big leaps forward in the tasmanian state election 

By Rosalie Woodruff, Leader of the Tasmanian Greens 


The Green movement in Australia has been making big leaps forward in recent times, winning more seats at every level of government and across the country. As Tasmanian Greens Leader, I’m excited to say this growth has continued at our recent state election. The Greens’ representation increased from two seats to five!

The 2021 Tasmanian election was called a year early, to capitalise on then-Premier Peter Gutwein’s pandemic popularity. Mr Gutwein left the job a year later. Since then, Jeremy Rockliff has been Premier, leading the nation’s last remaining Liberal government. Last year, two Liberal MPs quit to sit as independents, and the government found itself in minority. Instead of trying to work cooperatively with the Parliament for the rest of the term, the Premier called another snap election – nearly a year and a half before it was due. 

The Greens entered the election campaign with a string of recent examples showing we are effective in creating change.

We passed a Greens’ bill to reform whistleblower laws.

We established and chaired a parliamentary inquiry on the critical issue of ambulance ramping that gave voice to workers and patients. We forced the government to act on key issues from a state-based Royal Commission, and compelled the release of previously secret information about the controversial billion-dollar stadium in Hobart.

Through the period prior to the election, we showed voters that electing Greens means electing people who can deliver outcomes on the big issues facing the state. 

Building on this success, our central theme of the election campaign was that “change is possible”. Like elsewhere across the country, Tasmanian voters are increasingly disillusioned with the Liberal and Labor parties. Many people are also sceptical about our small state’s ability to ever make progress on challenges that seem intractable – like the crises in health, housing and climate change.

We ran a positive, propositional campaign that showed solutions are out there – we just need elected representatives to prioritise the interests of everyday people rather than those of big corporations. We avoided the daily political back-and-forth of election commentating and focussed on our core issues. The positive feedback we got on the ground to this approach was resounding. 

Another major focus was to amplify the voices of the many Tasmanians ignored by Liberal and Labor politicians. During the campaign we were proud to stand with people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity; healthcare staff; campaigners fighting for this island’s unique environment; advocates for LGBTIQA+; people whose family members had died because of hospital system failures; animal advocates; parents struggling with school costs; and many others. We launched key Greens policies standing with the health union, public sector union and nurses’ union. 

Our positive campaign was filled with detailed and big policy ideas for change. We communicated these through unprecedented media coverage, an awesome field campaign, and great advertising supported by generous donors. Pulling all this together at such short notice was a herculean effort, made possible through the ideas and hard work of many. The federal Greens’ team played a huge role – helping with research and message testing, ad production and placement, fundraising, IT and web assistance, strategic support and more. We deeply appreciate the generosity, goodwill, and expertise of everyone who contributed. 

Our candidates were fantastic, working tirelessly in their communities towards our election goals. Our state MPs’ staff played an enormous role in preparing us for the likelihood of a snap election, generating the materials, policies, and communication material we needed. Party staff and volunteers put their hearts and souls into creating a successful campaign. Collectively we made this election a historic one for the Greens. 

It was an intense campaign, and both Labor and the Liberals resorted to some desperate tactics. We were confident about the campaign we’d run, but there were so many unknowns. Ultimately, we were rewarded – and delighted – to win new seats in our two priority areas for growth (Bass and Lyons), as well as achieving a stretch goal with an historic two Greens elected in Clark and recording strong growth in our vote in Braddon.

More broadly, the election has resulted in the Liberals forming government for a fourth consecutive term – albeit in a significantly weakened minority position (just 14 of 35 seats). Labor won just 10 seats – fewer than the 11 MPs who now sit on the crossbench.

Although Labor decided they would prefer the Liberals to retain power than work with the Greens and other crossbenchers to form government, we remain optimistic about the possibilities in this Parliamentary term having achieved a strong position to negotiate from. We will be working hard to engage with the community, represent everyday people, put forward legislation, hold the government accountable, and achieve real outcomes for Tasmania. 

Change is possible, and we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.