Tasmania’s returned Premier has left the way open for a power-sharing deal with the Greens.
The Governor, Peter Underwood, ended a dramatic chapter in Tasmanian politics yesterday when he told the caretaker Premier, David Bartlett, he had an obligation to test the strength of his government on the floor of the house.
The Greens announced yesterday they would not initiate or support no-confidence motions against a minority Labor Government in a new Parliament, unless a new deal was negotiated by Labor or the Liberals.
The Governor then asked Mr Bartlett to test support on the floor of the next Parliament, dashing the Liberal’s expectations of minority Government.
The Premier-in-waiting says his mission is to restore trust in Tasmania’s political system.
“I intend to make the government work in the interests of all Tasmanians for the next four years,” he said.
Mr Bartlett has not ruled out a ministerial post for the Greens in a new cabinet but he said this morning he would be taking a “step-by-step” approach to achieve a stable parliament.
He believes Greens leader Nick McKim is also committed to making the new parliament work.
Mr McKim says part of the reason he decided to back Labor was because Greens voters favoured Labor in preferences.
He told ABC2′s News Breakfast his party backed Labor in the interests of stability and the fact they were the incumbent Government, but also because of Greens voters.
“There are various democratic ways you can assess the electoral intent of Tasmanian voters including if you want to have a look at preference flows from Greens voters,” he said.
“Significantly more, although less than normal, but significantly more Greens voters still preferenced Labor over Liberal in the last election.”
Mr McKim has welcomed an apparent new direction from Mr Bartlett.
Mr Bartlett has said his new Labor government needed to move away from the old way of doing things.
Mr McKim says that is what people voted for.
“I was encouraged to hear him say that we need to move away from some of the old paradigms because I think that’s an accurate reflection of the way the Tasmanian voted,” he said.
“The Tasmanian people chose, quite deliberatley, to elect a parliament with no one party in absolute power and I have absolute confidence that this parliament can work.”
No confidence move
Liberal Leader Will Hodgman has already flagged a no-confidence motion against Labor but the Greens will not support it.
He has accused the Greens of being dishonourable by pledging their support for a minority Labor Goverment.
“In their lust for power they’ve sold out to the Labor Party. [They were] soundly beaten at the election and have offered unconditional support,” he said.
“So when I said a vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor I was right.”
Mr McKim has urged Mr Hodgman to cooperate.
“He needs to put that disappointment behind him and not be a destabiliser or wrecker in the new parliament,” he said.
Labor and the Liberals hold 10 seats each in the new parliament and the Greens five.