Lyons – Australia 2013

ALP 12.3%

Incumbent MP
Dick Adams, since 1993.

Tasmania’s largest seat by area, Lyons includes parts of every region of the state. The seat stretches from the outskirts of Devonport and Launceston in the north to the outskirts of Hobart in the south, as well as the central highlands and the east coast of Tasmania.

Lyons was originally named Wilmot, which was created as a central Tasmanian electorate in 1903. The seat was held by a variety of non-Labor parties up to 1929, when the seat was won by former Premier of Tasmania Joseph Lyons. He left the ALP during his first term in federal Parliament and was elected Prime Minister in 1931 at the head of the new United Australia Party. The ALP won the seat in a 1939 by-election following Lyons’ death, but lost the seat at the 1940 election. The ALP’s Gil Duthie won the seat at the 1946 election, and held the seat until the 1975 election, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Max Burr.

In 1984, the seat was renamed Lyons in honour of the former Prime Minister and his wife Enid, who was the first female member of the House of Representatives. Burr held the renamed seat until 1993, when he retired and the ALP’s Dick Adams won the seat. Adams has held the seat ever since. At the 2004 election, a 4.5% swing against the ALP made the seat marginal, but in 2007 Adams recovered most of his margin, partly due to conflict in the Liberal Party, with the original Liberal candidate, Ben Quin, resigning and running as an independent after Minister for the Environment Malcolm Turnbull approved the Gunns pulp mill.

Adams gained a further swing of almost 4% at the 2010 election.


Lyons is held by a reasonably large margin. Ambitious Liberals have long hoped to regain Lyons, and reduced Adam’s margin to less than 4% in 2004. Despite large swings in the past, Adams is unlikely to lose the seat in 2013. Labor may have trouble retaining the seat in the future if Adams retires.

2010 result

Dick AdamsALP32,16448.91+5.42
Eric HutchinsonLIB21,49332.69-0.79
Karen CassidyGRN11,01316.75+5.79
Lucas NoyesSEC1,0851.65+1.65

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Dick AdamsALP40,95962.29+3.95
Eric HutchinsonLIB24,79637.71-3.95
Polling places in Lyons at the 2010 federal election. Central in blue, North in orange, South in green. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Lyons at the 2010 federal election. Central in blue, North in orange, South in green. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas: north, central and south. Lyons covers all or part of thirteen council areas, and these council boundaries have been used to divide booths into three areas.

  • Central – Break O’Day, Central Highlands, Glamorgan/Spring Bay, Northern Midlands, Southern Midlands.
  • North – Kentish, Latrobe, Meander Valley, West Tamar.
  • South – Brighton, Derwent Valley, Sorell, Tasman.

The ALP won a majority in all three areas, varying from a slim 54.7% majority in the north to a massive 70.3% majority in the south. The Greens vote varied from 14.1% in the centre to 18.2% in the north.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes18.7159.8613,64020.74
Two-party-preferred votes in Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in southern parts of Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in southern parts of Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in southern parts of Lyons at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in southern parts of Lyons at the 2010 federal election.


  1. It will be interesting this one. The differential between the north and south is likely to blow out this time, with the swing happening possibly 2:1 north to south.

    12.3% is a solid margin, though not enough for him to be feeling comfortable this election.

  2. A disasterous Reachtel poll for Labor in Lyons has the Libs 59/41.

    It is looking increasingly likely that the Libs might pick up 3 seats in Tasmania. I’d suggest on internal polling that both Bass and Braddon are gone. I haven’t seen anything of note in Lyons, but perhaps polling will now stretch to Lyons and Franklin.

  3. Dick Adams is a very popular local member, I struggle to believe he is in danger. However the polling for Labor in Tasmania state-wide is really bad, so the Liberal Party may just win 4/5 seats.

  4. Think I will try something new like Quentin and the PUP, labour only concentrates on their internal power struggles, Tony has big ears but never listens and the greens oppose anything that involves progress and employment for the future! Time for a change.

  5. If the Libs win Lyons, Labor won’t win the election. I question if this can be right, although I have seen internal polling before the Ruddstoration showing something slightly worse than this for Labor.

  6. Perhaps. How Tassie swings will reflect the islands’ dissatisfaction with the Labor Party at a state level (basically their relationship with the Greens, which has a lot more dimensions than on the mainland).

    Tassie could well be the difference come election night, but I don’t think it will be in any way reflective of the national swings or even the national issues, so I can’t go as far as saying that any one Tassie seat will be a bellwether for the nation.

    The Labor vote in Northern Tas is basically blue-collar union members/forestry workers/ and professionals and service industry types in Launceston. Losing the forestry part of that cuts a big chunk out of the vote, which I would guess is where the big drop has come from.

    It can be a different world down there sometimes. Still, Mr Adams is very much a representative of Lyons and a good local campaign will mean more here than in most other electorates.

  7. Dick Adams has been written off and won a lot of times. He probably would have lost in 2004 but he stood up to the Latham forest policy and opposed his own party on it. I don’t think he should be written off yet this time either but that this seat is even still apparently in play is remarkable.

  8. Although I can only put this at a 50/50 chance, all polling shows a primary vote of high 40’s to the Liberals, which would mean they can’t lose the seat given some other votes will leak to them. I’ll say ALP retain until I see some further data, which is counterintuitive to what the polls are (consistently) suggesting. This would be a major coup for the Coalition and I reckon if won off Labor, I can’t see Labor getting to 76 unless there is a miracle.

    In general, I’d suggest Abbott’s confirmation of placing the Greens last will resonate with swinging voters in Tassie who absolutely see the hung parliament in Tasmanian State Parliament as a total farce.

  9. Losing the forestry part of that cuts a big chunk out of the vote, which I would guess is where the big drop has come from.

    Add mining to that, and a lot of industry. Down here it is heading quickly towards Greens vs the unions, with Labor caught complicit in the middle.

  10. I’ve always been amazed that Adams has been able to hang on to this seat for so long given that he is not exactly the most characteristic or inspiring candidate. As KB says he has been written off before and still hung on. The margin still seems to be enough.

    I guess a Tassie result of 2 LIB, 2 ALP & Wilkie would seem a reasonable outcome?

  11. 2-2-1 is my expectation at this stage but if the national ALP vote goes pearshape (say down below 46) then Lyons may very well go too. It is still a bit of an eyebrow-raiser.

  12. Sportingbet/Centrebet has gone to tossup: 1.85 apiece. Sportsbet and Luxbet still have ALP favourite.

    The thing is, at state level the polling for Labor in this seat is terrible; the state gov is even more on the nose in Lyons than in Braddon. In Lyons state Labor has a net performance rating of minus 52.6. It has the same issues profile as Bass and Braddon – jobs/economy 1 and 2. Basically if you argue that Lyons isn’t going, you have to by that token argue that the national 2PP will pick up lots, or that ReachTEL polls are systematically wrong in Tasmania, or that Lyons is especially hard to poll (last might be true). It’s just not clear Lyons is wildly different to Bass and Braddon now.

    Dick is seen as charismatic and he has also been historically very well regarded in the timber towns (especially after he stood up to Latham and basically attacked Labor’s forest policy in 2004). But he’s 62 and there may be a “time to retire” factor out there. Lyons is very much affected by the whole forestry peace deal thing.

    I’m shaky on 2-2-1 vs 1-3-1 after this latest poll. Maybe we’ll get a Newspoll of some Tas seats to corroborate at some stage.

  13. Again in Lyons, labor’s safest seat, a relitavely big undecided vote is probably weighing Adams down (7.6%). Still it shows only modest swing back to labor on the primary vote. Again state results aren’t advantaging the liberal, as the poll found at a state level they are on 55%.

  14. Basically, I agree with Observer, plus I think ReachTEL’s seat polls overstate Coalition support by a few points, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Labor keeps this with better 54% TPP.

  15. I had a look at the ReachTEL polling from Queensland last federal election and while their predictive record was good (only 1/9 wrong) the seven final polls I’ve been able to find did skew Coalition on the whole, by an average 4.8 points. They’ve probably refined their methods since then, as in state level polling (not meaning Tas here) they’ve been reasonably close to Newspoll.

    But I think to factor in the undecided vote and also factor in a view that ReachTEL skews, is double-dipping. Any skew caused by its treatment of the undecided vote (cf actual results) should be factored into its 2PPs already. There is always some level of undecided vote.

    Plenty of other polls chuck out similar proportions of undecideds without being wrong as a direct result of that.

  16. Some of the polling suggests it is gone and Franklin is in danger, some is less dire. I suspect this one will be close and that the Franklin will be held relatively comfortably, but that’s really only the result of my biases about the polling, which is probably all anyone can really give you.

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