Demand election date now, says Gray

FORMER Tasmanian premier Robin Gray has urged the Legislative Council to seek an immediate meeting with Premier Lara Giddings to demand a firm election date.

On the eve of the state budget, Mr Gray said yesterday that the Legislative Council should block supply until the election commitment was given.

This rarely-used tactic could see government so starved of funds that it would no longer be able to operate.

The former Liberal premier, who had a reputation as a strong political strategist during his 1982-1989 term, said that Tasmania desperately needed a government with a mandate.

``The current minority government does not have a mandate,'' Mr Gray said.

``The most urgent need is for an election.''

Mr Gray said that the chaos in Tasmania's public hospitals was enough reason for the Legislative Council to intervene.

``But the sell-out of our forest industries is an even greater one,'' he said.

``The Legislative Council should resolve to meet the premier to obtain a firm election date within three months and should withhold supply until the commitment is given.''

Legislative Council president Sue Smith said that Mr Gray's proposal was surprising.

``It's something that he would never have countenanced when he was in government,'' Ms Smith said.

``In my opinion the Legislative Council will make its decision on the budget individually when we see it and what comes out of it will be the call of democracy.''

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