Tasmania First Party History
The Tasmania First party was formed in 1996 in response to Liberal Prime Minister John Howard's national uniform gun laws. Members of the Tasmanian Firearms Owners Association formed the early membership but this grew rapidly to over 1500 members and included Tasmanians from every background and all lifestyle.
Our first rally was held at the Regatta Grounds Hobart on 23 June 1996 and attracted an audience of eight thousand. The second rally on 20 July 1996 led to the march by over fifteen thousand supporters through the streets of Hobart, and to the lodging of a petition to parliament signed by sixteen thousand Tasmanians.
The party stood thirty six candidates at the State election in October 1998 and if not for the reduction of the House of Assembly from seven members to five per electorate, would have been successful in gaining seats in State parliament.
The party stood three Senate candidates and three House of Representatives candidates (Lyons, Bass, and Braddon) in the November 1998 Federal election, and at subsequent Legislative Council elections for the Tasmania Upper House.
From its genesis in the gun debate, the Tasmania First Party has grown and prospered into a broadly based Tasmanian organisation with policy development coming from the grass roots members via the party agenda system. In the party agenda system, ordinary members raise policy issues with the agenda co-ordinator which are then voted on at each branch meeting, rated by member response and incorporated into the party platform.
In this 2001 Federal election the Tasmania First Party presents itself as a natural partner to Brian Harradine in the Senate, where we have many policies in common, being a State based party with the interests of Tasmania our first priority.