Lyons – Australia 2016

LIB 1.2%

Incumbent MP
Eric Hutchinson, since 2013.

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.

Dick Adams held Lyons for the ALP for the next twenty years. 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, but in 2013 he was defeated by Liberal candidate Eric Hutchinson, after a 13.5% swing.


Lyons is a very marginal Liberal seat – the most marginal of three marginal Liberal seats in Tasmania. Labor will struggle without Dick Adams’ personal vote, and the Liberal Party will benefit from a new personal vote for their incumbent MP, but if there is a solid swing to Labor, you should be looking at Lyons as a seat that could flip.


  • 51% to Liberal – Reachtel commissioned by Sunday Tasmanian, 14 May 2016

2013 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Eric Hutchinson Liberal 29,662 44.4 +11.7
Dick Adams Labor 24,607 36.8 -12.1
Pip Brinklow Greens 5,563 8.3 -8.4
Quentin Von Stieglitz Palmer United Party 4,697 7.0 +7.0
Gaye James Family First 1,707 2.6 +2.6
Julian Rogers Rise Up Australia 589 0.9 +0.9
Informal 3,119 4.7

2013 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Eric Hutchinson Liberal 34,228 51.2 +13.5
Dick Adams Labor 32,597 48.8 -13.5
Polling places in Lyons at the 2013 federal election. Central in blue, North in orange, South in green. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Lyons at the 2013 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 Liberal Party won a large 59% majority in the north (bordering the other Liberal marginal seats of Bass and Braddon) and a smaller 54% majority in the centre.

Labor won a 59% majority in the south, which has the largest proportion of the seat’s population.

Voter group GRN % PUP % LIB 2PP % Total votes % of votes
South 8.2 7.5 41.3 19,265 28.8
North 9.1 7.7 59.4 16,391 24.5
Central 6.3 6.2 54.3 15,763 23.6
Other votes 9.7 6.5 51.8 15,406 23.1
Two-party-preferred votes in Lyons at the 2013 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Lyons at the 2013 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the parts of Lyons near Hobart at the 2013 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the parts of Lyons near Hobart at the 2013 federal election.


  1. Lyons certainly seems to be one of those seats where a local member can dig in for long periods of time, regardless of the overall national result. The Liberals probably have a better chance of holding this than other seats that are safer on paper.

  2. You may be right in that assessment Mark but I do not believe that a ~1% margin will be enough to withstand the inevitable swing. It is not outside the realms of possibility however.

  3. I don’t know that there’s any real evidence that that’s the case. Dick Adams held the seat for a long time, but Labor were generally pretty popular in Tassie throughout that time. The electorate has some very strong Labor areas that make it very hard for the Liberals to hold.

    Dick’s 2013 campaign was particularly weak, but I think a stronger Labor campaign should easily be able to win back a few percent.

  4. Duthie

    And Adams had personal votes and made sure they got around the electorate…I don’t know enough of burr to comment…but suspect he did too…. Hutchinson does not get around……..this electorate is composed of small population areas of tax…… Makes the difference I think

  5. Know nothing about this electorate. However if Hutchinson doesn’t work his clacker off, he’s gone. Probably gone anyway, it was a huge swing in 2013. The Greens vote is interesting. How was Christine Milne so toxic in her home state ?? Big PUP vote too.

  6. The long-term trend in Tasmania was obscured by the Dam Crisis and the inevitable tide (it was a huge one) back to Labor, which makes historical comparisons (of which I am so fond of) difficult. I think it has only now begun to normalise and believe therefore that the ALP will likely win this seat.

  7. The huge swing in 2013 was partly a correction from the Liberals’ dud Tasmanian campaign in 2010, and partly a reflection of forestry issues and dissatisfaction with the Labor-Green Tasmanian government. That also explains the lousy Green vote.

    It’s interesting that state federal samples so far are not showing any real swing back, but maybe they are wrong.

  8. Opinion polls appear to be pointing to this as a Lib hold – the Bell Bay pulp mill seems to have left a trail of damage for the ALP and the Greens in Tasmania.

  9. Labor seem reasonably confident of picking this up but until we get more polling I’m not sure anyone has a clue. And maybe not even then. Speaking of which, ReachTEL in the field Tasmania-wide tonight.

  10. The Reachtel poll appears to have significantly impacted Sportsbet odds. Massive swing to Labor

    Labor 1.35, Coalition 3.00

    Yep, considering that when I started tracking, Coalition was 1.55, it’s amazing that this is now strongly favouring Labor, to the point it’s outside of the “tracked” range.

  11. My prediction: Dick Adams lost this after 20 years last election, and his personal following is now gone. Will be an interesting contest.

    At the moment, probable Labor gain.

  12. Ironically this one actually swung the least to Labor. What on earth happened in Tassie? Massively unexpected swing which has really damaged Liberal chances of forming government.


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