Australia’s island state Tasmania headed for minority government after poll

By Thomson Reuters Mar 23, 2024 | 7:48 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s southern island state of Tasmania appeared to be headed for a minority government on Sunday as vote counting continued after a lack of a clear winner from an election on Saturday.

The conservative Liberal government, led by Premier Jeremy Rockliff, was on track to win the most seats in the new parliament but would likely fall short of a majority, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

The election was sparked after defections from Rockliff’s party plunged the only Liberal government in power in Australia’s six states and two self-governing territories into minority.

Rockliff late on Saturday said the result appeared to be a Liberal victory, but opposition centre-left Labor leader Rebecca White said the outcome remained unclear.

It would likely be a “long few weeks until we know the exact makeup of the next parliament”, White said.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Sunday that the Liberals had suffered a 12% swing against them in the poll. He said the federal Labor government would work with “whoever forms government in Tasmania”.

Tasmania is a one-hour flight or 10-hour ferry crossing from the mainland city of Melbourne, 445 km (275 miles) away. Forty percent of the island is wilderness or protected areas.

It is the only Australian state that uses proportional representation to elect its lower house and has a long history of minority governments.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; editing by Jonathan Oatis)