Clark – Australia 2022

IND 22.1% vs ALP

Incumbent MP
Andrew Wilkie, since 2019. Previously member for Denison 2010-2019.

Geography
Clark covers the suburbs of Hobart on the western shores of the Derwent River. The seat covers Hobart and Glenorchy LGAs as well as northern parts of Kingborough LGA. The seat includes the Hobart CBD and is by far the most compact seat in Tasmania.

History

Clark was created in 2019, but is actually just a new name for the seat of Denison, which was first created for the 1903 election.

The seat was first held by Sir Philip Fysh, a former Premier of Tasmania and minister under Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin. His retirement in 1910 saw the seat fall to the ALP, with the ALP member William Laird Smith joining the new Nationalist party in 1916. He lost the seat to a Labor candidate in 1922, and for the next twelve years the seat changed hands every three years, with the Nationalists winning it back in 1925, the ALP winning it back in 1928 and retaining it in 1929 before the new United Australia Party won the seat in 1931.

In 1934, the ALP regained it yet again, and held it for two terms until the 1940 election. A new UAP member of Parliament won the seat in 1940, and again only held it for three years, before the ALP’s John Gaha won the seat at the 1943 election. For the next half-century, Denison was a bellwether seat, going to the party that won federal government at each election.

Gaha lost the seat in 1949 to the Liberal Party’s Athol Townley. Townley held the seat for the next fourteen years, which was the longest term of service in Denison up until Duncan Kerr’s time. Townley served as Minister for Defence under Robert Menzies, before dying in December 1963 shortly after being appointed as Ambassador to the United States.

He was succeeded by Adrian Gibson, who retired in 1969 to be replaced by Robert Solomon. Solomon was defeated after one term in 1972 by Labor’s John Coates, who himself was defeated by Michael Hodgman in 1975. Hodgman served in a variety of junior ministerial roles under Malcolm Fraser and held the seat until 1987. Indeed, his victories in 1983 and 1984 were the only times Denison had gone to an opposition candidate in decades.

Hodgman was defeated in 1987 by the ALP’s Duncan Kerr. Kerr held the seat from 1987 until 2010, by far the longest term in Denison in the seat’s 106-year history.

In 2010, Kerr was replaced as ALP candidate by Jonathan Jackson. He was challenged by independent candidate Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie was a former intelligence whistleblower, NSW Greens lower house candidate and Tasmanian Greens Senate candidate, before running a close campaign for a state seat in Denison at the 2010 state election. At the federal election, Wilkie came third on primary votes but overtook the Liberal Party on Socialist and Green preferences, and narrowly defeated the ALP on the two-party-preferred vote.

In 2013, Wilkie gained a 16.8% primary vote swing, easily outpolling the three main parties in Denison, and won after preferences with a 15.5% margin. He was re-elected again in 2016 and 2019.

Candidates

  • Michelle Cameron (One Nation)
  • Simon Davis (Labor)
  • Ian Ramsden (Liberal Democrats)
  • Will Coats (Liberal)
  • Janet Shelley (Greens)
  • Andrew Wilkie (Independent)
  • Casey Davies (Animal Justice)
  • Sandra Galloway (United Australia)
  • Assessment
    Wilkie has built up a strong margin in this seat and is unlikely to be dislodged at the next election.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Andrew WilkieIndependent33,76150.0+6.0
    Ben McGregor Labor 13,64120.2-2.8
    Amanda-Sue Markham Liberal 11,71917.4-2.6
    Juniper Shaw Greens 6,4589.6-1.0
    Jim StarkeyUnited Australia Party1,8822.8+2.8
    Informal1,6892.4-0.5

    2019 two-candidate-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Andrew WilkieIndependent48,65372.1+4.4
    Ben McGregor Labor 18,80827.9-4.4

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Ben McGregor Labor 44,64266.2+0.8
    Amanda-Sue Markham Liberal 22,81933.8-0.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four areas. Most of the population of Denison lie in Glenorchy and Hobart local government areas. Booths in Glenorchy have been split between Claremont (north) and Glenorchy (south). Booths in Hobart have been divided between Hobart and South. The handful of booths in Kingborough council have also been included in South.

    Wilkie, the Liberal Party and the Greens tend to do better in the Hobart council area, while Labor’s best vote is in the Glenorchy council area.

    Wilkie’s two-candidate-preferred vote ranged from 64.8% in Glenorchy to 79.7% in the south.

    Voter groupLIB primALP primIND 2CPTotal votes% of votes
    Hobart14.118.773.314,89722.1
    Glenorchy13.927.264.811,34516.8
    South24.213.079.711,12116.5
    Claremont14.027.765.97,13410.6
    Pre-poll18.718.973.313,57120.1
    Other votes19.319.073.19,39313.9

    Election results in Clark at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (independent vs Liberal), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Labor, the Liberal Party and the Greens.

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    16 COMMENTS

    1. Unfortunately Wilkie holds unless he retires. Would love for him to go as I am ot impressed with his defence of Julian Assange at all.

      Labor has a better chance at winning this than Melbourne though as Wilkie is an independent and his votes will flow back to the Labor when he’s gone unlike in Melbourne where the Greens are strong there anyway.

      My question is why do independents in Sydney struggle to win reelection but Wilkie has an easy time winning in Hobart? Ted Mack almost lost his seat in 1993 and Phelps lost in 2019 and Steggal may yet face a tough challenge. Less urban?

    2. Yes I think the small city characteristics of Hobart make it easier for independents to win and hold seats. Wilkie (running as an independent) almost won one of the five spots in the equivalent seat of Denison at the 2010 state election and Kristie Johnson won a spot as an independent in the seat of Clark at the 2019 state election.

      Wilkie may also have a higher profile as he ran a strong campaign as a Greens candidate in Bennelong against John Howard at one election (either 2001 or 2004).

    3. The Greens primary here (at Senate level) was 22%, the Liberals were 25% and Labor 36%. UAP/ONP did badly, Lambie got about 5% odd, and Animal Justice got 1.3%. Extremely left-wing seat which probably would be a Labor-Greens marginal (Melbourne at state level) when Wilkie does retire. If the Greens do better in Glenorchy, obviously doing far better in the hills and central Hobart, they’ll come at least second.

    4. The Greens` post Wilkie results depend on several factors including:

      Whether the AEC decide to significantly redistribute the Hobart seats in favour of a contiguous Franklin, which would likely put southern Hobart in Franklin, which would likely be the Greens` best seat.

      If the AEC do not significantly redistribute the Hobart seats, the level of expansion of the proportion of Green favouring demographics in northern Clark.

      How the Greens do relative to the ALP.

      The very low likelihood of the Tasmanian Liberals preferencing the Greens.

    5. To be fair the WA Liberals (most conservative I thought) did preference the Greens in Fremantle, Maylands, Kimberley and South Perth at the most recent state election, so never say never although it is Tasmania, and the Liberals probably hate us Greenies a lot more.

    6. It’s not about who they hate the most, just about every loyal Liberal hates the Greens more than Labor. It’s about whether they think can bait Labor into costly rearguard actions in vulnerable progressive seats.

    7. I’m sure there are some branches of the Liberals (at least the ACT for starters) would rather have a Greens MP than a Labor MP because Greens MPs aren’t beholden to tow the party line quite to the extent that Labor are, and the Greens may well vote against Labor on some occasions.

    8. The Greens just aren’t likely to do anything the Liberals want anymore. That may have been different 10 years ago but the left are clearly in the ascendancy now. The opposite is true in the ALP. I mean just look how Albo whipped for the tax cuts. The Greens would never go along with that today.

    9. I mean I guess there’s still a lot of old guard Greens in Tassie but even still, counting on the ALP to focus group itself into submitting to Liberal policy is still a surer bet as far as that goes.

    10. Ryan Spencer
      Lad you are really starting to impress me!!. Do i detect lateral thinking ? That really is an atypical quality in a green voter, i must say. BTW you o make some good points, & i think you may be surprised that i agree with you broadly. However perhaps you might be even more surprised why.
      Any thinking centre right voter will put Labor last, which means preferencing the greens. Proud to own that myself. I wonder if you understand why, or the thinking behind that strategy ?

    11. Some may be unimpressed by Andrew Wilkie’s support of Julian Assange, but Wilkie is an intelligent, independent voice who will hold onto this seat until he retires. I don’t see what the Greens are doing elsewhere has any bearing on the seat of Clark.

    12. Wilkie was forced to preferences here, but it seems his loss of primary vote has gone to the Greens instead of Labor.

      Unlike redistributed above, I don’t think this will necessarily revert to being a safe Labor seat when Wilkie retires. I think it will be a very competitive Labor vs Greens contest.

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