From electricity prices to chocolate fountains, the election campaign in Tasmania was an avalanche of guarantees

The billboards fade in the intense sun. Antony Green does his vocal warm-up exercises. The 2024 Tasmanian election campaign is nearly over and is now as much as the voters.

The five-week campaign was largely unimaginative, but not without notable moments, from wildcard independents to guarantees of the world's largest chocolate fountain.

So what’s the state of play leading as much as Election Day? Which announcements have prevailed and what has been lost within the flood of guarantees? And after all, what would we reasonably forget?

The key players

Tasmania has five electorates: Bass, Braddon, Clark, Franklin and Lyons. Each of them will elects seven members It returned to the House of Commons for the primary time since 1998, when each electorate was reduced to 5 seats.

Tasmania's House of Commons is restored to 35 seats.

Jeremy Rockliff is leader of the Liberal Party (there isn’t any coalition within the south) and has been Prime Minister since April 2022.

He had a rough ride. There have been several cabinet reshuffles and he has been forced to manipulate within the minority since May 2023, when two of his MPs quit the party to take a seat on the crossbench. He called the election to revive his parliamentary majority.

In the alternative camp, Rebecca White is leader of the Labor Party and is hoping to avoid her third election defeat in a row. Like Rockliff, the previous few years haven’t been smooth sailing for White and Labor.

She resigned as party leader following the 2021 election defeat and was replaced by David O'Byrne. However, O'Byrne was forced to quit three weeks later after a… Sexual harassment lawsuit, and White was re-elected as leader. She and Labor struggled to say themselves throughout the election campaign.

Rosalie Woodruff is leader of the Green Party, which has long been the third largest party in Tasmania. Woodruff took over from Cassy O'Connor in July 2023, but is an unknown quantity and has less public visibility than previous Green Party leaders.

A woman standing outside smiles
Tasmanian Greens leader Rosalie Woodruff is something of an unknown entity.
Ethan James/AAP

This is where things get interesting. This election will see probably the most independents (29) vote in an election in Tasmania in a long time.

Although there are too many to list, listed below are some things to take into accout:

  • John Tucker and Lara Alexander (the Liberal MPs leaving in 2023)

  • David O'Byrne (former Labor leader)

  • Kristie Johnson (a sitting independent MP)

  • Sue Hickey (former Lord Mayor of Hobart, former Liberal then Independent MP).

Finally, there may be the Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN), which is fielding candidates for all seats except Clark. The JLN made the controversial decision to not publish policies and as a substitute portray themselves as a bunch of down-to-earth individuals who need to “keep the bastards honest.”

Which issues dominated the election campaign?

Polls throughout the election campaign showed that Main concern For most Tasmanian voters, healthcare and price of living were critical. Labor and Liberal, amongst others, have proposed several measures targeting these areas.

Millions of dollars were promised with the keenness of a reduction carpet warehouse closing a sale – but this not necessarily helped win votes. In fact, this type of political bonanza can confuse and overwhelm voters.

Two people in front of a large red banner reading
Tasmania's Labor Party has overhauled its electricity pricing policy but is lagging behind the Liberals within the polls.
Rob Blackers/AAP

In a super world, each of us would determine our selection by comparing the complete policies of every candidate or party and finding which most closely fits our own values. But who has time for that?

In reality, people normally vote based on a mix of other things, including specific, controversial topics, eye-catching headlines and the candidates' personalities. This is how democracies work everywhere in the world.

So what were the things that might need modified votes during this campaign?

The long-standing divide in Tasmanian society between environmental protection and economic development stays, meaning voters can select who to vote for depending on each party's stance on, for instance, salmon farming or the proposed latest AFL stadium takes.

Some influential topics are hyperlocal, akin to a long-closed topic Community pool.

During the campaign there have been a couple of “headline makers” who should stick within the minds of undecided voters. The best example of that is the Liberals' promise to construct the biggest on the earth Chocolate fountain if chosen. Work refrain “Tasmanian prices for Tasmanian electricity” also play a task.

The final thing that may influence voters is what Dennis Denuto would call “the mood” across the candidates.

Rockliff has benefited from the perception that he’s a “nice guy” under difficult circumstances as White struggled to separate her brand from the O'Byrne controversy and previous Labor factional struggles.

The Greens have been knocking hard on the door, especially within the states northwest. This personal contact can enable you attract a brand new candidate.

The JLN has relied heavily on the forceful “fighter” persona of its namesake. Each independent has tried to construct their very own brand, normally by specializing in a selected issue or strengthening their ability to arise to the main parties. It's hard to say how successful these efforts have been – the proof might be within the votes.

The low points

There were some low points throughout the campaign. First prize goes to the fake JLN page arrange from the Liberal Party. This particular racket doesn’t violate the suitable to vote, however it definitely violates the spirit of democracy. It may not have the specified effect: the sort of negative campaigning can drive voters away from the party in query.

Another disappointing aspect of the campaign was that Rockliff and White repeatedly ruled out offering ministries or policy concessions to independents, the JLN or the Greens in return for his or her support. This is as a consequence of the perceived failure of previous division of power Offers in Tasmania.

Rockliff even suggested that MPs who quit their party should achieve this kicked out of Parliament and replaced by a candidate from the identical party – a ploy that ignores that our political system relies on candidates being elected to represent a constituency reasonably than a celebration.

When the votes are counted, Rockliff and White may regret their strident rhetoric. It is most unlikely that either party will win the 18 seats needed to form a majority government.

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