Launceston – Tasmania LC 2017

Incumbent MLC
Rosemary Armitage (Independent), since 2011.

Geography
Launceston urban area. The seat of Launceston covers the Launceston city centre and the surrounding suburbs of Hadspen, Travellers Rest, Prospect Vale, Youngtown, Kings Meadows, Punchbowl, South Launceston and East Launceston.

History
The seat of Launceston existed as a single-member electorate from 1946 until 1999, when the seat was renamed Paterson. This seat was renamed back to Launceston in 2008.

The seat has been held by members of both parties. Two successive Labor MLCs held the seat from 1950 until 1958, and then by two Liberal MLCs from 1958 until 1968.

A 1968 by-election was triggered by the sitting Liberal MLC, John Orchard, being made ineligible to hold his seat. Legislation removed his ineligibility but he was defeated by independent Ray Shipp.

Shipp was re-elected in 1970 and 1976, but was defeated in 1982 by another independent, Don Wing.

Wing had previously served as president of the Liberal Party in Tasmania, but served his time in the upper house as a conservative independent. Wing also served as Mayor of Launceston from 1983 until 1987.

Wing held his seat in the upper house for close to thirty years. In 1999, the number of seats in the upper house was cut from nineteen to fifteen, and he was re-elected to represent the suburban Launceston seat renamed as Paterson, and switched to represent the seat of Launceston when it was restored in 2008, although he never won a term representing the seat on current boundaries.

Wing stepped down at the 2011 election, and was succeeded by Rosemary Armitage. Both Liberal and Labor parties contested the election, along with centrist independent Rosemary Armitage. The Liberal candidate topped the primary vote but Armitage benefited from preferences from Labor and another independent and won the seat comfortably.

Candidates

  • Emma Anglesey (Greens)
  • Rosemary Armitage
  • Neroli Ellis
  • Brian Roe (Labor)

Assessment
Armitage’s position is likely to be stronger in 2017 due to her incumbency, but she is facing a strong challenge from the left from Labor, the Greens and union secretary Neroli Ellis.

2011 result

Candidate Party Votes %
Sam McQuestin Liberal 6,575 34.00
Rosemary Armitage Independent 6,136 31.73
Steve Bishop Labor 3,815 19.73
Lou Clark Independent 2,811 14.54

2011 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes %
Rosemary Armitage Independent 10,861 56.17
Sam McQuestin Liberal 8,476 43.83

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Launceston have been split into three parts: north-east, south-east and south-west. The Launceston city centre is included in the north-east, and the south-west covers more sparsely-populated areas.

Rosemary Armitage’s vote ranged from 28% in the south-west to 35% in the north-east. The vote for Liberal candidate Sam McQuestin ranged from 31% in the north-east to 37.6% in the south-west. The vote for Labor candidate Steve Bishop ranged from 16.7% in the north-east to 23.3% in the south-east.

Voter group Armitage % LIB % ALP % Total votes % of votes
South-East 31.45 32.14 23.32 5,660 29.27
South-West 28.11 37.55 20.01 5,262 27.21
North-East 35.15 31.05 16.70 4,245 21.95
Other votes 33.21 35.06 17.58 4,170 21.56

Election results in Launceston at the 2011 Legislative Council election.
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for independent candidate Rosemary Armitage, Liberal candidate Sam McQuestin and Labor candidate Steve Bishop.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room. If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.