Peter Gutwein’s Liberal government returned in Tasmanian election

Peter Gutwein has been returned as the Premier of Tasmania, leading the Liberal party to a historic third term in government.

The Premier all-but-claimed victory on Saturday night, with the expectation that he will lead a majority government. Labor and The Greens attributed his success to his management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Tasmania, unlike other states in Australia, operates under the Hare-Clark voting system. Five MPs are elected in each of five multi-member electorates – Bass in the north, Braddon in the northwest, the largely rural seat of Lyons, and Franklin and Clark in the south.

Gutwein himself was re-elected in the seat of Bass where he picked up nearly half of the first preference votes.

Whether the party will be able to form a majority government rests on the seat of Clark where there is a three-way race for the final two seats. The showdown sees the Liberals facing off against former Speaker Sue Hickey who was dumped by the party in the lead up to the election, she is standing as an independent. The other contender is the Mayor of Glenorchy, Kristie Johnson who is also an independent candidate.

LGBTIQ+ advocates say they are hopeful of significant reform under the re-elected state Liberal Government, but are sad to see the possible loss of some key allies in Parliament.

Equality Tasmania has highlighted that during the election campaign the Liberal Party said it supports reform of the Coroner’s Act to ensure same-sex couples are treated equally, is open to bans on conversion practices and medically-unnecessary surgeries on intersex children, and will not water down the state’s landmark gender laws.

The Liberal Party also vowed to increase funding for the Government’s LGBTIQ+ community grants program.

Equality Tasmania president, Rodney Croome, said his organisation looked forward to working with the new government.

“We look forward to working closely with the new government to move forward reforms that are critical if LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians are to live free from prejudice and harm.”

“We also hope to convince the Government to increase funding to over-stretched and under-resourced LGBTIQ+ mental health and school inclusion programs.”

Croome paid tribute to three MPs who seem unlikely to be re-elected or whose seats are in doubt including Sue Hickey. Croome said she had been a staunch supporter of the LGBTIQ+ community and played a key role in passing landmark gender reforms.

Equality Tasmania also praised to contributions of Alison Standen who was the state’s only openly-gay MP and a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community in the Labor Party, and Roger Jaensch who has been a supporter of LGBTIQ+ equality for many years and a voice for LGBTIQ+ law reform in the Liberal Party.

“We will be sad to say goodbye to those supporters of equality and inclusion who don’t make it across the line.”

“But we also welcome the first-time election of long-term supporters of LGBTIQ+ equality, including Dean Winter who was an early advocate for marriage equality.” Croome said.

The re-election of the Liberal party follows other states who have backed the incumbent party in recent elections. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was re-elected in October 2020, and Western Australia’s McGowan government saw an unprecedented landslide election result last month.

OIP Staff


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