Rebecca White flags fight for Labor leader job, with message for Gutwein on Ogilvie

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Rebecca White has announced she intends to hold on to the party leadership despite leading Labor through two unsuccessful election campaigns. (ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Labor Leader Rebecca White will try to persuade her parliamentary colleagues to keep her in the party’s top job, despite leading them to consecutive election losses in Tasmania.

Speaking for the first time since Labor failed to snatch power from the Liberals at Saturday’s state election, Ms White said she was still the best person to lead the party.

“The fire still burns within me. I feel like there’s unfinished business, because I can see the things that still need to happen in our state, the struggles in our health system, the problems in housing, the challenges for people finding secure work,” Ms White told ABC Hobart.

She said she was “very seriously considering” fending off challenges to the job she “loves”.

“I’d certainly like to. I’d really like to because I really enjoy this job, and I think that there’s unfinished business, and I see that I can still contribute so much.”

The Labor caucus won’t vote on who leads the party until it is certain which Labor candidates have been elected.

With , the vote will likely happen after preferences are distributed on Tuesday and final election results are determined.

Internal conflict a ‘turn off’

Following standard party practice, Tasmanian Labor will appoint three party members — two likely from out of state — to review the party’s campaign and diagnose what led to the loss.

Ms White says the review will consider the administrative committee that oversaw candidate preselection, but probably won’t address the factional infighting that plagued the first weeks of the campaign.

“It’s frustrating, because I know that what Tasmanians care about isn’t that. They couldn’t care less when we’re talking about ourselves, it turns them off,” Ms White said.

“There’s no doubt the first couple of weeks of the campaign were pretty rocky.”

Labor’s top Franklin vote-getter, Kingborough Mayor by the left faction-dominated administrative committee.

He was only given the nod after public chastisement by former Labor premiers Paul Lennon and David Bartlett, and the right-aligned Australian Workers Union appealed for intervention by the party’s federal wing.

Clark candidate and state branch president early in the campaign after conceding he’d sent several inappropriate text messages nearly a decade ago.

Ogilvie ‘more difficult’ than Hickey

Ms White issued a warning to Peter Gutwein about his potential new colleague, Liberal candidate Madeleine Ogilvie, who has a strong chance of being elected in Clark.

Ms Ogilvie was a Labor party MP when she lost her seat in Clark at the 2018 state election, and on a recount after Scott Bacon, former shadow treasurer, retired.

She contested the latest election as a Liberal.

“Having worked with Madeleine I think that Peter Gutwein’s got his hands full there, if she’s going to be a member of his team,” Ms White said.

“If he thinks that dealing with Sue Hickey was difficult, I think that he probably needs to prepare himself for the next four years.”

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