Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein has avoided questions of whether a Liberal candidate accused of chatting two women online was fit to sit in parliament.
The outgoing Liberals appear likely to form a majority government after the weekend’s election, although the final composition of the state’s 25-seat lower house is unlikely to be known until next week.
Former Mines Minister Adam Brooks remains in contention for a seat in the North Braddon electorate and a return to parliament.
Mr Brooks is accused of dating two women under the pseudonym Terry, creating online dating profiles with the name and using a fake Victorian driver’s license.
He has vigorously denied the allegations and is taking legal action against “organizations and certain individuals” for “deliberate attempts to distort, fabricate and distort” aspects of his personal life.
At his first press conference since his declaration of victory on Saturday night, Mr Gutwein was asked if Mr Brooks was fit to sit in parliament, if elected.
“The people of Braddon will make the final decision on this, and that tally is underway,” he said in Launceston on Wednesday.
“But with regard to the conversations I have had with Mr. Brooks, he has categorically denied the allegations made against him.”
Mr Gutwein said it was not appropriate for him to comment further due to the lawsuit reported by Mr Brooks.
“When you have two different points of view that have been expressed publicly, it is obviously worrying,” Mr. Gutwein said.
Mr Brooks clashes with fellow Liberal and sitting MP Roger Jaensch for the last seat in Braddon.
Under Tasmania’s unique Hare-Clark voting system, five MPs are elected from each of the state’s five electorates.
So far, the tally has given the Liberals 12 seats. They need 13 to rule in majority.
All eyes are on two questionable seats in the Hobart-based Clark electorate, where independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey are in the mix with two Liberal candidates.
The Liberals appear in the lodge to win one of the Clark seats, with more clarity expected early next week after the additional votes count before the ballot and by mail.
Mr Gutwein has pledged to step down as Liberal leader if the party does not win a majority.
“It’s frustrating, but obviously we have to wait until the count is over. Clark… seems to be getting stronger and I have no doubts that we will get the 13 seats needed by the majority, ”he said.
Labor is set to claim nine seats, the Greens retaining two.