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Labor lashed for pokies deal in Tasmania

Tasmanian Labor has been labelled spineless for signing a deal to back poker machines in the state's pubs and clubs, three years after campaigning for their removal.

It was revealed this week the party, seeking to oust the incumbent Liberal state government at the upcoming May 1 poll, had recently inked a memorandum of understanding with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.

Labor campaigned for the phased removal of pokies in the lead-up to the 2018 election, but dropped the policy after losing. The party instead pledged to focus on harm minimisation measures.

The MOU says such measures need to be "workable for the industry".

Tasmanian federal independent and long time anti-pokies activist Andrew Wilkie described the deal as a "spineless betrayal of the community".

"Unfortunately we have in this state - and we've had it for a long time - a conga line of politicians who are beholden to the poker machine industry," Mr Wilkie said in a statement on Thursday.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor accused Labor of abandoning their principles and capitulating to the gambling industry.

Labor leader Rebecca White, who released details of the MOU after it was leaked to the media, has said the deal shows the party's commitment to listen and consult.

"I understand that the last election was fought very heavily around gaming but following that election loss we listened to the community and I announced our change in position two years ago," she said.

The Liberals, whose successful 2018 campaign was bankrolled heavily by the hospitality industry, have been accused of secrecy around their position on pokies.

The Federal Group owns a monopoly on the about 3400 gaming machines in Tasmania.

Legislation to figure out a new tax rate on the machines will come before parliament after the election despite a Liberal pledge to do so beforehand.

Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein has refused to reveal the proposed tax rate.

"If the premier doesn't tell Tasmanians before they go to the polls, he'll have no mandate for his government's pokies legislation should he win majority," Ms O'Connor said.

Meanwhile, independent upper house member Mike Gaffney, who played a leading role in developing euthanasia laws which recently passed parliament, was on Thursday declared re-elected unopposed in the seat of Mersey.

Voters will decide on upper house representatives in Derwent and Windermere on May 1.

It is the first time in Tasmania that upper house and lower house polls have been held on the same day.

Mr Gutwein brushed aside concerns about the timing after receiving a letter from six independent upper house members who said candidates from major parties could be given an unfair boost from widespread lower house campaigning.

They asked for the upper house elections to be pushed back but Mr Gutwein said he politely declined the request.

© AAP 2021