Welcome to the Tally Room guide to the 2021 Tasmanian state election, and the the guide to the 2021 Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, which will be held on the same day for the first time in Tasmanian history.
This guide includes comprehensive coverage of each electorate’s history, geography, political situation and results of the 2018 House of Assembly election and the 2015 Legislative Council elections, as well as maps and tables showing those results.
Table of contents:
Five electorates are used to elect Tasmania’s House of Assembly. Tasmania’s five electorates follow the same boundaries and have the same names as Tasmania’s five federal electorates. Click through to read detailed profiles of each electorate.
- Bass – North-eastern Tasmania, including Launceston. Elected 3 Liberals and 2 Labor in 2018.
- Braddon – North-western Tasmania, including Devonport and Burnie, as well as the West Coast of Tasmania. Elected 3 Liberals and 2 Labor in 2018.
- Clark – Hobart. Elected 2 Labor, 2 Liberals and 1 Green in 2018.
- Franklin – Southern Tasmania, including Clarence, and Huon Valley. Elected 2 Liberals, 2 Labor and 1 Green in 2018.
- Lyons – Central Tasmania. Elected 3 Liberals and 2 Labor in 2018.
The Legislative Council consists of fifteen electorates, with each electorate choosing one member of the upper house. They are elected over a six-year cycle, with two or three members elected each year in May. These three seats were last up for election in 2015.
- Derwent– Southern Tasmania. Derwent covers the outer north of Hobart as well as the Central Highlands and Derwent Valley council areas. Labor’s Craig Farrell has held the seat since 2011.
- Mersey – North-western Tasmania. Mersey covers the city of Devonport and surrounding area. Independent MLC Mike Gaffney has held the seat since 2009, and has been re-elected unopposed.
- Windermere – North-eastern Tasmania. Windermere covers parts of the city of Launceston and the eastern side of the Tamar River, including George Town. Independent MLC Ivan Dean has held the seat since 2003.
Tasmania uses a system of preferential proportional representation known as Hare-Clark to elect the lower house, also called the House of Assembly. Each electorate elects five MPs. The quota is 16.7% of the vote in each electorate.
In addition to using proportional representation, Tasmania uses the system of Robson Rotation. Under this system, party’s nominate a slate of candidates (usually five, occasionally as many as seven), but they are not listed on the ballot paper in a set party order. Instead, different ballot papers have candidates listed within their party column in different orders. This removes the power of the party machine to direct their supporters to vote for particular candidate. Individual candidates from each party will compete against each other and it is possible for MPs from one party to be defeated by another member of their own party. This also means that personal votes for candidates matter a great deal. Prominent MPs such as party leaders often top the polls in their electorate, and their surplus can carry across other members of their party.
Tasmania also uses a system of ‘countback’ to fill vacancies in the House of Assembly. By-elections would not work in a multi-member electorate system, since all voters would get to have a say in electing a replacement for an MP who had only been elected by one portion of the electorate. Instead of using the Senate system of allowing parties to appoint replacements, countback involves re-examining the ballot papers to determine which candidate wins an election with the resigning MP removed. This system has resulted in the election of a candidate from the same party as the former MP in all but one case. The only exception took place in 1982, when Democrats MP Norm Sanders was replaced by independent candidate Bob Brown. Sanders had been elected partly on the basis of his environmentalist credentials, and many of these voters preferenced Brown above other Democrats candidates.
Tasmania’s Legislative Council is not usually elected at the same time as the House of Assembly. The Council is elected by fifteen single-member electorates using different boundaries to those used for the House of Assembly. MLCs serve six-year-terms, with two or three electorates going to the polls in May every year. Almost half of MLCs are independents, although the major parties now hold a majority of seats between them.
Three Legislative Council electorates are due to be elected in 2021, and for the first time ever this election will be held on the same date as a House of Assembly election.
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