Election 22 / 28 April 2022

Tasmania – Bass and Braddon

Let’s dive into northern Tassie – home to the flip flop seats of Bass and Braddon. And while we’re in the state, we’ll give you some talking points to impress your people on election night about the vote in Tasmania.

So the major party leaders spend a lot of time campaigning in northern Tassie, eh…
And there’s a good reason for that – it’s because the seats regularly change hands, almost at every election. So the race is always on – and at this election, it’s the Liberals who are trying to retain them with Labor pushing for them to change hands again.

What’s Tasmania’s deal more broadly?
When you look at Tassie as a whole, it’s been more supportive of Labor, the Greens and independents in the past. But in Bass and Braddon, the Liberals get a look in and that’s seen those seats vote closer to the national average that has delivered a Coalition Government for 7 of the last 10 elections.

Let’s start with Bass.
Well, it is the most marginal seat that the Liberals hold – they have it by 0.4%. 

Give me the deets…
Its home base is Launceston. The local MP is Bridget Archer – she’s been in the national spotlight in recent months for being at odds with her party on issues like an integrity commission and religious discrimination. She’s a first-term PM – she won the seat last election from Labor’s Ross Hart, who was also a first-term MP.

And this time?
It’s Archer v Hart again… 

Tell me about her. 
So Archer is a Tasmanian born a bred – and she’s spent most of her life in the electorate. She’ll turn 47yo just a couple of days before polling day – and before she entered parliament she was the mayor of George Town, which is north of Devonport. She’s married, has 5 kids, and belongs to the moderate faction of the party. As we’ve mentioned, issues of integrity in politics are important to her.

And Ross Hart? 
He’s also a lifelong member of the Tasweigan club. He’s 61yo, a commercial lawyer, he’s married with a son, and Ross is a member of the left faction of the Labor Party. One of the policy areas he’s talked about is ensuring the rates of welfare payments are enough particularly JobSeeker payments.

So who’s gonna win?
The betting odds are interesting to look at for these races because it’s an indicator of where people are willing to put their money on the result. And in Bass, it’s neck and neck. 

Let’s take a look at Braddon next.
It’s held by the Liberals by a margin of 3.1% – which means the Libs won it by 4,300 votes over Labor in 2019. The cities of Burnie and Devonport are major population centres, and agriculture and fishing are 2 big industries. The MP is Gavin Pearce, he’s another first-term Liberal up for reelection. 

And he is?
He is a former soldier – he had 20 years in the Army and served in East Timor so he has a particular interest in veteran welfare – and he’s a farmer. He is 54yo, he’s talked about losing his wife to cancer 13 years ago when their son was 8yo – he has since re-partnered and they have a daughter.

Who’s Labor’s candidate?
Chris Lynch. He’s a vocational skills teacher and youth worker who hails from the area. He’s been on Burnie Council and says he has a particular interest in social policy. Claire, tell us a bit about the Liberals’ candidate who is another lifelong northern Tasmanian.

Is there anything else about Tassie we need to know?
Tassie is really hard for the Liberals. When you look back at the numbers, 5 of the last 8 elections saw the Liberal Party failing to win any House seats in the state. Now, they have still gone on to win government on some occasions, so Tassie isn’t essential for their overall chances. But 2 seats is a lot for the Coalition to lose in one spot.

Why is that?
If the Liberals lose Braddon and Bass, they have to win seats in other states – and that’s no easy task this time around…

And for Labor?
They are seats they see as obvious ones to go after. They’re low hanging fruit, if you like. And that’s why they have already had visits this campaign – including on day one of the campaign from leader Anthony Albanese. Braddon was where he made his unemployment and interest rate stumble.

That already seems a lifetime ago…
And just like yesterday at the same time…

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