Two state elections have produced two different results, with Tasmania following the script and dumping Labor while South Australia is undecided.
Labor has crashed out of government in Tasmania, but in an unexpected outcome, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has led the ALP to yet another election cliffhanger in that state.
It had been widely expected both states would toss out long-term Labor governments at Saturday’s elections, leaving the ALP in power in only one jurisdiction – the ACT.
But South Australian Liberal leader Steven Marshall will have to wait to see if he has ended 12 years of Labor rule after a late surge in support for Mr Weatherill and the Labor party.
At the close of counting on Saturday Labor looked set to win 23 seats and the Liberals 21, with two being retained by independents and one remaining in doubt. It’s the third time out of the past four South Australian elections the result has been unclear.
Mr Marshall said it was disappointing the party was not in a position to form government on Saturday, but he had not given up.
“We’re still in the hunt to form government. There is no doubt about it,” Mr Marshall told supporters.
He said the party was prepared to negotiate with two independents – Bob Such and Geoff Brock – to form a minority government, as is Mr Weatherill.
“Obviously I’ll be back to speak to you to conclude what has been the unfinished business of tonight,” Mr Weatherill said.
“I hope that we’ll be saying that we are governing once again in South Australia.”
In Tasmania, Liberal leader Will Hodgman became the state’s 45th premier, ending 16 years of Labor-led governments with a decisive win. The Liberal party won 14 of the 25 seats.
“We’re very confident we can give Tasmania a brighter future and a strong stable majority government that this state needs to unlock the potential of Tasmania, that we are no longer seen as second rate or second best,” he said in his victory speech.
Voters in Tasmania seemed determined to see a change in government, punishing not only Labor but the Greens which until recently shared government.
Labor so far has won only five seats, while the Greens are down to two.
Greens leader Nick McKim, who last week suggested the Greens may be the opposition, conceded the party had had a “tough day” but vowed to keep up the fight.
“While we have a Liberal government in Canberra and a Liberal government here in Tasmania, the Greens will be there to hold those governments to account,” he said.
Ms Giddings, in a long concession speech, praised her Labor predecessors – Jim Bacon, Paul Lennon and David Bartlett.
“Most of all I am proud of our 16 years in government in Tasmania,” she said.