Bridget Archer, since 2019.
Bass covers the north-eastern corner of Tasmania. It covers the LGAs of Launceston, George Town, West Tamar and Dorset. Bass also covers Tasmania’s north-eastern islands, including Flinders Island.
Bass was created for the 1903 election, after Tasmania’s MPs were elected at large for the 1901 election. Bass has always been centred on Launceston, and has long been a marginal electorate. Indeed, the seat has changed hands from one MP to another seventeen times in its history, and only twice has an MP been succeeded by a member of the same party.
The seat was dominated by the Barnard family in the middle part of the twentieth century, with Claude Barnard holding the seat from 1934 to 1949, which included a period as Minister for Repatriation in the Chifley government. He was defeated by Liberal candidate Bruce Kekwick in 1949, who himself was defeated by Claude’s son Lance Barnard in 1954. The younger Barnard went on to serve as Deputy Prime Minister under Gough Whitlam from 1972 to 1974, and his resignation triggered the June 1975 Bass by-election, which saw a 14% swing to the Liberal Party, a major blow to the Whitlam government.
Kevin Newman (father of Queensland Premier, Campbell) held the seat from 1975 to 1984, during which time he served as a minister in the Fraser government. He was succeeded by Warwick Smith in 1984. Smith served up to the 1993 election, when he too was defeated by Labor candidate Silvia Smith.
Warwick Smith won the seat back in 1996, and he served as a minister in the first Howard government. He was defeated again in 1998 by Michelle O’Byrne, who held the seat for two terms as a Labor MP before losing in 2004 as part of a backlash against Mark Latham’s forestry policies. She too went on to become a state MP for Bass at the 2006 state election.
At the 2007 election, the sitting Liberal MP Michael Ferguson was defeated himself by Launceston alderman Jodie Campbell. Campbell stepped down in 2010 after one term, and Labor candidate Geoff Lyons won the seat.
Every subsequent member for Bass has lost after one term. Lyons lost in 2013 to Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic, who then lost to Labor’s Ross Hart in 2016. Hart lost in 2019 to Liberal candidate Bridget Archer.
- George Razay (Independent)
- Bob Salt (Jacqui Lambie Network)
- Cecily Rosol (Greens)
- Bridget Archer (Liberal)
- Alison Baker (Animal Justice)
- Stephen Humble (Liberal Democrats)
- Kyle Squibb (United Australia)
- Melanie Davy (One Nation)
- Ross Hart (Labor)
Bass is an extremely marginal seat and has flipped back and forth between Labor and Liberal repeatedly over the last quarter century. Labor has a real chance to gain this seat. On the other hand, the Liberal Party did well here at the recent state election and there’s a real chance that a Liberal MP will win re-election in Bass for the first time since 1990.
|Allan John Roark||United Australia Party||3,342||4.9||+4.9|
|Susan Woodbury||Animal Justice||1,667||2.4||+2.4|
2019 two-party-preferred result
Booths have been divided into eight areas. Four of these areas cover the entirety of their local government area: Dorset, George Town, West Tamar and Flinders Island. Three areas divide up the urban parts of Launceston into Launceston North, Launceston East and Launceston West (which also takes in the edge of West Tamar council area). The remainder of the Launceston council area is grouped as Launceston Rural.
The urban parts of Launceston absolutely dominated the remainder of the electorate, with over 70% of election-day ordinary votes cast in Launceston.
The Liberal Party won just over 50% in eastern and western Launceston, while Labor won a large 61.2% majority in northern Launceston.
Labor also won George Town with 53.2%. The Liberal vote was 63.4% in Dorset and about 53% in the other areas, as well as in the pre-poll vote across the seat.
|Voter group||GRN prim %||LIB 2PP %||Total votes||% of votes|