Liberals Returned in Tasmania
The Liberal Party, led by Will Hodgman, has been returned in Tasmania with a minimal swing against them of 0.8%.
This was a tribute to the economic management of the Hodgman government and the popularity of the Premier.
The Liberals have won thirteen seats, enough to govern in their own right.
Labor have won eight, possibly nine seats and the Greens have scored one seat and may hold two.
Mr Hodgman is only the second Liberal in Tasmania to win consecutive elections with a majority.
In his victory speech he said it was a privilege to be the premier of Tasmania.
“Four years ago they [Tasmanians] voted for change, tonight they have voted for no change,” he said in the Hobart tally room.
“[They voted] to stick to the direction this state is heading in and take our state to the next level.”
In her concession speech Labor leader, Rebecca White, refused to agree that the Hodgman government had had a legitimate win.
She and Greens leader Cassy O’Connor both accused the Liberals of having bought themselves a win using poker machine money.
Polling shows that, while the Tasmanian public supports the removal of poker machines from pubs, they don’t see it as a first order issue.
It’s clear that the deluge of advertising in support of poker machines only followed Labor’s announcement that they would phase out the machines from pubs and clubs.
As Phil Coorey said on the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ programme yesterday morning, Labor “shouldn’t have poked the sleeping bear.”
Labor leader Rebecca White adopted the Bill Shorten approach to an election loss, which is to do everything short of claiming victory even though you haven’t won enough seats to govern.
“Today, the Tasmanian people have put this Liberal government on notice,” she said.
“We have had a swing statewide back to the Labor party this election.”
Ms White did not congratulate Mr Hodgman in her speech and accused the Liberals of buying seats with an expensive campaign targeting Labor’s anti-pokies stance.
“The Tasmanian people should be represented by the best representatives, not the richest.”
She was not the only one to make accusations about how the Liberals won their majority.
Cassy O’Connor, the Greens’ leader, was even more strident.
“Yep, it’s been a difficult campaign for us,” Ms O’Connor said.
“We were significantly outspent by the Labor Party and massively outspent by the Liberals.”
She accused the Liberals of accepting millions of dollars from interstate and local pro-pokies groups, as the issue divided Tasmanians leading up to election day.
Mr Hodgman’s gracious speech on election night hit just the right note.
He offered his best wishes to Ms White and Ms O’Connor and said he was looking forward to working with them to make Tasmania the best it could be.
The gravitas of the Premier’s speech will have reinforced the perception on the part of the electors that they made the right choice.
Image Source - Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC