Labor-Greens alliance set to break up

LABOR is expected to officially split from its power sharing partners the Greens early next month.

The 10 Labor caucus members will meet in the first week of January with the future of its unpopular alliance with the Greens to be decided.

Senior Labor minister David O'Byrne yesterday confirmed the meeting would discuss the issue and an announcement would follow very soon.

"I think it's the view of the Labor Party that we need to govern in our own right and we'll be putting forward a position in the election campaign that will make that very clear," Mr O'Byrne said.

"A vote for Labor is a vote for Labor."

Mr O'Byrne said the party's position on having Greens in cabinet again would be finalised in consultation with Labor candidates for the March election.

His comments followed Premier Lara Giddings' refusal to restate her pledge in March to "absolutely" have the Greens in cabinet again.

"That was the right answer for the right time absolutely, in that respect," Ms Giddings said this week.

"The fact is, times change."

She indicated the pulp mill would be the issue to drive the two parties apart, saying she would not tolerate an anti-pulp mill campaign from the Greens.

The Greens members of cabinet, Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor, have been sidelined from a sub- committee tasked with supporting major projects of which the contentious pulp mill is the priority.

The Examiner understands Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor will be dumped from cabinet following the January meeting of the Labor caucus.

Greens Leader Nick McKim, who is also Education Minister, yesterday made it clear it would not be the Greens that would initiate the split.

"We're not interested in some stunt for the sake of a stunt. We're interested in stable co-operative politics," Mr McKim said.

"For our part we're just focused on working hard and continuing to deliver good outcomes in our portfolios. Greens ministers have delivered for Tasmania and that remains our focus."

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