Greens split `political death'

UNIVERSITY OF Tasmania academic Richard Herr says a split with the Greens would likely mean political death for the state Labor Party.

Dr Herr spoke as speculation mounted yesterday that Premier Lara Giddings would sack Greens ministers Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor and announce an election date as early as this week.

Mr McKim said on Friday he wasn't sure if he would still have a job this week, after Labor insiders said Ms Giddings had pledged to remove the Greens from cabinet.

Dr Herr said he didn't think a break with the Greens would do anything to improve Labor's chances at the election, but it would likely mean an earlier poll than they had planned.

``If the Greens were to say the agreement was now broken and they wouldn't support the government, then the government certainly could not recall Parliament because they would be walking into a disaster,'' Dr Herr said.

``The more likely thing is she would withdraw these commissions, allocate those portfolios to existing ministers and call an election at the same time so everything would go under caretaker mode and there wouldn't be any ministerial consequences.''

Dr Herr said such an approach would be akin to a death wish, as it diminished the opportunity for Labor to take advantage of any ``Abbott effect'' caused by Commonwealth funding cuts. 

Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin yesterday called for an election, saying most Tasmanians wanted it sooner rather than later.

Ms Giddings said she would not comment on media speculation, or ``political game playing by the Liberal Party''.

``We will be making further announcements about Labor's election campaign in the weeks and months ahead,'' she said.

Labor state secretary John Dowling also declined to comment on rumours of an election announcement, or a split from the Greens.

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