Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What is an independent liberal?

This article could also have been called "What is an Independent Liberal?"  However, they are apparently not the same thing!

A revealing piece of campaign colour in the most exciting (but I'm not expecting it to be the closest) Legislative Council race, Nelson, involved the race's most obscure and recently announced candidate, Hans Willink.  Here is a Willink sign photographed at a well-known sign location at the city end of the Southern Outlet. 

The photo was taken with flash at night,  and the blue is actually quite a bit darker than it appears in this photo.  About halfway between the above and black.

Until today I'd seen no coverage of this one in the southern press, but Calla Wahlquist in The Examiner (April 22 page 4) thought it was interesting and so do I - mainly because it touches on two of my pet themes, namely (i) electoral law beat-ups and (ii) the Liberal Party's deceptive self-labelling.  What's happened here is that the Liberals have tried to get a bit heavy against the upstart minnow candidate.  Liberal Party state director Sam McQuestin is quoted as describing the combination of wording and colour of the signs as "a blatant attempt to deceive the voters of Nelson into supporting [Willink] as a member of the Liberal team".

Monday, April 22, 2013

Impressions of the Nelson LegCo Debate

I expect to have live election-night comments on all three LegCo electorates, from 6 pm 4 May.

(For election night, comments will still be subject to clearance but registration will not be required to post comments.)

This is another in a series of articles about the 2013 Tasmanian Legislative Council elections.   Existing instalments include:

My Legislative Council Candidate Guide

Nelson LegCo Polling

LegCo Spending Limits Create Confusion

I also have other LegCo related articles about the forestry peace deal, LegCo voting patterns and same-sex marriage.  And something coming up perhaps about the Liberal Party's stoush with the Nelson candidate who doesn't feature heavily in this article.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Liberty, Abortion and the "Salamanca Declaration"

Warning: this article may offend some readers. 
(Not much pseph in it either; a little bit in the Emily's Voice section mainly.)

It has been, for the most part, an unedifying fortnight in Tasmanian public debate, and I am not about to make it better.  I generally dislike writing about abortion-related issues at all, because there are too many people who appear to believe that being emotional on behalf of "unborn babies" trumps not only every opposing philosophical argument, but also the most basic responsibility of understanding the existing legislative situation and understanding what changes are actually being proposed.  Admittedly, understanding the existing legislative situation has been too much for not just ranting objectors, but for many doctors as well, and that is exactly one of the reasons why the Lower House has attempted to change it.

Abortion Law Reform: The Vote

Finally late last night, abortion law reform was passed 13-11 by the House of Assembly and is off to the Legislative Council.  The bill that was passed has the following key features:

Monday, April 15, 2013

LegCo Spending Limits Create Confusion

This site will have live election-night comments on all three electorates, from 6 pm 4 May.

(For election night, comments will still be subject to clearance but registration will not be required to post comments.)


This is another in a series of articles about the 2013 Tasmanian Legislative Council elections.   Existing instalments include:

My Legislative Council Candidate Guide

Nelson LegCo Polling

I also have articles about the forestry peace deal, LegCo voting patterns and same-sex marriage.

Upcoming articles include my comments on the Nelson debate (see Simon de Little's video here if you missed it or want to relive it) with a roundup of other Nelson issues, which may be released in the next week or so.  These were originally in this article but I have held them back because it was too long and the Nelson-specific remarks did not mesh well with this issue, which involves all the electorates.  I will also have detailed projection attempts for at least Nelson and Pembroke which will be released sometime during election week.  To save the suspense in the case of Pembroke, I expect Vanessa Goodwin to win, and that it won't be close.  In Nelson there is a strong modelling and polling based case that Jim Wilkinson should win easily, but the nature of the contest is distinctive, and I don't consider it to yet be cut and dried.  This article explores one of the reasons why the fight for this seat could yet be competitive. 


Over the last fortnight, the lobby group Tasmanians United for Marriage Equality (TUME) has been letterboxing the Legislative Council electorates of Montgomery, Pembroke and Nelson with leaflets.  These leaflets, versions of which are currently available on the TUME website,implore voters to "vote for marriage equality".  The initial versions contained pictures and names of most of the then-known intending candidates and ticks and crosses indicating their perceived positions on the issue.  The current versions indicate the three candidates who are known to be opposed to state-based same-sex marriage (Jim Wilkinson (Ind, Nelson), Vanessa Goodwin (Lib, Pembroke) and Leonie Hiscutt (Lib, Montgomery)) simply with large red crosses and wording such as "The current representative" or "The Liberal Party candidate", as well as ticks for two supportive candidates in each electorate.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nelson Legislative Council polling (Updated)

 (Note: for more on the Legislative Council elections see my rampagingly popular if somewhat sprawling candidate preview article.  And there is so much more to come, perhaps including a look at the dreaded Section 159!)

UPDATE: Following the publication of partial results of another ReachTEL on Tasmanian Times this article now includes discussion of two separate polls.  The second is discussed at the bottom of this article.

There have been some mysterious media reports of a Nelson Legislative Council ReachTEL poll.  I now have a copy of the full results (though there is a suggestion that an official corrected version may exist too - see first update below).  This is one of perhaps as many as four polls and surveys of the electorate conducted by or circulated among candidates; one of the others is discussed below.

The publication of partial details of polling commissioned by unknown sources in the mainstream media is a source of continual frustration because it means that the public are not in a position to know what the polling really says, or to access fully informed discussion of what the polling really means.  Nor are they in a position to be aware if there are errors in the polling results, as is apparently the case this time around.

I am here publishing the full details for the purposes of non-profit critical review and study.  Anyone thinking of copying these details for profit-related or any other purposes should be aware that the poll is copyright ReachTEL and obtain appropriate permissions.  I should note that while I have the data, I don't have permission to disclose (or know with absolute certainty) the identity of the commissioning source, and results should be treated with caution for that reason.  That said there is absolutely nothing in this poll, beyond some errors in the presentation of the data discussed below, that I have any reason to doubt is true. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Public Opinion and the Mt Wellington Cable Car Proposal

Advance Summary

1. Detailed results of a large survey of attitudes to a proposed cable car on Mt Wellington have been claimed to have settled the question of in-principle support for the development once and for all.

2.  They do not do this, because the survey was conducted using opt-in survey methods, which are not statistically reliable irrespective of sample size.

3. Additionally, the use of a preamble stressing a (probably unrealistically) favourable view of the project is likely to have affected the results.

4. Lower support rates in certain inner-city suburbs are probably not just legacy effects from previous cable-car proposals but probably also reflect innate aspects of the cable car debate.

UPDATE: Adrian Bold has responded to this piece.  My response to his response appears at the bottom!

(See also the later piece from September 2014: Polling On The Mt Wellington Cable Car Proposal)


The mountain from not far from my place.