14 February 2024

Tasmania off to an early election after Rockliff fails to reel in Tucker and Alexander

| Andrew McLaughlin
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TAS Premier Jeremy Rockliff

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has asked the Governor to call an election in an effort to regain majority government. Photo: Jeremy Rockliff Facebook.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has recommended to the State Governor that he call an early election after the Premier failed to bring rebel MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander back into the government fold.

Both MPs were elected as Liberal MPs, but they quit the party last May and elected to sit on the cross benches over concerns about the controversial $715 million AFL stadium proposal at Hobart’s Macquarie Point.

Their move put the Rockliff Government into minority but, despite the rebel MPs signing an agreement they would guarantee confidence and supply, the Premier says he feels they have not honoured that agreement.

This has been borne out by Mr Tucker threatening to “bring the government down” if it didn’t support mandatory CCTV in abattoirs and call a halt to a planned AFL high-performance training centre in the state until the Macquarie Point stadium plan passes parliament.

“If the two issues are not fixed, I will be moving a motion of no confidence in the government to bring the government down,” Mr Tucker said on 4 January.

In a social media post on 2 February the Premier wrote: “It has become clear that independent MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander are no longer honouring the agreement they signed last year.

“This cannot go on. I’ve written to Mr Tucker and Mrs Alexander proposing a more stable agreement for the year ahead.

“Tasmanians deserve stability and certainty and it’s what I intend to deliver.”

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Despite an election not being due until May 2025, Mr Rockliff had threatened to go to the polls early unless Mr Tucker and Ms Alexander signed an updated agreement guaranteeing confidence and supply to the government, but he was unable to get an agreement in place.

In a 13 February letter to Mr Tucker, Mr Rockliff said he had noted Mr Tucker’s threat to move a no-confidence motion again the government when parliament returns on 5 March.

“In that context, noting your rejection of my proposal for a more stable arrangement, and having further considered the matter and consulted with my colleagues, I have decided that I have no alternative than to request the Governor to call an election so that Tasmanians can have their say.”

In a social media post later that day, Mr Rockliff wrote: “This afternoon I met with my team to discuss the failure of former Liberal MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander to commit to a new, enduring agreement.

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“It was unanimously agreed that in the light of this, it was appropriate for me to request the Governor to call a general election.

“So that’s what I’ll be doing,” he said. “The only way to restore the stability and certainty Tasmanians need is to re-elect a majority Liberal Government.”

The election will reportedly be called for 23 March.

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