Liberals Win Tasmania Election

Tasmania’s Liberal Party has claimed a historic third straight election win but whether it can govern in majority probably won’t be known for days.

Premier Peter Gutwein is confident but not assured of winning the 13th seat needed to deliver the government a majority in the state’s 25-member lower house.

Counting continues after Saturday night’s poll, with eyes on the crucial race in the Hobart-based electorate of Clark where independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey are polling strongly.

Liberal success in one of the two in-doubt Clark seats could deliver the party a majority, while independent success could give rise to a kingmaker.

Under Tasmania’s unique Hare-Clark voting system, five MPs are elected in each of the state’s five electorates.

Election analyst Kevin Bonham said the Liberals appear likely to pick up one of the in-doubt Clark seats but the situation was “very complex.”

“We’re probably not going to know for sure until the preferences are distributed, which is many days away,” he told AAP.

“They have to wait for all the postals to come in.”

Simon Behrakis, one of the Liberal candidates still jostling for a seat in Clark, said the party was confident it would get the 13th seat needed for a majority.

As of Sunday afternoon, almost 80 percent of the statewide vote had been counted.

Tasmania experienced a surge in pre-poll and postal voting, some 70,000 ballots in total, in line with trends seen in mainland jurisdictions during the pandemic.

Labor appears to have clinched at least eight seats and the Greens two.

Gutwein said on Saturday night he was confident of winning outright, saving him from his own pledge to quit if his government failed to claim a majority.

He called the election a year ahead of schedule in a bid to capitalise on high approval ratings stemming from coronavirus management.

Incumbent governments have been returned at all five state and territory elections since COVID-19 hit.

Labor went to ground in Tasmania on Sunday having conceded defeat the night before, holding no press conferences.

State leader Rebecca White, who has now taken the party to two election losses, didn’t comment on her future during Saturday’s concession speech.

Gutwein sent voters to the polls after Ms Hickey quit the Liberals, plunging the government into minority.

The Greens picked up a healthy swing, ensuring leader Cassy O’Connor and Rosalie Woodruff were re-elected.

By Matt Coughlan and Ethan James

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Author: AAP

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