The Prime Minister and State Director of the Liberal Party in Tasmania have issued rallying cries to party faithful ahead of the next federal election, pledging to win back seats lost to Labor in 2016.
- PM says Liberals are ready to win seats in Tasmania
- Scott Morrison urges faithful to get behind party
- Premier lobbies Treasurer on GST carve-up
The Tasmanian Liberals are holding their annual state council meeting in the waterfront suburb of Bellerive on Hobart’s eastern shore this weekend.
Using a boat analogy, Scott Morrison urged those in the room to contribute to the next federal election campaign.
“Every member of the Liberal Party has to ask themselves one question between now and the next election — what you are doing making our boat go faster?” Mr Morrison said.
He maintained the party was ready to win seats in Tasmania.
“Each and every member of the Liberal Party all around the country, let’s focus on the thing that will make that boat go faster, because our nation needs the Liberal boat to go faster,” he said.
“I tell you what — the boat’s picking up speed. It’s picking up speed and it’s coming for the Labor party.”
Labor currently holds four of the five Lower House seats in Tasmania, while the fifth is held by independent Andrew Wilkie.
The state director of the Tasmanian Liberal Party Sam McQuestin said the seat of Braddon, which was won by Labor in the recent by-election but will see a boundary redistribution for the next federal election, was winnable for the Liberals.
“The Liberal Party in Tasmania is ready to win back Lower House seats,” Mr McQuestin said.
He said the seats of Bass and Lyons, which Labor took in 2016, were “very winnable”.
“But it will not come easily,” Mr McQuestin said.
“The left of politics are desperate and will stop at nothing to deliver Bill Shorten, Labor and the Greens government.
“It is up to the people in this room to stop that from happening.”
About two hours north of Hobart, the National Party was holding its first Tasmanian conference warning it was ready to stand candidates against its Coalition partners.
Tasmanians push for fair GST carve-up
In what appeared to be a reference to the states’ demand for a “no worse off” guarantee around changes to the way GST is distributed, Mr Hodgman told the room Mr Morrison knew he would stand up for Tasmania.
“I know also there are occasions where we will not agree on everything,” Mr Hodgman said.
Mr Hodgman and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had a quiet chat during the council’s morning tea break.
Mr Frydenberg said they discussed GST, but the Treasurer’s stance didn’t appear to have changed.
“We don’t want to run two parallel systems,” Mr Frydenerg said afterwards.
“Essentially, what some of the states are asking for is you run an old set of books and a new set of books. What we want to do is move to a better, fairer, more sustainable GST system.”
When asked if he was feeling the heat from Tasmania on GST, Mr Frydenberg said the Federal Government had a good relationship with the Tasmanian Government.
That’s despite Mr Morrison reportedly calling Tasmania Peter Gutwein a mendicant during GST discussions earlier this year.
Mr Morrison did not mention the GST carve-up in his speech, but later told reporters all states and territories would be better off under the change to the distribution formula.
Migration to benefit smaller states: PM
Mr Morrison also hinted at future changes to migration policy that could benefit states aiming for economic growth, including Tasmania, which has a plan to reach a population of 650,000 by 2050.
“Our migration plans are going to back those states in and we’ll have a lot more to say about that in the weeks and months ahead,” he said.
The state council carried several motions, including calling on the Federal Government to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, and opposing moves to change Australia Day.
The George Town East Tamar branch moved a successful motion to ban political parties and “pressure groups” such as GetUp! from handing out “how to vote” material or setting up political signs at polling booths on federal polling days.