# % Proj. 2CP Proj.
Robert Armstrong 4179 20.4% 56.8%
Jimmy Bell 3167 15.4%
Rodney Dillon 1681 8.2%
Peter Hodgman (Liberal) 5362 26.1% 26.1% 43.2%
Helen Lane 868 4.2%
Pavel Ruzicka 1308 6.4%
Liz Smith 3949 19.3%
TOTAL 20514 81.2% of enrolled voters
Booths reporting 25 out of 25
Kerry Finch 11712 60.4% 60.9%
Don Morris (Liberal) 7689 39.6% 39.1%
TOTAL 19401 77.5% of enrolled voters
Booths reporting 15 out of 15

Monday night

Progressive preference distribution pretty much puts Robert Armstrong’s win beyond doubt. At the second last exclusion, Liz Smith looks set to drop out with 6411 votes to 6945 for Armstrong and 6941 for Peter Hodgman. Smith’s preferences then flow heavily to Armstrong, giving him a 10645-8080 victory. Hodgman might well have been the winner if it was Armstrong rather than Smith dropping out of the count, but the 543 vote gap that separates them is clearly insurmountable.

The table above has been updated with the latest counting, which included the addition today of 273 postal votes, and also with preference allocations based on the actual results rather than estimates based on past elections. Whereas the estimates had 56% going independent, 38% to the Liberals and 6% exhausting, the actual figures are 59% independent, 25% Liberal and 16% exhausting. I’ve turned off the projection for Huon, so this is all based on raw figures.

Sunday night

Rechecking and a handful of new votes have added 207 to the formal count in Huon, fractionally to the advantage of Hodgman and Smith and to the disadvantage of Armstrong, without changing the underly situation. Kevin Bonham reports that the “real action” of the preference distribution will start tomorrow afternoon.


The Tasmanian Liberals have suffered a very disappointing result from elections which they hoped would expand their existing foothold of two seats in the 15-member Legislative Council, where Labor has only one member with all other seats held by independents. At the northern end of the state, Kerry Finch has been comfortably returned as the independent member for Rosevears despite being targeted by an aggressive Liberal campaign which painted him as “just like the Greens”. At the southern end, voters in Huon appear to have rebuffed the Premier’s uncle, Peter Hodgman, in his bid to return to parliament after 13 years.

A well-known family name is a considerable asset in Tasmania’s Hare-Clark lower house elections, which puts candidates into competition with the other candidates on their own party ticket. This has at the very least done no harm to the electoral fortunes of current MPs bearing the names of Hodgman, Bacon, Groom, O’Byrne, Ogilvie and Petrusma (a Ken Bacon won election for Labor in Lyons in 1998 and 2002, despite being no relation). However, today’s result in Huon might indicate that this is in no way transferable to the more conventional electoral system for the upper house, where voters operating in a by-election environment may well react adversely to family empire-building – and perhaps also to candidates seeking to enter parliament a few weeks short of their sixty-eighth birthday.

Hodgman ends the night’s counting with a primary vote lead over six independent rivals, of whom the front-runners are Huon Valley mayor Robert Armstrong and his council colleague Liz Smith. But with few voters traditionally availing themselves of the option to have their preferences exhaust (they are required to number a minimum of three boxes), the seat will most likely be won by whoever makes the final count out of Armstrong and Smith. Dissemination of how-to-vote cards at polling booths being forbidden in Tasmania, a considerable element of randomness can be expected in the distribution of preferences. However, the candidates’ ideological affinities offer at least some guide.

Smith was until recently a member of the Greens, whereas Armstrong is described by Kevin Bonham in comments as “a pretty mainstream pro-development right-winger”. Together with the little-known Helen Lane, there will be an early elimination of Rodney Dillon and Pavel Ruzicka, whom Bonham respectively describes as “a leftie” and “pro-forestry”. Jimmy Bell, who “seems Laborish”, is likely to go next, unless he receives an unexpectedly solid flow of preferences from Lane, Dillon and Ruzicka. It is entirely possible that a cumulative leftish lean among the aforementioned will stand Smith in good stead, and allow her to pull ahead of Armstrong. That might just give Hodgman a glimmer of hope if he receives a heavy flow of preferences from Armstrong. But if the final count comes down to Armstrong and Hodgman, it would be very hard to see preferences from the other candidates failing to flow decisively Armstrong’s way.

Election night

8.28pm. Huon: The Blackmans Bay booth is now added, finishing the count for the night, and it’s a belated good result for Hodgman, though he’s still a long shot at best. Armstrong holds a narrow lead over Smith, with preferences likely to determine who ends up emerging the victor over Hodgman.

8.17pm. Huon: Franklin added – a small booth, but a good result for Smith.

8.02pm. Huon: The decisive factor looks likely to be the preferences of Jimmy Bell, who is the “manager of Huon Valley PCYC”. I might intuitively expect such a candidate’s voters to favour Armstrong over Smith in particular, although I’m entirely ignorant of the personal histories of any of those concerned.

7.58pm. Huon: Margate, Cygnet and Sandfly added, the first being the largest booth in the electorate after yet-to-report Blackmans Bay. Cygnet and Sandfly are two of five booths to have been won by Liz Smith, who is now well ahead of Jimmy Bell again and only slightly behind Robert Armstrong, while Margate is a clear win for Hodgman. The two booths still to come are very large Blackmans Bay, where 3289 votes were cast at the state election, and much smaller Franklin, 531 votes.

7.43pm. Rosevears: All booths are in, in what may have been the quickest count I’ve ever witnessed (there being only two candidates obviously helped).

7.34pm. Huon: As the projected primary vote figure indicates, the weakest booths for the Liberals, namely those on the southern edge of Hobart (particularly Blackmans Bay, where 3289 votes were cast at the state election, more than double the largest booth to report so far), are still to come. Robert Armstrong looks best placed, but the outstanding booths are off his Huon Valley turf, so there’s no grounds at this stage to pick a winner out of Armstrong, Smith and Bell.

7.32pm. Huon: Dover added, a fairly small booth but a strong result for Armstrong.

7.29pm. Huon: Snug, Ranelagh, Mountain River and Howden added, together with 831 pre-polls. These have clipped Robert Armstrong slightly, putting Peter Hodgman back in the primary vote lead, while Liz Smith is back in third place over Jimmy Bell (who nonetheless won the Ranelagh booth, to add to his wins in Huonville and Judbury), albeit by the narrowest of margins.

7.24pm. Rosevears: Two more booths in, maintaining Finch’s clean sweep, leaving only Riverside to go.

7.21pm. Rosevears: 12 of 15 booths in now, together with 951 postals, and Kerry Finch has won all of them.

7.15pm. Huon: Things have shifted strongly in Robert Armstrong’s favour with the addition of Huonville, Geeveston, Port Huon and 1537 postal votes, to the extent that he now leads Peter Hodgman on the primary vote is looking a very likely winner. Another independent, Jimmy Bell, won the very large Huonville booth, and has now taken third place ahead of Liz Smith.

7.07pm. Rosevears: Beauty Point added; Kerry Finch still cruising to re-election.

7.03pm. Huon: Surges Bay and Woodbridge added, the latter being a great result for Liz Smith, who is now close to matching Peter Hodgman on the primary vote. However, it may be that the larger booths near Hobart end up telling a different story, at least with respect to Smith-versus-Armstrong.

6.56pm. Huon: Agfest, Cradog and Kettering added. Still looking very tight between Armstrong and Smith to see who emerges the challenger to Hodgman, whose vote is well south of where he would like it to be. So a disappointing picture overall for the Liberals.

6.54pm. Rosevears: Another three booths do nothing to dispel the picture of a clear victory for Kerry Finch.

6.50pm. Huon: Glen Huon and Judbury added. Weak results for Hodgman, who no longer has his projected lead. Armstrong heavily outpolled Smith in Glen Huon but Smith outpolled him in Judbury, which is interesting because the two booths are very close to each other. The booths in outer Hobart will be very important, and none of them have yet reported.

6.46pm. Huon: The Huon Valley municipality, of which Robert Armstrong is the very long-serving mayor, does not encompass Bruny Island, which is heavily over-represented in the results so far. It might also be that Armstrong will do better on preferences than Smith.

6.42pm. Huon: Barnes Bay, the third and final booth on Bruny Island, and Middleton, located on the mainland immediately opposite, have been added. Smith still ahead of Armstrong. The projection suggests Peter Hodgman will win narrowly, but I’m not at all confident about that – his primary vote is certain competitive, but not spectacular.

6.40pm. Rosevears: Further good results for Kerry Finch from Sidmouth and Glengarry. Barring a very different pattern in Launceston, he doesn’t look likely to be troubled.

6.39pm. The first booth in from Rosevears is Frankford, and while it’s very small, it’s good news for Kerry Finch.

6.35pm. 112 mobile votes added to the totals, but these aren’t being used to calculate the projections.

6.33pm. A third small booth, Alonnah, has reported, being the second one on Bruny Island. Smith again outpolls Armstrong. I’d recalibrate the charts to make her the second candidate, if results weren’t coming in so quickly.

6.32pm. Both Adventure Bay and Southport delivered 20% for the Greens compared with 16.8% for the entire Franklin electorate. Presumably Armstrong will do a lot better in booths in Huon Valley.

6.29pm. Another small booth added for Huon, Southport, delivers another very strong result for Liz Smith. I’ll check to see if these were particularly strong booths for the Greens, which might explain it. Otherwise, she rather than Armstrong might emerge as the biggest threat to Hodgman.

6.26pm. Results in from the very small Adventure Bay booth on Bruny Island. The numbers above include a particularly experimental two-candidate projection with preferences very roughly estimated from past form at Legislative Council elections, in which Robert Armstrong is presumed to be the strongest candidate apart from Peter Hodgman (although that’s not the case on these numbers), with 38% of preferences going to Hodgman, 56% to Armstrong, and 6% exhausting. However, that could well be too generous to Hodgman, so treat with due caution.

6pm. Polls have closed for today’s elections in the Tasmanian Legislative Council seats of Huon and Rosevears. This post will follow the results as they are published, using somewhat experimental projections based on comparison of the Liberal vote with the booth results from the March 15 state election.

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