Braddon – Australia 2013

ALP 7.5%

Incumbent MP
Sid Sidebottom, since 2007. Previously Member for Braddon 1998-2004.

Geography
Braddon covers the West Coast and North-West of Tasmania, including the islands to Tasmania’s northwest. The seat covers West Coast, Burnie, Central Coast, Circular Head, Devonport and Waratah/Wynyard councils along with part of Latrobe council. It also covers King Island. The seat’s largest centres are the towns of Devonport and Burnie.

History
The seat of Braddon was created in 1955 when the existing Divison of Darwin was renamed. The seat of Darwin was created in 1903 for the first election with single-member electorates in Tasmania, and has always been a northwestern electorate. The seat of Darwin/Braddon has been largely dominated by conservative parties, with Labor holding the seat for 37 of the seat’s first 104 years up to 2007.

The seat was first won by the ALP’s King O’Malley, who held the seat until 1917. O’Malley is best-known for his service as Minister for Home Affairs under Andrew Fisher which saw him take responsibility for choosing the site and town plan for Caberra. He was also largely responsible for the Americanised spelling of the name of the Australian Labor Party. He was strongly anti-conscriptionist and his term as a minister ended when the ALP split, with Billy Hughes joining with the Liberals to form the new Nationalist government. At the 1917 election, O’Malley was narrowly defeated by a Nationalist candidate, and the Nationalist parties and its successors held the seat for the next forty years, with the exception of a single term in 1922 when the seat was held by the nascent Country Party.

The most prominent MP to represent Darwin during this period was Enid Lyons, widow of former Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, who was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1943 and held the seat until the 1951 election.

After the seat was renamed Braddon in 1955, the ALP won the seat back in 1958. Ron Davies held the seat for the ALP up to the post-dismissal election in 1975, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Ray Groom, who held the seat until 1984. He went on to enter state politics and was Premier from 1992 to 1996. Chris Miles succeeded Groom in Braddon and held the seat for the Liberal Party up to the 1998 election, when he was defeated by Sid Sidebottom.

Sidebottom held the seat for the ALP from 1998 to 2004, when he lost the seat to Liberal Mark Baker in a backlash against Mark Latham’s forestry policies.

Sidebottom regained the seat in 2007, and was re-elected in 2010.

Candidates

Assessment
Braddon has a history of changing hands regularly, and that could well be the case in 2010. A 7.5% margin is sizeable, and Sidebottom could hold out against the trend, but Braddon’s voters have turned on him in the past.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Sid SidebottomALP31,89048.68+4.48
Garry CarpenterLIB25,77939.35-3.59
Scott JordanGRN7,83611.96+3.83

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Sid SidebottomALP37,65057.48+5.16
Garry CarpenterLIB27,85542.52-5.16
Polling places in Braddon at the 2010 federal election. Burnie in green, Central Coast in orange, Devonport-Latrobe in purple, King Island in red, North West in blue, South West in yellow. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Braddon at the 2010 federal election. Burnie in green, Central Coast in orange, Devonport-Latrobe in purple, King Island in red, North West in blue, South West in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into six areas. Polling places in the Circular Head, Waratah/Wynyard and West Coast LGAs were divided into North West and South West. Polling places in Devonport and Latrobe council areas have been grouped into one group. Polling places in Burnie and Central Coast council areas have been grouped together separately.

The ALP won a majority in five areas, ranging from 53% in Central Coast to 66.4% in the South West. The Liberal Party won a 52% majority on King Island, which only covers a small proportion of the population.

The Greens vote varied from 10.7% in Devonport-Latrobe to 16.9% in the South West.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Devonport-Latrobe10.7359.0015,61123.83
Central Coast11.6552.9812,07218.43
North West12.2556.8311,56317.65
Burnie12.0563.0710,71816.36
South West16.8866.412,4293.71
King Island12.9348.068511.30
Other votes12.4554.5612,26118.72
Two-party-preferred votes in Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the north-west of Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the north-west of Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in the north-west of Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in the north-west of Braddon at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Devonport at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Devonport at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Devonport at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Devonport at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Burnie at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Burnie at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Burnie at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Burnie at the 2010 federal election.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Sidebottom is probably a better chance of retaining than the ALP are in Bass. But I still think the trend against the Greens and ALP in Tasmania will be a bridge too far.

  2. Unfortunately for Sid, who is by all accounts a well respected local member, he’s in the most Liberal seat in the state. It’s gone.

  3. I Just had a two week holiuday in DEvonport so this of course makes me an expert in Tasmanian politics.

    However Who in their right mind would elect individuals to Parliament who have no intention of solving the major problems of this region. JObs and TRansport. The Libs and ALP want to sit back and do nothing whilst thhe delusional GReens want to wipe out what few jobs that currently exist.

    Houses for sale in Penguin for $200 K are a sign of systemic Governmental failure

    Devonport is a Port but only for a few ships. Transport costs more to ship Devonport to Melbourne than Melbourne to China.

    TAsmania and Braddon can not afford a single Green Vote in Parliament. Braddon needs an alternative be this DLP KAP or PUP but it can not afford closed or unbuilt Paper Mills, Shut railways and Ports with no ships.

    Tasmanian voters can not afford to rely on tourist paper makers and playtime train riders they need very large investment in factories, meat canneries, fruit packing facilities.

    Sidebottom did not appear to be unpopular personally and he certainly is locally active compared to Wayne SWan in Lilley (see my last comment on Tallyroom) but Wyatt Roy beats them all for activity.

    What has Sidebottom done to fix TRansport and JObs?

    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson@hotkey.net.au

  4. Houses for sale in Penguin for $200 K are a sign of systemic Governmental failure

    Not really, at least not at the local level. Its more indicative of national and international changes that are slowly flowing through down here. $200k is not a bad price for a house in Penguin anyway. Land is cheaper down here, the recent bubble aside. Prices can be expected to drop for some time to come.

    Yes, Tasmania needs a fourth party, probably more along the lines of the LDP than those mentioned above. The bonus down here is that the situation is ready for it, and the barriers to entry at state level are relatively low due to Hare Clarke.

    But the simple presence of a fourth party wont rectify the situation. Our state budget needs to be trimmed by somewhere between 10 and 20%. Public employment needs to drop from 28% to somewhere around 20%. Regulation needs to be cut back drastically, and the state needs to be opened up for development – at least 20% of the currently ~50% of the state listed as ‘conserved area’ needs to be reopened for economic use.

    My suspicion is that in the end the best way to rebuild Tasmania would be to secede for a period.

  5. Driftforge in suggesting seccession for Tasmania is on a very slippery slope.
    Tasmania Imported $340 Miillion and Expoorted $224 Million ie an EXport Deficit Queensland on other hand imports $3452 MIllion and Exports $5176 MIllion. WA figures would not load from ABS WEbsite.

    THe message is clear TAsmania is a basketcase. It needs a massive injection of Caopital to stop the slip into bankruptcy.

    As a Federated Nation we need to prop up the weak for the common wealth. However neither Sidbottom nor his LIberal opponent want this type of Government intervention and the Greens want to shut what Industry there currently exists. Only the Parties I mentioned acticvely support Government Intervention to encourage the growth of Industry. THe LDP were Liberals with a Green Social Policy ie like the Democrats they picked thhe evil economic policies of Libs and the evil social polies of ALP. . Between the two of them they closed down the Australian National LIne and let the Greens shutr Paper Mills..
    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson@hotkey.net.au

  6. I’m sorry Andrew, but I really have to disagree with you there. Intervention is not the government’s responsibility. In this particular case, many of the issues you raise are state government issues. BTW, PUP would not support intervention. Do you think Clive Palmer became a billionaire by proping up unprofitable industries?

    At the end of the day, Tasmania needs to find niche industries which it can excel in without being undercut by cheap labour (Prime reason why manufacturing generally no longer makes sense in Australia). Tasmania’s strengths will always be in service industries.

    You shouldn’t compare Tasmania’s imports and exports to Queensland, because they’re two very different states. Queensland is what, 9 times the population and 27 times the land area. Queensland’s mining industry (which would generate a significant proportion of both our imports and exports) is MASSIVE, where as Tasmania’s is fairly minor – I’ll leave it to others to judge whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

  7. Driftforge,

    Tasmania has been managed into its current predicament and as result succession would achieve nothing for Tasmania that it couldn’t do inside the Commonwealth (except perhaps make Tasmanians realise they collectively have to be more responsible for their economic future). To illustrate, north western Tasmania is one of the richest geological regions in Australia and along with forestry, it has the potential to provide a strong economic platform for the future. Tasmania’s proportionally large agricultural base also helps it as its exports are largely correlated with movements in the Australian Dollar. Tasmania sits quite well alongside WA and Qld on this front.

    There is only one state in Australia for whom succession makes economic sense that’s Victoria. Victoria lacks both the large agricultural or mineral export base of the other states. Its exports are manufacturing based, a sector which is regularly hollowed by commodity driven spikes in the Australian dollar, such as the one we’re seeing now. This is also reflected in Victoria seeing the least per capita income growth amongst the states since federation. An independent Victoria with its own floating Dollar would be strongly correlated to the performance of its manufacturing sector, which is turn would help arrest its long term decline, and thus the state. Succession could potentially fix a structural economic problem in Victoria, but that’s not the case in Tasmania as it’s problems are principally policy based and not structural.

    To be honest, what Tasmania needs is tough love and thus I agree with your recommendations. There is no reason why Tasmania can’t be accretive to national wealth and not dilutive. Whereas Victoria does very well it very little, Tasmania has been managed into its predicament by not using its resources. You don’t need succession to change that.

  8. (except perhaps make Tasmanians realise they collectively have to be more responsible for their economic future).

    I don’t think this is an inconsiderable realisation to come to, and for this reason alone I think secession would be worthwhile.

    The other reason are than in order to ‘unbasketcase’ the state, a number of distinct differences really need to be established between Tasmania and the rest of the country, that simply cannot occur under the bonds of Federation.

    I don’t think a massive artificial recapitalisation – i.e federal injection – will work in the long term. It would simply delay the resolution of the problem, not resolve it. No, the change needs to come from within so that the place naturally recapitalises. The necessary changes in approach need to be made first. Once we have bottomed out and start rebuilding, that would be the time for an artificial recapitalisation if we are going to have one – moving with the trend rather than against it.

  9. Former State Liberal MP for Braddon, Brett Whiteley is contesting this seat and will very likely win as Tasmania is trending strongly against Labor and the Greens this election.

  10. Recent internal polling continuing to show substantial swings against the Government. Swings of around 20% in the north and 10-13% in the south, placing all Labor held Tasmanian seats in jeopardy. Not unreasonable to expect the Coalition to pick up Bass and Braddon. I’m told Labor have given up on Bass and will not be spending money or personnel there.

    Braddon will go to the Libs too I expect. Will be interesting however, to see if Franklin also falls.

    Unusally in 2PP terms in Tasmania, the Libs would be ahead here, contrary to estimates on sites such as Pollbludger.

  11. I understand this is one of the seats that Labor now intends to defend, however, they won’t be putting money into Bass. I think my sources are reliable.

  12. DB – Defending Braddon rather than Bass would make sense, not so much because they have a better chance in Braddon (which has borne the brunt of Labor assisted Green predation in Tasmania) but because they have a local candidate there worth pitching in for, unlike Bass.

    Still tipping 3-1-1 as most likely outcome.

  13. Difficult to take people seriously when they mention succession for a state they survives on Comm funding. Tasmanians should realise that they are sitting on a gold mine that many professionals in the world would be beating down the door to reside in or retire to given the quality of life issues and natural environment.

    Especially, the well healed retirees who want a semi-rural lifestyle and the ability to travel. People will pay a premium for this in the coming decades if other services are in place. It is a microcosm of the fact that few in Australia really do appreciate just how good our lifestyle is compared to much of the world. It is probably time for Tassie to attract a slice of some of those rich asians , read chinese, who all want to live in Australia as George Mega mentioned on Insiders last year.

    Yet, people seem stuck between the old low employment industries of forestry and mining and the diverse, niche agricultural & food industries springing up around Tassie – dairy exports overseas still have much more potential. I does seem that the high aussie dollar has hit Tassie harder then other states.

    In many ways Braddon seems to me to represent those dynamics given past and more recent tensions between past reality and future visions. However, no one person or party has the solution for Tassie though people complaining of transport issues have to be supportive of the potential of the NBN for a state like Tassie one would think? (Will it be as much of a vote winner for the ALP this time in Tassie?)

    Which party would have funded something like MONA but for the vision of one person?

  14. ReachTEL poll has a clear lead for the Whiteley, http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2013/07/27/galaxy-50-50-2/

    “Braddon (Labor 7.5%): Sid Sidebottom (Labor) 34.6%, Brett Whiteley (Liberal) 51.3%, Greens 7.4%. Two party preferred: 56.8%-43.2% to Liberal. Preferred PM: Rudd 51.2%, Abbott 48.8%. Sid Sidebottom: 27.4%-37.8%-33.1%. Brett Whiteley: 42.7%-30.5%-25.3%.”

    See KB’s analysis, http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/ which points out that this is a post Rudd swing of 5.4% to Sidebottom.

  15. I am surprised that the poll shows the Libs winning on primary votes alone. This is one that Labor is defending hard, but it seems to show the Libs will comfortably gain and I put it down somewhat to the unpopularity of the State Government.

  16. Pretty much. The Labor blue-collar vote in Northern Tassie is still pretty lumbar/services focussed and don’t take kindly to agreements with the Greens.

  17. Braddon has always been the most conservative seat in Tasmania. It was only 20 years ago that the Liberal party received about 60% of the primary vote in Braddon at a State election. Harradine always polled well in this part of the State when he was a Senator so I expect there are a number of voters who would be attracted to the Tony Abbott view of the world compared with the general Australian population. And as PJ notes the Blue collar worker is not a green supporter. And the State government is on the nose. Accordingly, I can see how a compelling case can be made that the liberals are in front and will win this seat.

  18. *I should note that I meant lumber not lumbar. 🙂 I’m not convinced that the chiropractor vote will play a significant part in Braddon at this upcoming election.

  19. I see Dr Kevin Bonham has today suggested that the ALP could win more than 50% of the 2PP in Tasmania, yet only hold one HOR seat.

    If that happens, I personally can’t see the ALP winning the election. I don’t believe they will be able to make up the difference in the other States on a net basis in my opinion. I question whether the ALP have ever won an election in Australia when retaining only one HOR seat in Tasmania?

  20. DB – it happened in 1990. Liberals held everything in Tasmania except Denison, Labor held 78 seats total. Labor also only got Denison in 1987, and won with 86 seats total. In 1984, Labor won without a single Tasmanian seat, with 82 seats total.

  21. Labor also won 1983 without a single Tasmanian seat, and that was in the smaller 125-seat parliament. Hawke sacrificed any chance of recovering seats from the Liberals by promising to stop the Franklin Dam, which played well in at least some mainland seats.

  22. DB, if you see this – do you know what method the internal polling you refer to was conducted by?

    What I’m curious about is whether the big swings against Labor have been replicated by pollsters other than ReachTEL. Seems virtually all the polling that sees the light of day in Tas these days, including a lot of the subsequently released or leaked internal polling, is ReachTEL except for the three-monthly EMRS state samples.

  23. Kevin, it’s internal polling on behalf of one of the major parties (I don’t want to be more specific than that sorry). Far smaller samples (about 250 per seat), but similar outcomes to Reachtel, except better results in Bass for the Liberals and better results for Labor in Lyons, although, Liberals are well ahead in both. I’m not up with all of the methodology, but I know that the candidates are nominated. “Who would your first preference be………Adam Blogs of the ALP”, etc. I suspect that is very similar to the usual public polling in Tasmania where the candidates are listed alongside their respective parties. As normal, the candidates and parties are interchanged in questioning.

    I think Labor will probably lose Lyons this time (given such a high Liberal Party primary support) and I can’t see them winning Bass or Braddon given the same factors. The Liberals seem to be polling at greater than 45% primary in all 3 seats and that would be enough to get over the line with preferences.

  24. Good to see you back DB. Hope all is well.

    I’ve got good hopes for Tasmania in a similar vein to Victoria, simply because we are on such hard margins there (Can’t get any worse). Overall for the elections, gains in Victoria, Tassie and

  25. Good to see you back DB. Hope all is well.

    I’ve got good hopes for Tasmania in a similar vein to Victoria, simply because we are on such hard margins there (Can’t get any worse). Overall for the elections, gains in Victoria, Tassie and NSW should cover for losses in QLD.

  26. That opinion piece makes a fatal mistake. In the state election there were multiple liberal candidate’s. Whiteley will get all the liberal support in Devonport this time

  27. Agree with Queensland observer – the argument is completely unsound. Regional patterns of support for different candidates from a party do not demonstrate that the candidate will struggle much in particular regions when they are the party’s only candidate.

    That same argument was put to me in a radio interview last week and I ignored it.

  28. Looks like Tasmanians may be partially in their right mind after all. Un- fortunately electing five Coalition is as good for the Tasmanian economy as electing five ALP and only marginally more sane than electing Green job destroyers. The LIbs want to destroy local business in their woirship of the free market.

    It is good to know that no one other than Driftforge though secession was the answer to Tasmania’s problem.

    Tasmania needs to capitalise on its strengths cheap electricity, Build more HEP capacity re-open Paper Mills re-establish a furniture industry and either swap Christine Milne for refugees from Malaysia or Compost the lot of them. Congratulations anyway for slashing the Green Vote. Much more effort needed next term though.

    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson@hotkey.net.au

  29. I wonder if Newspoll and Nielsen will perhaps look at including Tasmania in their future opinion polls. The state mightn’t seem that significant, but the swings in this seat and surrounds might well have taken mainlanders by surprise, although it’s been said that this seat and Bass are litmus seats in Federal elections. Nowadays only Morgan includes Tasmania in Federal opinion polls, and you have to go scouring to find other opinion polls from the Apple Isle, unless you actually live there.
    Whiteley might’ve been a surprise casualty at the 2010 state election – but look at where he is now.

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