With the “traditional” negotiation between political parties in Tasmania has failed to reach any workable solution, the Tasmanian politicians need to examine “non-traditional” way to solve this dilemma.
Before we go deep in the “non-traditional” solution, let us examine the political situation there. The Tasmanian new parliament is composed of 25 seats: 10 Labor, 10 Liberals and 5 Greens. The traditional solution for such situation is to form a minority government by either of big parties enters a deal with the minor party (the Greens).
But with the stiff refusal of the Liberals to negotiate with the Greens for “principled reasons” (despite the Greens repeated tries to beg meeting with the Liberals to negotiate forming a coalition government with the Greens), the only other option was for the Labor to enter an agreement with the Greens. But with the Greens refusal to accept one ministerial post and the refusal of the Labor to offer the Greens more posts, the impasse had one “Greens” solution. The Greens solution is to let the Labor pre-election government continues functioning with no majority in the parliament. But this government would be very fragile and would collapse soon in the face of the first important issue to be debated in the parliament.
In other countries and when there is political or economical instability, the big parties usually come together to form a government of “national unity”. And because Tasmanians now are in deep political instability, the only workable solution is to form a government of national unity.
The solution works by forming a government of 50 – 50 Labor – Liberals where the cabinet will have equal numbers of Liberals and Labor ministers. The issues of premiership could be solved either by rotating the post between 2 premiers each 2 years. Or it could be reached by appointing première and deputy première with equal authorities.
By doing this the democracy will be partially transferred from the parliament to the cabinet. And when there is very divisive issue, they could take it to the parliament to be decided by all politicians, including the minor party’s representatives.
By doing this the Tasmanians will have more stable government. And if we recall historical experience of minority government when both the Labor and the Greens entered accord 1989, the government was very instable that it collapsed after 3 years. Not only this. Both parties that entered the accord lost heavily in the following election, where Liberals won the government and Greens lost 4%. And this is why the Labor is not keen to do this again.
The solution of forming “government of national unity” will give good stability for the Tasmanian government, until the following election happens where one of the big parties could secure majority in the parliament.
Few people think, falsely, that the failure of either big party to secure majority on its own right is because of the surge in the Greens vote. This false impression came to the mind of people because of all this noise in the Greens camp to paint a picture that we are witnessing Greens revolution in Australia. Close study of election results’ statistics could easily revealed that the Greens vote and representation was not significantly higher than the Greens vote in 2002 election (18.1% comparing to 21.3% in 2010 election). But at that time (2002 election), Labor could convince more Liberals’ voters to keep voting for Labor as a better government. This year’s election, the Liberals could not convince enough voters to abandon the Labor and vote for change of government. And the Labor government could not convince enough of its voters to keep voting for it. So the move of votes was in fact between the Labor and Liberals, and not towards the Greens. What makes this more realistic is that an election at the same date in South Australia could not see surge of Greens revolution their.
We know now that any coalition government between the Greens and any of either big party would end disastrously bad, to both sides of such coalition. Exactly as what happened in 1989.
A government of national unity would see both major parties compromise their minor differences. And that is more stable than living or working with the empty rhetoric the Greens would all of us to hear.