Tasmania has a ‘habit’ of big chair swings, and this election will be no different, experts say

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The fringe Tasmanian voters of Bass, Braddon and Lyon are likely to see many visits from federal politicians in the six weeks leading up to the May 21 election.

Bass in the north of the state is the country’s most fringe seat, while Clark is one of the safest in the south.

Election analyst Kevin Bonham said Tasmania has been unpredictable in the past and often bucked the national trend.

“Tasmania has a habit of having big seat swings, even when there’s not much going on nationally,” he said.

“So trying to predict Tasmania’s national trend hasn’t worked very well for the past 30 years.”

Bass, owned by liberals

Liberal Bridget Archer won the Northeast seat, including Launceston, in the 2019 federal election by 563 votes, giving her a 0.4 percent margin.

dr. Bonham described Bass as the “ejection seat of Australian politics”.

Bass voter Jamie said it was important to him to improve housing affordability.

“Especially in Launceston, rent is very expensive and rising, house prices are expensive, it’s very difficult for people to get affordable housing here,” he said.

Liberal Bridget Archer won the Bass seat in the 2019 federal election with 563 votes,ABC News: Tamara Penniket

Braddon, owned by liberals

Braddon’s northwestern Tasmanian electorate also has a recent record of switching between Liberal and Labor members.

The current member, Liberal Gavin Pearce, has a margin of 3.1 percent.

The seat covers the coastal population centers of Devonport and Burnie, as well as rural towns such as Smithton and Sheffield, and mining and tourism communities on the west coast.

dr. Bonham said the match would probably be close.

“Braddon will probably have some of the same factors at play, the reversal of some of the things that happened in 2019, so I think Braddon definitely plays a role,” he said.

For Braddon voter Tori Rattray, rising housing costs are a concern.

“That has to be an important point to focus on because it’s absolutely terrible to think about renting or even owning a home right now,” she said.

Gavin Pearce has taken Braddon.
Liberal Gavin Pearce has a 3.1 percent margin in Braddon.ABC News: Laura Beavis

Lyon, in Labor hands

Lyon’s vast electorate stretches from the suburbs of Launceston in the north to cities like Sorell and New Norfolk in the south, as well as the rural backwoods and tourist traps of the east coast.

Labor’s Brian Mitchell holds the seat with a margin of 5.2 percent, but Dr Bonham said the gap may be smaller than it appears.

“The five percent margin is deceptive because of what happened in the 2019 campaign with [Liberal candidate] Jessica Whelan is being rejected,” he said.

“Without that disagreement, and if the Liberals had elected a candidate earlier, I think Lyon would have been very close last time and might have even fallen.”

Lyon voter Amy Whelan said the rising cost of everyday necessities was the top issue for her.

“The rising cost of living, as young families struggle with low income and there’s just really no relief from that without an increase in income or a decrease in the cost of living, it’s only going to get harder,” she said.

Brian Mitchell MP Federal Member for Lyon and Anthony Albanian MP, ALP leader in the ABC Launceston studio.
Labor’s Brian Mitchell has the seat in Lyon with a margin of 5.2 percent.ABC

Franklin, owned by Labour, and Clark, owned by independents

The incumbents in the southern Franklin and Clark seats have enough margins to consider their seats safe, so they are unlikely to campaign as much as the volatile northern voters.

Franklin takes Kingston and the Huon Valley south of Hobart, as well as some of Hobart’s suburbs on the east coast.

Labour’s Julie Collins holds the electorate at 12.1 percent.

Independent Andrew Wilkie has a 22.1 percent margin in Hobart-based Clark, making it one of Australia’s safest seats.

“Wilkie will be re-elected very easily and I think Labor will have no problem winning Franklin,” said Dr Bonham.

A woman speaks to the media.
Labour’s Julie Collins holds the Franklin seat with 12.1 percent. ABC News: Luke Bowden

Small party can win sixth Senate seat

Half-senate elections will be held on the same day as the lower house poll.

Six of Tasmania’s 12 senators will have to fight for reelection: Liberals Eric Abetz, Wendy Askew and Jonathan Duniam, Helen Polley and Anne Urquhart of Labor and Peter Whish-Wilson of the Greens.

Liberal preselectors have put veteran Senator Eric Abetz in third place on their party card, which is what Dr. Bonham more difficult to keep his seat.

“We’re finally getting to see a real test of Eric Abetz’s popular support after being on top of the ticket forever, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he fares,” said Dr. Bonham.

He said there is a chance that a minor party could win the sixth senate seat instead.

“Based on last time’s results, the Jacqui Lambie network is in the box, but Lambie is not the candidate herself this time and it remains to be seen how much her support has in those circumstances,” he said.

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The main battlegrounds in the 2022 federal election.

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