NORTH-WEST farmer and businesswoman Leonie Hiscutt will become the second Liberal in Tasmania's upper house after winning the seat of Montgomery.
Mrs Hiscutt, the endorsed Liberal candidate, will replace retiring independent Sue Smith, who has held the seat since 1997.
She will join Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin and Nelson independent MLC Jim Wilkinson, who were returned in the other two electorates that went to the polls yesterday.
With 84 per cent of the vote counted last night, Mrs Hiscutt had scored 45.5 per cent of first preferences, well ahead of Central Coast Deputy Mayor Cheryl Fuller on 30 per cent. Mrs Hiscutt was not ready to claim victory last night but said she was humbled by the result.
She said it boosted the chances of a Liberal majority government being elected in the state election due in March.
"I do wonder whether it's a bit of a wake-up call for the current government," she said.
She named high unemployment as the single biggest issue on voters' minds in the North-West.
Conceding defeat, Ms Fuller was reluctant to nominate the reasons behind the results.
"I'll leave the analysis to others," she said.
"I think what I've learnt from campaigning and doorknocking is that everyone who votes has their own reasons."
Ms Fuller said she was disappointed that the seat would no longer be represented by an independent.
Former Labor government adviser Kevin Morgan picked up 14.6 per cent of first preferences, followed by ex-Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association chief executive Ed Vincent on 9.7 per cent.