CONFIRMATION of secret meetings between Liberal and Greens MPs after the 2010 state election has been seized on by the government as proof that Opposition Leader Will Hodgman did try to deal with the minor party.
Mr Hodgman admitted yesterday that some Liberal MPs spoke to the Greens in the days following the election, but said it was initiated by the Greens and was not evidence that he ever had attempted to deal his way into the premier's job.
Premier Lara Giddings responded by demanding that Mr Hodgman provide details about those conversations or resign as Opposition Leader.
``Otherwise, all you can conclude is that he has lied to the people of Tasmania for the past three years when he said he would do no deals, was not interested in any deals and would not form a minority government with the Greens,'' Ms Giddings said.
``And if he has lied for the past three years, he ought to resign.''
Mr Hodgman said it was Ms Giddings who needed to explain herself.
``The only indisputable fact from the 2010 election is Labor did a deal with the Greens when they said they wouldn't. We kept our word,'' he said.
He confirmed that Liberal MPs Peter Gutwein, Rene Hidding and Brett Whitely spoke to Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth after the 2010 election, and said Greens candidate for Braddon David Henderson contacted Deputy Opposition Leader Jeremy Rockliff.
``The move to have us deal with the Greens was initiated by the Greens,'' he said.
Mr Hodgman tried to shut down the debate on the issue, saying the he-said, she-said was ``playing politics'' and ``Tasmanians frankly don't care about that''.
Mr Booth said the MPs who spoke to him were ``absolutely'' trying to do a deal.
``The arrangement that they were seeking was clearly that Mr Hodgman would be able to rule in minority and have an arrangement before we went back into Parliament to allow that to occur, because quite obviously you would not be able to form government unless you had supply and confidence from a majority in the house,'' he said.
``The details of what that would look like were never consummated.''
Mr Hodgman said it was no secret that he had wanted to be premier and that he had written to Governor Peter Underwood about the possibility of governing in minority, with support from other parties to guarantee supply, but said that did not mean he looked to do a deal.
``At no time did I seek to do a deal with Nick McKim, and at no time have I accepted their advances to do that,'' Mr Hodgman said.
``If it were that I could just pick up the phone to Nick McKim and be premier, then I would have - but for the fact that I said to Tasmanians that I wouldn't do any deals.''
However, he did say he attempted to talk to Mr McKim.
``I have always been one who will talk positively and constructively about the future of the state, how we could deal with the hung Parliament and how we could work with making the Parliament work in a way that was going to benefit Tasmanians,'' he said.
The 3 1/2-year-old discussions bubbled up in Parliament this week when Ms Giddings recounted a call made to then premier David Bartlett's chief of staff, Terry Field, by Mr Hodgman's former chief of staff, Don Morris, asking if Labor would guarantee supply.
Mr Hodgman accused Ms Giddings of lying and misleading Parliament, and Mr Morris and Mr Field have produced statements backing their respective captains.
Then Braddon Greens MHA Paul O'Halloran produced a statutory declaration saying he had been invited on a car ride with Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks so the latter could canvass his appetite for minority government.