Early election could be a challenge for Liberals

Early election could be a challenge for Liberals

It's the election that the Liberals don't really want and up until today, Labor didn't seem to want it either.

The safeguarding of children is necessary in order to ensure their protection, the health system appears to be unable to ensure care is always available, and the AFL's demands for a football stadium in Hobart could be an insurmountable challenge.

The Liberals have lost the lower house majority in May, have had to raise inexperienced backbenchers into key positions, and now face the prospect of an aggrieved former attorney-general wielding the balance of power.

The federal party's leadership is still under administration in Tasmania after a disastrous 2021 election, followed by the immediate loss of its new leader who moved to the crossbench.

Archer's election comes down to his decision.

The most imminent path to an early election would be if former Attorney-General Elise Archer remains in parliament as an independent and doesn't guarantee supply or confidence.

This would leave the government with nine members and the speaker in a 25-seat lower house, with an unworkable crossbench.

The next planned election in 2025 is a political eternity away - and will present a new dynamic for the next government.

New faces, independents could benefit in expanded lower house.

The lower house in Tasmania is expected to grow to 35 members. This means seven MPs in five electorates, under the Hare-Clark system.

Both Labor and the Liberals had varying levels of pre-election drama in 2021, but finding even more candidates without troubled pasts - at shorter notice - could prove another headache.

In August, EMRS polling had the Liberals on 38 per cent first preferences, Labor on 32 and the Greens on 14 which would most likely result in a hung parliament.

In the extended lower house, more independents will be elected, with Jacqui Lambie, who enjoys broad popular support in Tasmania, promising to run candidates across the board.

The new government may also have to negotiate with other independents such as Craig Garland and Sue Hickey.

On Friday, Labor's Dean Winter, who was at the centre of the party's pre-election issues last time round, said an early election would be in nobody's best interests.

It's pretty clear that if you want to see an early election, that's pretty clear. And it's up to the government to be stable, he said, adding: ''It's up to the government to be stable.

But on Monday, leader Rebecca White went in the other direction.

Since former Prime Minister Peter Gutwein locked Tasmania into requiring a new stadium for an AFL team, and Premier Jeremy Rockliff offered Macquarie Point as the site, the issue has been set to dominate the next election no matter when it's held.

Labor has argued that the stadium is not the right priority, but repeatedly stops short of saying it would kill it off completely.

However, the party is likely to allow the stadium to be assessed by the state's planning commission, and if it's proven to be unworkable at that stage, Labor can't be blamed for 'killing the dream'.

The vote to reach the planning commission stage was expected to happen this month, but if parliament is delayed, it would be another delay in the stadium's increasingly tight schedule.

There's been no accurate polling of the stadium, but even with a growing supporter base on social media, it could be a tough sell for the Liberals.

Its $750 million price tag seems overly optimistic in a state facing growing fiscal problems, particularly when the need to add 20-metre piles for stability was recently described as 'contingency'.

To tackle electoral challenges across the board, Liberals must be able to work together to tackle the challenges they face.

The loss of Ms Archer in Clark could present a new electoral problem for the Liberals.

She received 9402 votes in 2021 - more than double the next Liberal, Madeleine Ogilvie - and enjoys strong local support despite the Hobart-based electorate's increasingly progressive shift.

There would be a voter crossover with Ms Archer's likely Liberal replacement Simon Behrakis, unless Ms Archer's supporters now share her grievances with the party and take their votes elsewhere.

Greens have spoken about their push for two seats in Clark, while Labor could try to appeal to anti-stadium sentiment to secure additional seats as well.

Peter Gutwein's electoral popularity in Bass has already lost, where he helped to secure three of the five seats.

A Hobart-based stadium promise could be a problem for the party in the seat that covers Launceston, even with its own stadium upgrades.

But the party faces obstacles in the north-west, which has skewed further conservative in recent elections.

Jacqui Lambie's main supporter is, however, found in London, where they are based.

As for everyday Tasmanians, it could come down to who is best placed to deliver improved health, housing and child safety reforms.

There are 4,617 applications on the state's housing register, an average of 81 weeks - a figure that has consistently grown.

The hospitals of the Royal Hobart and Launceston frequently encounter significant demand, resulting in excessive ramping and long waiting times.

A new parliament with a new dynamic - and a beefed up crossbench - could bring fresh perspective to the state's structural challenges.