Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Main Page

Welcome to the main page for my 2018 Tasmanian state election coverage.  This page will carry links to all the other articles about the election that I write prior to the close of polling, and will contain general big-picture stuff and links to all the specialised articles (once these are written).  It will be updated very frequently.  However, one thing I am doing differently from my 2014 guide is that each electorate has its own guide page.  Note that these are my own guides and I reserve the right to inject flippant and subjective comments whenever I feel like it; if you do not like this, write your own.

If you find these guides useful, donations are very welcome (see sidebar), but please only give me money if you can afford to.

Article links

Articles relevant to the election and written during the linkup will have links to them posted here as they are done.  

Electorate guides
Other articles


Dates

The election will be held on March 3, Premier Hodgman having visited the Governor on Jan 28.

The election had to be held by May 19, 2018.  Premier Hodgman had repeatedly stated the election would be in March, four years to the month since the last state election.  The previous three Tasmanian state elections have been held on the same weekend as South Australia (to the intense annoyance of the election-watching community nationwide), which in this case would have meant March 17.    March 10 was unsuitable as it falls on a public holiday weekend and March 24 was probably too close to Easter.  The time between the gazetting of the election and the election date can be between 27 and 61 days based on requirements for various stages of the process, meaning that in practice about a month-long campaign is the minimum.  (Gazetting can occur on a Sunday, but the visit to the Governor and so on would occur before this in any case.)

Nominations close on February 13 and will be announced the following day.  Pre-poll voting commenced on Feb 19.  

The Backdrop

At the 2014 state election, Will Hodgman's Liberal Party thrashed the fourth-term Labor government led by Lara Giddings.  For most of its term, Giddings' government had operated in an unpopular coalition with the Greens, creating internal tensions within both parties to the deal.  The Liberals won 15 seats (a gain of five) to seven for Labor and three for the Greens.  They also held two upper house seats at the time, so the new government started with a 17-seat party room and plenty of MPs to form a front bench from.

Hodgman's government has generally been impressively united and has done a good job of keeping its internal disagreements over social issues friendly.  Despite this it has lost four ministers during its term - one for health reasons, one to a work-email scandal and two retirements from politics.  Those who have remained have received a wide range of reviews.

Bryan Green was left to pick up the pieces as Labor leader after the 2014 defeat, but his compromised past meant he was only ever a stop-gap until someone younger was ready to take over.  After making no impression on Hodgman's 30-odd point preferred premier leads, Green resigned in March 2017 and was replaced by Rebecca White.  White will be the youngest ever Tasmanian Premier if she wins.
The Labor Party is on a roll after gaining three Legislative Council seats during the term (from the Liberals, an "independent liberal" and an unaligned independent).  

The System

The Tasmanian lower house is elected by the multi-member Hare-Clark system, a form of proportional representation with similarities to the Australian Senate system.  Five candidates are elected in each of the five electorates.  Voters must number at least five squares and can number as many as they wish.  There is no above-the-line voting and how-to-vote cards cannot be handed out near booths on polling day.

The system favours candidates with high profiles and hence high name recognition, because these are most effective in obtaining preferences both from their ticket-mates and from other candidates.  In cases where all a party's candidates have been elected or excluded, a high proportion of that party's vote will exhaust from the system because some voters just vote 1-5 for their chosen party and stop.

The system allows candidates to compete with and in cases displace others from their own party as well as from other parties.  Projecting results from opinion poll data and even from primary vote totals is a complex and difficult task, and this is the place where such projections will be found.

Tasmania formerly had seven-member electorates, but this was changed to five from the 1998 poll onwards as part of a process to attempt to reduce costs but also with an eye to increasing the chance of majority government.  See Tasmanian Lower House: 25 or 35 seats? if interested in detailed discussion of the impact of this change.

To win majority government, a party currently needs to win 13 seats.   Since the number of seats became odd in 1959, the lowest vote share to have won a majority was 44.79% (ALP in 1998) and the highest vote share to not have done so was 47.68% (ALP in 1969).  There is only one previous case of government switching from a majority of one side at one election to another, and in that case (1982) the government had lost its majority mid-term.

The Issues

The government has benefited from an improving economy and booms in tourism and construction, and has the budget in surplus, but has struggled to contain the state's resulting "growing pains".  Traffic congestion and housing affordability/availability problems have been significant in and around Greater Hobart (the latter resulting partly from conversion of rental properties to Air BnBs).  The government has also sometimes struggled to be seen as focused on what matters to voters - especially the state's often difficult health system - and has sometimes seemed to be still fighting the last election with culture-war politics over forestry, mandatory sentencing and anti-discrimination laws.

Labor has made health its primary issue with a promised expenditure of just over half a billion dollars.  Interestingly, the Lambie Network has also made health a major issue, saying that it wants the health ministry as its sole condition of supporting a minority government.

Poker machines - a source of modest employment but a cause of significant gambling-addiction related problems and financial losses for gamblers - are a major policy difference between the parties.  The Liberals intend to reform the industry while allowing pubs and clubs to retain poker machines, while Labor wants to transition the industry out of pubs and clubs and restrict it to casinos.  In this Labor has largely fallen into line with long-standing Greens policy, and the Lambie Network is also anti-pokies.

The poker machine debate has produced one of the more striking images of the election - pokies barns draped with massive banners reading "LABOR AND THE GREENS THINK YOU'RE STUPID. WHAT'S NEXT? DON'T LET THEM TELL YOU WHAT TO DO".  Pub meal dockets have also in at least one case carried messages against Labor and the Greens.  (Anti-pokies campaigners have struck back, somewhat belatedly.) Labor has run into some friendly fire from elsewhere on the pokies front with Anthony Albanese and Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath both rejecting the policy for their states, Bill Shorten shying away from endorsing it, and even Nick Xenophon getting cold feet on it. Opponents of the policy have frequently indulged in the vintage Tasmanian practice of vastly exaggerating job losses (on which they are being increasingly found out, but are the facts getting through to the voters who matter?) and have also made a mixed impression by politicising Anzac Day.

Majority government is an issue in almost every Tasmanian election campaign, and at this one each side has been keen to insist that it can govern in majority, with the Liberals also insisting that only they can do so.  The issue is especially acute for Labor both because of the difficulty they have in convincing voters they can win outright and also because of their more recent history of governing with the Greens.  However, while the Liberals claim that Labor always does deals with the Greens, in 1996 Labor promised not to do so and remained in Opposition.

Other issues likely to come up include salmon farming (unpopular in areas where it is planned, and an environmental issue in Macquarie Harbour), forestry (another perennial, this time in the form of the government's plans to re-open temporary reserves left over from the previous government's much-hated "peace deal" for logging) and infrastructure.

The majors are in lock step on introducing light rail to Hobart's northern suburbs.  The Liberals propose to build an underground bus mall in central Hobart, but Labor has alleged this is too expensive, as part of a general attack on Liberal spending promises.  The Liberals claim that their spending is affordable because of their success in bringing the budget into surplus.

Labor intends to completely abolish public school fees, while the Liberals intend to extend all high schools to year 12.

The government proposes to build a large new prison in northern Tasmania if returned while Labor says an appropriate prison design will be considered through a scoping plan.  Increases in either police numbers or resources have also been pushed by both sides.  T

Access to abortion facilities became an issue after a local surgical abortion provider closed down.  The government has ruled out providing surgical abortions through the public health system, meaning women needing surgical abortions have to either travel interstate or pay around $2500 locally (close to five times the previous cost).  Complicating the issue, the Liberal Party has been split between liberals and religious conservatives/reactionaries on abortion issues in the past.

A left-field issue that broke as the campaign started is the detection of fruit fly on the Tasmanian mainland, and the implications and handling of control measures for this.

A proposed cable car for kunanyi/Mt Wellington, which has been a political issue on and off for over 100 years, has come up in the context of the government signing off on approval for pre-application works including scaffolding and drilling.  Opponents have alleged the government's approach (days before the election was called) is secretive.  Polling shows the project is strongly supported outside Hobart City, but opinion within the Hobart City municipal area is mixed.

The Strategy

The Liberal Government will not be able to run purely on its record at this election.  After a mixed bag of a first term it will also need to drag voters away from the popular Opposition Leader Rebecca White by scaring them off a return to Labor.  A vote for Labor is being portrayed as a vote for another Labor-Greens government, and also a vote for job losses as a result of Labor's anti-pokies campaign.  The government is also attacking White as too inexperienced (replicating the L-plate Latham imagery from the 2004 federal election, albeit less effectively without the alliteration), though defenders of White may consider such arguments against an MP with eight years' experience to be sexist.

Labor will try to make it clear that they will not go into government with the Greens, and have now (as of Jan 28) said they will not govern in minority. The Government knows from 1996 that if no party has a majority and no deals are done, it could be left holding the baby. (See What Happens If No Party Wins A Majority?)  It has also said it will govern in majority or not at all.  Both parties have made their majority-or-nothing pledges through their leaders, meaning that if there is a hung parliament, whichever leader takes their party to power may well have to follow Ray Groom's 1996 lead and resign.

On 23 Jan, the government seized on comments by Jacqui Lambie about friendly relations between her (when she was a Senator) and Rebecca White to allege a deal between Labor and the Lambie Network is impending should the Network gain the balance of power.  No actual evidence of a deal has been presented and Lambie says she has also met on similar levels with Liberal politicians.

The Labor Opposition is attacking the Government by linking it to the federal Turnbull government, which was making Tasmanians feel vulnerable before the 2016 federal election (where the Liberal result was appalling) and has since been accused of ignoring the state.  Labor is also attacking the government over the health and housing situations (both of which it labels as crises).

Oxygen sources for the Greens at this election are few and far between, with a left-wing young female Labor leader likely to appeal to their voters and Labor having covered them off more than they'd have expected on pokies.  Salmon farming has been one issue that has offered them chances to expand their base, but polls don't suggest much success there so far.  The Greens have come up with a striking advertising hook however - reworking one of yours truly's least favourite songs of all time.  (Imagine (insert issue), it's easy if you try.)

Lambie? Strategy? I'm sorry, what was the question?

The Debates

Fairfax is hosting debates between Hodgman and White in Burnie Feb 13 and Launceston Feb 20.  Sky News will host a People's Forum on Wednesday Feb 28 at the Hobart Town Hall.

A Property Council debate between Hodgman and White was held in October 2017 and was generally scored as a draw.

Negotiations for a TCCI debate fell through with Will Hodgman refusing to debate against Rebecca White if Cassy O'Connor is also included, though the TCCI did host a Treasurer's Debate between Peter Gutwein and Scott Bacon.  There is a long history of leaders of both major parties refusing debates involving the Greens, though some debates including them were held in 2009-10.

The Polling

Opinion polls conducted in the period 2015-7 included twelve quarterly EMRS polls, four statewide ReachTELs (one commissioned) and a small number of commissioned electorate samples.  Roy Morgan Research also polled the state frequently between late 2014 and late 2016 but its samples were small, volatile and conducted using a method that has yielded poor results in other states (SMS panel polling).

Taking into account the tendencies of both EMRS and ReachTEL to underestimate Labor and overestimate the Greens in Tasmanian elections, my interpretation of the polls has varied, but there has been a generally downhill trend for the Government.  In 2015 most of the polls (on my analysis) would have produced a Liberal majority government had they been reproduced at an election, in 2016 polls were evenly split, and in 2017 polls leaned towards a hung parliament.  The EMRS trend tracker shows an especially pronounced downwards trend.

The relevance of the 2017 polling is debatable because of a potential bandwagon effect.  If it becomes clear that only the Liberals can win majority government, those voters for whom this is a key issue may all swing to the Liberals and the Liberal vote may firm up as the campaign continues.  For this reason my view is that the Liberals' chances of retaining office (either in majority or not) are better than widely assumed.

 In early 2018, the Liberal Party has released extensive internal polling results that (if accurate) suggest it is winning fairly comfortably, but Labor has not countered with any voting intention figures, focusing instead on leadership and issues scores.  A small amount of other commissioned polling has also been in the field, but no neutral polls.

While their parties may not be so much loved, both leaders are popular.  A recent EMRS poll had Will Hodgman with a net personal rating in the positive mid-teeens and Rebecca White at around +40.  EMRS polls showing large leads for White as Preferred Premier have raised eyebrows as when such results are recorded in state Newspolls they have been portents of defeat for incumbent governments.  However, EMRS is not Newspoll, so it is not yet clear what Newspoll will have to say on the matter.

The Prospects

In summary - the Liberals are likely to remain in government, and have a fair chance of remaining in majority, but there is a serious lack of polling data

In general it is much harder for state governments to remain in office when they are of the same party as the party in power in Canberra.  Only around half do so, while around 85% of state governments that are not in power federally are re-elected.  However, state governments are also more likely to survive when relatively young.  Moreover, Labor's apparent refusal to govern in minority, if followed through, increases the chance of some form of Liberal government persisting (at least technically.)  If Labor has to win a majority to govern, the chance of the Liberals remaining in office is high.

The Liberals won two seats narrowly in 2014.  In two-party swing terms the fourth seat in Braddon sits on 0.4% and the third seat in Franklin on about 2%.  With public polls in 2017 having generally pointed (at the time) to a swing of at least 9% and the November EMRS as high as 17%, these two are gone unless there is a great improvement in the government's fortunes compared to those polls or a major polling fail.

To remain in majority then, the government probably needs to hold all thirteen remaining seats.  Swings of several percent into low double figures could possibly account for the government's third seat in Lyons, second in Denison and third in Bass, while the third seat in Braddon might be at risk from the Jacqui Lambie Network.  However, the complexities of Hare-Clark may work in the Government's favour in Lyons if it can again split the vote of its three MPs more or less evenly.  If the government manages to hold the swing below, say, 7%, then its chances of holding on to thirteen seats are good.

Labor has fairly good prospects of winning ten seats, but winning three in any electorate will be very difficult, with realistic chances so far apparent only in Denison and (more remotely perhaps) Lyons. Barring major polling error or campaign shifts, I have seen no credible path to a Labor majority, and paths to a combined 13 seat tally for Labor and the Lambie Network also seem increasingly unlikely.    Labor also faces challenges because it has only five incumbents (one of those a mid-term countback winner).

If there is an issue that will win the election outright for the government it is the bandwagon effect caused by only them appearing to be capable of winning a majority.  If there is an issue that will lose it for Labor it is probably pokies - although not front and centre for every voter, it may deter a signficant number of voters thinking of moving back from the Liberals after switching to them last time from doing so.  The policy is taking votes from the Greens, but it is unclear if it is taking votes from the Liberals.  Labor may have made an error by going too early on their pokies policy thereby allowing an organised campaign against it.

The Greens' fortunes appear critical to whether or not the government keeps its majority, since if Labor wins two in Bass and Lyons then the Greens are likely to fight the Liberals for the final seat in both.  However the Greens are struggling for profile in both (especially Lyons) and for this reason if the Liberals can keep the swing down below baseball-bat proportions then the Liberal MPs might survive.

The Lambie Network is poorly suited to Hare-Clark because its candidates are mostly low-profile and profile is very important in this system.  Only in Lyons do they have a high-profile candidate, but Lyons is not their strongest electorate.  While they hence have realistic chances of gaining one or two seats, they may well also not get anything.  As with Palmer United in 2014, the party's campaign is being blighted by gaffes and incidents, and the expulsion of Steven Martin is likely to prove a distraction and provide more evidence that personality-cult parties are unstable.  The usual silly statements by Lambie (eg that what passes for party policies are "talking points") are not helping matters.

The Parties

Beyond the obvious Liberal, Labor and Greens, the following parties are registered and contesting the election as parties:

Jacqui Lambie Network - candidates declared for Bass and Braddon and Lyons.  Note: ex-Senator Lambie is not currently a declared candidate herself.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers - Running eleven candidates, mostly in Braddon and Lyons.

T4T - Tasmanians 4 Tasmania - A rather obscure outfit (more here).

The following parties are registered but are not contesting:

Australian Christians - This party has merged with Australian Conservatives in Victoria but remains registered under this name in Tasmania.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Socialist Alliance 

The Animal Justice Party applied for registration but did not register in time.

Independents may also run either as grouped (100 signatures required) or ungrouped candidates. At this election there are no grouped independents.  The only prominent independent is Brenton Best in Braddon.

The Betting

Betting in Tasmanian elections has a poor predictive track record.  In 2006 Labor's odds of retaining majority government were as long as $9; not only did they do this, but they did so easily and nearly gained a seat.  In 2014 odds-on favourite candidates to top the poll failed to do so in three of the five electorates.

As of January 19, Sportsbet had for some time displayed Labor 1.20 Liberal 4.00 Green 15.00 to provide the Premier, and for type of government formed Labor Minority 1.22 Liberal Minority 4.00 Labor Majority 17.00 Liberal Majority 15.00.  Some of these were obviuously waaaaaay too long.

As of January 23, these odds had finally moved and were now Labor 1.33 Liberal 3.33 Green 15.00 (Ladbrokes have the same except the Liberals are 3.30) and for type of government formed Labor Minority 1.40 Liberal Minority 4.50 Labor Majority 12.00 Liberal Majority 7.00.  I think there is potential for the Liberal odds to come in further.  On 29 Jan Sportsbet added a market on Hung Parliament with Yes at 1.18 and No at 4.25.

As of Jan 31, Labor 1.40 Liberal 3.00 Green 15.00, Hung 1.30 vs Not Hung 3.00, and the type of government formed odds have disappeared.

Feb 3: Labor 1.45 Liberal 2.85 Green 15.00, Hung 1.38 vs Not Hung 2.75

On Fed 3, odds on "number of party seats" (presumably Liberal) were posted.  Because of the volume of material I have posted a copy to Google Drive here.  The odds seem rather generous to the Greens who are favoured to win in both Bass and Lyons.  Overall they add to about 11-12 seats for the government.  JLN are not listed.

Feb 6: Labor 1.90 Liberal 1.90 Green 15.00, Hung 1.65 vs Not Hung 2.10.  The markets initially assumed that if there was a hung parliament Labor would govern, but this is increasingly dubious.

Feb 19: Liberal 1.85 Labor 1.95.  I've uploaded a new version of the seats odds to Google Drive again.

Feb 22: Liberal 1.80 Labor 2.00

Feb 23: Another new upload Now the Greens are no longer favoured to win in either Lyons or Bass, though both are considered close, and what's interesting here is that the odds are close between 2-3 Liberals in Franklin, but also between 2-3 Labor in Denison.

The Electoral Act

Every election sees claims of breaches of the Electoral Act, most of which are made for public grandstanding purposes and a high proportion of which are dismissed.

Our first controversy this year concerned renegade former Braddon Labor MP Brenton Best, who narrowly lost his seat in 2014 and is now undermining his former party.  Best is being sued by Labor over allegedly unpaid levy fees and other amounts, going back to 2013.  Labor says it is a long-running matter while Best alleges it is being pursued to try to prevent him from contesting the election.  The Liberals have lodged a complaint alleging electoral intimidation (a very serious breach of Section 189 if true).  Unless there is evidence (the timing does not alone count as evidence) that Labor is pursuing the matter for this reason, I don't expect the matter to go anywhere.

Labor and the Greens were accused of breaching the Act by leaving up material on social media that used photos or names of opposing candidates without their consent after the writs were issued.  During the Pembroke by-election the Liberals were sprung triggering a debate about interpretations concerning whether or not section 196 applies to internet material published prior to the issuing of the writs but still online.  The interpretation of section 196 has not yet been tested in court.

Hobart cafe Jam Packed was printing customer receipts with the message "Labor & the Greens go too far Authorised D. Hanna Sandy Bay" (with obvious reference to the pokies debate).  On 22 Feb ABC radio reported Jam Packed had been required to desist from these dockets as the authorisation details required under Section 191 were inadequate under the definition in Section 190.  (Note that these rules don't apply to TV ads).  Most commentary on the incident on social media was more concerned about Jam Packed charging $16 for a toastie.

The Wilderness Society has an ad which seems to push the envelope as concerns Section 196, since it names Will Hodgman by his first name only.  Allowed? Who knows?  (In my view S 196 is silly and probably federally unconstitutional.)

Unrelated to the Electoral Act, various candidates had their signs confiscated or covered up in Kingborough (which is mostly in Franklin) because they were not meant to be visible until the election writ had been issued.  Issues have also arisen with signs lacking planning permission in other parts of the state.

Gaffes And Colourful Incidents

Every campaign has them!  Most are harmless (or even beneficial) but some can be damaging. Incidents will be added as I hear about them.

* Jacqui Lambie appeared on a comedy show where she was asked why polling appeared to show that men liked her party more than women.  (The Bass Australia Institute ReachTEL with a sample size of 781 had 14.4% of male voters intending to vote JLN compared to just 4.4% of female voters.)  Lambie jokingly responded "Because women don't like me, they're bitches [..] Mate, we're all bitches and I'm one of the biggest ones, I should know, I'm the queen bee."  However some women apparently found the comment offensive, leaving Lambie with some explaining to do.

* Labor candidate for Lyons Darren Clark bizarrely allowed an image to be taken of his posterior with somebody else's mobile phone inserted, which was then emailed from what seems to have been his email address.  This prank might have been at the expense of the owner of the phone, but four years later Mr Clark is now the, er, butt of the joke.

* Adam Brooks picked a fight with Jacqui Lambie over her party's acceptance of donations from an anti-pokies figure but may have come off second-best when she called him "Minister for Billboards" on account of his oversized election signs.  Especially cutting given Brooks is not allowed to be a minister at present.

* That was probably Lambie's only win in a stoush with Brooks that has been running over the campaign (in the past, there was once speculation Brooks might defect to JLN!) In a Southern Cross interview, Lambie legitimised attacks on her party's policy flakiness by saying "I have been very honest about policies. They are more policy points, discussion points. They are not locked in." Brooks was quick to take out the trash.

* Jacqui Lambie Network lead Lyons candidate Michael Kent issued a TV advertisement (watch here) repeatedly misspelling Lambie's name as "Jacquie Lambie".

* The Greens misspelled the name of their lead Lyons candidate Fraser Brindley on their website, meaning that what was at the time its only mention of Brindley in several months since his endorsement was misspelled.  After I tweeted about this, the problem was fixed, but then they misspelled the names of at least another two of their other candidates, both of whom had run for elections before.  (These were also fixed, eventually.)

* On being contacted by ABC Fact Check, a gaming industry spokesman admitted they hadn't bothered telling the Government that a widely used figure of around 5,000 job losses culled from one of the industry's reports was wrong.  (Even the industry's own figures, about a fifth of that, was obtained by a self-selecting and otherwise unreliable survey.)

* In an interview, Premier Hodgman became confused about his own side's pokies policy.

* The Mercury goofed its own "campaign" by publishing a 2022 Action Plan scorecard in which it asked the major parties for detailed plans on various issues then marked the Greens as failing on all ten points without having asked them for a similar plan.  Interestingly a second version of the scorecard upgraded the Greens to six green ticks compared to five each for the majors.

* Felix Ellis was accused of a gaffe over this social media incident but in my view it was a beat-up based on a misunderstanding of the material posted, and does not merit gaffe status.

Other Guides and Resources

Note that candidate guides on external sites are not necessarily up to date.  Several links are likely to be added through the campaign.

Paywalled resources will not be included unless the paywaller gives me a one-year subscription.

Poll Bludger guide, soon to include a poll tracker
Tally Room guide, including some very detailed past history for each electorate.
ABC form guide - this includes an average of rankings supplied by yours truly, William Bowe and Richard Herr.  Thus some candidates who I did not rank "safe" have been ranked safe based on the averages.
ABC Elections site - including Antony Green's hinge seat analysis
ABC Promise Tracker
Australian Christian Lobby site - includes positions of those candidates who choose to respond, including position of all Liberal candidates on euthanasia.  Often a handy resource for those who oppose ACL's values as well as those who support them.

5 comments:

  1. A liberal moajority would have to be ~40%, not <7% Sportsbet believe. Shame my max bet is less than $1.

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  2. Greens govt more likely than a Labor majority govt? Interesting odds

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    1. I think that the bookies figure that anyone who would bet money on a Green government is probably delusional and will place the bet at $15 just as readily as at $100, so they can safely reduce their exposure just on the remotest of chances that it might somehow happen.

      What is going on with the majority government odds is not so clear to me. Both parties' majority odds are too long so I wonder if the bookie is using these odds to entice information from the market or to generate publicity. At this stage the market is probably very shallow given that these offers haven't moved.

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  3. Thanks for the highly informative exhaustive summary Kevin

    A couple of things (as a very long term Lyons voter ... even though I have moved around the State quite a bit!)

    Triabunna is no longer a 'timber town' and even with the Liberals trying to reignite the timber wars the issues here (and perhaps similarly elsewhere) have moved on to an economy largely based on tourism and fish (and land based) farming. That being the case Michael Kent (a divisive figure but someone even detractors agree 'gets things done')seems a real danger to strip votes from the Liberals (one might question his loyalty to Lambie if elected - but many would see that as a plus!) If he does run hard his best chance is to promote himself as a potential king and deal maker in the almost inevitably hung result.

    I've also been impressed and to an extent surprised by the energy Rebecca White has brought to the job of reinvigorating Labor and Labor's best chance would be not just a Lyons based resurgence but a statewide 'Jacinda effect' (an analogy I'd suggest they should raise frequently!)

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    1. Transitioning ex-timber-town. Noted.

      Re the Jacinda effect the one difference that I think is important is that in New Zealand minority and even coalition government is considered completely normal. That difference may make things harder for White.

      PS apology for not clearing this comment faster; I missed half a dozen or so comments (possibly I didn't get notification emails for them.)

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