Growing pressure on Giddings

Lara Giddings
Lara Giddings

FRUSTRATION with Premier Lara Giddings is building in the Labor Party over her apparent reluctance to separate from the Greens, party insiders say.

The Examiner understands tensions within the party rose almost to the point of a leadership challenge before Christmas, prompting Ms Giddings to promise to split with the minority party and kick Greens ministers Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor out of cabinet early this month.

But her refusal yesterday to state a clear position on a future deal has some in the party wondering if she will stick to her word.

Ms Giddings said Tasmanians would have to "wait and see" what Labor's position was on dealing with the Greens in future.

At a media conference in Hobart yesterday, Ms Giddings would not say whether she had the numbers in the party to avoid ruling out another deal with the Greens.

"You can wait and see what we have got to say over the coming weeks and months as we head towards the election and where we are heading as the Labor Party," she said.

Ms Giddings said a meeting of parliamentary Labor Party members and party executive on Tuesday was a "strategy meeting," not a meeting of caucus, and that she would not comment on election strategy or internal party matters.

Asked if publicly splitting from the Greens would be an attempt to save the furniture, Ms Giddings said: "We'll wait and see whether or not we do or we don't."

Labor Denison candidate and former minister Julian Amos said candidates were left out of the loop on key areas of Labor's election strategy, such as its relationship with the Greens.

Dr Amos, who does not support the deal, said the decision on what to do in the event of another hung parliament belonged to the post- election caucus, which could be drastically different.

University of Tasmania academic Richard Herr criticised all parties for discussing what they would do if one party doesn't win majority, saying it amounted to improperly publicly advising the Governor.

Dr Herr said a quirk of the Tasmanian constitution meant cabinet was cleared out within seven days of the writs being issued, which made appointing a new government in the event of an non-majority result more urgent.

The Liberal Party has ruled out governing in anything but a majority.

The Examiner understands Labor plans to rule out governing as a partnership or allowing another party in cabinet, but it would govern in minority.

Greens leader Nick McKim said he remained willing to deal with whatever parliament Tasmanian voters produced.


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