Greens locked out

PREMIER Lara Giddings has told Launceston business leaders that  they can trust her not to do another deal with the Greens because her party could not survive the political damage. 

At yesterday's leaders' debate, Ms Giddings reaffirmed her January commitment that Labor would not form another formal minority government partnership after the March 15 election. 

''We won't. If we did, it would absolutely destroy the Australian Labor Party,'' Ms Giddings said.

Liberal leader Will Hodgman seized on the comment, accusing Ms Giddings of caring more about her party's political fortunes than the best interests of the state.

More than 130 Northern business leaders watched the two potential premiers go head-to-head at the event hosted by the Launceston Chamber of Commerce. 

A fired-up Ms Giddings appeared to have the edge over a nervous Mr Hodgman in the second of three debates scheduled ahead of the election.

The two rivals clashed over each party's savings measures, the future of the National Broadband Network rollout and the state of the economy.

Greens leader Nick McKim was a notable absentee. 

The chamber withdrew its invitation to participate after he had accepted.  

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