Contrary to mainstream media predictions, it is highly likely that the
Tasmanian Greens will retain their four seats in the House of Assembly
after the March 18 state election which returned a Labor Government,
and thereby party status. Kim Booth, Greens member for Bass, has been
written off by journalists but is likely to hold onto his seat, staving
off a challenge by Labor newcomer Steve Reissig.

The Mercury‘s front page today has Steve Reissig wresting the seat from Kim Booth, The Examiner
predicted his parliamentary career was over, although he hadn’t ruled
himself out, while this morning ABC Local Radio mornings presenter Tim
Cox said he was history.

Under Tasmania’s Hare-Clark voting system, a candidate can win or lose
by a whisker, so calling the outcome for the fifth seats in the
five-member electorates can be tricky. There’s been much confident
comment on ABC Local Radio and in the three Tasmanian newspapers, even
today, that Tamar Valley anti-pulp mill campaigner Les Rochester cost
Booth his seat. But Tasmanian Times psephologist Kevin Bonham
said yesterday the Bass seat “was right on the line.” By the end of
counting yesterday he predicted Booth would keep his seat “by about 400
votes.”

Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner Bruce Taylor thinks the conventional
media got it wrong, telling Crikey this morning that he thinks that
Booth will be re-elected by a slim margin. What’s more, he thinks Booth
will get back into Parliament on Liberal preferences.

Taylor says the outcome in Bass is likely to be known by the end of
counting today, as will Franklin, where Education Minister Paula Wriedt
has been locked in a battle over the fifth seat with Liberal newcomer
Vanessa Goodwin. Taylor says he thinks Wriedt is safe and the result is
likely to be known today. Braddon and Denison are sewn up, but there is
still some doubt over the fifth seat seat in Lyons. Taylor says the
Greens’ Tim Morris should be returned, but counting will continue
tomorrow.

Peter Fray

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