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Cabinet Reshuffle Highlights Urgent Need to Restore Parliament

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 17 February 2022

Tags: Governance, Parliament, Misleading Parliament, Ministerial Accountability

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

Today’s Cabinet reshuffle again highlights the urgent need to restore Tasmania’s House of Assembly to 35 seats to improve political representation and governance.

It’s clear just how limited Peter Gutwein’s options were when you look at the list of portfolio responsibilities.

Every child gets a prize, every Minister is unsustainably overloaded. While highly paid political advisers fill the void, some portfolios inevitably suffer from Ministers who just don’t have the time to deal with all their responsibilities.
After working himself to illness and shedding the portfolios of Climate Change and Tourism, the Premier has picked them back up today. It’s hard to believe the pressure of those ministries has diminished, especially given the increasing threat of global heating.

It is abundantly clear just how shallow the talent pool is in the Parliamentary Liberal Party. A restored House would increase the number of MPs capable of managing a ministerial portfolio or three. 

Peter Gutwein is clearly desperate enough to hand the critical portfolios of Children and Youth back to disgraced Minister, Roger Jaensch. Mr Jaensch misled Parliament over a plan to remove tenancy protections, took no apparent action in the face of evidence of the abuse of children in Ashley Youth Detention Centre. Indeed, he insisted this house of horrors would stay open.  

Roger Jaensch’s honesty has been brought in to question in Parliament, his judgement is poor and he’s indecisive, the last qualities you want in these key portfolios. And, now he has Education in the middle of a pandemic! 

The now more overloaded Minister Jaensch will be responsible for the government’s response to the Commission of Inquiry and the Treaty Report, the closure of Ashley Youth Detention Centre, the rapidly unfolding Covid crisis in schools - not to mention the decline in dozens of threatened species in Tasmania.

If you want a clear example of the need for a restored House and healthier democracy, it’s Roger Jaensch.

Facing twin crises of climate and Covid, Tasmanians deserve better than an overworked Premier, the return of an underperforming Minister for Children and an overstretched Cabinet.

It’s well past time to restore the numbers in Parliament.