Huon – Tasmania LC 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting MLC Bastian Seidel resigned from the Labor caucus in August 2021 and subsequently resigned from parliament in December 2021 following allegations of improper conduct in his previous medical career.

Geography
Southern Tasmania. Huon covers the entirety of the Huon Valley local government area, as well as most of the Kingborough local government area, including Bruny Island.

History
The electorate of Huon has existed continuously since the first election in 1856.

The seat had always been held by independent MPs, apart from one term in Labor hands in the 1940s. Despite officially being an independent seat since 1948, three of the last four MLCs to hold Huon prior to 2020 went on to run as a Liberal Party candidate for another public office.

In 1966, the seat was won by Michael Hodgman. He held Huon for eight years, resigning in 1974 to run for the federal seat of Denison. Hodgman lost that first attempt, but was elected in 1975. He held Denison until 1987, serving as a minister from 1980 to 1983.

Michael Hodgman returned to state politics in 1992, serving as a member of the House of Assembly for Denison from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2001 to 2010.

Michael Hodgman was replaced in Huon in 1974 by his brother, Peter Hodgman. The younger Hodgman held Huon until he resigned in 1986 to run for the lower house seat of Franklin as a Liberal. He served in the House of Assembly, including as a minister, until he resigned in 2001 in an unsuccessful attempt to win the federal seat of Franklin.

Michael and Peter Hodgman’s father Bill had served as a member of both houses of the Tasmanian Parliament from the 1950s to the 1980s. Michael’s son Will went on to serve as Premier and Member for Franklin.

Athol Meyer won Huon in 1986, and held the seat until 1996.

Paul Harriss won Huon in 1996, shortly after an unsuccessful run for the state seat of Franklin as a Liberal at the 1996 election.

Harriss stepped down from Huon in 2014 to run for the lower house seat of Franklin at the March election. Harriss was elected, and served as a minister in the new Liberal government until he resigned from parliament in 2016.

Huon was won in 2014 by Robert Armstrong, who defeated Liberal candidate Peter Hodgman, the former Huon MLC. Armstrong generally voted as one of the more right-wing members of the upper house.

Armstrong was defeated in 2020 by Labor candidate Bastian Seidel, the first successful Labor candidate in Huon since 1942.

Candidates

Assessment
Huon was a longstanding conservative seat prior to the 2020 election, and it could well revert to type by going either to an independent or the Liberal candidate Antolli, but it remains a strong area for Labor and the Greens at state and federal elections so could well be won by Labor.

2020 result

CandidatePartyVotes%
Bastian Seidel Labor 6,79531.3
Robert ArmstrongIndependent4,07118.7
Pat Caruana Greens 3,80817.5
Dean HarrissIndependent3,50616.1
Debbie ArmstrongIndependent1,7848.2
Garrick CameronShooters, Fishers and Farmers1,7528.1
Informal5712.6

2020 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%
Bastian Seidel Labor 12,28456.6
Robert ArmstrongIndependent9,15242.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Huon have been divided into four areas. The electorate covers two local government areas. The Huon Valley was split into east and west, with Kingborough split into north and south.

Almost half of the vote in 2020 was cast as a postal ballot, with about 45% cast as an ordinary election-day vote.

Labor outpolled Robert Armstrong in every part of the seat, with the Labor vote highest with 34% in pre-poll, ranging dwon to 28.6% in southern Kingborough.

Voter groupALP %Armstrong %Total votes% of votes
Postal32.020.910,23047.1
Kingborough North28.815.44,22919.5
Huon Valley East32.615.82,69912.4
Pre-poll34.119.31,7438.0
Huon Valley West30.021.11,6527.6
Kingborough South28.614.11,0915.0
Other votes29.222.2720.3

Election results in Huon at the 2020 Legislative Council election
Toggle between primary votes for Labor candidate Bastian Seidel, independent candidate Robert Armstrong, Greens candidate Pat Caruana and independent candidate Dean Harriss.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for doing these. A couple of small corrections needed (I think).

    You’ve got “ Michael’s son Will now serves as Liberal leader and Member for Franklin.” which is a bit out of date.

    Also, you’ve said “ the seat could well revert to type by going either to the former member Harriss etc”. There’s an Independent candidate this time (and last) called Dean Harriss. I think the former member was Paul Harriss (tho could well be related obvs).

  2. Dan, I think it is to do with very low campaign expenditure limits for these elections, thus restricting major parties and their ability to pump money into these contests. Although recent years have seen the number of major party candidates increase.

  3. I don’t think the campaign expenditure limits explain the origins of the system. Party systems came to dominate most elections in Australia well over a century ago. But independents still controlled the Tas LC. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that it was an upper house (many other upper houses were appointed) and that elections were staggered.

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