Timbers Gain? Lambie is New Kingmaker after Tassie Election

The Rockliff Liberal government will form minority government after yesterday's election with major implications for Australia-wide policy on forestry.

Sun 24 Mar 24


Jacqui Lambie could hold as many as four crucial seats after opposition leader Rebecca White conceded that a Labor-led minority government was “very unlikely.”

The upshot is that Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s Wood Bank will likely proceed, the $715m Macquarie Point stadium is in trouble, and the Lambie-led forces are likely to push the government to back Tasmanian-led manufacturing as part of its “restart manufacturing” suite of policies.

Early election results point to a hung parliament – with the Rockliff-led Liberals hanging on to power despite suffering a 12% to the minor parties – including Lambie’s right-wing Jacqui Lambie Network (a vocal supporter of native forestry).

“Given that the Liberal Party has won more seats and convention dictates that the governor would ask the Premier to form a government, whether in parliament or with the support of the crossbench, that is the likely outcome of this election result,” Ms White told reporters today.

Premier Rockliff supports this view, hailing the result as a “victory” despite Tasmanians sending a clear message to both the Liberals and Labor parties—with an inflated swing to the Jacqui Lambie Network (on the right) and Greens (on the left).

“The Tasmanian people have spoken, and I respect the message we heard last night,” Premier Rockliff said, adding, “We have heard that Tasmanians want a focus on issues regarding cost-of-living, health, and housing. I believe the people also voted for certainty and stability.” 

Premier Rockliff said the government would contact Jacqui Lambie and independents to form a coalition government of conservative-linked parties. 

“I am confident that the new members of the Tasmanian parliament will want the certainty and stability that Tasmanians deserve.”

Whilst the Liberals “leaked” swinging voters to the right, Tasmanian Labor continued to bleed voters on the left to the Greens, continuing a growing trend across Australia (including last week’s local Queensland elections).

Tasmanian Labor, which trails narrowly in the polls, is taking a moderate-right wing policy on native forestry to the March 23, 2024 poll. (Photo Credit: Tasmanian Labor Party)
Tasmanian Labor took a moderate-right wing policy on native forestry to the March 23, 2024 poll. (Photo Credit: Tasmanian Labor Party)

Australian Labor frontbencher Julie Collins said an increase in the Greens and independent votes was “not surprising,” heightening pressure on the Australian Labor Party-controlled Federal Government, along with Queensland (which will go to the polls in October), New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia, to do more to plug the leak.

In August, Wood Central reported that native forestry – supported by the Tasmanian Labor Party and land clearing have become hot-button politics for the government, with the Australian Labor Party’s left-wing pushing for the party to address vote leakage to the Greens.

Last month, Wood Central revealed that native forestry—and more specifically, “fixing” the regional forestry agreements and establishing a new federally funded Environmental Protection Authority (or EPA)—were key elements of the new Nature Positive Act, expected to be released later this year.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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