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Residential Tenancy Act - Actions of Minister


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Tags: Tenant Rights, Public Housing

Residential Tenancy Act - Actions of Minister, Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP, 14 October 2020

 

Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for BUILDING and CONSTRUCTION, Ms ARCHER.

It has now been established in black and white that you were part of a pre COVID-19 decision that would have made it easier for landlords, including Housing Tasmania, to evict tenants from their homes without a genuine or just reason. Is it not true Mr Jaensch was caught lying to parliament because of a decision made in your portfolio, and it must have been your recommendation?

Under Administrative Arrangements, you have responsibility for the Residential Tenancy Act. It was obviously a proposal you approved and signed, that led the Government to decide to remove tenancy safeguards during this housing and homelessness crisis. As the responsible minister, on what basis did you decide the best response to the Supreme Court's decision last year would be to strip tenancy protections? How do you justify this decision to the thousands of Tasmanian tenants who would have been affected? Will you, unlike the Housing minister, answer truthfully?

Mr FERGUSON - Madam Speaker, point of order. I ask that you rule on this because the parting insult is out of order.

Madam SPEAKER - I am going to uphold that point of order. The only way you can accuse a member of lying is via a substantive motion. That opportunity took place yesterday. I am upholding the point of order.

Dr WOODRUFF - Madam Speaker, on the point of order, the minister's record stands for itself.

Madam SPEAKER - No, that is not appropriate and I rule it out.

Mr FERGUSON - Madam Speaker, I am asking that you ask the member to withdraw the allegation. It was dealt with yesterday.

Madam SPEAKER - You have to withdraw it unconditionally.

Dr WOODRUFF - I withdraw.

Madam SPEAKER - Unconditionally.

Dr WOODRUFF - Unconditionally.

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, the question is not surprising, because the comment which has now been withdrawn indicates the Greens are not accepting the decision of the House on this matter.

I was clear during the debate on the Residential Tenancy Amendment (COVID-19) Bill yesterday, for the benefit of this House - and it is on Hansard and therefore public - I have ruled out any changes to section 45(3)(b) of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

Dr Woodruff - No, that is not what the question is about.

Ms ARCHER - That should put the matter to an end. We have been through this, minister Jaensch has been through this.

Following the Supreme Court decision last year in relation to Mr Parsons, the minister publicly made it clear, that the Government would seek advice on the implications of that decision. We examined the issue and sought advice and, as we have said, no final decision was made by Cabinet to change the Residential Tenancy Act in respect to the Parsons matter.

Dr Woodruff - No, that is not what the question is. You were going to do it. You made the recommendation that led to the Cabinet decision to do it.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, please, Dr Woodruff.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Ms ARCHER - The key issue is - as the Premier has wisely interjected - they were Cabinet deliberations. The Greens know this. They want to continue to politicise the matter and they want to continue to scare housing tenants.

I made it clear yesterday in this House and I will say it again. I have ruled out any change to section 45(3)(b) of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 and that is the end of the matter.