|40th Premier of Tasmania|
18 March 1996 – 14 September 1998
|Preceded by||Ray Groom|
|Succeeded by||Jim Bacon|
|Born||5 March 1939|
Scottsdale, Tasmania, Australia
|Political party||Liberal Party|
Anthony Maxwell Rundle AO (born 5 March 1939 in Scottsdale, Tasmania) was the Premier of the Australian State of Tasmania from 18 March 1996 to 14 September 1998. He succeeded Ray Groom and was succeeded himself by Jim Bacon. He is a Liberal who held the seat of Braddon between 1986 and 2002. A former journalist, he is married to Caroline Watt. He has twin daughters from his first marriage.
During the 1996 election, Liberal Premier Ray Groom promised he would only govern if the Liberals kept their majority. At that election, the Liberals suffered a three-seat swing and lost their majority. The Labor Party refused to enter into any agreement with the Greens, leaving a Liberal minority government backed by the Greens as the only realistic option. Groom resigned rather than break his pre-election pledge, and Rundle was elected Liberal leader. He quickly reached an agreement with the Greens, allowing him to become Premier.
During Rundle's minority government; unemployment rose and the state economy struggled. The Labor party exploited this in hopes of discrediting the Liberals' economic credibility. However, others simply blamed the bad economic conditions on lack of investment in the state for fear of minority government. In his government, Rundle granted the Greens offices, staff and more parliamentary resources.
He came under pressure from lobby groups to reduce the size of parliament, mostly for cost-cutting purposes. There were numerous proposals including having three multi-member seats in the Tasmanian House of Assembly electing nine members each. Others proposed abolishing the Tasmanian Legislative Council and merging some of its electorates into the House of Assembly. The Labor Party proposed a 40-member parliament with 25 members in the House of Assembly and 15 members in the Legislative Council. The Labor Party proposal was backed by many business groups and the Legislative Council as it would reduce the chance of a minority government. Rundle, however, refused to support Labor's proposal, as it was likely to lead to his downfall. One Liberal member, Bob Cheek, crossed the floor to support Labor's proposal; he was later forced to resign from his position as secretary for small business. The Rundle government was unable to get support from the Legislative Council for its alternatives and wasn't able to abandon the issue, so Rundle later decided to support Labor's bill. In a speech, Rundle stated, "While this new model isn't perfect, at least a party with 10% of the vote will no longer control the state" . The reduction in the size of parliament increased the required quota for election from 12.5% to 16.7% and made it more difficult for Green members to be elected. Rundle called an election immediately after declaring support for the move, knowing that the Greens would launch a no-confidence vote against him. Tasmanian Greens leader Christine Milne claimed Rundle had 'betrayed her trust to deliberately remove a group of Tasmanians from politics for the Liberals' own gain' .
After the size of parliament was reduced, Rundle lost the following 1998 state election and became the opposition leader. He held this position until July 1999 and retired just before the 2002 state election.
The Rundle government is credited for its numerous reforms; reforming gun laws, gay law reform, the Bass link initiative, signing the Regional Forests Agreement, a small move towards more conservation in Tasmania, and the handling of the Port Arthur massacre.
- "Tony Rundle". Members of the Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
- Tony Rundle's maiden speech to parliament at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 July 2001)
- ^ ^ Proportional Representation Society of Australia - Parliamentary reform process.