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Ministerial Standards

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 18 August 2022

Tags: Ministerial Accountability, Political Leadership

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, we sit in this place every day and listen to a number of ministers gaslight and make a range of mistruths. I suppose some of us are used to this and normalised to it but I can tell you that people in the community are not happy with this Government normalising ministers who tell falsehoods and who sign off illegal leases. They are not happy with ministers who pretend there is information about damage done by peaceful protesters to workplaces or workers when no such evidence exists, when they have been repeatedly asked to provide the evidence and they fail to do so.

They are not happy with ministers and treasurers like Mr Ferguson with the Budget making a promise of a massive boost to social housing construction that gives people false hope in a housing crisis, when we know that it will never be delivered and when he makes up numbers that simply are not true. It is simply not true that it is possible to build thousands of new homes in the next eight years, because we have crunched the numbers, which are publicly available and have never been disputed by the Liberals. Since the Liberals have been in government only 578 social and affordable homes were added to the Housing list in Tasmania, and we know that of the 941 new homes that were promised in 2016-17, the Government only delivered 186. The 2017-18 promise of this Government to build 900 houses only resulted in 212 and in 2018-19, 1500 new homes were promised but only 697 were reported to have been built at that time.

When we have had a government that has only delivered 578 homes, an average of 72 houses a year, and when Mr Ferguson as Treasurer announced that there would be 10 000 new homes built over 10 years, we know it is not true. We are sick of this Government telling complete porkies to people who desperately want to believe this Government cares about the housing crisis and will do anything to relieve their suffering, when there are things on the table, legislative changes that can be made, that the Government refuses to take and when we have a treasurer who cooks up a budget that is based entirely on falsehoods, spun to make people feel that they are concerned and care a little bit.

This is the same Government that has the now Minister for Education, Children and Youth, Roger Jaensch, who was the former Housing minister. In parliament we accused him of lying because we read from a Cabinet decision that was minuted as a decision that proposed that this Government walk back from our tenancy laws to allow evictions to occur without genuine or just cause. The minister, Mr Jaensch, denied that a change had ever been proposed. Minister Jaensch is on the record as Housing minister denying that and now he is on the record for the evidence we provided to parliament that shows he was lying. What it shows is a dishonesty and a heartlessness about this issue.

Mr BARNETT - Point of order, Mr Speaker. If an accusation like that is substantive then it should be done in the usual way. I draw that to the member's attention.

Mr SPEAKER - I do have to reinforce that. As I have said previously in this debate, if there are allegations to be made then they need to be made in a substantive nature. Anything that the House has dealt with in the past has been dealt with and the House needs to move on. If you are going to make allegations then they need to be made in a substantive way.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, seeking clarification. Members in this House have historically been able to make any number of allegations. That is part of our job. I am a bit concerned that what we are seeing here is an attempt to shut that down and to restrict our right to speak.

Mr SPEAKER - No, the debate is a general debate about ministerial standards. If there are individual accusations to be made they need to be made in a substantive way.

Dr WOODRUFF - They were made in a substantive way, Mr Speaker, more than 12 months ago.

Mr SPEAKER - And therefore the House dealt with them -

Dr WOODRUFF - More than 12 months ago -

Mr SPEAKER - Order. I have made my point. I will ask you to continue.

Dr WOODRUFF - They are a historical record, aren't they? Is it not correct that we can refer to debates that are more than a year old?

Here we are now and meanwhile we have the same minister who is in charge of children and youth and he has been obviously found out, on multiple occasions, to have fabricated the truth. We see him in Estimates all the time pretending to people that the EPA is independent and he is going to bring the legislation on. People can see from his actions that we cannot trust him and it says everything that we should be concerned about with this Government. We should have ministers who tell the truth in this place.