Hodgman claims emphatic victory

Winning Liberal leader Will Hodgman claimed an emphatic mandate for change in the Tasmanian election after his party was swept to majority government.

Mr Hodgman appeared to have taken up to 14 seats in the 25 seat House of Assembly as Labor and Green votes fell away, according to election analysts.

"We will be decisive and we will not, we will not, adopt a business as usual approach," Mr Hodgman told cheering supporters in the Hobart tally room on Saturday night.

"Tasmanians have voted for change and that is what they will get."

Both outgoing Labor premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim implored Mr Hodgman in their speeches not to re-ignite the state's protracted forests conflict.

"I say tonight to Will Hodgman, don't take us back to war," Mr McKim said. "Protect those forests and protect our people from another four years of bitter conflict."

But Mr Hodgman went to the election promising to tear up a peace deal drawn up by industry and environmental groups.

"We intend to deliver on all those things we have committed to Tasmanians," he said. "That includes in our forest industry, and supporting those regional towns who have voted resoundingly for a change for a better state."

 In the cut-up of preferences, the Greens were clinging to four seats, with the final make-up of the House of Assembly was unlikely to be known for weeks.

 "After 16 years Tasmanians have voted for change and I congratulate Will Hodgman," Ms Giddings said. "I'm proud to be part of this Labor government and all we've done."

 She admitted that it had been difficult to sell the message of Labor achievements after so long in power, but her campaign was dogged by dissent inside the party. 

Backbencher Brenton Best, repeatedly voiced his disapproval of the party leader, and  said Labor should have broken an alliance with the Greens.

    As he trailed in his own seat, Mr Best repeated his demands. "I had suggested she should have stood aside and if she had we might have had a different result tonight," he said.

   Despite a prominent campaign by billionaire party leader Clive Palmer, the Palmer United Party's vote  fell away from the 2013 federal result that brought in senator-elect Jacquie Lambie in Tasmania.

    "I think they would have done better to pack up and go home a fortnight ago," said Greens MP Tim Morris.  "They would have had a better result."

    Morris admitted he was hanging on to his own seat by his fingernails.

Will Hodgman with his wife Nicola celebrate with the party faithful tonight. Photo by Scott Gelston.

Will Hodgman with his wife Nicola celebrate with the party faithful tonight. Photo by Scott Gelston.


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