Opposition leader Rebecca White says the ALP is focused on winning majority government. (ABC News: Georgie Burgess)
The Tasmanian Labor Party has set its sights squarely on the next state election.
Labor’s team of candidates was unveiled by Opposition Leader Rebecca White at the party’s conference in George Town, with Ms White declaring the ALP was “ready to take back government”.
The party is running six candidates in Braddon, Lyons and Denison, but has not finalised its full Franklin ticket.
Burnie Mayor Anita Dow will resign from her position to run for Labor, as the party attempts to claw back seats in Braddon after a historical loss at the last state election.
Ms Dow said she believed the party could win three seats in Braddon, where newcomer Shane Broad is the only Labor representative.
“Traditionally we’ve held three seats in Braddon so I’d say bring it on,” Ms Dow said.
“I’ve grown up with Labor values all my life, I’ve been a member of the party for some time now.”
ALP candidates Tim Cox and Anita Dow are two of the party’s newest recruits. (ABC News: Georgie Burgess)
Broadcaster Tim Cox was also officially announced as a candidate for Denison.
“It’s time we stopped thinking about Tasmania in such a regional sense and work together; a state of half a million people can’t afford to be factional,” Mr Cox said.
Mr Cox said he had been considering running for parliament over the past year, and joined the Labor Party three months ago.
He said he was not running in a move to unseat Madeleine Ogilvie, who is a member of the right faction and is now at risk of losing her seat.
“I’m not interested in factions, I’m not interested in the politicking, I’m interested in representing,” Mr Cox said.
No minority deals
Polling has indicated the Greens could again hold the balance of power at the next election, which is due in March but could be called at any time.
Ms White reiterated her position Labor would not do any “minority deals” in the event of a hung parliament.
“The Labor Party won’t be doing any deals with any minor party to form government,” Ms White said.
“Our ambition and our focus is purely on winning majority Labor government.
“We know that people had huge concerns about the arrangement we had with the Greens last government, we’ve learnt from that, and my commitment to the Tasmanian people is that a vote for Labor is a vote for Labor.”
After the 2010 power-sharing agreement with the Greens, Labor members later passed a motion requiring the party membership to sign off on any similar arrangement.
But Government Minister Michael Ferguson said a hung parliament was a “real possibility”.
“We are the only party that can offer a majority, Rebecca White can only offer a minority deal with the Greens,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We have ruled out doing deals in the past, we have made decisions in the past to not do deals.”
School dress code rejected
Ms White also ruled out a draft policy enforcing a “modest dress code” on school girls becoming official party policy.
“The Labor Party is a party committed to gender equality, that particular motion has no place in a Labor Party platform,” she said.
She said she was confident it would be voted down by rank and file members.
“Anyone with an affiliation can put forward motions at the Labor conference, it does not mean they are policies the party endorses,” she said.
Shorten’s gibes target Abetz
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used his address to take a swipe at the Tasmanian Liberal senators, and to talk up his plans to reverse cuts to penalty rates.
Mr Shorten was greeted with a standing ovation, as members celebrated the one-year anniversary of four out of five of the state’s federal seats turning red.
“It’s fair to say the Tasmanian federal Liberals have suffered the same fate as the Tasmanian tiger,” he said.
“And speaking of unusual creatures hiding in the wilderness, I see Senator Eric Abetz is still leading the federal Tassie Liberals.
“He’s still trying to warn people about the outbreak of the 21st century.”