The mathematics of tomorrow’s Tasmanian election are simple. Labor has
ten safe seats, two in each electorate. To hold a majority in its own
right it needs three more, an additional seat in any three electorates.

Two polls this morning say Labor is within reach, although they differ on which three seats: The Mercury says Bass, Denison and Lyons, while Newspoll in The Australian
says Bass, Braddon and Lyons. And the fifth electorate, Franklin, where
Labor currently holds three seats (all of them ministers), is also a
chance, so Labor could conceivably increase its total to 15.

I don’t think they will, but I think they’ll get the 13 that they need:
I’m tipping Braddon, Franklin and Lyons as the three. I just can’t see
the Liberals doing well enough for a second seat in Franklin, and since
it’s common ground that the Greens can’t win a second there, Greens
preferences should deliver the last seat to Labor. Braddon is more
dicey; it’s possible it could elect two Liberals and a Green, keeping
Labor down to two, but my guess is that the Greens will just miss out
(as they did last time). On the other hand, I’m sticking my neck out by
saying that I think the Greens, with two strong candidates, can win a
second seat in Denison at the expense of the ALP.

That gives a total of ALP 13 (down one), Liberals 7 (unchanged) and
Greens 5 (up one). Although all the polls have the Liberals well ahead
of the Greens (except for Gary Morgan),
who puts the gap at only 1%), it’s remarkable how close the Greens are
to outnumbering them in parliament: if the Liberals were to lose their
second seat in Braddon to the Greens, and their second in Bass to Labor
(neither of which is impossible), the numbers would be 14-5-6 and the
Greens’ Peg Putt would become leader of the opposition.

Even if Labor just falls short by losing in Braddon or Franklin, it
will still have been a remarkable turnaround – less than a month ago, Centrebet
was giving four to one against them holding majority government. Now
even Greg Barns, former top adviser to a Liberal premier, is
effectively endorsing a Labor majority.

Peter Fray

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