Tasmanian Liberal leader Peter Gutwein has claimed victory in today’s state election, and is confident of commanding a parliamentary majority.
Counting in the Hobart-dominated seat of Clark will determine whether the government will be returned with a majority of seats in the Tasmanian House of Assembly.
Mr Green’s projections show the Liberals on 12 seats, Labor with seven and two for the Greens, with four seats undecided.
He expected Labor to win nine seats, with the election result set to come down to the last two seats in Clark.
Independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey, and Liberals’ Madeleine Ogilvie and Simon Behrakis are all jockeying for the fourth and fifth seats in Clark, with a victory to either Ms Ogilvie or Mr Behrakis enough to secure a Liberal majority.
“While we have won this election convincingly, it appears increasingly likely that we will also govern in majority,” Mr Gutwein told supporters in the tally room.
“Whilst obviously there’s some counting to be done, it would be an absolute honour and a privilege to be given that opportunity by the Tasmanian people,” he said.
Mr Gutwein said the Government “must now build on” the success of Tasmania’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying making decisions during it were “among the hardest things I’ve had to do”.
“I have never been more positive about our state’s future than I am right now,” he said.
“And I have never been more certain that our state’s best days are still in front of us.”
Mr Gutwein also made reference to Tasmanians’ concerns about the under-pressure health system.
“[It’s time] to build a health system that Tasmanians can be proud of and I can assure Tasmanians that health will be better”.
Flanked by his wife Amanda and children Millie and Finn, Mr Gutwein received rapturous applause from Liberal Party supporters during his speech.
He promised to govern for all Tasmanians “regardless of who you are, regardless of where you live, regardless of your circumstance or background.”
“And once the count is completed we will get straight back to work and ensure that together we secure Tasmania’s future,” he said.
Labor ‘fallen short’
Earlier, Labor Leader Rebecca White conceded the election and said it was “clear tonight that we have fallen short of our goal to win majority government.”
“A short time ago, I rang Peter Gutwein to congratulate him on his re-election and his impressive personal result,” Ms White said.
“All around the country we’ve seen incumbents rewarded for their management of COVID-19 and there is no doubt that Peter Gutwein and our public health officials kept our community safe and tonight’s result reflects that.”
Ms White said the result was a strong result for the Liberal Party and Mr Gutwein’s leadership, but said it was important the Liberals listened to the issues raised during the campaign.
“I hope this campaign has been a wake-up call for the Liberals that Tasmanians will not tolerate business as usual from the Liberal government,” she said.
“Tasmanians will not tolerate surgery waiting lists that are the worst in the country, they will not tolerate ambulance response times that are the slowest in the country, and they will not tolerate Tasmanians dying in the emergency department because they can’t access the health care that they need.”
Ms White promised to keep fighting to “make Tasmania a better and a fairer place” and said she was proud of the campaign her party had run.
She did not say whether she would stay on as leader during her concession speech.
Popular mayor claims seat
There’s one confirmed fresh face in Tasmania’s House of Assembly, with the possibility of five being elected.
Dean Winter is Labor’s new MP in Franklin, with the Kingborough Mayor being elected as the party’s second member in the seat at the expense of first-term Labor MP Alison Standen.
In Braddon, former mining minister Adam Brooks is locked in a battle with Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch for the party’s third seat in the electorate.
Former Launceston Mayor Janie Finlay is poised to become a Labor MP in the northern seat of Bass, replacing Indigenous MP Jennifer Houston.
The other two potential new MPs are Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston and Hobart City Council alderman Simon Behrakis, who are battling Liberal-turned-Independent Sue Hickey and Independent-turned-Liberal Madeleine Ogilvie for the final two seats in Clark.
Greens increase vote
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said there had been a “solid swing” to the Greens right across Tasmania, with the party set to retain its two seats in the southern seats of Franklin and Clark.
Ms O’Connor railed against both the major parties and said it was a “shameful indictment” on them that they were the only party which took a comprehensive climate change plan to the election.
She congratulated Mr Gutwein on his huge personal vote, but said he could not yet be sure that his decision to go to an early election would pay off.
“I hope you find a way to make it work for our island and its people,” she said.
Ms O’Connor also paid credit to Ms White.
I really admire your guts. Congratulations for giving it a red hot go and for gaining momentum in the last couple of weeks,” she said.
” I hope you and your precious little baby get a well-deserved rest in the weeks ahead.”
Close result in Upper House poll
On the same day as the state election, Tasmanians also voted in two Upper House elections.
Labor MLC Craig Farrell has retained his seat of Derwent, while Mr Green says the northern seat of Windermere remains too close to call.
Liberal candidate Nick Duigan was in front of Labor candidate and former federal MP Geoff Lyons after first preferences, but the result remains in doubt.
Source: Thanks msn.com