Rebecca White re-elected as Tasmanian Labor leader

Deputy Labor leader Anita Dow and newly re-elected leader Rebecca White. Picture: Matt Maloney
Deputy Labor leader Anita Dow and newly re-elected leader Rebecca White. Picture: Matt Maloney

Destablising forces within the party will stop under her leadership, says new Labor leader Rebecca White.

Labor parliamentarians on Wednesday held a two-hour meeting in the opposition's office in Parliament House to discuss the leadership after former leader David O'Byrne officially tendered his resignation.

This resignation, forced by publicity around sexual harassment allegations from his time as a union boss about 14 years ago, came three weeks after he took the leadership.

Ms White stood for the leadership unopposed.

Former leadership aspirant Shane Broad was believed to have been considering standing for the position, but told media before the meeting he would support Ms White's nomination.

Deputy leader Anita Dow retained her position.

It is believed it was discussed at the meeting that Ms Dow should step aside to make way for Dr Broad, but she refused to do so.

Ms White told media after the meeting the party's internal destabilisation had to end.

"There is a very clear view around our table that we want to be able to work together now," she said.

"The backgrounding in the media, the stories that we've been hearing have to end.

"I'm confident from the conversations I've had over the past couple of days that there is goodwill to make sure that we do work together, that we don't continue to undermine one another."

Ms White said the backroom disunity had been detrimental to both the labour movement and the Tasmanian community.

"They haven't had a good opposition and we need to have a strong opposition to hold the government to account," she said.

"There will be some time needed for us to address some of the challenges we see in the Labor Party and I ask the community to please have some patience with us."

Ms White stood down from the leadership in May following two consecutive election loses.

Labor insiders had said that she did not want to relinquish the leadership, but had bowed to pressure factional heavyweights who wanted to see Mr O'Byrne installed into the position.

Fifteen days into the leadership, it emerged that the party's executive had received a complaint against him from when he was head of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.

A former female employee had said he had sent her unwanted text messages of a sexual nature and twice kissed her without consent.

Mr O'Byrne last month said he had believed the contact was consensual.

Ms White said the party's investigation still needed to take its course.

"I haven't seen the complainant's accusations - that's for the investigator to consider," she said.

Ms Dow will be acting leader of the party until Ms White returns from parental leave next month.

This story Rebecca White returned as Tasmanian Labor leader first appeared on The Examiner.