Rebuilding Labor no easy task

THE election dust has now settled and the Liberals winning a fourth seat in Braddon completed one of the biggest election routs in history.

Labor has now decided to follow its national colleagues and have a ballot of members that will give members, affiliated unions and the caucus an equal say in selecting future leaders.

Whether this will "invigorate" the party as claimed by state secretary John Dowling is debatable.

It is one thing to gain the support of factional groups, like unions, but quite another to have the support of your caucus.

A leader can function perfectly well without the support of the unions but is dead in the water without the support of his or her parliamentary colleagues in the party room.

It appears that at this stage Bryan Green is the only viable candidate with former premier Lara Giddings quite correctly observing that she will only stay on as leader with the support of her caucus.

One suspects that Labor, despite the oratory skills of Ms Giddings, must have a new voice at the helm to renew itself and keep the Liberals honest.

Rebecca White, Scott Bacon, Michelle O'Byrne and newcomer Madeleine Ogilvie are out of the leadership picture and turning to veteran David Llewellyn surely is not the renewal answer.

This leaves only Ms Giddings or Mr Green as leadership material - the same leadership team that fought the last election and hardly a recipe for reinvigoration.

There is plenty of speculation around about Michelle O'Byrne and/ or Lara Giddings being gifted safe Senate spots within 18 months to allow the return of young guns Brian Wightman and David O'Byrne. Time will tell.

However, this is a dire time for Labor in Tasmania and it will need to rebuild from low stocks and shattered morale.

On the flip side, the issue for soon- to-be Premier Will Hodgman is whether he can maintain control of the egos and aspirations of his 14 colleagues with only nine ministries available.


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