Lambie open to backing Liberal minority in Tasmania

Jeremy Rockliff and Rebecca White campaign in Tas

Source: AAP

Renegade Senator Jacqui Lambie has indicated her party is open to propping up a Liberal government in Tasmania but won’t provide a guaranteed vote in parliament.

The Liberals, under leader Jeremy Rockliff, appear on track to win 15 seats after Saturday’s state election, short of the 18 required to govern in their own right.

Labor, which has claimed 10 seats, on Sunday conceded it wouldn’t be able to form government.

Rockliff, the nation’s only Liberal premier, has reached out to the Jacqui Lambie Network, which has secured two seats and possibly a third, as well as two independents.

Lambie said her successful candidates, which will be known after further counting, would meet Rockliff over Easter.

She said her party would not seek ministerial positions and would push issues including government transparency, health, housing and education.

“We have to form government in some way and if [Labor’s] not going to be in the race, then I guess we have no choice,” Lambie told ABC Radio.

“I’m quite sure Tasmanians do not want to go back to re-election over the next two months, that’s not bringing stability. That’s what we promised Tasmanians.”

Lambie said her party members wanted to see a government with supply and confidence.

“[But] that won’t give them a guarantee that we will be voting on every piece of legislation with them,” she said.

“I think that’s a good thing, it keeps them on their toes.”

Hobart’s proposed $715 million stadium remains a contentious issue. Photo: State Growth Department

Lambie has been critical of the Liberals, particularly their plans for a $715 million Hobart stadium attached to the state’s contract for an AFL team.

“I still cannot come up with a decent reason why it is a priority to have a new stadium with a roof,” she said on Monday.

However, one of her network candidates in the mix for a seat supports the stadium.

The project must be voted through parliament to get the green light.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ferguson said he was hopeful of delivering the party’s election promises and pledged to work constructively.

“The Jacqui Lambie Network new members are saying they want to see stability,” he said.

“No doubt they have other things they want to bring to discussions.”

Rockliff on Sunday conceded the Liberals had taken a “bit of a kick” on the stadium and broadly, with their first-preference vote dropping by 12 per cent.

Rockliff has also reached out to left-leaning independent Kristie Johnston and independent David O’Byrne, who was a decades-long Labor member and one-time leader.

Tasmania went to the polls more than a year early after the Liberals failed to resolve a minority government stand-off with two crossbench former-party independents.

O’Byrne said a new government would need to be mindful of how it negotiated.

“If they want to have a … crash-through approach in this parliament, I can guarantee you they will crash,” he said.

Several seats remain in doubt, with the state’s electoral commission expecting counting to continue until April 6 ahead of a final declaration on April 10.

Labor leader Rebecca White has refused to comment on reports she has been dumped from the role after a third unsuccessful tilt at becoming premier and her party’s 29 per cent vote.

The Greens, who have at least four seats, labelled Labor’s decision to effectively concede as “gifting” the Liberals government.

The state electoral commission is not expecting to add any additional first-preference votes to the tally until Thursday, when some pre-polls will be counted.

Electoral commission staff will take Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday off.

-with AAP

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