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Jeremy Rockliff to skip Tasmania’s AFL team reveal if it goes ahead before election

Pulse Tasmania
Jeremy Rockliff to skip Tasmania's AFL team reveal if it goes ahead before election. Image / Pulse

Premier and Liberal Leader Jeremy Rockliff says he won’t be attending the reveal of Tasmania’s AFL team in person next month and has advised other members of his party to do the same – unless the date is changed.

The Tasmania Football Club was scheduled to reveal its club name, colours, logo and foundation jumper on March 18th, a date that was finalised before an early election was called.


In a letter addressed to the club’s chair Grant O’Brien on Tuesday, Rockliff expressed his excitement for the realisation of the “decades-long dream” while voicing concerns about the optics of attending just before an election.

“As I indicated when we met on Monday, I remain concerned that no matter what efforts are made, it will be near impossible to avoid the politicisation of the Team launch so close to the Election,” Rockliff wrote.

Grant O’Brien. Image / Supplied

“The launch of our Tasmanian Team should be a moment of great unity and pride and not used as a political football. I remain of the view that the best thing for the Tasmanian Team is to delay the launch by one week.”

He proposed moving the team reveal to March 25th, two days after the state election on March 23rd.

Jeremy Rockliff to skip Tasmania’s AFL team reveal if it goes ahead before election. Image / Pulse

“As a passionate advocate of our own team, wearing our own jumper and singing our own song, the last thing I want to do is to subject the launch to the politics of an election campaign.”

“I do, however, appreciate that this is a decision for you and your Board alone and I well understand all the planning that has been put into the launch events.”


If a date shift is not possible, then Rockliff said he would do his “absolute best to take as much political heat out of the celebrations” as he could.

“As difficult as this decision has been, rather than attending, I will instead be watching proudly online to ensure that every possible ticket is available for grass roots supporters, rather than politicians,” he said.

The proposed stadium at Hobart’s Macquarie Point. Image / Supplied

“I will be encouraging all Liberal MPs and candidates to take a similar approach and, while it is out of my control, I would also expect that other political parties and candidates do the same to ensure the Team launch is a time of unity and celebration.”

While having a Tasmanian AFL team is backed by the Liberals, Labor and the Greens, the proposed multi-purpose Macquarie Point stadium, which is a requirement for the team according to the AFL, is not.

The Greens have vowed to scrap the deal with the AFL if elected and Labor plans to head into negotiations with the AFL to change the license terms – something the AFL have indicated they are not open to.

Football club confirms they won’t change the date

Tasmania Football Club Chair Grant O’Brien said on Wednesday afternoon that the decision to launch the club next month was made in September last year.

“Our communities, in particular our supporters, volunteers, players and fans around Tasmania are very excited,” he said.

“We will be going ahead on March 18th and encourage people to register, come along and help us celebrate.”

“We will not be commenting on issues during the election campaign, these are matters for the people of Tasmania.”

‘We weren’t invited anyway’

Labor’s Shadow Minster for Sport Josh Willie told Pulse politicians “weren’t invited to the event in the first place”.

“Jeremy Rockliff’s pledge to not “politicise footy” by not attending was a direct attempt to score political points,” he said.

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