Tasmanian election 2021: Live updates

Coverage of the 2021 state election in Tasmania. Read on the Daily Telegraph

Tasmanian Liberal candidate Adam Brooks has been accused of using fake profiles on dating apps. Picture: Facebook

Labor leader Rebecca White has addressed the tally room in Tasmania to concede the party will not lead the state for the next election cycle, as the Liberal Premier says he has “won the election convincingly”.

While vote counting has not concluded, ABC and Sky News election analysts both say the Liberals have all but clinched victory.

The party is sitting on a projected 12 seats, and need 13 for a majority.

Antony Green told ABC News “it’s very hard to see the Liberals not winning” their vital 13th seat but said postal votes still need to be counted — which could take another day or more — to call the election.

“I suspect the postal votes will boost the Liberal vote,” he said.

“On the numbers, it’s hard to see how the Liberal don’t win that [seat].”

Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell also said late on Saturday night that, “I think (Liberal leader Peter) Gutwein will win”, adding “I just think he’s got 13 [seats].”

“I’ve been wrong before of course, but that’s the way I’m seeing it, that’s the way I’m calling this election at the moment,” he said.

A Labor government has been ruled out with a projected seven seats.

The remaining question is if a majority government will be elected or if independents and the Greens will hold the balance of power in a minority Liberal government.

Tasmanian Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein began his speech to the tally room on Saturday by acknowledging his political opponents, Rebecca White and Greens leader Cassy O’Connor.

“While we set a different places on the political spectrum, I know from our work together, especially early last year when Tasmania was in the grip of the virus in those first couple of months, that both of you, like me, are dedicated to serving the Tasmanian community,” he said.

“The decisions I had to make as Premier have been among the hardest things I have ever had to do.

“We turned Tasmania into one of the safest places in this country and, without doubt, one of the safest places on this planet.

“I’m pleased to say there are more Tasmanians in work right now than what they were before the pandemic hit.”

His first-listed priority for the “next chapter” for Tasmania was “lower emissions” and “to step boldly into the new energy revolution of green hydrogen”.

He also promised “to build a health system that Tasmanians can be proud of and I can assure Tasmanians that health will be better”.

“We will govern for all Tasmanians regardless of who you are, regardless of where you live, regardless of your circumstance or background,” he said.

Ms White said she had called Mr Gutwein to congratulate him on re-election.

“It is clear tonight that we have fallen short of our goal to win majority Labor government,” she said.

“All around the country we have seen incumbent governments rewarded for their management of COVID-19 and there is no doubt that Peter Gutwein and our public health officials kept our community safe and tonight’s result reflects that.

“I hope this is a wake-up call for the Liberals that we will not tolerate — Tasmanians will not tolerate — this from the Liberal government: surgery waiting lists that are the worse in the country, ambulance response rates that are the slowest in the country, and Tasmanians dying in the emergency department because they can‘t acknowledge healthcare.”

Ms White thanked her staff and colleagues for their work on the campaign, but did not address whether she would remain as Labor leader.

“We are a strong team and I know that together we will keep working incredibly hard for the people who’ve put their trust and faith in us,” she said.

“We may have fallen short of winning government this time around, but I want to thank all of those Tasmanians who put their faith in Labor.

“We will continue to work hard each and every day and we will keep standing up for those Tasmanians who deserve a fair go.”

Ms O’Connor has also addressed the tally room, congratulating Mr Gutwein on his “resounding” personal vote and Rebecca White for her “guts”.

“We are back, the Greens are back in town,” she said.

“We will be your voice for a greener, fairer Tasmania and a cleaner democracy and a fierce one at that.

“Unlike our petulant winner-take-all colleagues in the Liberal and Labor parties, the Greens will always respect the will of the people.

“More than 120,000 Tasmanians live in poverty. Children are going without. Our hospitals are in dire straits. The rental and housing supply crisis is pricing Tasmanians out of their own paradise. And increasingly, onto the streets.

“And nature is under assault with a renewed level of almost gleeful intensity under the Liberals.

“We have to create a new future, where nature is respected and protected and where no-one is left behind.”

Meanwhile, Labor’s Shane Broad and Anita Dow and Liberal John Tucker have joined the candidates projected to be included in state parliament.

Seventy per cent of the vote had been counted by 11.30pm on Saturday night.

EARLIER

The first electorate has chosen its representatives for the next election cycle in the Tasmanian election with 60 per cent of the vote counted.

Franklin, which incorporates the outskirts of Hobart and the South-East of the city, has voted for two Liberal candidates — Jacquie Petrusma and Nic Street — two Labor candidates — David O’Byrne and Dean Winter — and one Greens candidate, Rosalie Woodruff.

With multiple seats still in doubt, the Liberal party are looking at a projected 12 candidates elected — with 13 needed for a majority in the lower house.

Labor have a projected six seats with the Greens two, and five up for grabs at current projections.

Tasmania has five electorates for its House of Assembly: Franklin, Clark across central Hobart, Bass in the north, Braddon in the north-west, and Lyons taking up the state’s midlands.

Popular Labor member Michelle O’Byrne is also projected to secure her seat.

EARLIER

A Labor majority government will not lead Tasmania for the next election cycle, ABC election guru Antony Green has said.

With over 50 per cent of the vote counted, nine individual Liberal candidates are projected to safely take their seats, against four Labor candidates, and two Greens.

The key question for the state now is whether voters will deliver a majority government for the Liberal party.

The party is, for now, projected to secure 12 seats — and they need 13 for a majority.

Both Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein and Labor Opposition Leader Rebecca White have said they will not lead their parties in a minority government — responding to a strong Greens presence in the state along with several high-profile independent candidates.

Meanwhile, the personal vote for Premier Peter Gutwein has reflected his popularity within the state.

The electorate of Bass has delivered him close to half of the total votes counted, with the next most popular candidate pulling 10 per cent.

The most recent seats claimed are for Labor’s Dean Winter and David O’Byrne, the Greens’ Rosalie Woodruff, and Liberal Felix Ellis.

EARLIER

With a quarter of the vote counted in the Tasmanian state election eight Liberal candidates seem to have been returned to their seats, with the respective leaders of the Labor and the Greens also a safe bet for Parliament from 2021.

At early stages of vote counting, a few seats seem secure — all for popular incumbent politicians that are well-known within Tasmania.

It seems Premier Peter Gutwein will retain his seat, as will his opponents, Labor leader Rebecca White, and Greens leader Cassy O’Connor.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff also seems safe in his seat, as do fellow Liberals Guy Barnett and Mark Shelton.

State Attorney-General Elise Archer looks to have been returned, as have Liberals Jacquie Petrusma, Sarah Courtney — the Health Minister during the state’s response to COVID-19 — and Michael Ferguson.

EARLIER

Polls have closed in the Tasmanian election and counting is on to determine who will make up the state government from 2021.

Greens leader Cassy Ms O’Connor told Sky News today she is expecting a swing towards the Greens this election — one factor that could increase the chances of a hung parliament in Tasmania, along with several high-profile independent candidates.

Both Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein and Labor Opposition Leader Rebecca White have said they will not lead their parties in a minority government.

Sky political editor Andrew Clennell earlier today predicted a result returning Peter Gutwein to the Premiership, based on the COVID-19 state trend of voters returning incumbents — the result that occurred in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

Betting website Sportsbet is also predicting a Liberal win, as of 7pm on Saturday, with returns of $1.07 for a Liberal government result, against $7 for Labor.

Sportsbet also predicts a clean Liberal majority with odds of $1.40, against a Liberal minority result at $3.75, a Labor majority at $21, and a Labor minority at $7.

EARLIER

Tasmanians have been heading to the polls on Saturday for a state election where the campaign has been littered with bizarre moments for many candidates.

Liberal candidate Adam Brooks, of the north-western seat of Braddon, is fending off allegations he created a fake profile to catfish a woman into a months-long online relationship on a dating app.

The ABC reported on Friday that Victorian authorities are investigating claims Mr Brooks created a fake driver’s licence with the name Terry Brooks, an alias he was allegedly using to pretend to be a Melbourne-based engineer named Terry.

A woman claimed to the broadcaster that she had exchanged messages with the politician from June 2019 to March 2020 after connecting on OkCupid.

She claimed they met in person in Sydney four times — with Mr Brooks allegedly pretending to be Terry the whole time.

He denies the fake profiles are his and Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein has stood by him as a candidate.

Meanwhile, the Premier created a stir earlier in the campaign by revealing he had a bicep tattoo of a black panther when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr Gutwein took to TikTok to explain that he got the ink in his youth to commemorate his first martial arts black belt.

Labor leader Rebecca White had her own viral moment when she clapped back to a tweet from ABC election analyst Antony Green, who said her pregnancy, and due date close to the election date, could complicate Labor’s campaign.

“I’m not sure why?” she replied.

“Plenty of pregnant women continue to work. I’m no different and I can assure everyone that as far as I’m concerned it’s game on!”

Her snappy response prompted a flood of approving commentary on social media, with more than 750 retweets and 4500 likes.

Independent candidate Sue Hickey used her parliamentary privilege in March the year to slam Tasmanian federal politician Eric Abetz, claiming he had “slut-shamed” Brittany Higgins — the woman who helped ignite a national movement after she bravely went public with an allegation she had been raped inside Parliament House.

Ms Hickey was formerly a Liberal Party member but made her statements shortly after announcing she would run in the 2021 election as an independent, after the Premier told her she wouldn’t be re-endorsed by the party.

Mr Abetz categorically denies making the comments and hit back that Ms Hickey’s timing was suspect.

Ms Hickey alleged he said: “As for that Higgins girl, anybody so disgustingly drunk who would sleep with anybody could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of the nation at risk.

Ms Hickey said she “accepted” they were “deeply held views by the senator”.

“However they are not endorsed by our wider community, who view this judgment as slut-shaming,” she said.

“My immediate thoughts were — what if this girl’s drink had been spiked?

“And even if she was drunk, wouldn’t a caring man make sure she got home safely?

“No one, no matter how drunk or what they wear or where they walk at night, deserves to be sexually assaulted.”

Polls close in Tasmania at 6pm with counting to begin from then.

 The incumbent Liberal Party has campaigned on its performance leading the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it’s strict border policies were popular with locals.

Labor, meanwhile, has pitched promises on education and health to voters.

The Greens, lead by Cassy O’Connor, have campaigned on house prices, protecting nature, and more government transparency.

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