Bryan Green's resignation opens way for new leader Rebecca White

PASSING THE TORCH: Outgoing Opposition Leader Bryan Green listens to his successor Rebecca White describe the road ahead for Labor.
PASSING THE TORCH: Outgoing Opposition Leader Bryan Green listens to his successor Rebecca White describe the road ahead for Labor.

Bryan Green’s resignation from the Labor Party leadership was inevitable, but the question of who his replacement would be was never entirely clear.

This was according to leading political commentator Kevin Bonham.

“I think that [Labor] needed to change leader before the election, given that Bryan Green was struggling to match Will Hodgman as leader,” Dr Bonham said.

“They’re seen as having a serious alternative candidate now.”

Lyons MHA Rebecca White, Mr Green’s replacement, was elected to the House of Assembly in 2010.

Speculation over the Labor Party leadership mounted earlier this week, when rumours began to swirl that unions were maneuvering to replace Franklin MHA Lara Giddings with former member David O’Byrne.

Mr O’Byrne was being touted as a future party leader.

Despite whispers that Denison MHA Scott Bacon would usurp Mr O’Byrne’s sister as deputy leader, Michelle O’Byrne remains in the position.

Mr Green said a changing of the Labor guard was “important”.

“I made the decision … having known [for] my whole political career that the best thing to do as a leader in any leadership role is to make sure that you mentor people and bring them through,” he said.

“Rebecca White is an outstanding member of the Labor Party, she’s an outstanding member of Parliament and an outstanding leader for the state,” he said.

Ms White said she would build on the “strong work” that had been done by the party over the last three years.

“My responsibility and my focus is … on representing the entirety of the Tasmanian public and making sure I do what’s in their best interests,” she said.

Political scientist Richard Herr said Rebecca White would be a good leader for the party.

“I think that she will be inclusivist,” Dr Herr said.

“She will be looking for ways of developing policies that are more broadly supported in the community. 

“I don’t expect her to be a confrontationist.”

Premier Will Hodgman, meanwhile, said that Labor’s leadership switch-up was emblematic of the party’s alleged disunity.

“No matter what they do, how they change the leader, it won’t change the fact they’ve got no plan, they’ve got no policies,” he said.

As for Mr O’Byrne’s leadership ambitions, Dr Bonham said we may not have seen the last of him yet.

“It’s possible that he will still look to come back into Parliament, as a potential future leader in the event that this doesn’t work out,” Dr Bonham said.


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