Labor leader Rebecca White says her party is "looking to the future", after its disastrous start to the state election campaign.
This week has seen Ms White attempt to reassert her authority over the party, successfully urging the ALP's national executive to install Kingborough mayor Dean Winter as Labor's sixth candidate in Franklin, following an internal stoush over a decision by Tasmanian Labor's administrative committee not to preselect him.
However, on Wednesday, tensions again came to the fore when another Franklin Labor candidate, barrister Fabiano Cangelosi, described the party's policies on poker machines and protest laws as "wholly repugnant". Just two hours after Mr Cangelosi's comments began to circulate publicly, the president of the party's state branch, Ben McGregor, resigned as a candidate for Labor in Clark due to two "inappropriate" text messages he'd sent seven years ago.
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In resigning his candidacy, he took an extraordinary swipe at Ms White, who had asked him to stand down after being made aware of the complaint against him. Mr McGregor said he wasn't given an opportunity to defend himself and that party processes had not been followed, adding that Ms White had failed to show leadership in responding to the issue.
For her part, Ms White said the matter that was raised with her was "clearly inappropriate" and so she had taken action immediately.
Speaking in Launceston on Thursday morning, Ms White said she wasn't deterred by factional flare-ups and that her focus was on "delivering the best outcome for the people of Tasmania".
"The party is looking to the future," she said. "That is my focus. It's always been my focus: how can we make Tasmania a better and a fairer place."
"No doubt, there's been a bit of noise over the last few days.
"But that matter has been dealt with and is behind us now."
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who joined Ms White in the North of the state on Thursday, ackowledged that the state Labor campaign had had "some issues", but pointed out that the Liberal Party had experienced its fair share of drama since the election was called, as well.
No doubt, there's been a bit of noise over the last few days. But that matter has been dealt with and is behind us now.Rebecca White, Labor leader
Mr Albanese highlighted the fact that Clark independent candidate and former Liberal MHA Sue Hickey continued to criticise the government she was once a part of, and that ex-Franklin candidate Dean Ewington had stood down after it emerged that he'd attended an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne before being preselected.
"I'll say this about the start of the Labor campaign, Rebecca White has shown that she has the courage and the leadership capacity to lead Tasmania," Mr Albanese said.
"The first thing you have to do is to be able to lead your team and to make tough decisions. Rebecca White has shown that she's been prepared to do that."
Premier Peter Gutwein said Labor's campaign was "in chaos".
"I think anybody can see that," he said. "And, to be frank, the way that they manage themselves through an election period, I think, is a guide to how they would manage if they ended up in government."
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