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Tasmania will head to the polls on March 3 to determine who will form the next State Government.

The Liberal Party – lead by Premier Will Hodgman – currently holds majority representing 15 out of a possible 25 seats. Labor will likely build on the seven seats they currently hold, however will need to win an additional six seats across Tasmania’s five electorates to gain power.  

A hung parliament is a possibility, however both leaders have ruled out doing a deal with any of the minor parties. The Jacqui Lambie Network, who will have candidates running at a State level for the first time, and the Greens have both said they are willing to work with either side of politics should this be the result come March 3.

Polls show support for the Liberal party has decreased between August 2017 and December 2017 with support for the Labor Party remaining steady. Both parties are sitting on 34%, with the Greens on 17% and the Jacqui Lambie Network on 8%.

Current Opposition Leader, Rebecca White, is the clear preferred Premier currently holding 48% of the vote compared to Will Hodgman’s 35%; 17% are undecided.

The five state electorates – or divisions – have the same boundaries as the five Commonwealth House of Representatives divisions; with five members elected to represent each electorate. Following the 2014 State Election, the breakdown of members for each electorate is as follows: 

Electorate Description Current Situation
Bass North-eastern Tasmania, including Launceston

3 Liberals, 1 Labor and 1 Green

Braddon North-western Tasmania, including Devonport and Burnie, as well as the West Coast of Tasmania

4 Liberals and 1 Labor 

Denison Hobart 2 Labor, 2 Liberals and 1 Green
Franklin Southern Tasmania, including Clarence, and Huon Valley

3 Liberals, 1 Labor and 1 Green

Lyons Central Tasmania 3 Liberals and 2 Labor


Tasmanian Parliament

The Tasmanian Parliament consists of two chambers – the House of Assembly (or the Lower House) and the Legislative Council (or the Upper House).

The Assembly has 25 members, elected for a term of up to four years, with five members being elected for each electorate.

The Legislative Council consists of 15 members elected to 15 single-member electorates. The Tasmanian Legislative Council is the only chamber in Australian politics that is majority non-partisan, as it currently consists of 1 Liberal member, 4 Labor members and 10 Independents.

Elections for Tasmania’s Legislative Council cannot be held on the same day as a House of Assembly election; terms for MLC’s are six years with three members elected one year and two members the next year, this is repeated three times, then the cycle begins again.

Tasmanian politics has diverged further from mainland experience in recent years with the rise of the Greens making three party politics the norm for Tasmania. Where on the mainland the Greens are mainly an upper house party, in Tasmania the Hare-Clark electoral system allows the Greens to be elected to the lower house, the house of government, and on three occasions since 1989, the Greens have had the numbers to determine which of the two major parties would form government.

Tasmanian Electoral System

Tasmania uses a system of preferential proportional representation known as Hare-Clark.  The Hare-Clark electoral system is a Single Transferable Vote (STV) method of proportional representation used in multi-member electorates. STV means that a ballot paper moves between candidates as determined by the elector's preferences. In addition, they also follow the Robson Rotation method - a process of rotating candidate names within a column so that favoured (top and bottom) positions are shared equally between all candidates.

The ballot paper directs the voter to place the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and so on as the case requires, beside the names of the candidates in the order of his/her preference.

A candidate is elected when his/her total number of votes equals or exceeds the quota; for the House of Assembly, which elects five members per electorate, the quota is one sixth or 16.7% of the formal votes.

Party Leaders

Liberal Party

Will Hodgman – Premier

  • Franklin - Safe seat
  • He was the Liberal Party’s biggest vote winner at the 2014 election

Jeremy Rockliff – Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Primary Industries

  • Braddon – Safe Seat
  • Has been a member since 2002 and is considered one of the more popular Liberal MPs.
  • Considered a possible future Liberal Leader
  • As Education Minister, he was instrumental in extending more high schools to Year 12 but was also forced to back away from a plan to lower the school starting age.

Labor Party

Rebecca White – Labor Leader

  • Lyons – Safe Seat
  • Topped the Labor Lyons poll in 2014
  • Took over from Opposition Leader Bryan Green last year; polls are currently showing she is preferred Premier over Will Hodgman

Michelle O’Bryne – Deputy Labor Leader

  • Bass – Safe Seat
  • Highest Labor vote winner in Bass in 2014
  • Elected Deputy Opposition Leader after the last election and took on the Shadow Education portfolio

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