Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, 2020

Voters in three Tasmanian Legislative Council seats go to the polls on August 1 to elect upper house members for the next six years. This election was originally scheduled for May 2, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

This map shows the two electorates facing election this year:

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 rarely ran candidates until the last few years, and held no seats between 1999 and 2009. The Greens regularly run candidates, but have never won a seat.

There has been a trend in recent years towards more seats being held by members of political parties, but 60% of the chamber is still held by independents.

The last redistribution kicked in prior to the 2018 elections, which means boundaries have changed for both Huon and Rosevears since their last election in 2014, but in both cases the changes were minor and only at one end of the seat.

If you’re interested in knowing more, Tasmanian psepho-blogger Kevin Bonham has also written his own detailed guides to both contests: Huon and Rosevears.