Braddon – Australia 2019

ALP 1.7%

Incumbent MP
Justine Keay, since 2016.

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, Latrobe and Waratah/Wynyard councils. It also covers King Island. The seat’s largest centres are the towns of Devonport and Burnie.

Braddon expanded to the east, taking in the remainder of the Latrobe council area, including Port Sorell, from Lyons. These changes cut the Labor margin from 2.2% to 1.7%.

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.

In 2013, Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley defeated Sidebottom with a 10% swing, but he lost in 2016 to Labor’s Justine Keay.

Justine Keay was forced to resign from parliament in early 2018 due to her late citizenship renunciation in 2016, but she was re-elected at the resulting by-election.


  • Justine Keay (Labor)
  • Gavin Pearce (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    Braddon is a marginal seat and could be in play at the upcoming election. The recent by-election was won by Labor, but the seat is still just as marginal as it was before the by-election.

    2016 result


    Brett Whiteley Liberal 26,84141.5-5.442.0
    Justine Keay Labor 25,89840.0+2.539.6
    Scott Jordan Greens 4,3586.7+1.66.8
    Glen SaltmarshRecreational Fishers3,7015.7+5.75.7
    Joshua BoagLiberal Democrats1,3802.1+2.12.0
    Clinton RiceRenewable Energy Party1,3432.1+2.12.1
    Graham HodgeChristian Democratic Party1,1511.8+1.81.8

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Justine Keay Labor 33,75952.2+4.851.7
    Brett Whiteley Liberal 30,91347.8-4.848.3

    2018 by-election result

    Brett Whiteley Liberal 24,64539.3-2.2
    Justine Keay Labor 23,21837.0-3.1
    Craig GarlandIndependent6,63310.6+10.6
    Brett NealShooters, Fishers & Farmers2,9844.8+4.8
    Jarrod Edwards Greens 2,5184.0-2.7
    Donna GibbonsIndependent1,5332.4+2.4
    Joshua BoagLiberal Democrats8281.3-0.8
    Bruno StrangioPeople’s Party4210.7+0.7

    2018 by-election two-party-preferred result

    Brett Whiteley Liberal 29,93847.7-0.1
    Justine Keay Labor 32,84252.3+0.1

    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.

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of six areas at the 2016 election, ranging from 52.3% in Devonport-Latrobe to 61.3% in the south-west. The Liberal Party polled a majority in the other three areas, ranging from 50.3% on the Central Coast to 63.8% on King Island.

    Labor won a majority in four out of six areas at the 2018 by-election, ranging from 50.9% in the north-west to 60% in Burnie. The Liberal Party won a majority in the central coast (50.6%) and King Island (52.7%).

    Independent candidate Craig Garland came third at the by-election, with a primary vote ranging from 6% in Devonport-Latrobe to 21.9% in the north-west.

    2016 booth breakdown

    Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Central Coast49.711,65817.0
    King Island36.27781.1
    Other votes49.57,54311.0

    2018 by-election booth breakdown

    Voter groupGarland prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Central Coast7.949.410,44416.6
    King Island19.547.37351.2
    Other votes6.649.26,1329.8

    Two-party-preferred votes in Braddon at the 2016 federal election

    Election results at the 2018 Braddon by-election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for independent candidate Craig Garland.

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    1. I wouldn’t consider Labor safely home in this seat even though Keay was just re-elected. Whiteley was a terrible choice of candidate, and Section 44 seems to have engendered sympathy for candidates if anything.

      There should have been a swing towards Keay; a sophomore surge. 0.1% makes me think she’s in trouble if the Liberals can find a compelling candidate.

      However every passing day of the Hodgman government’s 2nd term increases the risk of them ending up on the nose (as state governments often do in their 2nd terms).

      Predicting an ALP retain but not an easy one

    2. Gavin Pearce is the new Liberal Candidate for Braddon.

      In any other election, I’d say this seat would be a nail biter, but this time Keay will easily be returned.


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