Australia is on track for wall-to-wall Liberal governments -- in every state and at the federal level -- in March, for the first time since 1970.
A poll released today shows the Liberals are likely to wrest power from Labor in Tasmania at the state election on March 15. South Australians go to the polls the same day, and analysts are tipping a change from Labor to the Liberals there too.
That would leave the ACT government (an overgrown territory / town council) as the Australian Labor Party's feeble last stand. The tide has turned quickly; just six years ago Labor held government federally and in every state.
Before conservatives rejoice too loudly at the possible Liberal whitewash, it's worth remembering that it doesn't always help a prime minister if every state is on his or her team, because there's no one else to blame. And voters can get skittish at such dominance by any party.
To Tasmania, where the besieged Labor minority government of Premier Lara Giddings is limping towards likely defeat. Labor has been in power since 1998 in Tasmania, which invented its own complex Hare-Clark electoral system based on proportional representation in the lower house. This lends itself to minority governments. Four years of governing with the Greens, the slow draining of talent from Labor, a poor state economy and anger in the north about Labor's actions to restrict forestry have translated into toxic polls for the ALP for some time. Some ALP figures are publicly unloading
on their own party.
Today, the Hobart Mercury
carries the first publicly available poll of state voting intentions since November, and the first since the election date was named. It was commissioned by the Liberals, taken on January 20 and dropped to the Merc
, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, it is a fairly respectable ReachTEL poll of almost 2000 people, so it tells us something. The results are up on local psephologist Kevin Bonham's blog
The poll shows the Liberals are likely to win 13 or 14 seats in Tasmania's lower house of 25 members (13 is a majority), while Labor would be cut back to seven or eight, and the Greens might win four. It shows a slight softening in the Liberal vote, while Labor's woeful vote has picked up a bit. It's closer than the polls have been for some time, but not that close.
Tasmania has five electorates, which each elect five members (upper house elections are held at a different time). This election will be won or lost in the north (Bass and Braddon are the northern electorates and Lyons is in the centre), where anti-Labor sentiment is much stronger. Here are the ReachTEL results.
Question: at the upcoming state election to be held on the 15th of March, which of the following will receive your first preference vote? If you are undecided to which do you have even a slight leaning?