Tasmanian Legislative Council Archive


New datasets – NSW councils and Tasmanian upper house

I’ve got a couple of new datasets now up on the website for you to use.

I’ve now published the complete dataset from the 2017 NSW council election, including the list of candidates, the list of booths (including latitude/longitude) and the voting figures at the ward level and at the polling place level. I’ve also included mayoral results at the council and polling place level.

I’ve also expanded the Tasmanian Legislative Council dataset to cover the 2017 and 2018 elections (including last year’s Pembroke by-election). This dataset now covers twelve years of elections, including candidate and booth lists, and vote data at the booth level.

You can check out the whole data repository here.


Tasmanian upper house guides posted

Tasmania’s Legislative Council is elected by a unique voting system, with a small proportion of the fifteen seats up for election every year, with the entire state voting over the course of a six-year cycle.

This voting system tends to favour local independents over the major parties, with Labor currently holding four seats and the Liberal Party one, along with ten independents.

Two seats are up for election in 2018, and I’ve prepared guides for both contests.

This map shows the location of the two seats:

Hobart covers the inner city of Hobart, and was won in 2012 by left-leaning independent Rob Valentine, who is favourite to win in 2018.

Prosser is a new seat created out of parts of four other seats in the south-eastern corner of Tasmania. There is no incumbent MP, with an MP representing an abolished seat elsewhere in the state retiring this year. The seat has some strong Labor areas including Sorell, along with better Liberal areas further north. Prosser could go to either major party, or to a strong independent, and will be the first electoral test for the re-elected majority Liberal government.


Various map updates

Following on from the recent publication of the final Queensland state electoral boundaries, I’ve updated Google Earth boundary maps for three other jurisdictions:

  • Tasmanian federal electorates – The draft boundaries were published on May 5. These boundaries will also cover Tasmanian state lower house elections, although it is unlikely to be finished in time for the 2018 state election.
  • Tasmanian upper house electorates – The final boundaries were published in May, and will first be used at the May 2018 election.
  • North Sydney ward boundaries – I had missed a change in North Sydney’s ward boundaries since the 2012 election. The council had cut its wards from four to three, which necessarily required a change in boundaries.

You can download a large number of past, current and future electoral boundaries as Google Earth maps from the maps page.


Tasmanian Legislative Council elections – guides posted

In addition to yesterday posting guides to the NSW by-elections, I’ve now also posted guides to the three seats in the Tasmanian upper house election which will hold elections on May 6.

These three seats are:

Each guide has maps showing the results of that seat, along with the history of the seat.


Data update – Tasmanian upper house dataset

A few months ago I published a limited data repository, containing booth lists, candidate lists and election results at the booth level for a variety of state and local elections. At the time I talked about how most state electoral commissions fell short of the AEC when it comes to publishing complete and easy-to-use election datasets.

I’ve been most frustrated by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission, on two fronts. Firstly, they publish the booth-level vote data in a very unfriendly manner: upper house results are published as PNG image files. Lower house primary votes are published as PDF files, and distributions of preferences as image files. The image files look very nice, unless you want to copy them into a spreadsheet and perform deeper analysis.

Secondly, the TEC is terrible at publishing booth lists which can be matched to the results. They publish a list of premises used for each election, including the suburb, but often there are more than one booth in a suburb. The results data contains a unique booth name, but for at least a decade now the TEC has rarely if ever published the booth data in the correct format allowing the matching of those addresses to the actual vote data.

For three years from 2013 to 2015 I published guides to the Tasmanian upper house elections, which are held every May for a small part of the state. This included the tedious task of tracking down the complete data to match addresses to vote data. I’ve decided to finish this task, and have been able to put together a booth list with unique booth names for the last ten years of upper house elections from 2007 to 2016. This can then be matched to the vote data at the booth level. The booth list also includes latitude and longitude for every ordinary booth.

Download the data here.


Map update – South Australia and Tasmanian upper house

I’ve recently completed two new maps for download and use: the (kind of) final boundaries for the 2018 South Australian state election, and draft boundaries for the Tasmanian upper house.

South Australia’s state redistribution was overshadowed by the federal election last year. A final set of boundaries was released late last year, with some significant changes to the draft boundaries in southern Adelaide, but these boundaries are stuck pending a lawsuit by the SA Labor Party. Both the first draft and final draft can be downloaded from the maps page, and the map is embedded here.

I’ve also completed the draft boundaries for the Tasmanian Legislative Council. The Tasmanian upper house consists of fifteen single-member electorates, but its members are elected in a very odd way: only 2-3 seats are elected each year, with members serving a six year term. Boundaries are redistributed roughly once a decade, with the sitting members assigned to finish their term representing a new seat.

There have been some major changes to the boundaries along the east coast of Tasmania. The three Launceston-area seats have remained largely the same, as have the four Hobart-area seats and the two rural seats to the west of Hobart. The west coast seat of Murchison has undergone minor changes.

The east coast seat of Apsley has been chopped up, while the seat of Rumney in the south-eastern corner of the state has been pulled in closer to Hobart, losing Sorell and the Tasman peninsula. A new seat of Prosser stretches halfway up the east coast from the Tasman peninsula to Swansea, while the remainder of Apsley has been moved into a new seat of McIntyre.

The seat of Western Tiers has been chopped up, with the north-western seats of Montgomery and Mersey expanding south and the south-western seat of Derwent expanding north. The remainder of Western Tiers has joined the remainder of Apsley as McIntyre, a strangely-shaped seat curving around Launceston, stretching from Cradle Mountain to Flinders Island.

I would expect the final boundaries for the Tasmanian upper house to be determined later this year, and the new boundaries will be used for the first time in 2018.


The next election – Tasmanian Legislative Council guide launched

At this point, we are largely finished with the NSW state election, although I have a few more blog posts to come later this week.

The next election coming up, and the only remaining state election for 2015, is the Legislative Council election in Tasmania.

Tasmania’s Legislative Council holds elections every year for two or three of its fifteen electorates, with MLCs serving overlapping six-year terms.

Read the Legislative Council guide.

This year, there are three seats up for election.

Labor MLC Craig Farrell (the only Labor member of the upper house) is likely to win re-election in the southern seat of Derwent, while left-wing independent Mike Gaffney is tipped to win re-election in the north-western seat of Mersey.

The most interesting race is in Windermere, which covers north-eastern Launceston and George Town, and has been held by conservative independent Ivan Dean for the last twelve years. At the last two elections, Dean has defeated Labor-turned-independent rivals in close races, and this time is facing formally-endorsed Labor and Greens candidates in one of the most marginal seats in the Tasmanian upper house.

You can join the conversation by commenting on any of the three seat guides, and I’ll be covering the results on election night, May 2nd.


Tasmania LC 2014 – results wrap

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to follow results last night for the two Tasmanian Legislative Council seats that went to the polls yesterday. Tasmania’s upper house never faces the polls all at once – its fifteen seats go to the polls over a six year cycle, with two or three seats up for a vote every May.

This year, the two seats were southern Huon, where Paul Harriss stepped down earlier this year to run (successfully) as a Liberal candidate in Franklin at the Tasmanian state election, and northern Rosevears, where centre-left independent Kerry Finch was facing a challenge from the Liberal Party.

Finch easily faced down the Liberal challenge in Rosevears, while the race in Huon will be decided on preferences.

Keep reading below for more analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.


Tasmanian Legislative Council 2013 – results wrap

Yesterday’s Legislative Council elections were a good result for the Liberal Party, and produced three relatively solid results.

Below the fold I’ve posted booth results maps for the top two candidates in each seat. Antony Green’s ABC Elections page includes results in each polling place, swings and overall swings, so I’ll refer there for those looking for the numbers.

In Montgomery, sitting MLC Sue Smith has retired after 16 years. Liberal candidate Leonie Hiscutt topped the poll with 45.6% of the primary vote, with independent candidate Cheryl Fuller coming second with 30.2%. Smith won the seat without any opposition in 2007, so it isn’t possible to calculate any swings.

Hiscutt should comfortably win the seat on preferences. Hiscutt polled better in the booths around Burnie, while Fuller’s vote was relatively higher in Ulverstone than in Burnie, although Fuller’s vote was still less than Hiscutt’s in most booths in the Ulverstone area.

In Nelson, conservative independent MLC Jim Wilkinson faced strong opposition, in part over his opposition to gay marriage. In 2007, the only opposition came from the Greens. Both the Greens and Wilkinson suffered double-digit swings, which isn’t surprising considering the addition of two extra candidates. The swing was greater against Wilkinson, but his primary vote in 2007 and 2013 was much higher.

Wilkinson’s primary vote fell from 63.5% to 48.8%. The Greens’ Tom Baxter came second with 25.3%.

In Pembroke, Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin won the seat at a 2009 by-election after Labor MLC Allison Ritchie resigned mid-term. This time Ritchie has made a bid to win her seat back as an independent.

Goodwin is sitting on 51.2% of the vote, up by 12.7% compared to the 2009 by-election. Ritchie is coming second with 35.9%, only a modest decline from the 42.9% she polled in 2007. This is pretty strong considering she’s been out of politics for four years.

The Greens’ Wendy Heatley came third with 12.8%, almost exactly the same as when she ran in the 2009 by-election.

Ritchie polled strongest at the northern end of the seat, while Goodwin polled strongest at the southern end, but results in the centre of the seat are mixed.

Read the rest of this entry »