Rosalie Woodruff MP | Acting Greens Leader
The Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Cassy O’Connor MP, will be resigning as the Member for Clark effective today. She has been a Greens Leader widely respected across the community – and politics. I count myself among the lucky ones to have spent time in the company of such a gifted leader, a formidable parliamentary colleague, and a passionate advocate for lutruwita/Tasmania and its people.
Cassy has been much loved by the people of Clark, and topped the polls in 2021. She is recognised as a tireless champion for climate action, a fair society, a prosperous, low-carbon economy and the protection of forests and wilderness.
Cassy leaves an enormous legacy. In her 15 years in the House of Assembly, she became the first Greens' female MP nationally to serve in a Cabinet position, during the Labor-Greens power-sharing government. She was Minister for Human Services, Community Development, Aboriginal Affairs, and Climate Change between 2011 and 2014.
Under Cassy as Minister, the public housing waiting list shrunk to its lowest in a decade, and Stainforth Court was reborn as the Queens Walk apartments. She made sure 9,500 low-income homes had energy efficiency upgrades to make them warm and cheap to power.
Her defence of nature has been staunch and unyielding. She was a key driver of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, which saw over 170,000 ha added to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area – forests, protected forever. As Minister for Climate Change, she commissioned Tasmania’s first study into the value of the carbon held in this island’s forests.
She delivered Tasmania’s first Working with Vulnerable People legislation. Her commitment to justice saw Tasmania joining the NDIS with an estimated 10,600 people eligible for the first round. She was catalytic in helping to expose the brutality of Ashley Youth Detention Centre, and was one of the first to call for an inquiry into child sexual abuse in state institutions – which went on to be the Commission of Inquiry.
As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, she introduced lutruwita’s Dual Naming policy, and tried to return Rebecca Creek and larapuna to its original owners – although that land return was blocked by the Legislative Council.
Cassy’s leadership was crucial in the passage of voluntary assisted dying legislation in Tasmania, and in restoring the House of Assembly to its original size. She helped drive the changes to the Births Deaths and Marriages Act that recognise transgender and intersex people, and worked with now Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, to make Tasmania the first parliament in the country to recognise and support marriage equality.
Following the national live baiting scandal, it was Cassy’s inquiry into greyhound racing that forced through animal welfare reforms, ending the free-for-all killing of dogs and unmuzzled rescued greyhounds.
The Greens are enormously proud to have had Cassy at the helm for the last eight years. She has been a strong, whip smart and deeply empathetic Leader.
Personally, it has been an absolute privilege to have sat beside her in Parliament, and it’s an honour to call her one of my great friends.
I will be the Acting Leader of the Tasmanian Greens until Vica Bayley is elected through the formal recount process. An announcement on the Greens leadership and portfolio allocation will be made when that is finalised.