Tasmania 2024 – Sunday morning wrap-up


There’s still a bunch of votes to count, and preferences will need to be distributed before some seats are decided, but there’s still a lot to say.

There was a very clear shift away from Jeremy Rockliff’s Liberal Party, who have suffered a swing of 11.9%, but little of that went to Labor, who have only gained a swing of 1%.

The Greens also experienced a small gain, and this slightly increased vote combined with a lower quota puts the Greens in a position to win a bunch of extra seats. A majority of the swing went to the Jacqui Lambie Network, who look set to win a number of seats.

There was also an increase in the independent vote with a much larger field of candidates, but in most cases they aren’t in a position to win.

In this post I’m going to go through some of the broad trends I have found interesting, then I will return later with a post on the close outstanding races.

The ABC has only called 25 out of 35 seats – 12 Liberal, 10 Labor and 3 Greens. But the most likely result at the moment appears to be 15 Liberal, 10 Labor, 5 Greens, 3 Jacqui Lambie Network and 2 independents: Kristie Johnston and David O’Byrne.

There are two strong prospects where Labor could win an eleventh and twelfth seat off the Greens and JLN.

If the most likely outcome results, then the options for a governing majority would either be Liberal + JLN or Labor + Greens + JLN. If Labor gains a seat off JLN, then the Liberal Party would also need one of the independents, and Labor could alternatively govern with the support of either JLN or the independents, not both (in addition to the Greens).

Whatever happens, we are still a long way away from a clear majority. Yes the Liberals are closer, but that relies on them being able to work with JLN members, even though in some cases we don’t even know which JLN candidate could win. Last night Rockliff very clearly claimed victory, but that felt more like a political assertion to present yourself as the natural choice of the crossbench rather than a statement of fact.

While the election has generally seen a boost in support for the crossbench, the story is very different between northern and southern Tasmania.

The Liberal vote is ten points higher in the north, while they barely outpoll Labor in the south. Lambie’s vote is mostly in the north, while the Greens and independents each polled about 10% more in the south.

It’s worth noting that this gap is not new – indeed the Liberal vote is now less uneven than before. The average swing away from the Liberal Party in the north was 15.6%, and just 6.5% in the south.

If JLN were to win three seats and provide the Liberal Party the numbers for government, those eighteen members would include over 60% of northern members, but barely a third of southern members.

This feels like an extension of the story we’ve seen in bigger mainland and federal elections, where the left has become much stronger in big cities while losing ground in the country.

The decline of the major parties is also consistent with the story we’ve seen across the country. While the parties have always had their ups and downs, this election did not see Labor have a major benefit from the Liberals losing a big chunk of votes.

There had been a noticeable decline in the major party vote in the 1980s as the Greens emerged as a third force, but until 2018 the decline was quite slow. But the major party vote has declined from 83% to 66% over two elections.

And while a major party can win a majority at a federal election with.a primary vote not much higher than what the ALP polled last night, that doesn’t work in a proportional system.

And so we are now looking at a record-size crossbench, and the record hasn’t been broken by a little. On current numbers there will be ten crossbenchers, but it could drop as low as eight. That would be 22-29% of the House.

The outgoing parliament started out with three crossbenchers (12%) and ended up with six (24%). The highest number of crossbenchers elected in the 25-seat era was five in 2010 (20%), and that was also the highest number in the 35-seat era, with five crossbenchers elected in 1989, 1992 and 1996.

Finally, I will explore this in more detail in my close seats post, but I suspect we will see the importance of prominent candidates as the count continues.

In the seat of Franklin, the Greens have an enormous vote concentrated behind their leader, but did not have a prominent second candidate, which makes it hard to see them winning a second seat. And in some electorates the JLN vote is almost even between their candidates. With no prominent candidate, the vote was spread around evenly by voters just donkey voting and Robson Rotation sharing that benefit. That may make it hard to negotiate a new governing arrangement until every vote is counted.

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  1. Thanks Ben.Greetings from Tassie. Minority Government will most likely be formed by the Liberals with JLN plus David O’Byrne ( who is pro AFL stadium as well ). Thanks for your ongoing analysis.

  2. One possibility is that a minority Liberal government might survive until some piece of stadium legislation is passed with support from Liberal, some JLN votes and David O’Byrne. Subsequently O’Byrne finds a pretext to withdraw support from the Rockliff government and supports a Labor/ Green government.


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