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Tasmania: federal Liberal Party considers changes after poor election results; federal ALP is pleased with results.

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Monday 22 July 2002


Tasmania: federal Liberal Party considers changes after poor election results; federal ALP is pleased with results.


LINDA MOTTRAM: Well, the Federal Liberal Party and the Federal Government are trying to make the most of the Liberals routing in Tasmania. They're fashioning it as a salutary lesson for Labor leader, Simon Crean, about the inevitability of electoral defeat for parties wracked by internal problems.


But the Liberal Party in Canberra concedes that it's a very bad result for the Party, signalling the need for urgent action to stop exactly that kind of vote losing infighting.


From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Liberal Party's Federal Director, Lynton Crosby maintains there aren't any Federal implications of the Liberal's drubbing in Tasmania but he says there are lessons to be learnt.


LYNTON CROSBY: I think its very much a case of, this was a State election fought on State issues under the unique Hare Clark system and it's been a very disappointing result for the Liberal Party in Tasmania.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: Was the worst ever, is that right?


LYNTON CROSBY: Well it would have to go close.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: The only consolation is the result wasn't a surprise. State Liberals concede the Party machine was strapped for cash and members and plagued by in fighting.


Lynton Crosby says it's time for big changes.


LYNTON CROSBY: To reinvigorate itself, re-engage with the community, reform its processes make yourself more relevant to the needs of the Tasmanian people.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: With such an unambiguous result the Tasmanian Liberal Party has seen the writing on the wall and asked for Federal intervention rather than have it enforced from on high.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: And, do you think that the Party was too focused on in fighting and internal ructions?


LYNTON CROSBY: The Australian community, the Tasmanian voters will not support any party if they believe it's more interested in playing its internal games and focussing on its own affairs, that is the community's concerns.


It's a problem Simon Crean has nationally where the Labor Party is more interested in playing its games of keeping the power base of the trade union and doing factional deals and it's a problem we have to be very careful to manage in Tasmania.


ALEXANDRA KIRK: Simon Crean says while the election was fought on State issues, Jim Bacon's victory shows what happens under a united team, committed to economic recon struction and distributing the benefits.


So what does he make of Lynton Crosby's analysis?


SIMON CREAN: The Liberals never cease to amaze you. I mean I'm doing something about the in fighting. I'm doing something about the restrictions of the Party and the fact that it's not inclusive enough. I'm doing something about ensuring that branch stackers don't predominate.


The problem for the Liberal Party in Tasmania, of course, is it did nothing. It excluded people. It went out of their way to take candidates out of the field who disagreed with them. It narrowed its appeal.


It's not just Tasmania the Liberal Party has got problems with. It's got stories of branch stacking in Queensland, I'm not going to go down that path. I'm going the opposite path. I'm saying we have to reform.


LINDA MOTTRAM: Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean. Alexandra Kirk with that report from Canberra.