Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
The resignation of Paul Harriss from the Ministry and the Parliament is good news and an acknowledgement of the flawed "forests policy" of this Government.
Before entering the House of Assembly less than two years ago, Paul Harriss MLC spent the entire previous term of government tearing down the peace that was possible through the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.
On elevation to the Cabinet, he presided over the complete dismantling of the agreement all the while scapegoating conservationists and the Greens.
Paul Harriss ripped up the peace deal but has failed to replace it with a credible alternative.
To ensure the stifling of dissent over the Liberals’ divisive and denialist forest ‘policy’, Minister Harriss introduced and cheered on the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014, legislation that’s been described by legal experts as some of the most draconian and undemocratic in the civilised world.
On Mr Harriss’ watch, three members of the Forestry Tasmania Board, including the Chair, walked.
He blundered on with the logging of Lapoinya, in the face of strong community opposition and knowing that Forestry Tasmania would log the coupe at a loss.
Then, Mr Harriss entered the energy debate with a proposal to burn native forests for energy.
Just last week, Minister Harriss seemed to be happily wrecking in his Resources portfolio. It’s a quite remarkable shift of position within the space of a week.
Given the embarrassment he caused the government, it is reasonable to ask whether Mr Harriss was persuaded to leave?
The Premier now has a real opportunity to put someone in the Resources portfolio who understands the triple bottom line, global markets and the need to bring the community together, rather than divide it through the Forestry portfolio.