Liberals likely to easily win most seats in Tasmania; huge swings to LNP at Queensland byelections

The Tasmanian state election is this Saturday. The 35 total lower house seats will be elected in five seven-member electorates using the proportional Hare Clark system, up from 25 total seats at previous elections. A quota for election is one-eighth of the vote, or 12.5%, down from 16.7% at previous elections.


  • Adrian Beaumont

    Election Analyst (Psephologist) at The Conversation; and Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne

The Poll Bludger on Friday reported The Mercury had a Freshwater poll taken a “fortnight ago” for an undisclosed client. This poll had samples of 800 in each of the five electorates. It suggested the Liberals would win 15 of the 35 seats, Labor nine, the Greens four, the Jacqui Lambie Network three and independents four.

In Braddon, this poll gave the Liberals 49%, Labor just 15%, JLN 13% and independents 10%, suggesting Labor would win just one of Braddon’s seven seats, with the Liberals taking four, JLN one and an independent one. Labor would win two seats in each of the other four electorates, with the Greens and independents strong in Clark.

While the Liberals would be short of the 18 seats needed for a majority, the 15 seats they would win if this poll is accurate would give them a far better chance to form government than Labor. Freshwater’s federal polls have usually been better for the Coalition than other polls.

I covered a Tasmanian uComms poll on March 15 that gave Labor just 23% of the vote. Both the uComms poll and Freshwater poll were taken about a fortnight ago, and there haven’t been recent polls conducted.

Labor is struggling in the polls in both Tasmania and Queensland, though from different positions. In Tasmania, the Liberals have held government since the 2014 election, while in Queensland, Labor has held power since the 2015 election.

The federal Labor government is likely now a drag for state Labor parties. Another factor is that Tasmania and Queensland are the most regional-dominated Australian states. At the 2022 federal election, Queensland was easily the best state for the Coalition, while Tasmania was the only state or territory that recorded a swing to the Coalition from the 2019 election.

I covered the urban shift to the left in an April 2022 article that suggested federal Labor could do well due to Australia’s big cities.

Queensland Labor likely doomed after huge byelection swings

Queensland state byelections were held on March 16 in the Labor-held seats of Inala and Ipswich West. The ABC’s projections are for the Liberal National Party to gain Ipswich West by a 53.5-46.5 margin, a 17.9% swing to the LNP since the October 2020 state election.

Primary votes were 39.6% LNP (up 18.5%), 35.0% Labor (down 15.1%), 14.5% Legalise Cannabis (up 10.0%) and 10.9% One Nation (down 3.9%). The Greens, who had 6.5% in 2020, did not contest.

Labor held Inala by a 56.8-43.2 margin, but this was a 21.3% swing to the LNP. Primary votes were 37.3% Labor (down 30.1%), 29.3% LNP (up 12.8%), 10.1% Greens (up 2.3%) and a combined 19.5% for four independents. Inala was held by former premier Annastacia Palasczuk, and was one of only seven Labor-held seats after the 2012 election wipeout.

The Queensland state election will be held in October. On March 15 I covered a Queensland Newspoll that gave the LNP a 54-46 lead, representing a seven-point swing to the LNP since the 2020 election.

Byelection swings in government-held seats are usually worse for governments than the swings at general elections. But the huge swings in Inala and Ipswich West validate Newspoll. Labor has governed in Queensland since early 2015, but faces defeat in October.

Local government elections in Queensland were also held on March 16. In the high-profile Brisbane City Council, incumbent LNP mayor Adrian Schrinner defeated Labor by 56.3-43.7, a 0.1% swing to Labor since the 2020 election.

The LNP also retained its majority on the council, winning 17 of the 26 wards, to five for Labor, two Greens and one independent, with one still undecided. In both the mayoral and council elections, there was a primary vote swing to the Greens but it came at Labor’s expense.

SA state byelection this Saturday

A byelection in the South Australian Liberal-held state seat of Dunstan will also occur this Saturday after the retirement of former Liberal premier Steven Marshall. At the March 2022 SA election, Marshall defeated Labor in Dunstan by just a 50.5-49.5 margin. There have been no SA state polls since Labor ousted the Liberals at that election.

Federal Morgan poll steady at 51.5-48.5 to Labor

In this week’s national Morgan poll, conducted March 11-17 from a sample of 1,710, Labor led by 51.5-48.5, unchanged since the previous week. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (down one), 31.5% Labor (down 0.5), 12.5% Greens (down 0.5), 5.5% One Nation (up 1.5), 9% independents (steady) and 4.5% others (up 0.5).

The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

/Courtesy of The Conversation. View in full here.