Labor rumblings on Greens split

PREMIER Lara Giddings has refused to comment on speculation she was forced to agree to split from the Greens to head off a leadership challenge.

The Examiner reported yesterday that Ms Giddings promised senior Labor members last month to remove the Greens from cabinet in the first half of this month in an effort to prevent a total wipeout at the state election.

In a statement from a spokesman yesterday, Ms Giddings said she would not comment on "idle media speculation" but would make further announcements about Labor's campaign "in the weeks and months ahead".

Deputy Premier Bryan Green said Labor would differentiate itself from the Greens in the election campaign.

"People understand that whenever there's an election come around you want to campaign to provide the best opportunity for your own party to go forward," Mr Green said.

"And that's exactly what the Labor Party will be doing."

Mr Green would not comment on the matter, saying the party should not "be dancing to anybody else's tune".

"We've had a strategy meeting and we will implement that strategy as we've agreed," he said.

Mr Green said voters would learn what Labor had decided "in good time".

"Patience is key," he said.

Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said last month that Labor would announce its position against another power- sharing deal before the election.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman yesterday called for Ms Giddings to call an election immediately over the speculation, accusing Labor of putting its own political survival above governing the state.

"There's just ongoing uncertainty and confusion, there's no doubt that we are heading to a contrived divorce," Mr Hodgman said.

"There's no doubt that this government has stopped governing and is in fact in survival mode."

Mr Hodgman said he was not concerned voters would return to Labor if it split from the Greens.

"Tasmanians will not be fooled by whatever Labor and the Greens now say," he said.

"However, they describe it, they will get back into bed with each other after the next election if given half the chance to form another government."

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