The first half of the four-week Tasmanian election campaign has been rather eventful, in terms mostly to the disadvantage of Labor:
• No sooner did Labor dispense with one blow-up through Dean Winter’s belated endorsement in Franklin, than a new one emerged with state party president Ben McGregor’s withdrawal under duress in Clark. McGregor’s offence related to text messages sent to a woman seven years ago which he conceded were “inappropriate”, but nonetheless within the spirit of the “dark humour” of the broader conversation, although their recipient remains rather less sanguine. McGregor claims to be the victim of an act of revenge by the Right over the effort to block Dean Winter, and is threatening to sue Rebecca White for her assertion that he was not “a fit person to stand for a candidate for election for the Tasmanian parliament”.
• Liberal candidate Adam Brooks, who has won his party’s endorsement for a comeback bid in Braddon despite having resigned his seat in parliament in February 2019 following an adverse Integrity Commission finding, has received a summons to appear in court for incorrectly storing ammunition.
• Former Premier Paul Lennon and outgoing upper house independent Ivan Dean have both raised concerns about legal complications arising from the House of Assembly election being held on the same day as the annual periodic Legislative Council elections. The Electoral Act requires that candidates in the latter run their own campaigns with no contributing expenditure by parties, which in Lennon’s view is violated by “every paid generic advertisement” for a party campaign.
• Upon the close of nominations last Wednesday, Labor’s secret fifth candidate in Braddon turned out to be Justine Keay, federal member for Braddon from 2016 to 2019 and (narrow) victor of one of the Super Saturday by-elections of July 2018.