Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
The Greens today tabled the House of Assembly Restoration Bill 2021, to restore the House of Assembly to 35 seats.
A restored Parliament is crucial in a functioning and healthy democracy in lutruwita/Tasmania.
Tasmanians deserve proper representation in Parliament and a government with a robust backbench that doesn’t have to draw on the Legislative Council to fill Cabinet positions. Tasmania lags well behind other jurisdictions on this measure.
The average size of a lower house for jurisdictions similar in size to Tasmania is 45 members. In fact, of 75 bicameral, sub-national parliaments around the world, only three have smaller lower houses.
The Liberals and Labor unanimously supported restoring the House of Assembly on the tripartisan Parliamentary Committee examining this matter last year.
Tasmanian people increasingly understand increasing the size of Parliament is necessary. It is supported by stakeholders - including both the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Tasmanian Council of Social Services.
Restoring the House of Assembly not only ensures the Parliament better represents its constituents, but also improves governance. A deeper talent pool for Cabinet, increased ability for Ministers to tackle the extensive range of portfolios, a robust backbench to keep Ministers on their toes, and more members to undertake important committee roles.
The 1998 decision to reduce the size of the House of Assembly was motivated purely by political self-interest – to attempt to eliminate the Greens from the Tasmanian Parliament. It clearly failed, and Tasmania has been left with a less representative Parliament and less effective government.
It’s time to reverse this failed experiment, and restore the size of the House of Assembly to a level that will deliver better outcomes for all Tasmanians.