Liberal-Labor consensus government ‘might not be a bad thing’

The state’s peak business body has thrown its support behind the idea of the two major parties striking a deal to form government in the event of a hung Parliament.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey’s comments come after Premier Will Hodgman and Labor Leader Rebecca White were quizzed on the topic at Fairfax Tasmania’s Premier Debate on Tuesday.

“I don’t believe in the benefit of minority government, nor do I entertain it,” Mr Hodgman said.

Ms White, on the other hand, stopped short of ruling out governing with the Liberals.

“We will not do any deals with the Greens, we will not do any deals with a minor party,” she said.

Mr Bailey said he believed a Liberal-Labor state government would be better for business confidence than the Labor-Green government of 2010-14 was.

“We saw business confidence plummeting through that period,” he said.

“When you look at some of the major policy items, there’s a fair bit of consensus [between the Liberals and Labor] across the board.

​”Perhaps a consensus government, if it was to happen, wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Tasmania.”

But Mr Bailey stressed that a majority government would still be the best outcome “from a business perspective”.

Former state and federal Greens leader Bob Brown, who did a deal with former Labor premier Michael Field to form government in 1989, also supported the idea of the Liberals and Labor governing together.

Dr Brown advised Mr Hodgman and Ms White not to strike a deal with the Greens.

“Labor and the Liberals should form a coalition if people don’t want the Greens,” he said.

“They are so similar to each other when it comes to … the expansion of fish farms, putting money that should go to hospitals and schools into logging [and] servicing the big end of town at the expense of the average Tasmanians.

”Get together.”