Tasmanian parliament might be prorogued but Christmas time is no fairytale duet in politics

It’s Christmas time and parliament in Hobart Town will soon be prorogued.

Sounds like the subject matter for a Christmas Carol duet: the Fairytale of Tasmania, perhaps.

On the back of his Fairfax Tasmania On The Record chat about his favourite albums, one can see Premier Will Hodgman belting out The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York in the Long Room.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor would probably be best placed to sing the duet of insults in the same love-hate relationship Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan shared in the song.

Sadly, we will probably never get to hear the duet until there are combined political party Christmas bashes.

Until then we will have to content ourselves with journalists singing the second best Christmas carol, The Darkness’ Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End).

While Tasmanians will be switching off politics for the holiday season, the phoney election campaign that we have endured for months will continue until the election due in March.

When exactly Tasmanians will go to the polls in March remains uncertain. The first Saturday seems a little tight from the time an election would most likely be called after Australia Day (you typically give the public that long to enjoy some time off).

March 10 is the long weekend, which rules that out, and March 17 clashes with the South Australian election (although that has happened before).

Surely you wouldn’t leave it to the very last day in March, so might it be March 24?

The government will chose whatever date it thinks gives it the biggest advantage. Does it want a short or long official election campaign?

The date is largely something the election geeks worry about and read into much more than the public, who are probably yet to consider the matter in much detail.

But the Liberals must recognise that it was North and North-West Tasmania that delivered it government – 10 out of the 15 lower house seats came from north of Ross.

Therein lies the risk of losing majority from leaking votes in Bass, Braddon and Lyons, which has three, four and three Liberal MHAs respectively.

Braddon is a seat where the Liberals must surely think they will drop down from four seats. Adam Brooks will be safe despite his emails audit fiasco and Jeremy Rockliff is a perennial favourite, but the others are shaky.

Despite not living in Braddon for a few years, former leader Bryan Green enjoyed good support from voters. There are clearly questions about whether his replacement Shane Broad has the same profile.

Michael Ferguson and Peter Gutwein will cruise through in Bass and Sarah Courtney should be returned as Labor lacks a high profile candidate beyond Michelle O’Byrne.

The great unknown will be the federal political landscape come March – but it certainly is a shambles at the moment and unlikely to improve over the killing season.

The turmoil over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and the dual citizen saga might be a source of voter discontent that could play out statewide.

Will the Premier even want the PM on Tasmania’s hustings, such is his unpopularity? Ditto Bill Shorten who many Northern Tasmanians view as the opportunistic union man who cashed in on the Beaconsfield Gold Mine collapse for national attention.

Christmas time in politics is certainly no fairytale.

  • Mark Baker is Fairfax Tasmania’s managing editor.