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Tasmania demonstrates minority government -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: With all this talk of how a hung Parliament will work federally, on a state
level, the residents of Tasmania have now had about four months to get used to it.

Their election earlier this year failed to deliver anyone an outright majority and so Labor formed
a minority government with the support of the Greens, even including two Greens MPs in the Cabinet.

The state's Premier David Bartlett believes the situation's working well, although the Tasmanian
Opposition claims the Government's scared of making decisions for fear of triggering a split.

To discuss the Tasmanian situation and federal issues, I was joined a short time ago from Hobart by
the Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett.

Premier Bartlett, thank you very much for joining us.

DAVID BARTLETT, TASMANIAM PREMIER: Good to be with you, Leigh.

LEIGH SALES: Before the Tasmanian election this year, you were asked about the possibility of a
minority government and you said, "A deal with the Greens is a deal with the devil and I'm not
going to sell my soul for the sake of remaining in power." Of course, you did do a deal with the
Greens to form a minority government. Has it required you to sell your soul?

DAVID BARTLETT: Look, absolutely not. The facts of the matter are that politicians from all sides
in all places do want to run fear companies about hung parliaments, about minority governments.

But the truth is - and my conclusion after the last four months of stable and certain minority
government is that there is nothing to be afraid of here.

That in fact stable minority governments can deliver real certainty. In our case, has delivered
real certainty to the Tasmanian people, has in fact delivered 1,200 extra jobs since the election
and has delivered a strong economy and has delivered real certainty within the Parliament.

There's nothing to be afraid of as long as the parties around the table, the people in the
Parliament, the individuals in the Parliament have a genuine desire to make it work in the best
interests of their constituents.

LEIGH SALES: You mentioned jobs. According to the Tasmanian Opposition, unemployment in Tasmania is
the highest of any state in the country and it accuses the Tasmanian Government of inertia, saying
you haven't made any significant decisions in the past four months because you fear a split
emerging. Is that the case?

DAVID BARTLETT: Absolutely not. And I guess that's my point.

Oppositions - and essentially Will Hodgman and the Tasmanian Liberals did have an opportunity to
form a government before the Governor essentially said to me that I had a constitutional obligation
to endeavour to form a government.

I took the view that to provide certainty and stability the best way we could do that - and I say
to use the talent that was available in the Parliament - we invited two of the Green members into
our Cabinet and in doing so created a protocol to deal with any, I guess, disagreements in policy
that we had.

Now, to date, until Monday's Cabinet meeting just gone in fact, there had been no need to invoke
that protocol. We've recently invoked it. But with all good relationships of course, the test is
how you deal with disagreements, and we've come through that test, I believe, with flying colours.

LEIGH SALES: What are the essential elements that you think would be needed to make a federal
minority government work to provide this certainty and stability that you say is essential?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, look, we have a particular model and it's a very good model that deals
through an exchange of letters with the protocols where we can't come to a negotiated outcome.

Everything to date, until Monday, as I said, had come to a negotiated outcome between the members
of Cabinet, effectively.

On Monday, we had an issue that we went to the election with; the Greens had a very different
policy. It wasn't possible to get a negotiated outcome, so we invoked that protocol.

But that means, simply means the Parliament will make a decision on those sorts of issues. And they
will be few and far between and we'll manage them in a mutually respectful way. And I guess that's
one of the key elements: mutual respect for each other's positions and a desire to find a
negotiated outcome or to deal with disagreements in a mutually respectful way.

Building trust, breeding - sorry.

LEIGH SALES: Well since Labor - sorry. Since Labor and the Greens allied in Tasmania, the state
Opposition says planning's underway on policies that includes a bill of rights, the introduction of
euthanasia, legal brothels and a unilateral ban on coastal housing developments.

Doesn't that give weight to Tony Abbott's argument that a Labor Government with the Greens holding
the balance of power trends everything to the left?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, look, I think the Liberal Opposition here in Tasmania are doing exactly what
I predict Tony Abbott will do, and that is be as divisive as he possibly can.

There are - there is a new politics in Tasmania and that new politics - and it's a new politics, by
the way, that I believe the vast bulk of Tasmanians want, and I think if you see election results
in the UK, here in Australia, increasingly, we see constituencies wanting their politicians to work
together in a mutually respectful way for better outcomes.

Yes, the Liberal Party here in Tasmania is stuck in the past and what they wanna do is create the
illusion of some sort of division or uncertainty, but the opposite is in fact true.

My message to the people of Australia is that there is nothing to fear from minority governments.
In fact, there's a lot to be optimistic about.

LEIGH SALES: OK. If we could turn to the events of the weekend. Who should be held accountable for
Labor's poor performance federally?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, look, I often say these days when I'm speaking to groups of Tasmanians I say,
"It was you the Tasmanian people who chose this outcome. It's our responsibility as politicians to
make it work." And that's essentially who's responsible: the Australian people.

LEIGH SALES: No, no. But who's responsible for federal Labor after one term in office, just one
term in office after 12 years in opposition, now being on the cusp of losing government? Whose
fault is that?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, I think this is a classic question, I suppose, of old-style politics of
fault, of blame, of division. When actually what we should be talking about and what the national
debate should be about now, underscored by the fact that there is nothing to be afraid of here, is
how do we make this work in the best interests of all Australians.

And my argument ...

LEIGH SALES: I'm sorry to cut you off, but you're a Labor Premier; you're one of the party leaders
around the country. I'm asking your opinion of what went so wrong with the Labor campaign that you
lost a whole swag of seats to the point that you're now on the cusp of losing government federally
after just one term?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, I think Julia Gillard, as Prime Minister, has done an excellent job and will
make an extraordinary Prime Minister.

LEIGH SALES: Well the voters on the weekend clearly didn't agree.

DAVID BARTLETT: And my personal view is that if Julia Gillard had not been our leader and our Prime
Minister, Labor would have done a lot worse.

But I say this: that when it comes to forming a minority government that has broad support, that
brings ideas together, that forms negotiated outcomes on policies, Julia Gillard - and I know her
well - is in the very best position, has the best skills, the best personal traits to make that
happen.

Tony Abbott is a figure of division. He has - his politics is played on divisiveness. Julia Gillard
is in a position that she can use her skills, her abilities, her intellect to bring together a
coalition that will work for the long term and in the interests of all Australians.

LEIGH SALES: Alright. The federal Labor candidate and former West Australian minister Alannah
MacTiernan says Labor's campaign was atrocious and that, "Until we have a change in the whole
culture about the way we run campaigns, until we transcend the reliance on a set of political
clichés, we're not going to get anywhere." What do you think of that statement?

DAVID BARTLETT: Well, I don't disagree with the latter part of that statement, that Australians,
and certainly Tasmanians, have said loud and clear to Tasmanian politicians they want a new style
of politics, they want a new narrative, a new way of dealing with each other and of showing mutual
respect for each other's positions.

Look, we've had 30 years of election in Tasmania that have been based on fear - fear of the Greens
taking jobs, fear of a whole range of things.

I am setting out - and with my Coalition partners, and I give full credit to the Greens Leader Nick
McKim in Tasmania - we are setting out to ensure that no credible political party can run that fear
campaign again in Tasmania and that we will deal with whatever the Tasmanian people present to us
in the form of a future Parliament and we will deal with it maturely, co-operatively, with mutual
respect in a way that builds trust between parties, builds trust between people and builds trust
from between the Parliament and the people of Tasmania.

That's what we've set out to do in Tasmania, and the early signs, the first four months, are very,
very good.

LEIGH SALES: Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett, many thanks for making time to speak to us tonight.

DAVID BARTLETT: Great to be with you, Leigh. Thank you.