2017 Tasmanian Redistribution

With rumours swirling that an early Tasmanian election is set to be announced, there is one small piece of unfinished business I need to fix.

The 2021 Tasmanian election will be fought on new electoral boundaries and in this post I re-calculate the results of the 2018 Tasmanian election to match the new electoral boundaries.

Tasmania uses the same electoral boundaries for both state and federal elections. The state’s five divisions elect one member each to the House of Representatives, and five members per division to the lower house of state parliament, the House of Assembly, using the Hare-Clark electoral system.

Tasmania is the smallest state and is guaranteed five divisions by Section 24 of the Commonwealth Constitution. It has had five federal divisions since 1904, the first election at which the state was split into divisions, and five at every state election since Hare-Clark was adopted permanently in 1909.

As Tasmania has always had the same number of divisions, redistributions under Commonwealth legislation take place roughly every seven years to ensure all electorates are within the permitted variation from quota. The timing of the 2016 Federal election deferred a pending redistribution that eventually took place in 2017. The new boundaries were used for the 2019 Federal election.

However, the late release of the boundaries in November 2017 meant that Tasmania could not use the new boundaries for the March 2018 state election. The new boundaries will be used for the first time at the 2021 election.

Summarising the Changes

Tasmania’s five electorates have roughly covered the same parts of the state since 1904.

  • Bass covers most of Launceston and the state’s north east, and on new boundaries now covers both shores of the Tamar river.
  • Braddon covers the north west and west coast of the state, including Devonport, Burnie and Queenstown.
  • Denison (re-named Clark) covers Hobart on the western shore of the Derwent river.
  • Franklin is divided around Clark, and covers Kingston to the south of Hobart, the rural Huon valley further south, plus the Hobart suburbs on the eastern shore of the Derwent.
  • Lyons is a sprawling division covering everything not included in the other divisions. It takes in the east coast, Derwent Valley and the northern and southern midlands.

Since the last major overhaul in 1984, most changes have been incremental and designed to deal with more rapid population growth in the south of the state compared to the north and north-west.

The biggest change in the 2017 boundaries was a switch in name for Denison, re-named Clark in honour of Andrew Inglis Clark, a 19th century Tasmanian Attorney-General who helped draft the Australian Constitution. Clark is best remembered for advocating and implementing proportional representation for elections to the Tasmanian House of Assembly. It is his name that forms part of the name for Tasmania’s electoral system, Hare-Clark.

The other changes are to deal with population shifts. The southern seat of Franklin loses Richmond and Old Beach from its northern edge to the central seat of Lyons. In turn Lyons gains Hadspen and Prospect Vale in the north from Bass, loses the balance of West Tamar Council to Bass, and also loses the last parts of Latrobe Council to Braddon.

The boundaries of Clark are essentially unchanged compared to those used under the division’s former name Denison.

The table below sets out the change in party vote share for each division on old and new boundaries based on the results of the 2018 Tasmanian election.

None of the changes in vote share are significant, though if the 2018 election were exactly repeated, the victory of Green MHA Rosalie Woodruff might have been slightly easier.

Change in Party Percentage Vote Shares – 2017 Tasmanian Redistribution

Division (Boundaries) LIB ALP GRN JLN SFF OTH
Bass (old) 58.8 26.4 9.3 4.6 .. 0.9
Bass (new) 57.8 26.6 9.6 4.8 0.3 0.9
Braddon (old) 56.1 27.3 3.6 5.9 2.5 4.6
Braddon (new) 56.4 27.2 3.7 5.9 2.5 4.4
Denison (old) 37.7 41.9 17.5 .. 1.8 1.1
Clark (new) 37.7 41.9 17.5 .. 1.8 1.1
Franklin (old) 48.4 34.4 14.4 .. 2.9 ..
Franklin (new) 48.3 34.2 14.7 .. 2.8 ..
Lyons (old) 50.6 33.0 6.5 5.5 4.0 0.4
Lyons (new) 50.8 33.6 6.3 5.0 3.9 0.5

JLN – Jacquie Lambie Network, SFF – Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

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