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Confidence in the Premier

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Tags: Office of Racing Integrity, TasRacing, No Confidence Motion

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion without notice for the purpose of moving the suspension of Standing Orders to debate the following motion -

That the House has no confidence in the Premier for the following reason: he has failed to sack his incompetent Minister for Racing.

It is a matter of great regret that this House has not been able to test confidence in the Minister for Racing because this Premier and this Government are afraid of that debate.

This Premier has demonstrated extraordinary weakness in not sacking his Minister for Racing who has lost the confidence of the industry, lost the confidence of animal welfare advocates, lost the confidence of the Opposition and crossbench members, and lost the confidence of the Greens. It is a sign of weakness not to sack a minister who has overseen enormous integrity issues within the portfolio that she administers, who has shown such poor judgment that her first response to the allegations raised in the ABC's investigative report, which point to corrupted processes at the Office of Racing Integrity, back to the Office of Racing Integrity.

We would like to understand why this Premier has not sacked this minister, who is increasingly a millstone around his neck. What is it that minister Ogilvie has over this Premier that he has been unable to move her out of this portfolio? Why is she still the Minister for Racing? Minister Ogilvie's only loyalty, as far as we can see, is to herself. She was once a Labor member, then an Independent member - and then when it suited her, a Liberal member. Now she has been made a Liberal minister and is wearing the consequences of her utter self-serving incompetence.

The Premier should sack this Racing minister. We believe that would make participants in the racing industry quite happy, because she does not contribute as minister. We have had a look at her Facebook page. There are 33 photos of Ms Ogilvie at the races; no mention of integrity. There are 33 photos from this year alone, 2023, and it is only March - 33 photos of Ms Ogilvie herself; no mention of integrity or animal welfare.

It is her job to oversee the integrity of the racing industry, to make sure animal welfare standards are upheld. Why is Ms Ogilvie still the Minister for Racing after that investigative report revealed that the Office of Racing Integrity, which she oversees, is compromised and corrupted? Her response to those allegations was to ask that compromised, corrupted body to investigate itself.

It was only after national embarrassment, and nearly 48 hours, that this minister - obviously under pressure from the Premier - announced an independent investigation. We know the Premier has difficulties with the rifts within his Cabinet. We understand that. We understand how shallow the talent pool is, and how hard it must be for him to contemplate removing an underperforming, incompetent minister, because there are so few choices there. However, a premier with backbone and resolve, who believes in the racing industry as much as he says he does, would remove minister Ogilvie. He has not - and he presumably was key to the decision not to allow the want of confidence debate to proceed this morning.

What is this Premier afraid of? Why is minister Ogilvie not gone from the portfolio? Why has he not asked for her resignation or sacked her? These are legitimate questions, and it points - to the Greens at least - to a weakness on the Premier's part, that he cannot take her on. Why is that so? Has she threatened to quit if she has the portfolio removed? What is going on here, Mr Speaker?

You cannot say that the House has confidence in this minister, because it does not. We have not had it tested, but we know that but for one vote, Mr Speaker - and that is your vote - this House does not have confidence in this minister.

I would be very surprised if the Premier has confidence in this minister, given her performance. How could he possibly? A premier who says he loves this industry so much has left this incompetent disgraced minister in charge of the portfolio. That, to us, points to weakness, and therefore we do not have confidence in the Premier.

Mr Speaker, we think this debate should be allowed to proceed because there are huge integrity questions, a big dark stink, hanging over this tired, visionless Government. It is tired, it is dishonest, and it is hollow. Ministers get up in this place every day, including Ms Ogilvie, and they just tell untruths. They do not answer the question.

I refer members to David Killick's excellent piece in the Mercury today, which points to the rot at the heart of this Liberal Government. It is a rot that goes back to Hodgman, to Gutwein, and has been inherited and fostered by Jeremy Rockliff. I believe many Tasmanians had really high hopes for Jeremy Rockliff as Premier. Those hopes have been utterly dashed because he is weak. He has not been able to take on his Deputy Premier and Treasurer and the conservatives within his Cabinet. We have no confidence in this Premier's judgment or his capacity.