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Motion of Censure of the Premier

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Tags: AFL, Stadium, Parliament

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Tasmanian Greens, the first thing I want to put on the record is how pleased we are that Tasmania has finally been granted a licence to join the national league. However, we earned that right on our own merits and these people to the left of me know that. We deserved to be in the AFL and AFLW from the get go. It was Peter Gutwein who put the stadium on the table. Then Gill McLachlan walks into town and makes it a condition. What does Jeremy-the-spineless-Premier-Rockliff do immediately? He collapsed to the AFL, collapsed to their demands; made it happen.

These people on my left are so out of touch. They held a press conference while there were homeless people's tents flapping on the Domain, and they held the press conference in front of the sewerage tanks at Macquarie Point. That is what we had that Saturday: Jeremy Rockliff and Anthony Albanese standing in front of tanks full of sewage selling us out, both of them sold us out. Nobody has a mandate for this stadium. Jeremy Rockliff does not have a mandate for this stadium. No wonder he does not want to show us the contract. We know why: because he rolled over and he gave Gill McLachlan and the AFL everything they had asked for and then some. That is why this Premier is hiding behind the farce of commercial in-confidence not to release this contract - because he knows it will expose him as weak and selling out the public interest.

It is a disgraceful situation where the taxpayers of Tasmania, who will foot this bill and it will be around $1 billion - their money, our money, but this Premier -

Mr Jaensch - You are unwell?

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I am not unwell; and I mask regularly, unlike you disrespectful people.

This Premier sold us out. He will be back on the potato farm after the next election. Gill McLachlan is retiring from the AFL. These two men in suits stitched us up and they will not show us the deal. That is a disgrace.

Mr Barnett talks about a vision. He is talking about something that looks a bed pan from the hospital sitting on our Macquarie Point. There was a vision prepared for Macquarie Point, widely consulted. MONA contributed. It had a truth and reconciliation art park right in the heart of it, wide community acceptance, a place for people, affordable. Ditched for the big end of town who Jeremy Rockliff represents. And he only represents them. That is a fact. That is who this Premier listens to - the big end of town, the Steve Olds, the Luke Martins, the Gill McLachlans, the blokes in suits who rock into this town and tell us how it is going to be.

This vision of theirs, for a stadium that will cost at least $1 billion, will be vacant for about 300 days of the year. A place that could, in the vision put forward by former governor Kate Warner, have homes for people. A place that could be a hub of reconciliation and science. But no, this vision we have from this Government is for something that looks like a bedpan on Macquarie Point and it would overshadow the sacred ground of the Cenotaph. There is absolutely no space for any meaningful nod to Aboriginal reconciliation.

The Tasmanian people are seething with anger about this. These Liberals here on my left are so out of touch, they are not reading it. Across the state, north, south, east, west and central highlands, Labor, Liberal, Greens, independent and other, all ages. They are seething about this stadium. What they want is a government that invests in people, that looks after people, that recognises how housing is critical social infrastructure.

You want to talk about tradie heaven? Really start building homes for people. You know what Tasmanians want -

Dr Woodruff - Yes, because the 20-year-old tradies do not have them to live in.

Ms O'CONNOR - That is right. What Tasmanians want is a health system that works for them, a health system they have paid for. What do we have right now? Blockage in the ED, people dying waiting for ambulances. That is why the Tasmanian people are so utterly pissed off about this stadium. Pardon my unparliamentary language, Mr Speaker. I am simply channelling the rage of the Tasmanian people, the emails and phone calls we are getting, the conversations I am having out and about from very unlikely sources really, people who would not normally complain to the Greens about a government decision. The level of anger in this community is palpable and it will continue all the way to the next state election and the next federal election. There is a long way to go on this one yet.

There will be a rally on the lawns of parliament this coming Saturday. I expect there to be a lot of people there, so great is the anger. It is very disappointing that, at this stage, Labor has not accepted an invitation to speak because they would have the people with them. I say to Labor have some courage of your convictions. Please help to save us from this stadium.

Finally, the AFL is worried about sovereign risk in relation to the AFL team. They created the sovereign risk. It exists. It is massive. It will continue all the way to the next state election as well.