The Hodgman Liberal government’s first parliamentary sitting session has seen accountability and transparency plummet to a historic low, with debate on two major and controversial Bills gagged and a censure motion blocked.“In just four short parliamentary sitting weeks under this Hodgman Liberal regime we have seen an unprecedented assault on Tasmanians’ democratic rights, and an unprecedented degree of contempt for Parliament,” Greens Leader Kim Booth MP said.
“In the space of four sitting days debate on two substantial and controversial pieces of legislation, the Forestry Bill and the draconian anti-dissent Bill, was gagged preventing detailed and proper scrutiny of their provisions,” Mr Booth said.
“Tasmania’s parliament saw a new low last night when the Hodgman regime rammed through the most draconian, intimidatory and punitive laws attacking the right to protest, freedom speech and freedom of association this state has ever seen.”
“It is outrageous that this extraordinary and undemocratic Bill had only a farcical few minutes allocated to examination of its clauses before the gagged debate was shut down.”
“Just as this anti-dissent Bill seeks to intimidate and silence Tasmanian citizens who hold a different point of view than the Hodgman regime, last night saw the Liberals abuse the forms of parliament to silence dissenting Members of Parliament.”
“This is a chilling abuse of power which should alarm all Tasmanians.”
“If the Liberals think they have the right to send Tasmanians to gaol for protesting against super-trawlers, destruction of Aboriginal heritage, destruction of the environment, or just about any other matter, then they have an obligation to front every question conceivable put to them by Tasmanians’ elected representatives.”
“Instead they shut down Parliament, ran and hid.”
“Two gagged Bills in four sitting days under the Hodgman regime, whereas only one Bill was gagged in the entire four year term of the previous balance of power parliament.”
“These last four sitting weeks are an indictment upon Premier Will Hodgman and his government,” Mr Booth said.Since State Parliament resumed in May under Hodgman Liberal government:
·Sat for four weeks
·In the space of four sitting days debate on two significant Bills’ was gagged and rammed through the House of Assembly before clauses were scrutinised (in contrast only one Bill was gagged in the entire four year term of the last balance of power parliament)
·Blocked a serious censure motion being moved in the Leader of Government Business for preventing the House from properly scrutinising the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Bill 2014, for failing to respect the right and responsibility of all Members in this place to utilise all appropriate forms of debate available and prescribed by the House’s Standing Orders, and therefore for failing in his duty to ensure this government behaves in an accountable manner to the Parliament.
·Eleven Question Times have seen the majority of questions fail to be answered, and requested information not provided.
Lack of Transparency:
·Repeated failure to provide answers during Parliamentary Question Time, covering health reform, education reform, suspended sentences, mandatory sentencing, forestry, public sector jobs etc...
·Failure to consult with stakeholders over anti-protester laws as promised under their “100 Day Plan”
·Repeated failure to answer how Forestry Tasmania will be propped up once contingency fund is removed from the 30th of June this year
·Repeated refusal to table the Treasury assessment of the impact of the Abbott federal budget on Tasmania
·Secrecy surrounding appointments such as the Chair of the new Planning Review
·Refusal to explain how all their election commitments will be funded without cutting jobs and services
·Voted to defeat Bill to strengthen public sector workers’ redeployment provisions under the State Service Act 2000, backflipping from previous support for the exact same measure last year
·Repeated refusal to table the loan documentation for the $15 million Kalis Group loan for the Myer redevelopment
·Rammed through changes to Standing Orders to reduce Greens MPs’ access to Parliamentary tools such as Questions and Matters of Public Importance, representation on Parliamentary Committees, and speaking rights during debate on legislation