Giddings coy on plans with the Greens

PREMIER Lara Giddings has refused to provide a firm position on Labor's willingness to deal with the Greens in the event of another hung parliament.

Speaking in Hobart this morning, Ms Giddings said Tasmanians would have to ``wait and see'' whether her party would rule out dealing with the minority party again.

Ms Giddings would not say whether she had the numbers in caucus to maintain the party's position of dealing with the Greens.

``You can wait and see what we have got to say over the coming weeks and months as we head towards the election and where we are heading as the Labor Party,'' she said.

Ms Giddings said she stood by the her government's record, and was not worried about the impression ruling out a partnership of the type that underpinned it would give.

Her comments come a day after Labor backbencher Brenton Best, who has previously called for Ms Giddings to resign as Premier over making Greens members cabinet ministers, said he felt ``listened to'' in an election strategy meeting yesterday.

The meeting, though not technically a caucus meeting, included party officials and most caucus members.

Mr Best said he expected Ms Giddings to make a statement about the meeting ``soon''.

Edited transcript of Premier Lara Giddings press conference in Hobart this morning:

Zoe Edwards (ABC): Do you think Tasmanian voters care about what Labor will do after the next election with the Greens?

Premier Lara Giddings: We certainly have a busy time ahead of us with the election coming up in March, and the Labor Party is listening very carefully to what the Tasmanian people are saying and feeling.

Alex Johnston (Southern Cross): Will we have a clear idea before the election of your willingness to do another deal with the Greens?

LG: There will certainly be more statements made during the election, as you can expect, as happens, you announce policies, you announce positions, and we will be doing that in due course.

ZE: When will caucus meet to finalise the ah, the policy I suppose about the Greens?

LG: We don't advertise our caucus meetings and I won't start now.

Calla Wahlquist (The Examiner): How would you categorise yesterday's meeting?

LG: It wasn't a caucus meeting.

CW: But what did you discuss there?

LG: It was an election strategy meeting and it won't surprise you to know that I won't discuss what our election strategies are with the media.

ZE: Do you have the numbers behind you in not wanting to rule out another deal with the Greens?

LG: You can wait and see what we have got to say over the coming weeks and months as we head towards the election and where we are heading as the Labor Party.

ZE: Does that mean no?

LG: We've got a lot to announce over the next few weeks and months, and you'll just have to wait and see what we have to announce in that respect, and how important it is that we provide a strong voice for Labor people in Tasmania.

ZE: If you rule out doing another deal with the Greens, what will you be able to campaign on because you're just going...

LG: I won't be talking hypotheticals today I can assure you.

AJ: Is it fair to say there's a differing range of views within the PLP at the moment?

LG: I don't discuss internal matters of the PLP.

Anna Fromberg (ABC): Was Brenton Best out of line yesterday for suggesting that there had been a shift within the Labor Party as to its election strategy.

LG: I certainly don't support people out there publicly speaking about PLP discussions.

ZE: Will he be reprimanded about that?

LG: No.

(...other topics...)

CW: Do you stand by the record of the Labor Green government of the past four years?

LG: I think we have provided good government in difficult times.

CW: Are you worried, then, by any impression people might get if Labor was to change its mind about a future partnership with the Greens?

LG: No.

(...other topics...)

ZE: I read earlier this week, or perhaps it was last week, that you personally haven't changed your thoughts on the Greens. Are you happy to do a deal with them again?

LG: When we are ready to talk about our election strategies and where we are going as a Labor Party we will talk and comment at that point.

ZE: What should Tasmanians do in the process... I mean, this delay, we're not very far out from the election, what do you think Tasmanians are thinking about what's going on behind the scenes?

LG: People expect that we will be going into election campaign mode. That's exactly what we are stepping toward now, is the election campaign mode. And I am not going to be talking about my election strategy here with you today.

ZE: Can you tell us when the date of the election will be?

LG: No.

AF: Are you able to say whether you will be making an announcement in the next few weeks?

LG: You can just wait and see.

CW: If Labor separates itself from the Greens, is this just an exercise in trying to save furniture?

LG: We'll wait and see whether or not we do or we don't.

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