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Your guide to the Tasmanian election

Tasmania, it’s time to get your democracy sausages ready, there’s a state election tomorrow. We’ve broken down what’s going on, what to expect, and what’s a little uncertain down below. 

Some background 

The ‘snap election’ was called on March 26 after current Premier of Tasmania Peter Gutwein lost majority government. How did that happen? The Liberal Party held the majority by one seat, until Sue Hickey quit the Liberal Party and moved over to the crossbench. By Hickey moving, this meant the Liberal Party went from having 13 seats to 12, losing the majority. Premier Gutwein gave reasoning for calling the snap election saying, “I did this at the time because Tasmania can’t afford the uncertainty of the minority government”.  

Who’s running for the major parties? 

  • The Liberal Party 

The incumbent Liberal Government is led by current Premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein. He became leader of the Liberal Party in 2020 after former Premier Will Hodgman announced his resignation.

  • The Labor Party 

Opposition Leader Rebecca White is leading the Labor Party and has been since 2017. Prior to this, she held the roles of Shadow Minister for Health and Human Services, and Opposition Spokesperson for Children.

Polls and the Leaders’ Debate 

Here’s where it gets interesting. Polls were initially suggesting a landslide Liberal win, yet more recent surveys are suggesting a closer race than first anticipated. But as we know, polls have been historically inaccurate when it comes to elections in Australia, so it’s hard to forecast due to the reliability issues. 

There was also a leaders’ debate earlier this week. This is where both Labor and Liberal leaders debate on issues to an audience, who then decide who they would rather vote for. Healthcare, economic management and COVID-19 recovery were among some of the issues spoken about.

The results of that debate saw Opposition Leader Rebecca White the favoured candidate with a 59 percent approval, compared to current Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein who had a 15 percent approval. 26 percent of people remained undecided. This result was a shock to the current Premier, who had seen his popularity rise throughout the pandemic. 

But don’t rely on that too much, White also won a debate against former Premier Will Hodgman back in 2018 — 52 percent to 23 percent, but didn’t win the election. 

Anyway, if you’re from Tasmania, make sure you get out and vote (and enjoy a snag too). 

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