The Liberals are now almost certain to take power in Tasmania after Premier David Bartlett conceded power in the state, admitting that the ALP was ‘given a kick in the pants’.
Mr Bartlett made the announcement after emerging from a party caucus meeting in Hobart, paving the way for Liberal leader Will Hodgman to take the reins of power.
Bartlett’s next move involves going to the Governor to tell him he does not have the confidence of his parliamentary colleagues – although Greens leader Nick McKim today said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
Bartlett said he would still like to be Premier, but said it would be ‘impossible and dishonest’ of him to go to the Governor and say he believed he enjoyed support in the assembly.
Mr Bartlett said he will stick to his commitment to the Tasmanian people to step aside ‘100 per cent.’
“I will not be moving from those commitments,” he said.
Onus on Governor
The onus is now on the Governor to accept Bartlett’s advice – but the Greens have hit out at Bartlett. Leader Nick McKim told Sky News that “if the Governor accepts Bartlet”s advice….we will have a Liberal minority government propped up by the Labor party” – meaning Labor will be responsible for whatever Hodgman’s government does, he says.
Bartlett said he takes the job as Premier very seriously, and in reference to the no-confidence motion against him last November, he said nothing had changed in the eyes of his political opponents.
Mr Bartlett said he still has the unanimous support of his party – but in a twist to the tale, McKim told Sky News it was not necessarily true that Bartlett doesn’t have the support of the Greens, adding it was a ‘spurious’ attempt by Bartlett to blame Liberal Leader Will Hodgman and himself.
Hung parliament gives Greens some edge
This coming Wednesday, Mr Bartlett said he ‘couldn’t advise the governor’ to keep him as Premier, admitting that he would not enjoy popular support.
Asked whether he would support a minority Liberal government, Bartlett laughed and dodged the question, saying he wouldn’t quit serving Tasmanian families.
The ALP and Liberal Party both have ten seats in the Tasmanian parliament, with the Greens holding five more seats.
The Labor leader had ruled out a formal power-sharing deal with the Greens before the state election, which was held on March 20.
The Greens had had a formal agreement with Labor in the 1980s, but it had ended acrimoniously.