Demand election date now, says Gray

Robin Gray has urged the Legislative Council to force the state government into an election.
Robin Gray has urged the Legislative Council to force the state government into an election.

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.''