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David Bartlett
43rd Premier of Tasmania
In office
26 May 2008 – 23 January 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Peter Underwood
Deputy Lara Giddings
Preceded by Paul Lennon
Succeeded by Lara Giddings
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
for Denison
In office
1 April 2004 – 13 May 2011
Preceded by Jim Bacon
Succeeded by Graeme Sturges
Personal details
Born (1968-01-19) 19 January 1968 (age 56)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Spouse Larissa Bartlett (née Marris)
Children Hudson and Matilda Bartlett
Alma mater University of Tasmania
Profession Public servant

David John Bartlett (born 19 January 1968) is an Australian former politician in the state of Tasmania, serving as the 43rd Premier of Tasmania from May 2008 until January 2011. He was a Labor Party member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly seat of Denison from 2004 to 2011 when he retired.

Early life

He has been a resident of both Moonah and Mount Nelson. His education started at Mount Nelson Primary School, with secondary education at Taroona High School and Hobart College. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Graduate Diploma of Business in Professional Management at the University of Tasmania.

Prior to entering parliament, he had a career in the information technology industry and the public sector, and served as the Manager of the Tasmanian Innovation Centre and as an advisor to former Tasmanian treasurer, David Crean.


He first entered parliament on a countback in 2004 after then Premier Jim Bacon resigned due to cancer. Bartlett was Deputy Premier of Tasmania from April to May 2008 and Premier of Tasmania from 26 May 2008, succeeding Paul Lennon.

Bartlett was re-elected in the 2006 election, receiving 12.97% of first preferences and topping the Labor vote in Denison; he was appointed Minister for Education and Skills in the Lennon Cabinet. As part of his parliamentary duties he served on the Public Accounts Committee, the Environment, Resources and Development Committee and the Library Committee of Parliament.

On 10 April 2008 Paul Lennon announced Bartlett as the new Deputy Premier, replacing Steve Kons.


On 26 May 2008 Lennon made the surprise announcement that he would resign that day as Premier. Bartlett was sworn in as Premier later in the day by the Tasmanian Governor, the Hon. Peter Underwood, having been elected State party leader by the caucus.

During the March 2010 election campaign, Bartlett promised to resign as Premier if the opposition Liberal Party won more seats than the government, and that a "back room deal with the Greens is a deal with the devil... I am not going to sell my soul for the sake of remaining in power".

The seat results were 10 Liberal (38.99%), 10 Labor (36.88%), and 5 Green (21.61%), a hung parliament. With neither major party having a majority and neither willing to negotiate with the Greens, Bartlett and Labor voted to relinquish power to the Liberals since they had won the popular vote. Bartlett then went to Government House with a letter urging the Governor, Peter Underwood, to commission a Liberal minority government. However, Underwood opted to recommission Bartlett, taking the line that the Liberals were not in a position to provide stable government. Underwood noted that Hodgman had not approached the Greens for support before the writs were returned, and Bartlett had not promised a minimum period of support to a Hodgman minority government. He also concluded that Bartlett's promise to give up power was not relevant, since the decision to invite a person to form government was solely within the governor's prerogative. Since Bartlett still held his commission as Premier, Underwood was of the view that Bartlett was obliged to test the support for his government on the floor of the House of Assembly. This was per longstanding Westminster convention that the incumbent premier/prime minister has the first opportunity to form a government if no party has a majority.

Greens leader Nick McKim announced his party's support for Labor on matters of confidence and supply. A Labor-Green agreement with joint ministry arrangements eventuated, leading the Governor to re-appoint Bartlett as Premier in a Labor minority government. Bartlett said his minority government with the Greens was his biggest challenge of 2010: "I think the alternative would have been political chaos and parliamentary chaos, and that would be good for no-one. It had better work because with Tasmania facing hung parliaments and minority governments for the next decade or two as a regular part of our political landscape, we must find ways to make this work."

Bartlett government achievements include the establishment of an integrity commission and introduction of freedom of information legislation, successfully lobbying for Tasmania being the first to receive the National Broadband Network rollout, and advocacy of Tasmania being the "national food bowl". However, education system reforms and forestry issues have been controversial for the government.


Bartlett announced his resignation as Premier of Tasmania and Tasmanian Labor leader on Facebook on 23 January 2011, citing family reasons. Deputy Premier Lara Giddings was sworn in on 24 January as the new Premier. In the Giddings cabinet, Bartlett was appointed as Attorney-General and Justice Minister. He said he would remain in parliament but did not intend to contest the next election. On 11 May 2011, following the defeat of Labor's Lin Thorp in Legislative Council elections, he resigned from cabinet but said he would remain in parliament for some "months". On 13 May, following pressure from within Labor and the Opposition, he quit parliament entirely.

Private life

Bartlett is married to Larissa, and has two children, Hudson and Matilda. He is currently the president of the Hobart Chargers Basketball Club in the SEABL.

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