Jeremy Rockliff and Rebecca White
Jeremy Rockliff and Rebecca White are unlikely to win enough votes to govern outright in Tasmania. Image by Chris Kidd/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Leaders trade barbs on eve of knife-edge state election

Ethan James March 22, 2024

Tasmania’s Liberal and Labor leaders will make their last pitches to voters a day before an election which appears set to deliver a hung parliament. 

Australia’s only Liberal government, led by Jeremy Rockliff, is aiming for a record fourth straight term at Saturday’s poll while Labor is chasing power after a decade in opposition. 

Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Labor leader Rebecca White have traded barbs over financial management in the dying stages of the campaign. 

Forecasts point to budget deficits over the forward estimates and net debt growing to $6.1 billion in four years’ time. 

Ms White said her focus would be on spruiking her party’s promises to help with cost-of-living struggles, including free school lunches and a cap on power prices.  

Parliament House in Tasmania
 Tasmania’s lower house will be restored from 25 to 35 members at the election. Image by Loic Le Guilly/AAP PHOTOS 

“I’ll be talking to as many people as I possible can about our plan,” she said on Thursday. 

Mr Rockliff is set to spend Friday in the state’s north where the Liberals hope to pick up additional seats. 

Tasmania’s lower house is being restored from 25 to 35 members, with each of the five seats to elect seven members. 

Opinion polls suggest voters will deliver a hung parliament, with the Liberals securing more seats than Labor but not the 18 required for majority government. 

Mr Rockliff and Ms White have said they’re prepared to govern in minority but won’t do “deals” or compromise on policy positions to get there.

The Liberals, who spent the best part of a year in minority before calling an early poll, have 11 incumbent MPs while Labor has eight.

The Greens, who hold two seats, Jacqui Lambie Network candidates and a host of independents are in the mix to hold cross bench positions.