|Term expires 2011||Term expires 2014|
|Eric Abetz (LIB)||Catryna Bilyk (ALP)|
|Guy Barnett (LIB)||Bob Brown (GRN)|
|Christine Milne (GRN)||Carol Brown (ALP)|
|Kerry O’Brien (ALP)||David Bushby (LIB)|
|Stephen Parry (LIB)||Richard Colbeck (LIB)|
|Helen Polley (ALP)||Nick Sherry (ALP)|
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, producing the current balance of five Labor senators, five Liberal senators and two Greens.
The ALP and Liberal Party each won two seats on primary votes, and the Greens won one seat. After distribution of preferences, the last four candidates standing were Labor #3 candidate Catryna Bilyk, Liberal #3 candidate Don Morris, Greens #2 candidate Andrew Wilkie and Family First candidate Jacquie Petrusma. They had the following votes:
- Bilyk (ALP) – 0.8181 quotas
- Morris (LIB) – 0.6304
- Wilkie (GRN) – 0.3438
- Petrusma (FF) – 0.2035
Petrusma was excluded, and over two thirds of her preferences flowed to the Liberal candidate:
- Bilyk – 0.8715
- Morris – 0.7624
- Wilkie – 0.3614
Wilkie was excluded, and his preferences elected Bilyk:
- Bilyk – 1.1936
- Morris – 0.8002
The Liberal Party has preselected the following ticket:
- Eric Abetz
- Stephen Parry
- Guy Barnett
At the 2004 election, Barnett was ranked above Parry, however the Liberal Party changed it’s decision in its preselection.
The ALP has preselected the following ticket:
- Helen Polley
- Anne Urquhart
- Lisa Singh
Sitting Senator Kerry O’Brien was dropped, and the recommendation of the Tasmanian ALP to nominate union leader Kevin Harkins was overturned by the ALP’s National Executive in the face of open opposition to Harkins’ preselection from the Prime Minister, with the Executive moving Urquhart into second spot and adding recently defeated state MP and minister Lisa Singh in the marginal third spot.
Christine Milne will be running for re-election at the head of the Greens’ ticket.
The ALP’s third candidate won the last seat in 2007. In order to change that result, the following swings would be needed:
- A 2.81% swing from the ALP to the Liberals would give the seat to the Liberals.
- A 2.88% swing from the Liberals to the Greens would give the seat to the Greens, as the Greens would overtake the Liberals and win on their preferences, however this would also require a small swing from the ALP to the Greens (less than 1%) to keep the ALP from reaching three quotas on Family First preferences.
- A 3.63% swing from the ALP to the Greens would push the Greens ahead of the ALP and the Greens would win the seat on Liberal preferences.