Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKin is still unclear on whether he plans to back Labor or the Liberals following a state election which has given his party a clear balance of power in the state.
Will Hodgman’s Liberals won the most votes, but the outcome of Saturday’s poll is an expected 10-10-5 split of Liberal, Labor and Greens in the 25-member assembly.
Tasmania’s new political dynamics will be tested next month when the nation’s leaders meet to discuss the federal government’s planned hospital funding takeover.
But the tight results mean that it’s unclear whether Hodgman or Bartlett will be heading to the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) meeting next month.
Meanwhile, South Australia finds itself in a similar position.
Labor Premier Mike Rann is expected to retain power but was last night saying it would be presumptous to claim victory after his party suffered an eight per cent swing in the state.
And the uncertainty over the make up of the meeting has some speculating that Prime Minister Rudd may have pushed the meeting back to April 19 because of the uncertainty, although a spokesman for the PM yesterday said that clashing timetables were the reason.
Potential weeks of delay have McKim undecided
In Tasmania, two state seats remain in doubt, and it could take weeks before they are decided.
On Sunday, Greens leader Nick McKim didn’t have a plan in mind about what role his party might have in trying to influence which of the two major party leaders attends COAG.
Mr McKim was asked by a reporter in Hobart whether he would seek to talk to whoever is the new premier before COAG and have the Greens’ interests represented at the meeting.
“That depends on what happens over the next few days and next couple of weeks and I’m not in position to predict that at the moment,” he replied.
Mr McKim was specific about the Greens’ concerns over Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s plan.
“We need to see more detail around whether there will be job losses in the public sector, particularly amongst health workers…,” he said.
Greens could gain one more seat
The Greens are still in the race to gain one more seat, that of Denison in Hobart, which would take them from four to six seats, assuming they hold on to their likely gain in the northwest seat of Braddon.
The man many expect to become Tasmania’s next premier, Liberal leader Will Hodgman, says he’ll act in the state’s best interest on the federal government’s planned funding takeover of hospitals.
Issues such as reduced GST revenues and the prospect of hospital closures in regional and rural centres were chief among his concerns about the plan.
“These things are very important here in Tasmania,” he told reporters in Hobart on Sunday.
Bartlett supports takeover
David Bartlett supports the takeover and had hitched most of Labor’s central health policy platform to it in his election campaign.
The incumbent premier said it would be days before he knew whether he had lost office.
“Anything can happen in a couple of electorates, for those fifth seats, and we’ll wait patiently,” he told reporters in Hobart.
On Saturday night, Mr Hodgman laid claim to being the premier of the state’s hung parliament after Labor suffered a general 12 per cent swing against it on Saturday’s.
The Liberals have polled more votes overall than Labor and in the event of a tie, it has been agreed he would become premier.