Tasmanian firm EMRS has published the latest of its occasional polls on state voting intention, which has Labor down four points since August to 30 per cent, the Liberals up seven to 42 per cent and the Greens down two to 24 per cent. The figures at the election were 36.9 per cent, 39.0 per cent and 21.6 per cent. Opposition Leader Will Hodgman is favoured for premier by 39 per cent against 23 per cent for Premier David Bartlett and 21 per cent for Greens leader Nick McKim.

One has one’s doubts about EMRS, which consistently overstates support for the Greens, but it’s nonetheless good to have occasion for discussion of the state’s politics. That being so, it might be an idea to reprint my most recent observations on the matter from recent posts:

• The Legislative Council voted a fortnight ago against a motion supporting an increase in the chamber’s numbers from 15 to 19. This follows an agreement between the Labor, Liberal and Greens leaders in October that the Legislative Assembly should revert to the 35-member seven-seat region model which prevailed until 1998, when Labor and the Liberals combined to support a 25-member five-seat region model in the expectation that it would neuter the Greens. The ongoing rise in the latter’s electoral support gave lie to that, and the state returned to minority government with the election of one Greens member in each region at the election held in March – with the added sting of the major parties being deprived of the range of parliamentary talent that they would have enjoyed in the old days. However, Premier David Bartlett told Tim Cox on ABC Radio that it would be up to the Council to decide if it wanted to follow suit in reverting to its pre-1998 numbers. The motion was opposed by the chamber’s three Labor members, who were no doubt mindful that the proposed increase in lower house numbers was a hard enough sell as it was – although the solitary Liberal, Vanessa Goodwin, joined with four independents in support.

• State Treasurer Michael Aird has announced he will be quitting his upper house seat of Derwent, to which he was re-elected for a six-year term at the periodical election in May 2009. This means an election for the seat will be held concurrently with the annual periodical upper house elections on the first Saturday in May, which next year will cover the seats of Launceston (previously known as Paterson), Murchison and Rumney, respectively held by independent Don Wing, independent Ruth Forrest and Labor’s Lin Thorp. The ABC reports talk Labor preselection might be contested by David Llewellyn, who lost his seat in Lyons to party rival Rebecca White. More surprisingly, Damien Brown of The Mercury reports former Premier Paul Lennon might fancy a tilt at the seat. The Liberals have confirmed they will field a candidate for the seat, which has traditionally been safe for Labor.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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