Braddon at the 2010 state election. The independents are Cheryl Fuller, the deputy mayor of Central Coast; Kevin Morgan, a former Department of Premier and Cabinet adviser and former ALP member; and Ed Vincent, chief executive of the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association.

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