Senate – Tasmania – Australia 2022

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2022 Term due to expire 2025
Eric Abetz (Liberal) Catryna Bilyk (Labor)
Wendy Askew (Liberal) Carol Brown (Labor)
Jonathon Duniam (Liberal) Claire Chandler (Liberal)
Helen Polley (Labor) Richard Colbeck (Liberal)
Anne Urquhart (Labor) Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network)
Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens) Nick McKim (Greens)


Tasmania elected five senators for each major party at the 1951 double dissolution. In 1953, the Liberals gained a sixth seat from the ALP. The Liberals were reduced to five seats in 1955, when one of the ALP’s senators left the party to join the party that became the Democratic Labor Party. In 1961, the Liberals lost their fifth seat to independent Reginald Turnbull, and until 1964 Tasmania was represented by four Labor senators, four Liberal senators, one DLP senator and Turnbull.

The 1964 election saw the ALP regain the seat previously held by the DLP. This 5-4-1 split remained until the 1970 Senate election, when the ALP lost their fifth seat to conservative independent Michael Townley, producing a result of four Labor, four Liberal and two independents. Turnbull retired at the 1974 double dissolution, and the ALP won back a fifth senate seat. Prior to the 1975 election Townley joined the Liberal Party, and in 1975 the Liberals won five seats, the ALP won four (down one from 1974) , and the final seat was won by ex-Labor independent Brian Harradine.

Tasmania continued to be represented by five Liberals, four Labor and Harradine from 1975 until the 1984 election, when Labor won a fifth seat and the Australian Democrats won a seat. This 5-5-1-1 balance remained steady until the 1996 election, when the Democrats lost their single senate seat, and Greens candidate Dr Bob Brown was elected to that seat. This balance remained steady until 2004, although prior to the 2001 election Labor Senator Shayne Murphy resigned from the ALP to serve as an independent.

At the 2004 election, Harradine retired, and his seat was won by the Liberal Party, whilst the ALP lost one of its seats to Greens candidate Christine Milne. At the 2007 election, the ALP won a fifth seat back off the Liberal Party. In 2010, the ALP again won three out of six seats, which resulted in Labor holding half of Tasmania’s Senate seats, with Liberal reduced to four.

In 2013, Labor lost its sixth Senate seat to Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party, who subsequently left the party and founded the Jacqui Lambie Network.

There was no change at the 2016 double dissolution election. Labor maintained their five seats, the Liberal Party maintained four, the Greens two, and Jacqui Lambie was re-elected.

Lambie was removed from the Senate in 2017 due to citizenship problems, and she was replaced by her running mate Steve Martin, who eventually joined the Nationals.

The group of senators given a short term by the double dissolution leaned to the left, including three Labor senators, one Greens, one Liberal and one National.

At the 2019 election, Lambie regained her seat, but the Liberal Party gained a second seat off the expense of Labor, who were reduced to just two seats (for a total of four).

2019 result

Group Votes % Swing Quota
Liberal 110,730 31.5 -1.1 2.2020
Labor 107,670 30.6 -3.0 2.1412
Greens 44,236 12.6 +1.4 0.8797
Jacqui Lambie Network 31,383 8.9 +0.6 0.6241
One Nation 12,159 3.5 +0.9 0.2418
United Australia Party 9,281 2.6 +2.6 0.1846
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 6,133 1.7 +0.4 0.1220
Animal Justice 4,521 1.3 +0.6 0.0899
Help End Marijuana Prohibition 4,141 1.2 +1.2 0.0824
Australian Conservatives 3,822 1.1 +1.1 0.0760
Nationals 4,041 1.1 +1.2 0.0804
Craig Garland independent group 3,649 1.0 +1.0 0.0726
Liberal Democrats 2,400 0.7 +0.2 0.0477
Sustainable Australia 1,783 0.5 +0.5 0.0355
Others 6,039 1.7

Preference flows
Three seats were won on primary votes: two Liberals and one Labor. The total Labor vote was over two quotas, but was split between the above-the-line vote and a substantial below-the-line vote for Lisa Singh, who was fourth on the Labor ticket.

Fast forward to the last ten candidates for the last three seats:

  • Nick McKim (GRN) – 0.9329 quotas
  • Catryna Bilyk (ALP) – 0.7381
  • Jacqui Lambie (JLN) – 0.7104
  • Lisa Singh (ALP) – 0.4499
  • Matthew Stephen (ON) – 0.2835
  • Tanya Denison (LIB) – 0.2500
  • Kevin Morgan (UAP) – 0.2111
  • Rebecca Byfield (SFF) – 0.1724
  • Steve Martin (NAT) – 0.1207
  • Karen Bevis (AJP) – 0.1194

AJP preferences flowed most strongly to the Greens:

  • McKim (GRN) – 0.9704
  • Bilyk (ALP) – 0.7556
  • Lambie (JLN) – 0.7247
  • Singh (ALP) – 0.4518
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.2941
  • Denison (LIB) – 0.2623
  • Morgan (UAP) – 0.2160
  • Byfield (SFF) – 0.1847
  • Martin (NAT) – 0.1251

Nationals preferences favoured the Liberal candidate, pushing her ahead of One Nation:

  • McKim (GRN) – 0.9945
  • Bilyk (ALP) – 0.7636
  • Lambie (JLN) – 0.7353
  • Singh (ALP) – 0.4538
  • Denison (LIB) – 0.3206
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.3033
  • Morgan (UAP) – 0.2210
  • Byfield (SFF) – 0.1880

Shooters preferences favoured Lambie, the UAP and One Nation most strongly, but just enough went to the Greens to elect McKim to the fourth seat.

  • McKim (GRN) – 1.0049
  • Bilyk (ALP) – 0.7886
  • Lambie (JLN) – 0.7827
  • Singh (ALP) – 0.4560
  • Denison (LIB) – 0.3453
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.3353
  • Morgan (UAP) – 0.2544

The small Greens surplus was distributed, and then UAP preferences flowed most strongly to Lambie and One Nation:

  • Lambie (JLN) – 0.8681
  • Bilyk (ALP) – 0.8243
  • Singh (ALP) – 0.4589
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.4059
  • Denison (LIB) – 0.3925

Liberal preferences again favoured Lambie and Stephen:

  • Lambie (JLN) – 0.9824
  • Bilyk (ALP) – 0.9055
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.5089
  • Singh (ALP) – 0.4799

Singh had received very few preferences, as she could not receive any preferences above the line. Her preferences elected Lambie and Bilyk for the final two seats:

  • Bilyk (ALP) – 1.2733
  • Lambie (JLN) – 1.0617
  • Stephen (ON) – 0.5119


  • M – Tammy Tyrrell (Jacqui Lambie Network)
  • N – Lynne Kershaw (Informed Medical Options)
  • Ungrouped
    • Steve Crothers (Independent)
    • Fenella Edwards (Independent)

The left currently holds three seats up for election, and the right holds three. The most likely outcome would be a continuation of the status quo.

Labor and Liberal should each win two seats, with the Greens winning one. The Liberal Party are the favourites for the final seat, but a big swing to Labor could see that seat go to the left, as it has done in the past.

Another unknown factor is the performance of the Jacqui Lambie Network. Lambie herself is not up for election, and she has not yet demonstrated an ability to attract votes for other candidates on her platform.

If the JLN can do well, they may be able to take votes off the Liberal Party that aren’t open to Labor or the Greens, and then win the final seat off Labor and Greens preferences.

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  1. Eric Abetz is in trouble. Period.
    The last seat is between himself and Tammi Tyrell (JLN) and whether he holds on remains to be seen.

  2. I wouldn’t be cerain enough Jacqui Lambie support transfers to JLN when she isn’t on the ballot. 2018 state election was very disappointing, so much so they couldn’t be arsed in 2021.

    I think Tasmania is more like to elect 3 Labor and 1 Green than a JLN in the event that Eric Abetz fails to win.

  3. Slightly off topic but out of curiosity why did Tasmania vote against Bob Hawke during his elections? Why did Tasmania overwhelmingly vote for the coalition during the 1980s even backing Fraser in 1983, Is there any historical reason as to why this happened?

    Was Whitlam hated in Tasmania and the damage was so great Tasmania distrusted Labor?
    Was the Liberal party popular in Tasmania at the time?
    Or was the Tasmanian state government unpopular at the time?

    I’d be interesting in knowing if anyone here knows or knows someone who might know, Couldn’t find anything on google suggesting why Hawke did poorly in Tasmania

  4. Daniel, ever heard of the Franklin Dam Crisis? Huge ramifications for Tasmania well into the 90s.

  5. Daniel,

    The impact of the Tasmanian Dams crisis on Tasmania can not be overstated. It was not just an argument about building a dam but at the heart of employment, relationship between the States and Commonwealth and the future of the for business. As Wreathy correctly points out the implications flowed into the 90s and Tasmania is only really now recovering from the dislocation of having one of its major industries – dam building – shut down and the lack of power to fuel industry. Which led to very slow population growth as the young people migrated inter-state.

    The Liberal premier at the time – Robin Gray – got about 60% of the primary vote in Queenstown – a labor mining town. I think I have noted elsewhere that the liberals in Tassie are really Nationals with a liberal moniker. The impact on Tassie in the 80s and the political fallout does have similarities to the reaction in the QLD “coal seats” at the last election when the labor party (and Bob Brown) threatened to end / limit coal mining. Don’t mess with people’s jobs…….

    On other thing about the Tasmania Dams crisis is that Gareth Evans (who was defence minister at the time) was not satisfied with the reports / information he was receiving on the progress of the dam’s construction. So he sent an air force F 1-11 on an aerial photo reconnaissance mission. I am sure the photos were nice but using the defence force to “spy” on citizens and a state government was never going to endear the labor party to the good voters of Tasmania. I don’t think Dutton would use defence force assets to check on the progress of the Adani coal mine.

    It is also worth considering the amount of co2 that would have been saved had the dam been built rather than running the oil (later converted to gas) plant at Bell Bay and then bass link bringing in dirty power from victoria = latrobe valley brown coal. The River or wind power (which is an eyesore and kills birds) or CO2? An example of how some very very hard decisions have to be made if the world wants to get to “net zero emissions”. Solar is not a viable option in Tassie as it is too far south and too overcast. And due to the vast majority of energy being generated in Tassie from hydro and wind the state is already at “net zero emissions”….. Which will mean that the main-landers risk annoying Tassie residents if they impose policies that impacts Tassie to clean up their mess due to burning fossil fuels for power.

    None of the above will impact on the Senate voting in Tassie at the next election but might do so in the future…..




    Only 1 dam was stopped, dam building would only have lasted a few more years with it going ahead. Tariff reductions and automation were reducing manufacturing jobs in the 1980s and 1990s anyway.

    Using spy planes was legitimate. They just should have been stealthy and kept their mouths shut about it unless they needed it in court. Satellite photos are sufficiently available now that spy planes are unlikely to be needed in this day and age but if it was, Dutton would probably be willing to use them.

    Basslink makes renewable energy more viable because it is dispatchable power. Solar is viable in Tasmania, just not as big a return on investment as in most of the rest of Australia. Tasmania has low electricity carbon emissions, however other emitting sectors (such as transport) still need work.

  7. This is definitely one to watch. Recent polling has a swing to ALP of about 4% in Tasmania, which if mirrored in the Senate, would be enough to completely deny Abetz a seat (I can’t see him winning on below-the-lines numbers).

    The Greens are practically guaranteed a seat, and Labor has a solid shot at a third seat, but I’d call it a 50-50 chance, in absence of more information. The fundamental questions is, does JLN get enough support to get a seat, and if not, where do their voters go, and where do their preferences go?

    I get the sense that a substantial portion of JLN support might be anti-government, which would mean that a decent chunk of the vote would flow to the ALP purely by virtue of them not being the Liberals. But there’s also clearly a right-wing portion of Jacqui Lambie’s base… they could go anywhere. But I don’t think it’ll help the Liberals. If they don’t vote JLN, I suspect they’ll go to ONP or SFF (not UAP, given Lambie’s history with the party).

    Anyway, barring a massive shift in the numbers coming from polling, etc, I’d expect this to be an interesting race to watch.

  8. The Local Party feel that they have a chance of winning a seat for Leanne Minshull by getting the votes of disaffected Lab/Lib voters. It is being supported by Climate200. Apart from the Greens, the 70% of voters wanting stronger climate action and an anti-corruption commission have no one to vote for on climate and nothing from UAP and ONP on corruption. Unfortunately voters stick to the majors because of their belief in the tooth fairy – trickle down economics, when our economic system is trickle up.

  9. The ALP still aren’t very popular on the West Coast because of Hawke. He still gets brought up at poll booths apparently. More people have moved out here for the cheap housing… including a number of artsy types. But older residents tend to be very protective of logging, mining, and fishing and anything that involved jobs.

  10. most likely outcome is 2 labor 2 liberal a green with the last possibly going to JLN if she can transfer her personal vote onto another candidate

  11. Agree with you Ben, although if JLN can’t win enough votes to reach at least 0.4 quotas then the Liberal party would be favoured to win 3 seats (provided they receive enough preferences from the minor right win parties).

  12. The rise of independents is fascinating. There’s a buzz I haven’t ever noticed before. In Tasmania, The Local Party has caught my eye. Great position on numerous issues including climate change. And I really like the concept of Citizen juries.

  13. What does JLN stand for apart from giving malingerer Lambie a taxpayer-funded salary and a platform to shout at people on Q&A?

  14. Easy, my contacts in Tassie say this is a lay down whatever that word is in French:
    ALP 2, Lib 2, Greens 1, JLN 1.

  15. What is really disturbing is the number of racist, anti-vax, anti-abortion, climate-denier, homophobe parties.

    The Local party might have more juice if they were clearer on where they stand. Feels like mostly they have a bet each way, and just run on “not one of the the duopoly.

  16. As a Tasmanian Migration agent from my perspective Eric Abetz has been very active in supporting and representing his constituents. I have made approaches to other Liberal politicians in regards to an overseas investor who intends to import fisheries /seafood into Vietnam on a large scale, providing substantial economic benefit to the State. I made and approached a number of Liberal politicans including Rockcliffe, Ablett, Archer, Chandler , Petrusma and few others for support letters. The fact is they were not interested because they probable assessed that there was no publicity involved, but there will be and they will be reminded of their position on this matter in due course. Political Party aside, the only 2 Senators who have been active in assisting my clients are Eric, Carol Brown and Madelene Ogilivy. I have a long memory and will be publishing their dismissal of my request at the next State election.


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