Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, 2017

Voters in three Tasmanian Legislative Council seats go to the polls on May 6 to elect upper house members for the next six years.

Profiles have been prepared for the three races, including results of the previous election, history of the seat, and list of candidates, along with results maps.

Tasmania’s upper house is unique in how it is elected. While every other state and federal upper house is elected with proportional representation, while every other lower house is elected with single-member electorates, Tasmania reverses that pattern.

The Tasmanian House of Assembly is elected using the Hare-Clark proportional representation system, with each federal electorate electing five MHAs. The entire House is elected once every four years.

The Tasmanian Legislative Council consists of fifteen electorates, each of which elects a single MLC.

The strangest thing about the Tasmanian Legislative Council is that these elections never happen all at once. MLCs are elected for six-year terms, with elections held every year on the first Saturday in May. Each year, two or three districts are up for election.

The Legislative Council has always been dominated by independents. While Labor has regularly run candidates in the past, and in the past held most seats close to the Hobart area, the Liberal Party has very rarely run, and held no seats between 1999 and 2009. The Greens regularly run candidates, but have never won a seat.

The seat of Launceston covers the Launceston urban area, and is represented by centrist independent Rosemary Armitage. She was elected in 2011 to succeed Don Wing, a Liberal-friendly independent who retired after representing the area for 29 years.

Left-leaning independent Ruth Forrest won Murchison in a close race in 2005, replacing a longstanding conservative independent. She was re-elected without any opposition in 2011. Murchison covers the west coast of Tasmania.

The seat of Rumney covers the eastern edge of Hobart and the Tasman peninsula in the south-eastern corner of the state. Conservative independent Tony Mulder won the seat in 2011 off Labor’s Lin Thorp.