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Premier Absence from Parliament

19 September 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to ACTING PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF

 

Management at the Royal is considering putting patients into alcoves, such is the level of chaos in Tasmania's health system after five years of the Liberal Government, yet the Premier is still swanning around in China on a lengthy trade mission. Can you confirm that no premier in the past 30 years has taken an entire week off parliament? The Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Ms Courtney, was also on the delegation yet she came back for parliament. Why could not the Premier? Do you agree his decision to prioritise cosying up to the Chinese Government is both unjustified and disrespectful to the people of Tasmania who expect us to be in here working on their behalf?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. We will check the records as she has stated in her question. The Premier is in China doing a very good job promoting a number of businesses in China. We are proud of the work he is doing.

This is classic xenophobic behaviour from the Greens. It is shameful. The multi-cultural community in Hobart believes it is shameful.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Dr Woodruff and I take strong personal offence to that allegation. They are the talking points of the Chinese government when criticisms are raised about their activities. I ask the Acting Premier to withdraw his statement.

Madam SPEAKER - Acting Premier, would you consider withdrawing that statement, please. Someone has taken offence.

Ms O'Connor - Absolutely.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I will consider it, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER - Could you do it with a good heart, Acting Premier? It would take a lot of heat out of the moment.

Mr ROCKLIFF - To save the House's time, I will withdraw if the member took offence.

Madam SPEAKER - I appreciate that.

Ms O'Connor - It is a lie.

Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, that is most inappropriate. The Acting Premier has graciously decided to withdraw that comment and then you accuse him of lying. That is not appropriate. Please resume your seat.

Ms O'Connor - Did you see Foreign Correspondent last night?

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Madam Speaker, Ms Courtney was overseas as well, representing her constituency in Primary Industries. The Premier is overseas representing all, promoting Tasmania, growth in our tourism and hospitality and our primary producer businesses.

The Greens seem to have a problem with trade, with Tasmania's brand and the opportunities we have at this present time. We make no apologies for taking Tasmania to the world. That means jobs and promotion here. We are proud of the MOUs that have been signed over past week. That is why we have promoted them publicly. I am not sure Ms O'Connor, when she was a minister, was as transparent as we have been. Is Ms O'Connor going to table the MOU on the Antarctic Corporation signed by the Labor-Green government with the Chinese Government in 2013?

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I am trying to assist the Acting Premier not to make a fool of himself. That MOU is in the Parliamentary Library.

Madam SPEAKER - Unfortunately, it is not a point of order but it was of assistance. Thank you.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Madam Speaker, the Labor-Greens government signed an MOU with the State Oceanic Administration on Thursday, 12 September 2013 to maximise the opportunities for the Chinese Antarctic research expedition to use Hobart as a gateway for its activities. It highlights the Greens' hypocrisy. The member wants to do a bit more research than the past two weeks and go back at least five years when her government was doing exactly what governments should be doing and that is promoting opportunities in Tasmania to the world.

We make no apologies for taking Tasmania to the world. Nor will the Premier, who is doing a fine job promoting Tasmania, selling Tasmania's brand and the opportunities we have in the tourism, hospitality and primary industries sector. Not only that, the Premier is leading a government that has balanced budgets and is reinvesting in essential services such as health, education and public safety. I will remind the member -

Opposition members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Mr O'Byrne, this will be your first and only warning. I do not want this to be a habit for the rest of this term. Acting Premier, I assume you are about to wind up?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I am about to wind up, Madam Speaker, but I want to reinforce the point of the hypocrisy of the member. I am very concerned about the language she has been using which some members of the Chinese community could well take offence to. She has to be very mindful about that. We make no apologies for selling Tasmania and taking Tasmania to the world because it benefits local jobs. When the member was in government and a cabinet minister between 2010 and 2014, we lost 10 000 jobs in Tasmania. It just so happens, over the last four years we have created 15 000 more jobs, and we make no apologies for that either.