Labor in Crisis

THE Tasmanian Labor Opposition will hold a crisis meeting to attempt to find a new leader after the sudden resignation of former, disgraced leader David O’Byrne.

It is almost certain former Leader Rebecca White will be convinced she is the only logical candidate to salvage the party’s fortunes. In what was the shortest time in history, Mr O’Byrne quit last week just two weeks after securing the role he had coveted for years.

He first stood aside pending an ALP inquiry into a sexual harassment complaint against him.
He conceded he had harassed a former junior colleague a decade ago.

As Labor colleagues started to distance themselves from him, his position was unsalvageable and he quit the leadership, but will stay on in Parliament.

The question for the party now is who is willing to step up with pressure being put on Lyons MP Rebecca White.

Ms White is on maternity leave until August, but is likely to attend today’s meeting.
She has kept tight lipped about whether she will take on the role and if so, what conditions she would insist on.

Labor needs to find a consensus candidate, otherwise if more than one contests, a ballot of rank and file members would be required, and that would take weeks. In the meantime, Deputy Leader Anita Dow has taken on the acting role of Leader.

Braddon Labor MP Shane Broad, who contested the ballot against Mr O’Byrne, does not have the numbers, Bass MP Michelle O’Byrne is reported to have told colleagues she will not take on the role and newcomer Franklin MP Dean Winter is considered popular, but not experienced enough.
Clark Labor MP Ella Haddad was a strong supporter of Mr O’Byrne in the leadership tussle despite her admitting she knew of the harassment complaint against him.

Mr O’Byrne will sit on the backbench and will not take on any portfolios.

Clark independent MP Kristie Johnson has called on him to quit Parliament altogether.

Greens Franklin MP Rosalie Woodruff accused Mr O’Byrne of not being genuine in his remorse as he first threatened legal action against the ABC when a reporter approached him with the harassment complaint.

When the harassment complaint was publicised Mr O’Byrne admitted he had let down his wife and family.

“At the time of the reported events I genuinely believed the kiss and text exchanges to be consensual,” he said.

The complainant said after she rejected Mr O’Byrne’s advances his behaviour changed.

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