As election approaches, interest drifts to aftermath

APART from upsets in various seats, last weekend's polling has made a Liberal majority on Saturday a cast iron certainty in the minds of many voters, like it or not.

Anything short of a majority government would make stunning national news.

In this final week media interest appears to be wearily drifting towards the election aftermath.

Will the Greens replace Labor as the official opposition? What happens to Lara Giddings? What if David O'Byrne loses his seat. Would the premier of a soundly defeated government make way for him? Not likely.

A $150,000-a-year package in Franklin, plus car, is not quite a premier's package of $300,000 a year, but it beats starting over.

By now the Libs would be quietly haggling over portfolios, limo' drivers and the plum ministerial offices with harbour views in Hobart, while Labor minders would be contemplating the heartbreaking job of stuffing cardboard boxes, and shredding.

The Libs wouldn't be getting excited just yet. They got excited at this time in 2010, only to see all of it slip away when David Bartlett and Nick McKim took that now-famous bicycle ride together.

The current Liberal team is likely to get a job somewhere in Will Hodgman's first front bench. Still, there may be some changes.

Pembroke MLC Vanessa Goodwin will have to become leader of the government in the Legislative Council, thereby creating a portfolio vacancy for the job of attorney general.

Will Hodgman will take on economic development, employment and tourism.

His deputy Jeremy Rockliff will lose the bureaucratic post of health, but keep primary industry and take on other economic portfolios like planning and transport.

Peter Gutwein will be treasurer. Michael Ferguson will get a bureaucracy function like health, and lose education to a clean skin like Matthew Groom who will keep energy and climate change.

Either Rene Hidding or Mark Shelton will get the plum job of speaker.

If Mr Hidding is elevated to cabinet he will get transport, road safety and TT-Line.

Jacquie Petrusma will keep human services and related portfolios like minister for children.

Elise Archer will get police and emergency services. Adam Brooks will either get cabinet secretary or something more substantial like small business and mining.

The unknown is the job of attorney general, and whether former senator Guy Barnett polls well enough in Lyons to get it.

If he topped the poll and so became a safe bet, his previous experience as a one-time senator and legal guru within the Liberal Party machine could earn him the top law post.

Mr Hodgman will have to justify a novice leap-frogging some in his current team.

He also has to match up geographical niceties. Yes, sometimes you can score a cabinet post purely because of where you live. It's a tradition common to all sides.

Perish the thought that ability might be irrelevant.

Whatever the ultimate choices Will Hodgman will be in a commanding position as party leader and premier.

His authority will be unchallengeable. How long that lasts is largely up to him.

His senior staff are from Senator Eric Abetz's federal office which will either help or hinder.

There is a view that Peter Gutwein would make a better leader; a view that may remain entirely academic, or one that slowly evolves, just as it did with Paul Keating, John Howard, Peter Costello and Julia Gillard.

Three of those four aspirants did something about their future while in government. Peter Gutwein has to become a respected treasurer first and tame a wild budget.

He may have a long while to wait for the premiership, but, perhaps not too long.

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