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Tasmanian Election Called For July 20

A State election will be held in Tasmania on July 20.

BaconThe Labor Premier, Jim Bacon, visited Government House this morning to advise the Governor, Sir Guy Green, to dissolve Parliament. The election will be held about two months earlier than expected.

The Labor government currently has 14 of the 25 seats in the House of Assembly, the Liberal Party has 10, and the Greens have 1 member. The last election was held on August 29, 1998, resulting in the return of the ALP to government for the first time since the defeat of the Field government in 1991.

The Liberal Party has a new leader, Bob Cheek, who has been floundering in recent times, although the Bacon government has had a difficult time in the last few months.

There has been controversy over the future of Incat and the possibility of a closure of the Prince of Wales Bay shipyard. The government’s commercial dealings and secret loans to the Abt railway have also been in the news. It is generally believed that the government has performed poorly in the past couple of weeks in Parliament.

Tasmania uses the Hare-Clark electoral system whereby 5 members are chosen in 5 electorates using a system of proportional voting.

The electorates are Denison, Bass, Braddon, Franklin and Lyons, each of which uses the same electoral boundaries as the House of Representatives seats of the same names.

Prior to the last election, the Liberals and ALP joined forces to reduce the number of seats from 7 to 5 in each electorate, thus increasing the quota required to win a seat, thereby squeezing the Tasmanian Greens who dropped from 4 seats to 1.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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