Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Tasmanian State Election Guide: Braddon

This is my Braddon electorate guide for the 2018 Tasmanian State Election.  (Link to main 2018 election preview page, including links to other electorates.)

Braddon (Currently 4 Liberal 1 Labor). 
North-west and western Tasmania including Devonport, Burnie and Ulverstone
Regional/rural/remote

Declared Candidates

Note to candidates: As the number of candidates is large, continually changing link and bio details could consume a lot of my time.  It's up to you to get your act together and have your candidacy advertised on a good website that I can find easily well ahead of the election.  On emailed request I may make one free website link change per candidate at my discretion; fees will be charged beyond that.  Bio descriptions and other text will not be changed on request except to remove any material that is indisputably false.

I am not listing full portfolios for each MP, only the most notable positions.  Candidates are listed incumbent-first and then alphabetically, except if stated otherwise.

The order of the parties for Braddon is Liberal, T4T, Labor, SFF, Greens, JLN, Ungrouped

Liberal

Jeremy Rockliff, incumbent, Deputy Premier,
Adam Brooks, incumbent, mining industry businessman, backbencher, briefly a minister
Roger Jaensch, first-term incumbent, backbencher, former Cradle Coast Authority chairman
Joan Rylah, first-term incumbent, backbencher, businesswoman
Felix Ellis, plumber, social media stirrer, strong chess player (#7 in state March 2017 - we've never played)

Labor

Shane Broad, first-term incumbent (elected on countback during term), agricultural scientist (PhD)
Themba Bulle, Burnie doctor with international experience
Anita Dow, until recently Mayor of Burnie, nurse predominantly in palliative care
Danielle Kidd, manager of Cradle Coast University of Tasmania campus
Wayne Roberts, teacher

Greens

Greens candidates for Braddon are listed in what I think is endorsed ticket order.

Scott Jordan, high-profile Tarkine area activist, frequent Greens candidate
Sally O'Wheel, teacher, also ran for Greens in 2014 in this electorate
Tom Kingston, convenor of Braddon Greens
Julie Norbury, environmental centre volunteer
Philip Nicholas, classical violin teacher, also ran in 2014

Jacqui Lambie Network

Roslyn Flanagan, veterinarian
Rodney Flowers, former Circular Head councillor, farmer, prominent campaigner for opening 4WD tracks, facing charges over alleged illegal track use
Timothy Lovell, aged care health care professional
Colin Smith, military veteran and builder
Gina Timms, country music singer-songwriter

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

The first listed SF+F candidate is the team leader, the rest are listed in alphabetical order.
Brett Neal, third-generation farmer
Brenton Jones, launch master and marine engineer
Glen Saltmarsh, plasterer, Recreational Fishers Party candidate for this seat at the 2016 federal election
Kim Swanson, degree in agriculture, former horse stud manager and boutique winery co-owner

T4T - Tasmanians 4 Tasmania

Steve Honey, coffee supplier, remote accommodation and logistics consultant
Cherie Halkett, hospitality professional

Ungrouped (Independent)

Brenton Best, former 18-year Labor backbencher who rebelled against his parties alliance with the Greens, now campaigning against Labor's pokies policy.
Craig Garland, fisherman whose livelihood has been affected by relocated seals.  Also anti-fish-farms
Liz Hamer, farmer and long-serving Strahan volunteer firefighter

Prospects for Braddon

Braddon is an electorate where resource development and employment issues have historically been very significant, and the Green vote has lagged behind the rest of the state.  From time to time the electorate votes very strongly for a given party, so the seat produced the only 5/7 seat results in the old 35-seat system (1972 Labor and 1992 Liberal) and in 2014 it produced the new system's first 4/5 seat result.

The 2014 result was a fluke, achieved care of a 61.8% Liberal primary vote, a divided Labor ticket and a very even vote split between two minor Liberal candidates.  A trivial 0.4% swing back to Labor will be the end of it all else being equal, but probably even if the same party primaries were polled again, the Liberals wouldn't win four seats.  There is no realistic chance of the Liberals retaining all four.

The Greens, who polled just 6.7% here in the federal election, would have to do much better and get very lucky with the split in other party votes to be in the mix here - they only won this seat once in the 25-seat era, and that was with a state primary exceeding 20%.  The Green candidate, Scott Jordan, is a high profile but polarising figure whose Tarkine activism gives him a hardliner reputation.  

Some threat to the majors comes from the Jacqui Lambie Network.  This populist outfit  polled 14.3% in Braddon at the 2016 Senate election, though 5% in this was below-the-line voting for Lambie herself, nearly half of which failed to flow through to other JLN candidates.  Even so, this put the base level of JLN Senate vote in Braddon at close to a state-level quota on a four-party preferred basis.  Moreover, both statewide public polling and Braddon-specific public polling since was consistent with this, although based on very little data.  The Liberals claim JLN has tanked badly in their internal polling.

JLN will suffer from its candidates being not very high profile names and there will probably be around 20% leakage as each is excluded as was the case for Palmer United in 2014.  As well as this, the party has had a poor campaign and this will probably reduce its Braddon vote.

Aggregated polling suggests that even if JLN do better than PUP's 7% from last time, Labor should still rebuild to the extent of claiming two seats.  This means it's possible that the Liberals, who jumped from two seats to four in 2014, could go straight back where they came from.  However, if the swing to Labor is on the disappointing side, there is some chance that the Network could take Labor's second seat instead.

JLN could be damaged by news of serious illegal track use charges involving their most prominent candidate Flowers.  There is some view that this will advantage Flowers, but the charges go beyond mere allegations of using an area illegally and also include alleged accelerating and swerving towards an officer trying to stop him.  It's often hard to say exactly what it will take to damage "Trumpy" outfits like JLN, but there is a lot of similarity between their campaign and the PUP trainwreck in 2014.

On a candidate basis, the Liberals' Jeremy Rockliff will be re-elected, and I don't foresee any problems for Labor's Shane Broad either.  Adam Brooks had to resign his ministry because of a work-email conflict of interest scandal that has since dragged on for a farcical amount of time, but I can't see that being front and centre for Braddon voters so I expect him to return.  Incidentally, Brooks has some "Please re-elect Adam Brooks, please" TV ads which are inspired by the Gerald Daugherty viral ad from the US.  More likely, if Brooks is not re-elected he will probably go back to making megabucks in the mining industry and have a lot less spare time on his hands!

In danger then are Roger Jaensch, who has seemed capable but seldom visible, and Joan Rylah, who has received more press attention, but not always of a flattering variety.  

On the Labor front I think Anita Dow, who stood down as Mayor of Burnie to contest, is probably the most likely new MP.  Danielle Kidd also has experience with politics and community profile.

Should one of the Lambie ticket make it (here or Lyons), this throws a curve-ball into the minority government question.  As unpredictable as populist parties are, both Liberal and Labor would find governing with JLN support much more saleable to voters than dependence on the dreaded Greens.

As for Best, if he could not hold his seat as a party candidate I don't see why he'd win it as an independent. (Indeed if he wins as an ungrouped independent he would be the first to do so since Bill Wedd in 1959.)  But Labor definitely does not need him on the ballot!  

Outlook: I'm expecting 3-2-0-0 (3 Liberal).  A Lambie Network seat at the expense of the third Liberal, or slightly less likely the second Labor candidate, looked a fair chance at the start of the campaign but I now think it is not that likely.

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