Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff calls snap election for March 23

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Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has called a snap election for March 23, saying his Liberal government was being held to “ransom” by crossbenchers and minority government was bad for the state.

“I am not going to allow myself and my government to be held to ransom for the next 12 months, it is bad to Tasmania and is bad for Tasmanians,” he said on Wednesday.

“I’ve taken the decision to call an election so that Tasmanians can have their say.”

Tasmania’s Liberal Party secured a 13-seat majority government at the 2021 election but it was thrown into minority status in May 2023 when two MPs – John Tucker and Lara Alexander – quit the party to sit on the cross benches.

“The Liberal position is clear and consistent. We know majority government is the best thing for the state,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Minority government is destabilising, it destroys confidence and it is bad for our state and it is bad for Tasmanians.”

Mr Tucker and Ms Alexander had an agreement with Mr Rockliff to guarantee his government supply and confidence.

But the Premier wanted a tighter agreement after the pair supported opposition motions and criticised his government, including sending minister Guy Barnett to the privileges committee.

On Tuesday, Mr Rockliff said the “failure” of Mr Tucker and Ms Alexander to commit to a “new, enduring confidence and supply agreement” necessitated an election to break the tension.

“The parliamentary Liberal Party this afternoon met to discuss the failure of former Liberal MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander to commit to a new, enduring confidence and supply agreement,” he said.

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

“The only way to restore the stability and certainty Tasmanians need is to re-elect a majority Liberal government.”

Mr Tucker demanded the government introduce mandatory CCTV in abattoirs and end its support for the controversial AFL stadium for Hobart.

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

“They will not have my support, they will not have my supply and confidence.”

The Liberals have held power in Tasmania since 2014, the only state or federal Liberal government at the moment.

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