Lyons – Tasmania 2010

Incumbent MP

  • Michael Polley (ALP), since 1972. Speaker of the House of Assembly 1989-92, 1998-present.
  • David Llewellyn (ALP), since 1986. Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Minister for Energy and Resources and Minister for Planning.
  • Rene Hidding (LIB), since 1996. Leader of the Opposition 2002-2006.
  • Tim Morris (GRN), since 2002.
  • Heather Butler (ALP), since 2005.

Geography
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.

Redistribution
The redistribution saw changes at both ends of the seat. Lyons lost the west coast of Tasmania, a geographically large area with a relatively small population, to Braddon. In exchange it gained part of Latrobe LGA, including Port Sorell. At the southern fringe of the seat, the remaining territory in Derwent Valley LGA was gained from Franklin. Lyons also gained more of Brighton LGA from Franklin, while it lost the remainder of Clarence LGA to Franklin.

History
Lyons was first created for the 1986 election, sharing a name and boundaries with the federal electorate of Lyons. This replaced the seat of Wilmot, which had previously covered central Tasmania since the introduction of proportional representation in 1909.

Wilmot tended to favour conservative parties, and the conservative parties held the district by a 4-2 margin for the first five elections under proportional representation. At the 1922 election, the Nationalists lost two of their four seats to the Country Party.

In 1925, the ALP won a third seat for the first time, while the other Country Party seat was won by an independent. The major parties each won three seats in 1928, before the Nationalists returned to a 4-2 majority in 1931. The fourth Nationalist seat was lost to an independent in 1934, and Wilmot produced a 3-3 split in 1937. The ALP won a 4-2 majority once only, in 1941, before Wilmot reverted to a 3-3 split between the ALP and the Liberal Party at the 1946, 1948, 1950, 1955 and 1956 elections.

When a seventh seat was added in 1959, the ALP won a fourth seat. The Liberals and ALP maintained at least three seats each from 1959 until 1989, with the major parties competing over the seventh seat. The ALP won a 4-3 majority in 1959, 1964, 1972, 1976 and 1979, with the Liberals winning four seats in 1969, 1982 and the renamed seat of Lyons in 1986.

The 1989 election saw the ALP lose their third seat to independent Green Christine Milne. This 4-2-1 split was maintained in 1992. As part of the swing away from the Liberal government in 1996, the ALP regained its third seat off the Liberals.

The reduction in numbers in Lyons in 1998 saw Milne’s seat and one of the three Liberal seats eliminated, producing a 3-2 split for the ALP. The 2002 election saw the Liberals lose yet another seat to Greens candidate Tim Morris. The ALP won three seats, alongside one Green and two Liberals. This result was maintained in 2006.

Party share of seats in Wilmot/Lyons, 1909-2006.

Candidates

 

 

Political situation
Long-standing MPs Llewellyn, Polley and Hidding were all safely re-elected in 2006, and should all win their seats again in 2010. This leaves two seats to be fought out between the three parties.

Tim Morris and Heather Butler were elected in 2006 to the final two seats, defeating Liberal candidate Geoff Page by a margin of 2500 and 1600 votes respectively. The Greens cannot afford any further swing against them if they are to retain their seat, but Morris should be returned if he maintains his vote. It would appear Butler is most vulnerable of the sitting MPs if current polls translate into a swing against the ALP.

It is not clear who would win the seat if the Liberals were to gain a second seat. Howlett was the third-polling Liberal in 2006, and lasted quite far into the count. Other candidates’ local government careers suggest they could have a substantial personal vote.

2006 result

CandidateVotes%Quota
Heather Butler3,6126.010.36
Kerry Degrassi2,3613.930.24
David Llewellyn11,03618.361.10
Michael Polley12,74121.191.27
Malcolm Upston1,4512.410.14
Australian Labor Party31,20151.903.11
Rene Hidding8,45514.060.84
Jane Howlett2,7334.550.27
Geoff Page3,7576.250.37
Richard Shoobridge1,6012.660.16
Andrew Wright1,4652.440.15
Liberal Party18,01129.961.80
Karen Cassidy8971.490.09
Helen Gee8851.470.09
Tim Morris6,32610.520.63
Frederika Perey5000.830.05
Annie Willock9011.500.09
Tasmanian Greens9,50915.820.95
Gordon Crawford8661.440.09
Tasmania First8661.440.09
Geoff Dickinson3540.590.04
Geoff Wharton1780.300.02

Booth breakdown
In order to provide more meaningful analysis, it makes sense to divide the electorate into larger divisions. I grouped the thirteen LGAs into three areas which each make up about a third of the electorate. South covers Derwent Valley, Brighton, Sorell and Tasman LGAs, around the fringes of Hobart and the south of the electorate. Centre covers the central highlands, the midlands and the east coast. North-West covers the LGAs closest to the northern towns of Launceston and Devonport, including the two Liberal-voting LGAs of Meander Valley and Latrobe.

The ALP topped the poll in all regions, although there was a marked drop in the ALP vote in the northern parts of the seat between Bass and Braddon. The ALP won all booths in the south and centre of the seat, while the Liberals won eleven booths in the north of the seat. The Liberal Party polled better in the north of the seat, as did the Greens.

Voter groupALP %LIB %GRN %Total votes% of ordinary votes
South58.7925.7013.7119,07936.20
North46.1534.2417.1816,81631.91
Central54.6430.0313.2616,80431.89
Other votes48.2930.4018.199,965
Polling booths in Lyons, showing the top-polling party at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Labor votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Liberal votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Greens votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in northern Lyons, showing Labor votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in northern Lyons, showing Liberal votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in northern Lyons, showing Greens votes at the 2006 election.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Labor votes at the 2006 election around Hobart.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Liberal votes at the 2006 election around Hobart.
Polling booths in Lyons, showing Greens votes at the 2006 election around Hobart.

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