Rosevears – Tasmania LC 2020

Incumbent MLC
Kerry Finch, since 2002.

Northern Tasmania. Rosevears covers the northeastern corner of Launceston, stretching along the eastern shore of the Tamar River to the north coast of Tasmania. Rosevears covers the entirety of the West Tamar council area, and a small part of the city of Launceston.

Rosevears gained the remainder of West Tamar council, around Frankford, from Rowallan. No other changes were made.

The seat of Rosevears has existed since the 1999 redistribution, when it replaced the seat of Cornwall.

Cornwall was won by Ray Bailey in 1990, and he was re-elected in 1996. When the redistribution was implemented, Bailey became the Member for Rosevears, but retired when Rosevears first came up for election in 2002.

Rosevears was won in 2002 by Kerry Finch, who was re-elected in 2008 and 2014. Finch has generally voted with the left wing of the Council.

Sitting independent MLC Kerry Finch is not running for re-election.

  • Jack Davenport (Greens)
  • Janie Finlay
  • David Fry
  • Vivienne Gale
  • Jess Greene (Labor)
  • Jo Palmer (Liberal)

Kerry Finch’s retirement makes this seat an open race. Janie Finlay has a high profile as an independent but Liberal candidate Jo Palmer, a former local journalist, is tipped as the favourite.

2014 result

Kerry FinchIndependent11,84060.3
Don MorrisLiberal7,80139.7

Booth breakdown

Booths in Rosevears have been divided into three parts: north, south and central. “South” covers the dense cluster of booths in the Launceston urban area.

Finch won a majority of the vote at every booth, ranging from 59.6% in the centre to 62% in the north. He also polled 59.3% of the pre-poll vote.

Voter groupFinch %Total votes% of votes
Other votes57.12,10610.7

Primary votes for Kerry Finch in Rosevears at the 2014 Legislative Council election


  1. A few notes (local info, as you requested!)

    – Janie Finlay – may be best known as being the youngest female Mayor in Australia when she was elected Mayor of Launceston City Council about 20 years ago. Her term as Mayor was relatively short but she has been active both on the council as well as in other areas of the community since, so has kept an active profile.

    – Jo Palmer (Liberal) – has been the weeknight news presenter for Southern Cross News / 7 News Tasmania for almost 20 years until her retirement earlier this year (a week before she announced her nomination). Again, very high profile, and popular in the community (until she announced her alignment with one of the major parties which of course disenfranchises half the population)

    – Jess Greene (ALP) – was a candidate for the West Tamar Council at the 2018 local government elections; she narrowly missed out; however due to the resignation of another councillor in June this year, there was a re-count on 13 July – and Greene was successful. This was after she had nominated as a Rosevears candidate. If she is successful in the LC election she may be a very short lived West Tamar Council member!

  2. Yeah, I think Palmer will win this. She’s very well known and respected, she’s been campaigning hard, and the Premier’s on a 90% approval rate at the moment.

    The seat may have voted for a progressive independent in Finch, but the Leg Co independents are rarely if ever elected or defeated based on ideology – Finch was just well-known, affable and came along at the right time. I believe that the area is a strong Liberal area at state level, and on that basis I don’t think Labor has much of a chance (and definitely not the Greens).

    Finlay is reasonably well-known and respected, and I’d tip her if Palmer hadn’t run, but against Palmer I just don’t think she has much of a chance. Nevertheless, I’d say she’s Palmer’s biggest competitor.

  3. Mstj (Apple I phone does not like that nom de plume) I am not disagreeing with you. I am way out of my depth with Tas LC. But why do you say LC are rarely elected or defeated on ideology.

    I can not envisage ever casting a vote not based on ideology.

    Poltical candidates and their supporters are notorious for over estimating the personal vote of individual candidates they support and underestimate the personal support opposing candidates have.

  4. Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, particularly in rural seats, tend to be a lot like local council elections. Even if you can’t envisage not voting based on ideology, I’m sure you’re familiar with most non-urban local council elections which tend not to have strong political party presence and are filled with local ‘identities’ who campaign on local issues which don’t align to an ideological line.

    Rosevears is actually a great example of this. Kerry Finch is generally quite left-wing and usually votes with the Labor Party and against the government. Meanwhile, Rosevears voted 59% for the Liberals in the 2014 state election and 58% in 2018. So in 2014 (after winning the state election) the Liberals thought they were a chance to beat him. They ran hard and attacked Finch on his voting record, claiming (truthfully) that he is left-wing and votes with Labor, and therefore ‘out of touch’ with the electorate. Nevertheless, Rosevears re-elected him over the Liberal candidate 60%-40%. The fact is that Finch is a former radio announcer, now longstanding incumbent, very well-known, affable guy – so people vote for him.

    This can also be seen at other Legislative Council elections – e.g. in Murchison, the Liberals won 60% of the vote in 2014, but Ruth Forrest – who is quite publicly anti-government and left-wing – was re-elected with 57% of the vote in 2017. It works the other way too – in 2013 in the electorate of Nelson, incumbent Jim Wilkinson won without the need for preferences after a campaign based on his apparent conservatism and opposition to same-sex marriage in a seat with a high Green vote and Liberal vote well under the state average.

    Therefore, you can see that independents in the Leg Co are pretty much never defeated based on ideology, and I would add that most often the independents don’t reveal their political beliefs on most issues before they’re elected anyway (e.g. I have no clue whether Janie Finlay would be a problem or a blessing for the government). The Tassie Leg Co elections are one of the last vestiges of small-town Tasmanian rural politics, and are changing only-so-gradually.

  5. State Premier approval ratings don’t really affect LC election’s. Usually if anything voters would want the opposite like they do in QLD where the Premier’s party (Usually) does poorly in the BCC elections, And i highly doubt the Liberals win here, Ross Hart won this area that covers Bass despite the fact he lost by less than 0.5% seat-wide IICR, People tend to overestimate the coalition like they did in the Eden Monaro by elections, So Liberals will get a shocker in the LC election’s and i predict Labor to hold their ground. You also cannot rule out Gutwein losing the next state election because it is very hard for the Liberals to win 3 majorities in a row in a Massachusetts type state like Tasmania. And the Greens are highly unlikely to ever support them in a hung parliament, It may be way too early to call it but i also think Bass will be a Labor gain next federal election due to the unpopular mp, who i hear hardly ever answer’s who constituents email’s or phone calls! A Liberal victory isn’t impossible but they certainly are underdogs like in Eden Monaro due to the trends and the nature of Tasmania. When the crisis goes back to normal the approvals will go back to normal levels. And the federal governments approvals are not translating into a big lead in polling. They only have on average a 51-49 lead nationwide which on uniform would see them losing Bass, despite the global pandemic. Unless there is a world war or something it is highly unlikely the government gains ground in Tasmania which i think the Liberals already have a high watermark here.

  6. The interesting part of the seat of Bass, is that it has a different member at every election since the 1993 election, Obviously you would be a very nervous sitting member in this part of the world. And if the current member does nothing then she will not last.

  7. If you don’t think the Premier’s approval rating matters to the result in this seat, then I don’t know why you’d think the federal MP and federal government’s performance would. The fact is that that this is a Tasmanian Legislative Council seat and so voters are not thinking about federal politics or really party politics. And to the extent that they do, the Tasmanian government has done very well in handling the pandemic – there is no more coronavirus in the state at all – and has been rewarded with very very high approval ratings (no state Premier has ever had approval ratings this high in the history of polling). Plus, as I said before, the Liberals received 58% of the vote in this area at the last state election, so they would have to lose a lot of votes (for no apparent reason) to lose this on a purely party basis. The Tasmanian Liberals have been a lot more popular than their federal counterparts at every election over at least the past decade, and even if they lose the next election I can’t see that changing (but, as you say, Bridget Archer should never be complacent about holding Bass!).

    Added to that, the Liberal candidate is a popular and well-known newsreader who is somewhat of a Tasmanian icon. Listening to her campaign videos as a Tasmanian you instinctively think it is the news because it is just synonymous with her voice. This is the sort of candidate who wins Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, party label or not, pandemic or not. Added to that, she is campaigning hard while expressing few controversial political opinions. The Labor candidate, though recently elected to council, is not that well-known and has little existing following. And Davenport, Gale and Fry can’t win.

    The only serious opposition to Palmer in this seat is Janie Finlay. A former Mayor and local councillor is just the sort of candidate who wins a Legislative Council seat normally, and she has been around for quite a while without being particularly controversial. I would go so far as to tip her to win if Jo Palmer was not the Liberal candidate. But Palmer is your dream candidate for the Leg Co, she is campaigning so much harder than Finlay, and unless she shits in the street in the next fortnight, she will win.


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