Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has flagged a 1980s-style accord with the state's public sector unions.

Ms Giddings says she will negotiate a memorandum of understanding with unions similar to the national agreement former prime minister Bob Hawke achieved after his election in 1983.

"I want to make sure that we secure our public services against the threats posed by potential (federal and state) Liberal governments under Tony Abbott and Will Hodgman," she told the ALP state conference on Saturday.

"The 1980s accord underpinned strong jobs growth and low inflation throughout the life of the Hawke and Keating governments."

Ms Giddings has had her run-ins with unions over massive budget cuts she made in 2011/12.

She made her pitch to the 20,000 public servants covered by their three largest unions with a warning about job cuts in Liberal states Queensland, Victoria and NSW.

Tasmanian Liberal leader Will Hodgman has said 500 public service jobs would be cut, without forced redundancies, if he became premier in the next state election scheduled for March next year.

Ms Giddings says that would be just the beginning.

"Don't take my word for it - look at what Campbell Newman's done in Queensland," she said.

But the premier could give little detail of what the Tasmanian "accord" would look like.

"We'll be working now with the public sector unions aound what are the sorts of issues they would like to see addressed by this government and a future government," she told reporters after the speech.

Ms Giddings' address contained nothing as dramatic last year's announcement Tasmania would go it alone on same-sex marriage.

She promised to press on with the reform, after the state's upper house knocked it back last year, particularly now that returned prime minister Kevin Rudd was a supporter.

The premier received a standing ovation from the party faithful at the Burnie Arts and Function Centre, despite conceding her unpopular Labor-Green government could be dumped next March.

"When the family's under threat, we need to stand together," she said.

"Within nine months Tony Abbott could be prime minister and Will Hodgman could be premier."

 

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