Rose Matthews

Tasmanian elections are decided by the Hare-Clark system, a method of proportional voting that means a party must secure close to half the total vote to win majority government.

It is a complex system in which a voter has a single transferable vote in one of the five electorates, each of which elect five members of parliament. The system often produces close results and minority governments. It also means seats are rarely decided on election night.

About 4500 people marched and rallied in Hobart on November 12 against the state government cuts to essential services.

Angry health care, education, children's services and other public sector workers, including police, joined with the broader community to chant "no more cuts", drowning out the efforts of Labor Premier Lara Giddings who tried to convince them that the government had no other option.

Greens leader and cabinet minister Nick McKim was also booed and heckled as he tried to defend the cuts.

The Tasmanian Labor-Greens coalition government has forged ahead with savage cuts to the state’s health services, causing anger, frustration and despair in the community. More than 7600 people have been languishing on the elective surgery waiting list. Yet the government said on October 4 that it would cut elective surgery by $58 million over the next three years.

This will cause 130 health jobs to be lost and wards to be closed in all the state’s big hospitals. It is possible that only emergency cases will be dealt with in future.

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim will introduce a bill into state parliament this week in a third attempt to have same-sex marriage legalised in Tasmania.

Labor Premier David Bartlett said he would not support the bill, believing same-sex marriage is a federal rather than a state issue. The latest Galaxy opinion poll showed 62% of Australians support equal marriage rights.

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