Denison – Tasmania 2018

Incumbent MPs

  • Elise Archer (LIB), since 2010.
  • Scott Bacon (ALP), since 2010.
  • Matthew Groom (LIB), since 2010.
  • Cassy O’Connor (GRN), since 2008.
  • Madeleine Ogilvie (ALP), since 2014

Denison 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.

Denison was first created as a state electorate in 1909, when Tasmania moved to a system of proportional representation with each district electing six members. Denison has always had the same boundaries as the federal electorate of the same name.

The seat first elected four Anti-Socialists and two Labor MPs in 1909. The 1912 election produced an even split of 3 Labor and 3 Liberals, which was maintained at the next four elections. At the 1925 election, the ALP won four out of six seats, as part of ALP’s first majority government in Tasmania, led by Premier Joseph Lyons.

Denison reverted to a 3-3 split in 1928, before the Nationalists won a 4-2 split as part of their landslide win in 1931. The 1934 election saw the ALP recover and they won 3 seats in Denison, alongside two Nationalists and one independent, George Carruthers, who supported an ALP minority government.

The ALP won a more decisive victory in 1937, which saw 4 Labor MPs elected in Denison. This was maintained in 1941, and an independent won a seat off the ALP in 1946, producing a 3-2-1 split. The 1948 election saw three Labor, one Liberal and two independents win seats in Denison.

One of those independent seats was won back by the Liberal Party in 1950, and the 1955 and 1956 elections saw a result of 3 Labor and 3 Liberal MPs in Denison. These two elections produced identical results where the two parties won three seats each in all five districts. This took place despite the ALP winning approximately 7% more than the Liberals at both elections. This ended with the House of Assembly being increased to thirty-five seats at the 1959, when an independent won the seventh seat in Denison.

The Liberal Party won a 4-3 majority in 1964 and 1969, which helped end the Labor government which ruled Tasmania from 1934 to 1969. Denison’s seventh seat went back to the ALP in 1972, when Labor won a majority in Tasmania, but the ALP government managed to win a majority in 1976 despite the Liberals winning the seventh seat in Denison.

The 1979 election gave the Labor government of Doug Lowe a 20-15 majority, including four seats in Denison. The result, however, was invalidated later in 1979 due to violations of campaign spending laws, and a by-election was held in early 1980, which saw two key events that shaped Tasmanian politics. Along with three Labor and three Liberal MPs, the seventh seat was won by Norm Sanders of the Democrats. In addition, internal conflict in the ALP saw the party’s Left hand out how-to-vote cards putting Deputy Premier Neil Batt fourth on their ticket, which led to the introduction of Robson Rotation.

The 1982 election was a landslide for the Liberal Party, who won a 19-14-2 majority in the House of Assembly. Sole Democrats MP Norm Sanders was re-elected in Denison along with four Liberals and two Labor MPs. This was the only time during the period of Denison electing seven MPs that either major party failed to elect at least three MPs in Denison. Director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society Dr Bob Brown also won 8% of the vote as an independent.

Sanders resigned from Parliament in late 1982 at the height of the Franklin Dam campaign, and Brown won Sanders’ seat on a countback of votes from the previous election.

At the 1986 election Brown was reelected as a “Green Independent”, alongside three from each of the major parties. This pattern of 3 Labor, 3 Liberal and 1 Green was maintained until the reduction in the size of the House of Assembly in 1998, with Brown being succeeded by Peg Putt in 1993.

After two periods of minority governments with the balance of power being held by the Greens, the Labor and Liberal parties agreed to cut the number of seats at the 1998 election from 35 to 25, with each district electing five MPs. The 1998 election saw the ALP and Liberal Party lose a seat in Denison, with Peg Putt surviving as the only Tasmanian Greens MP.

The 2002 election saw the reelection of the Labor government led by Denison MP Jim Bacon, and it saw the Liberal Party reduced to a sole seat in Denison, alongside one Green and three Labor MPs. This result was maintained at the 2006 election.

In 2010, the ALP lost their third seat, with the Liberal Party regaining a second seat. Labor Premier David Bartlett was re-elected, but his Labor colleagues Lisa Singh and Graeme Sturges both lost their seats, with Scott Bacon winning Labor’s second seat. The Liberal Party’s Michael Hodgman retired, and Elise Archer and Matthew Groom were elected as Liberal MPs.

There was no change in the party split in 2014, although Labor’s Graeme Sturges retired and was succeeded by Madeleine Ogilvie.


This electorate is the most progressive in Tasmania. If the Liberal Party do particularly poorly they could lose one of their two seats to Labor or the Greens.

2014 result

Matthew Groom13,82921.61.2972
Elise Archer6,70110.50.6286
Robert Mallett2,0803.30.1951
Deborah De Williams1,0521.60.0987
René Kling8231.30.0772
Liberal Party 24,485 38.3 2.2968
Scott Bacon14,46922.61.3573
Madeleine Ogilvie2,1563.40.2022
Julian Amos1,9173.00.1798
Alphonese Mulumba1,5872.50.1489
Sharon Carnes1,4822.30.1390
Australian Labor Party 21,611 33.8 2.0272
Cassy O’Connor9,69415.20.9094
Bill Harvey1,6142.50.1514
Penelope Ann9341.50.0876
Philip Cocker6951.10.0652
Alan Whykes6151.00.0577
Tasmanian Greens 13,552 21.2 1.2713
Barbara Etter7371.20.0691
Rob Newitt3690.60.0346
Justine Stringer3570.60.0335
Charles Forrest3030.50.0284
Mark Grube2540.40.0238
Palmer United Party 2,020 3.2 0.1895
Shaine Stephen3000.50.0281
Socialist Alliance 300 0.5 0.0281
Vlad Gala750.10.0070
Julian Edwards610.10.0057
Domenic Allocca480.10.0045
The Nationals 184 0.3 0.0173
Marti Zucco7881.20.0739
Hans Willink4130.60.0387
Leo Foley2070.30.0194
Freddy Hill1520.20.0143
Lucas Noyes1300.20.0122
Michael Swanton1140.20.0107
Total Others 1,804 2.8 0.1692

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.

The Labor vote was highest at the northern end of the electorate, ranging from 20% in the south to 48% in Claremont.

The Liberal Party’s vote ranged from 32.9% in Hobart to 46% in the south.

The Greens vote ranged from 7% in Claremont to 32% in Hobart.

Labor topped the poll in Claremont and Glenorchy, while in Hobart and the south the Liberal Party topped the poll with the Greens coming second.

Voter groupLIB %ALP %GRN %Total votes% of votes
Other votes40.432.719.716,12525.2

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  1. Tasmania uses the same boundaries as the federal electorates for state elections, so did these change with the recent redistribution?

    How come the Denison was not renamed to Clark at state level?

  2. Thanks Ben. I got the impression it was automatic, will Parliament or the Electoral Commission implement them after the election?

  3. It is entirely plausible that the Libs could lose one of their seats here, most likely to Labor. However with the Lord Mayor of Hobart running for the Libs that could give them a sniff for the second seat.
    Whilst this will be the Greens strongest seat they will struggle to gain a second seat but it could well be a possibility in the distant future.
    My guess would be 3 Labor, 1 Lib and 1 Green, although being genuinely 50-50 between a third Labor seat and a second Lib.

  4. Regarding the boundaries it is conventional to use the federal boundaries but it is not automatic; legislation has to be passed through state parliament, and there have to be some preparations for this. In past years it tended to take a few months.

  5. @Kevin Bonham Thanks for the reply! By the way, the output of your analysis classifying the independents in the LegCo is quite interesting.

  6. A couple of things that we need to think in Tasmania.

    Firstly, in Tasmania, and even in Hobart, all politics is local, especially the case when the percentage to get elected is 16.7%.

    Therefore, your choice is especially important, even in Hobart and Launceston.

    The key thing in this contest is where the votes for Matthew Groom will travel to. But in Sue Hickey, in her capacity as Lord Mayor of Hobart, she would have some sone significant following you would think.

    If the Liberals can hold their 2nd seat, they will retain Government in my opinion.


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