Tas Libs to reveal new candidate line-up

Premier Peter Gutwein is expected to announce the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s candidate line-up for the May 1 state election, which could include a current independent MP.

He confirmed on Saturday that all 12 incumbent Liberal MPs from the 25-seat lower house will recontest the upcoming poll and said he would announce “exciting new talent” by Sunday.

Asked if Independent Madeleine Ogilvie might be among the Liberal team, Mr Gutwein said it was a matter for the party and Ms Ogilvie.

Missing from the Liberal line-up will be outspoken Speaker Sue Hickey, who quit the party last week, plunging the government into minority and prompting the calling of the election, which was not due for more than a year.

Opposition Leader Rebecca White has brushed aside a suggestion her pregnancy and June due date will “complicate” Labor’s campaigning.

ABC political analyst Antony Green wrote on Twitter that Ms White’s pending delivery “could complicate Labor’s campaign in the election”.

Ms White replied: “I’m not sure why?…I can assure everyone that as far as I’m concerned it’s game on!”

The Liberals and Mr Gutwein are enjoying popularity on the back of the state government’s COVID-19 management, which has largely kept the virus at bay.

Ms Hickey was told last weekend she would not be re-endorsed by the Liberals for the next election, prompting her to announce her campaign as an independent.

Ms Hickey used parliamentary privilege this week to accuse Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz of “slut-shaming” former federal coalition staffer Brittany Higgins, who’s made a rape allegation against a former colleague.

Mr Abetz has strongly denied making such comments.

Mr Gutwein will face the polls for the first time as premier after taking over from Will Hodgman early last year.

Labor holds nine seats in the lower house, the Greens two, with Ms Hickey and Madeleine Ogilvie sitting as independents.

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