Make no mistake, election campaign is now on

The Examiner's chief political reporter Rosemary Bolger.
The Examiner's chief political reporter Rosemary Bolger.

THE writs might not yet have been issued but today marks the start of the all-out state election campaign.

Yesterday's three-pronged announcement has been the worst kept secret in Tasmanian politics with news of the impending Greens sackings leaking more than a week ago and moves to recall Parliament over the pulp mill emerging earlier this week too.

The only thing Labor managed to keep to itself was the election date, although we knew it would be announced at the same time and it was always going to be in March.

But despite the advance warning, the drama was high yesterday.

There's something about hearing it from the Premier's mouth, having an exact poll date and seeing sacked ministers with some of their staff in tears that ups the ante.

In a more candid moment during yesterday's lengthy press conference, Premier Lara Giddings acknowledged some might be sceptical about what she says when it comes to deals with the Greens.

That's an understatement.

She admitted she's changed her mind since March when she declared she would "absolutely" have Greens in cabinet again because it's so unpopular, not just with the public, but "importantly Labor supporters".

Taking such dramatic action this late in the game to win back support in Labor heartland are the actions of a desperate party and a Premier that finally seems to have grasped the dire situation.

(Let's just completely ignore Liberal leader Will Hodgman's bizarre claim yesterday that his party, with more than double Labor's support in recent polling, was the underdog in this battle.)

Ms Giddings is finally telling Labor people what they have wanted to hear for a long time to avoid a wipeout in March, not necessarily what she genuinely thinks is in the best interests of the state.

It's no surprise but it's a shame it had to come to this.


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