Michelle O’Byrne celebrates with Brian Wightman who is fighting for the last Bass seat for Labor. (ABC: Jacqueline Street)
Tasmania’s Labor leader says the election was not the bloodbath the party feared but there were several casualties, mostly in the state’s south.
It could be several days before it is known who has won the undecided fifth seat in the southern electorate of Denison.
Labor leader David Bartlett polled the most primary votes, ahead of the Greens’ Cassy O’Connor.
The last seat is a three-way battle between the Greens’ Helen Burnett, Liberal Richard Lowrie, and the independent Andrew Wilkie.
Mr Wilkie says he has polled strongly and preferences will flow to him.
“There’s been no shortage of people telling me it would be impossible to be elected as an independent with a 25-seat Parliament,” he said.
“I never believed that and I think I’m still in the race.”
Labor was hurt in the seat, although Scott Bacon, the son of former Labor premier Jim Bacon, will enter parliament.
Two ministers – Lisa Singh and Graeme Sturges – have lost their seats.
The Greens’ Cassy O’Connor says Labor’s campaign tactics backfired.
“What I actually think it did was shift some of the ‘true believers’ away, the loyal Labor voters away from Labor who were frankly repulsed,” she said.
Newly-elected Liberal Matthew Groom spent the day celebrating his win with friends and family including his father, former premier Ray Groom.
“Obviously in the Hare-Clark system name recognition is relevant,” he said.
“I focussed very heavily in this campaign on running in my own right.”
The key to governing could rest in Braddon, where a Liberal heavyweight is in a desperate struggle with the Greens.
Brett Whiteley’s career is on a knife-edge, after a new Liberal face stole much of his vote.
Labor has lost a seat in the north-west electorate but Bryan Green topped the poll to mark his comeback from scandal.
Criminal charges and relegation to the backbench were not enough to stop him topping the Braddon vote, for the third time running.
He is talking down a return to the deputy leadership but says the critics have been vanquished.
“[I’d] certainly be hoping for a front-bench position,” he said.
Brenton best maintained his vote, despite the 10 per cent swing but Labor’s third seat, held by the retiring Steve Kons, quickly disappeared.
The Liberals’ Jeremy Rockliff was the big winner, polling his best result in three elections.
He could be deputy premier next week.
“[It’s] very rewarding, of course but a little flat at the fact that I could lose my friend and colleague, Brett Whiteley,” Mr Rockliff said.
Businessman Adam Brooks has stormed into Parliament with a big-spending campaign believed to be five times the cost of Mr Whiteley’s.
“The nature of Hare-Clark is to get your name out there and certainly I’ve chosen a different approach to some of my running mates,” he said.
Mr Whiteley is neck-and-neck with the Greens for the final seat.
After eight years in Parliament, the bullish Christian minister faces an agonising wait.
“I’m questioning the ‘big fella’ at the moment as to how that all works itself out, but whatever is meant to be, will be.”
The Greens’ Paul O’Halloran has achieved his best vote as he goes for “third-time lucky”.
“I do know that the smear campaign that was conducted against us, hurt us here,” he said.
If Mr O’Halloran beats Mr Whiteley, he will be the first Green in Braddon since 1998 when electorates were cut to five members.
Union representative Scott McLean believes former Beaconsfield miner Brant Webb may have hurt his chances for Labor in Bass.
Sitting member Michelle O’Byrne scored the highest number of votes for Labor, with Liberal candidates Michael Ferguson and Peter Gutwein and the Green’s Kim Booth also picking up seats.
Mr Ferguson, a former Liberal MP, topped the poll with nearly 15,000 votes.
“I’d be very pleased to work with Will Hodgman in any capacity that I can,” he said.
Peter Gutwein says there is disappointment in the electorate result.
“Unfortunately we just haven’t done enough to get that third seat,” he said.
Ms O’Byrne received more than 10,000 votes.
“It’s always gratifying to do well personally,” Ms O’Byrne said.
While the pulp mill was not a focus of the campaign, the Greens believe it is what helped Kim Booth across the line without the need for preferences.
“Bass has said no to Gunns’ pulp mill,” he said.
Brian Wightman is fighting for the last Bass seat for Labor.
He is up against Mr McLean and Mr Webb.
“A lot of people would have voted for Brant, I’m sure,” Mr McLean said.
“Brant’s a very good fellow and he certainly was an exemplary candidate I thought.
“We’ll just see what the outcome will be.”
New Franklin face
Labor’s David O’Byrne says he is looking forward to representing workers in Tasmania’s new Parliament.
The former union official and father of two was elected in Franklin.
He says he is humbled by the support he has received from union members.
“The friendships that I’ve built up there and the relationships that I’ve built up there, people wanted to help me get elected and be a workers’ voice in Parliament,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“That’s exactly what I want to be.”
His election was at the expense of another two Labor members, Daniel Hulme and Ross Butler.
Daniel Hulme says he is now is looking for work.
“I am interested in further involvement in public life and serving the community,” he said.
Labor’s Lara Giddings has retained her seat.
“Obviously there’s been a protest vote against Labor and a lot of people have parked their votes with the Greens,” she said.
Franklin had some of the biggest primary votes in the state.
Liberal leader Will Hodgman polled almost two quotas on his own, with Nick McKim getting 1.5 quotas.
Former Family first candidate Jacquie Petrusma looks likely to be the second Liberal member.
The last seat in Lyons may still go to the Liberals, with Mark Shelton not far behind Labor candidates David Llewellyn and Rebecca White.
Veteran Labor MP Michael Polley has been re-elected to Parliament for the 12th time.
For the past 12 years he has sat in the speaker’s chair.
That position will now be determined by a secret ballot.
“We’ll wait and see what the Parliament wants to do,” Mr Polley said.
“I will serve the people of Lyons in the best possible way I can and I will serve the Parliament in the best way I can.”
Young gun Rebecca White is just 46 votes behind David Llewellyn and could secure the second seat or a third for Labor.
“I think that David will still win that seat. I think he’ll get the preference vote,” Mr Polley said.
Ms White says she is still overwhelmed by Saturday’s result.
“I’m absolutely delighted and humbled by the results so far,” she said.
Labor’s Heather Butler is now contemplating life after politics.
“There were a lot of surprises I guess,” she said
The Greens’ Tim Morris topped the poll with almost 8,000 votes.
“I think what we are seeing is the real level of support for the Greens starting to show through,” he said.
Rene Hidding is back for the Liberals.
But it is a nervous wait for Meander Valley Mayor Mark Shelton to see if he can claim a second seat in Lyons.
“It’s a bit of a nervous wait now until they count all the preferences and so on but I am really pleased with the votes.”
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