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Backbenchers Eye Off Disgraced Brooks Ministries

15 June 2016

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

[11.00 a.m.]

You are now a Cabinet minister down and there is surely jockeying for the position amongst the enthusiastic Dorothys on your backbench.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member will refer to members of this House in the appropriate manner.

Ms O'CONNOR - There is surely jockeying for the position amongst the enthusiastic backbenchers who ask four Dorothy Dixers every day.  If the audit you put in place to deflect from the lies that were told clears Mr Brooks of a conflict of interest -

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member has had a lot of time to reflect on her earlier question, which was the third question in question time.  That language is inappropriate and the member will rephrase.

Ms O'CONNOR - If the audit you put in place to deflect from the deliberate untruths that were told clears Mr Brooks of a conflict of interest, will he be first in line, despite his wilful dishonesty to the Parliament?

Mr Hidding - You're not on the shortlist. 

Ms O'Connor - I wouldn't want to be in a Cabinet of dishonest people. 

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the minister and the member for Denison for that exchange.  I suggest the member for Denison sits there in silence.

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and point out she was a minister for some time.  As to the audit, it is appropriate we do not fall for the temptation members opposite are sinking into it, and that is jumping to all sorts of wild conclusions.  We have heard that today with all sorts of wild claims and assertions about what may or may not be revealed through this audit.  We know there was some awareness of the operation of this email account by shadow minister for finance, Scott Bacon.  I repat that I did not know about the operation of this email account from the time Mr Brooks became a minister.  He said very clearly that this is an email account he has had for a decade.  I also want to point out that, whilst he has had it for that period of time, the audit relates to the time in which he was a minister and whether he was using that email account inappropriately for business-related communications.  He has said very clearly that it was not, but he has also disclosed that the email account was used for non-business-related correspondence only, including emails about his daughter's school activities and discussions about financial and legal matters relating to his marital separation.  I know those things will be a matter of greater interest - and probably delight - to members opposite, but they are not business-related.

In relation to the first point the member who asked the question went to, the stability, unity and common sense of purpose that exists in our Government that did not exist under the former Labor-Greens government, which was built on a marriage of convenience and which over time the Leader of the Opposition came to fondly enjoy, under the previous Labor‑Greens government -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, on standing order 195.  With respect, we have heard this delving into ancient history from the Premier while he is deflecting from his weak leadership.  The question is about his Cabinet, what will happen to fill the vacancy and whether Mr Brooks will be first in line.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  Firstly, standing order 195 cannot apply in this instance because it can only apply to a speech being given by a member.  I presume the member is trying to make a point of order on relevance, so I repeat my previous ruling.

Mr HODGMAN - This is not ancient history.  I know most Tasmanians and members in this place would like to pretend it never happened, but under Labor and the Greens there were five different Cabinets in less than four years.  There were four ministerial reshuffles in just over three years, the last two weeks before an election was called.  There were also two different premiers, two different treasurers, three different education ministers, and Greens who could walk in and out of Cabinet as they saw fit.  I can assure the member who asked the question that if she is looking for a job in this Cabinet, it is never going to happen, unlike what happened under the Labor Party.