Careers hang in balance

ELECTION defeat will spell the end of either Premier Lara Giddings or Liberal Leader Will Hodgman's term as party leader. 

The Examiner understands neither Ms Giddings nor Mr Hodgman will have the support to continue on as Opposition leader if they lose next Saturday.

Labor has failed to gain ground on clear favourites, the Liberals, during the election campaign, prompting insiders to prepare for a leadership change within days of the result being known.   

Ms Giddings is expected to step aside, allowing ambitious senior minister David O'Byrne to take over in a smooth transition. 

Denison MHA Scott Bacon is tipped to be his deputy. 

``Come what may, if both David and Lara win their seats back, David will be the next Premier or Opposition Leader of the state,'' one Labor source said. 

However, Labor insiders are worried that Mr O'Byrne faces a tough battle to retain his own seat in Franklin which is also home to the Premier. 

With Labor's support so low, the Liberals could pick up three seats in Franklin, Greens Leader Nick McKim will win his seat, leaving Mr O'Byrne and the Premier to fight it out for just one Labor seat. 

If Mr O'Byrne loses, Ms Giddings is still unlikely to continue as party leader, but it's unclear who would be promoted instead.   

After eight years as Opposition Leader, Mr Hodgman's position  would also be untenable if he let almost certain election victory slip out of the Liberal Party's grasp.

While the latest polling indicates the Liberals are on track to claim majority government, a late surge from the Palmer United Party could cause a major upset.  

Possible contenders to take on the Liberal leadership include Liberal treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein, Deputy Leader Jeremy Rockliff and Denison MHA Elise Archer. 

Both party leaders have refused to discuss their post-election futures during the campaign. 

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