Clark – Tasmania 2021

Incumbent MPs

  • Elise Archer (Liberal), since 2010.
  • Ella Haddad (Labor), since 2018.
  • Sue Hickey (Independent)1, since 2018.
  • Cassy O’Connor (Greens), since 2008.
  • Madeleine Ogilvie (Independent)2, since 2019. Previously 2014-2018.

1Hickey was elected as a Liberal but resigned from the party to sit as an independent on 22 March 2021.
2Ogilvie filled a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Scott Bacon on 10 September 2019.

Geography
Clark covers the suburbs of Hobart on the western shores of the Derwent River. The seat covers Hobart and Glenorchy LGAs as well as northern parts of Kingborough LGA. The seat includes the Hobart CBD and is by far the most compact seat in Tasmania.

Redistribution
Clark is a new name for the seat of Denison, which expanded slightly on its south-western edge, in a sparsely populated area on the fringe of Hobart.

History
Denison was first created as a state electorate in 1909, when Tasmania moved to a system of proportional representation with each district electing six members. Denison has always had the same boundaries as the federal electorate of the same name.

The seat first elected four Anti-Socialists and two Labor MPs in 1909. The 1912 election produced an even split of 3 Labor and 3 Liberals, which was maintained at the next four elections. At the 1925 election, the ALP won four out of six seats, as part of the ALP’s first majority government in Tasmania, led by Premier Joseph Lyons.

Denison reverted to a 3-3 split in 1928, before the Nationalists won a 4-2 split as part of their landslide win in 1931. The 1934 election saw the ALP recover and they won 3 seats in Denison, alongside two Nationalists and one independent, George Carruthers, who supported an ALP minority government.

The ALP won a more decisive victory in 1937, which saw 4 Labor MPs elected in Denison. This was maintained in 1941, and an independent won a seat off the ALP in 1946, producing a 3-2-1 split. The 1948 election saw three Labor, one Liberal and two independents win seats in Denison.

One of those independent seats was won back by the Liberal Party in 1950, and the 1955 and 1956 elections saw a result of 3 Labor and 3 Liberal MPs in Denison. These two elections produced identical results where the two parties won three seats each in all five districts. This took place despite the ALP winning approximately 7% more than the Liberals at both elections. This ended with the House of Assembly being increased to thirty-five seats at the 1959, when an independent won the seventh seat in Denison.

The Liberal Party won a 4-3 majority in 1964 and 1969, which helped end the Labor government which ruled Tasmania from 1934 to 1969. Denison’s seventh seat went back to the ALP in 1972, when Labor won a majority in Tasmania, but the ALP government managed to win a majority in 1976 despite the Liberals winning the seventh seat in Denison.

The 1979 election gave the Labor government of Doug Lowe a 20-15 majority, including four seats in Denison. The result, however, was invalidated later in 1979 due to violations of campaign spending laws, and a by-election was held in early 1980, which saw two key events that shaped Tasmanian politics. Along with three Labor and three Liberal MPs, the seventh seat was won by Norm Sanders of the Democrats. In addition, internal conflict in the ALP saw the party’s Left hand out how-to-vote cards putting Deputy Premier Neil Batt fourth on their ticket, which led to the introduction of Robson Rotation.

The 1982 election was a landslide for the Liberal Party, who won a 19-14-2 majority in the House of Assembly. Sole Democrats MP Norm Sanders was re-elected in Denison along with four Liberals and two Labor MPs. This was the only time during the period of Denison electing seven MPs that either major party failed to elect at least three MPs in Denison. Director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society Dr Bob Brown also won 8% of the vote as an independent.

Sanders resigned from Parliament in late 1982 at the height of the Franklin Dam campaign, and Brown won Sanders’ seat on a countback of votes from the previous election.

At the 1986 election Brown was reelected as a “Green Independent”, alongside three from each of the major parties. This pattern of 3 Labor, 3 Liberal and 1 Green was maintained until the reduction in the size of the House of Assembly in 1998, with Brown being succeeded by Peg Putt in 1993.

After two periods of minority governments with the balance of power being held by the Greens, the Labor and Liberal parties agreed to cut the number of seats at the 1998 election from 35 to 25, with each district electing five MPs. The 1998 election saw the ALP and Liberal Party lose a seat in Denison, with Peg Putt surviving as the only Tasmanian Greens MP.

The 2002 election saw the reelection of the Labor government led by Denison MP Jim Bacon, and it saw the Liberal Party reduced to a sole seat in Denison, alongside one Green and three Labor MPs. This result was maintained at the 2006 election.

In 2010, the ALP lost their third seat, with the Liberal Party regaining a second seat. Labor Premier David Bartlett was re-elected, but his Labor colleagues Lisa Singh and Graeme Sturges both lost their seats, with Scott Bacon winning Labor’s second seat. The Liberal Party’s Michael Hodgman retired, and Elise Archer and Matthew Groom were elected as Liberal MPs.

There was no change in the party split in 2014, although Labor’s Graeme Sturges retired and was succeeded by Madeleine Ogilvie.

The split of two Labor, two Liberal and one Greens was maintained in 2018. Ogilvie lost her seat, but returned to parliament in 2019 upon the retirement of Scott Bacon. Ogilvie had since fallen out with Labor and sat in the parliament as an independent.

Sue Hickey, was elected as a Liberal MP in 2018, had been elected speaker of the House of Assembly with the support of Labor and Greens members after the election. She subsequently voted against the government on a number of occasions, and she left the Liberal Party in March 2021 after being informed that she would not be preselected for the next election.

Candidates

Assessment
This will likely be the most complex electorate in the state at this election. There are now two prominent independents contesting the race: Hickey a left-leaning ex-Liberal along with Glenorchy mayor Kristie Johnston.

There is a good chance one of those two women will win a seat, but it’s hard to see both of them winning.

Beyond that, the three parties should each win a seat each, with Labor likely to retain regain their second seat. The second Liberal seat is in the most danger of being lost to an independent, but Madeleine Ogilvie may be able to pull voters that wouldn’t have otherwise voted Liberal.

2018 result

CandidateVotes%QuotaRedist %
Scott Bacon11,79818.11.0858
Ella Haddad5,2888.10.4867
Madeleine Ogilvie4,3406.70.3994
Tim Cox3,8605.90.3552
Zelinda Sherlock1,9983.10.1839
Australian Labor Party 27,284 41.9 2.5110 41.9
Elise Archer10,62716.30.9780
Sue Hickey7,14211.00.6573
Kristy Johnson3,2345.00.2976
Simon Behrakis2,3173.60.2132
Dean Young1,2601.90.1160
Liberal Party 24,580 37.7 2.2621 37.7
Cassy O’Connor8,09512.40.7450
Helen Burnet1,5322.40.1410
Mel Fitzpatrick7331.10.0675
Rose Kokkoris6030.90.0555
Aaron Benham4650.70.0428
Tasmanian Greens 11,428 17.5 1.0517 17.5
Lorraine Bennett1,1901.80.1095
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 1,190 1.8 0.1095 1.8
Rob Newitt3620.60.0333
Alan Barnett3470.50.0319
Tasmanians 4 Tasmania 709 1.1 0.0652 1.1
Informal2,8354.20.0000

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four areas. Most of the population of Clark lie in Glenorchy and Hobart local government areas. Booths in Glenorchy have been split between Claremont (north) and Glenorchy (south). Booths in Hobart have been divided between Hobart and South. The handful of booths in Kingborough council have also been included in South.

There is a strong divide in the vote between the Glenorchy and Hobart council areas.

The ALP was dominant in the two northern areas of Glenorchy and Claremont, polling 48-50% in these two areas, with the Liberal Party well behind. The Greens vote is much lower in these two areas, with 10% in Glenorchy and 5.5% in Claremont.

The Greens did much stronger in Hobart and the south, polling well over 20% in each area. Labor still topped Hobart, with the Greens coming close to overtaking the Liberal Party, while the Liberal Party topped the primary vote in the south, although a majority still voted for the centre-left parties.

Voter groupALP %LIB %GRN %Total votes% of votes
Hobart42.828.926.515,33923.5
Glenorchy49.636.610.112,10918.6
South33.342.122.911,20017.2
Claremont48.640.95.57,26811.1
Other votes37.342.516.510,25115.7
Pre-poll40.140.716.49,02413.8

Election results in Clark at the 2018 Tasmanian election
Toggle between primary votes for the Labor Party, Liberal Party and the Greens.

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