Tasmanian upper house – nine days to go


The next Australian election will take place Saturday week, with two Tasmanian upper house electorates electing representatives for the next six years.

I’ve already written profiles of both electorates, featuring the results of the 2008 election and the history of each electorate. I’ve now updated those profiles with the list of candidates who have officially nominated.

The southern seat of Huon covers the Huon valley in southern Tasmania and other rural areas, to the south-west of Hobart. The seat was last held by Paul Harriss, who resigned earlier this year after almost eighteen years in the seat to run (successfully) as a Liberal for the seat of Franklin at the House of Assembly election.

The Liberal Party is running an official candidate in Huon: Peter Hodgman. Hodgman is the uncle of the new Premier, Will Hodgman. Peter Hodgman previously held Huon from 1974 to 1986, replacing his brother Michael, and joining his father Bill in the Parliament. He moved to the lower house seat of Franklin in 1986 and held it until an unsuccessful attempt to move to the House of Representatives in 2001.

Hodgman is opposed by six independents, but is tipped to win the seat.

The northern seat of Rosevears covers areas to the north-west of Launceston. The seat is held by independent MLC Kerry Finch. Finch is seen as being one of the more left-wing members of the Council, unlike most of his independent colleagues.

The Liberal Party in the past has supposedly had a policy of not running against sitting independents: a convenient policy considering the right-wing positioning of most independent MLCs. However the party has chosen to run against Finch, running former political staffer Don Morris, who has worked in the past for Will Hodgman, Wyatt Roy, Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine.

No other candidates have stood, and Rosevears should be an interesting race between centre-left independent Finch and Liberal candidate Morris.

Unfortunately I won’t be in a position to cover the results live on election night, but I will follow up with analysis of the results the following day.

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  1. Strange is the Tasmanian Upper House. Many members and candidate don’t state their party affiliations at election time, if at all. By my recollection, former Treasurer David Crean (of the famous Crean family of the ALP) didn’t contest elections as an official Labor candidate, but everyone knew his affiliation. And an existing member won as an ‘Independent’ after running at the previous year’s general election as a Liberal candidate – one wonders if the guy felt that he could win as an unaffiliated candidate but not as a Liberal candidate.

  2. Regarding David Crean he contested the LegCo as an “independent” and then rejoined Labor little over a year after doing so. He then retained his seat as an endorsed Labor candidate at the end of his first term.

    The classic case of switching is Paul Harriss – unsuccessful as a Liberal in the 1996 election, elected as an “independent” to the LegCo less than three months later, then stayed in the LegCo as an “independent” for 18 years prior to running for the Lower House as a Liberal again (but this time winning.)

    I suspect the case you have in mind is Tony Mulder. Mulder lost as a Liberal in 2010. In 2011 Mulder won Rumney in the LegCo as an “independent liberal”. But it was apparently a case of accidental genius. Mulder wanted to run as an endorsed candidate and so did Jane Howlett. The Libs couldn’t decide who to endorse so decided not to endorse either of them. So Mulder ran anyway, and won.

    Mulder’s voting patterns are very independent. He is all over the place not only on different issues but also sometimes on the same issue. He has the Brian Harradine thing of not flagging your vote in advance downpat. One journo commented on one of his speeches that Mulder has a unique ability to give a speech that offends everybody.

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