Tas Lib vote not pointing to fed election

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman was returned on Saturday, offering hope to Malcolm Turnbull.A booming Liberal primary vote in Tasmania might offer hope to Malcolm Turnbull, but experts say the result was almost entirely down to state issues.

Will Hodgman’s Liberal government was returned on Saturday with a primary vote of just over 50 per cent, but coalition sources don’t believe the result is a pointer to the next federal election.

Instead they expect the strong Liberal performance will help recruit candidates and volunteers for the next poll.

“This is a vote very, very much about state issues and probably less contaminated by federal factors than just about any other state election I’ve seen,” Tasmanian election expert Kevin Bonham told AAP.

Dr Bonham said the Turnbull government’s poor position in the polls would ordinarily be a drag on an incumbent state government.

“Yet there hasn’t been a swing against the state government to speak of at all,” he said.

University of Tasmania politics lecturer Richard Herr said the result could help the Liberals recruit well to win federal seats.

“Success breeds success,” he told AAP.

It might also help the coalition decide to push Labor’s Justine Keay over her citizenship, as the Liberal vote was especially strong in her electorate of Braddon.

The Liberals won Braddon, Bass and Lyons in 2013 but lost them all in 2016, meaning they hold no federal lower house seats in Tasmania.

The Greens could drop from three members to just one, and Dr Bonham says they have problems with candidate choice and no galvanising issues.

“The Greens are suffering from a lack of political oxygen and a lack of novelty factor, a lack of anything that inspires voters to vote for them,” he said.

But party founder Bob Brown said Labor had pinched the Greens’ policy on poker machines, and the Liberals flooded the state with advertising.

“I’ve never seen an election like it,” he told Sky News.

He said there are environmental issues resonating with Tasmanians, including fish farming concerns and the privatisation of national parks.

Dr Herr said the Greens had to refresh their party and agenda if they were to find a second generation of voters.

The Jacqui Lambie Network polled poorly and Dr Bonham said the former senator, who didn’t run herself, will find it difficult to get a quota at the next half-senate election.

Ms Lambie said she could not have properly committed to a state seat, given her federal ambitions.

“I more than likely would have won a seat … but then I would have brought instability to Tasmania because my dream is to get back into the Senate,” Ms Lambie told Sky News.

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