Tasmanians still waiting for Liberal minority deal to be inked

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A deal or no deal – that’s the question Tasmanians have been left with after an independent contradicted the Premier shortly after he publicly announced an arrangement had been clinched.

Jeremy Rockliff has spent the past three weeks wooing the crossbench after the Liberals failed to secure the numbers at the election to govern in their own right.

Speaking on radio on Friday morning, the Premier declared he’d received a written, and signed, assurance of “supply and confidence” from independent David O’Byrne.

“We can now move forward of course and have a parliament that is workable, that listens to everyone’s ideas, but provides that certainty and stability that Tasmanians want,” he told ABC Radio Hobart.

But a short time later, Mr O’Byrne clarified negotiations were still ongoing.

“Discussions are still ongoing and no arrangements have been finalised,” he said in a statement.

“I intend to provide supply and confidence to the Premier and this government in the absence of any other party putting their hand up and attempting to form a government.”

Mr Rockliff needs the support of just one more crossbencher after inking a deal with three Jacqui Lambie Network MPs on Wednesday.

The agreement means the JLN three would not vote against the Liberals on censure or no-confidence motions “except in cases of malfeasance or corruption”.

In exchange, an independent assessor will look at the state’s finances and the proposed AFL stadium and the integrity commission will be reviewed.

It’s not clear if Mr O’Byrne would be bound by the same conditions, but Mr Rockliff insisted there had been no horse trading for his support.

“I’ve offered him nothing in return – except goodwill and partnership,” he said.

“We’ll talk over the course of the next week or so … David and I will work on a more formal arrangement. We’ll make it public.”

Mr O’Byrne quit the Labor Party at the start of the year to run as an independent after he was exiled from its parliamentary party and he failed to secure preselection.

He was elected to parliament in 2010 and was leader of the party for all of 51 days in 2021, resigning after he was accused of sexually harassing a junior staffer a decade earlier.

An internal investigation found his behaviour was “inappropriate and wrong” but did not amount to sexual harassment.

Mr O’Byrne has previously said his actions had been inappropriate but at the time he believed they were consensual.