Federal 2019 – the race in Tasmania


There are five constitutionally-guaranteed seats in Tasmania. Four of these seats are held by Labor, while the fifth is held by independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Labor came close to a wipe-out in 2013, losing the three northernmost seats to the Liberal Party, before winning them all back in 2016.

While there are no seats held by the Coalition in this state at the moment, there has been a lot of discussion about Labor potentially going backwards in the three seats they won in 2016.

The Coalition currently holds 73 seats, so need to win three more to win a majority. It seems very unlikely that the Coalition can hold on to power unless they can pick up seats in Tasmania.

Labor’s Ross Hart holds the north-eastern seat of Bass, centred on Launceston, by a 5.4% margin. Hart was elected on the back of a 10% swing in 2016, defeating his predecessor Andrew Nikolic.

Labor’s Justine Keay holds the north-western seat of Braddon by a 1.7% margin. She won the seat in 2016 by a 2.2% margin, but the subsequent redistribution has slightly weakened her position. Keay was forced to resign from parliament in 2018 over problems with her citizenship, and won the subsequent by-election with barely any swing, suggesting that she has neither built up a stronger base of support or lost ground. This result suggests that Braddon could again be in play on Saturday.

The seat of Lyons covers the centre of Tasmania, stretching from the outskirts of Hobart to the outskirts of Launceston. Labor’s Brian Mitchell holds the seat by a 3.8% margin. This campaign has been marred by the disendorsement of Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan following the close of nominations, which has seen the Liberals fall in behind Nationals candidate Deanna Hutchinson.

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  1. Someone needs to explain to me why Labor are at risk of losing Bass and Braddon. I have had a look at the Northwest Advocate to better understand what the talking points and local issues are in Braddon. The Liberals are being vocal around plans by ALP to build an art gallery and to invest in an AFL team in Hobart (and not in Burnie or Devenport). This seems like a very threadbare campaign platform. And with no Craig Garland this time to takes primary votes away from Justin Keay (compared with byelection), I am not sure why this seat is considered a prospect for Coalition. Anyone?


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