Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF
Yesterday under questioning and during debate neither you, nor any of your colleagues, provided a single piece of evidence demonstrating why Mark Shelton MP's involvement in arranging $400 000 in funding for Bracknell Hall was not a breach of the Code of Conduct of the Members of Parliament of Tasmania.
Your response in this matter was one of the most pathetic parliamentary performances we have seen in recent years. You dishonestly tried to suggest Mr Shelton's actions were the same as any MP advocating for community needs, despite the fact he had a direct private interest in this project. As the Integrity Commission says -
A conflict of interest arises when a public official exercises their duties and functions influenced by their private interests.
Your failure to take this matter seriously goes to your own integrity, which was already under a cloud after you misled parliament last year over the local community's facilities fund and refused to correct the record.
Premier, so we are really clear, do you agree with your Treasurer, who said yesterday that Mr Shelton has done, and I quote, 'Nothing wrong'.
Mr speaker, I thank Ms O'Connor for her question. I will never apologise, or make any apologies for members of parliament doing their job and advocating for local communities. After all, that is what we are here to do. That is what we are elected to do.
I encourage all members of parliament - certainly I am encouraging our team to get out and about amongst rural and regional Tasmanians, speak to your local communities and get things done. Invest in areas and get things done.
Ms O'Connor - So you are saying Mr Shelton has done nothing wrong?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Invest in key infrastructure projects, which, largely, community organisations put forward. I mentioned one just yesterday, with the George Town Community Hub, born of the local community -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, Standing Order 45, relevance. I have asked the Premier if he agrees with the Treasurer that the member for Lyons, Mr Shelton, has done nothing wrong in relation to his conflict of interest. Do you agree with what the Treasurer said yesterday?
Ms O'Connor - Do you agree with what the Treasurer said yesterday?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you for the question. These matters were canvassed in this parliament yesterday -
Dr Woodruff - Do you support your Treasurer?
Mr ROCKLIFF - Of course I support the Treasurer, for heaven's sake.
Dr Woodruff - Do you support what he said?
Mr ROCKLIFF - Of course I do.
Dr Woodruff - That the member for Lyons has done nothing wrong.
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Mr Shelton is a hard-working local member but all our local members are delivering for the rural and regional communities.
Dr Woodruff - No problem with integrity? Nothing to see.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, member for Franklin. Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - I am proud of the work that our team are doing day in, day out, representing Tasmanians, focusing on their needs at a local level, ensuring that when they are out and about, they are engaging with their communities, talking to their communities about their particular needs. Why would they not come back and advocate for it?
Mr ROCKLIFF - Again, this is grubby politics
Dr Woodruff - You are grubby for not recognising integrity.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Tasmanians expect their parliament to talk about the needs that they care about.
Ms O'Connor - Integrity in politics.
Mr SPEAKER - Order, member for Clark.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Cost of living, housing, health care, schools growing our economy, a clear direction with regard to jobs targets is what they care about. They do not care about the grubby politics of those opposite who have nothing more to contribute than personal attacks on individual members. I will have nothing of it.