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Want of confidence in Minister Ogilvie

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 2 March 2023

Tags: Misleading Parliament, No Confidence Motion

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - I was waiting for the minister to get to her feet but, anyway, the minister has not.

Mr Deputy Speaker, of course the Greens support the seeking of leave. Of course, we want to see a matter that questions the integrity of the minister debated and resolved by way of vote on the floor of this House but I cannot remember the last time the Liberals in government had the courage to let a censure or no confidence debate proceed past the seeking of leave.

It seems pretty clear that Ms Ogilvie was informed by the Tasracing chair on 1 July of the decision to terminate Mr Eriksson's contract. She told the parliament that on 4 July the former CEO was advised by the Tasracing board that his contract would be terminated. On 6 July, a subsequently issued media release that the TasRacing CEO departed the business on 8 July. When the chairman told GBE hearings that the CEO had in fact been sacked, minister Ogilvie told the Estimates Committee that she was simply relying on the advice she had at the time. She said:

I'm advised on 6 July 2022 TasRacing issued a statement which included comments from the departing CEO, Mr Paul Eriksson, and I quote -

The past two years during COVID 19, given the lockdowns and restrictions had been significantly personally challenging and that he was returning to Sydney to spend time with his family before looking for a new role. My release went out the same day and that is a reflection of what I was advised.

Well, no, what Ms Ogilvie was advised on 1 July is that the Tasracing former CEO had had his contract terminated. We have flip flopping with the facts and parliament should be allowed to hear from the minister.

In fact, the Premier and the Deputy Premier should allow this minister to get to her feet and give a full account of the circumstances here. The media release of 6 July says:

On behalf of the Tasmanian Government, I'd like to thank Mr Paul Eriksson for his service as Chief Executive Officer of Tasracing. Mr Eriksson will be returning to Sydney to spend more time with his family.

That is not a truthful representation of the circumstances of Mr Eriksson's departure.

If there was a reason that the minister felt it was not possible or appropriate to say that the CEOs contract had been terminated, she should say that. If there was a feeling on the part of the minister or the Government that it would be better to protect Mr Eriksson's reputation so not detail the circumstances of his departure in a public statement from the minister, the minister should be open about that. This is the forum for it.

If minister Ogilvie decided it was necessary to mislead Tasmania's people who work for Tasracing and people who work in the industry that Mr Eriksson was simply off to spend more time with his family in Sydney, she needs to explain why a decision was made not to be honest. It is pretty straight forward.

Unfortunately, because the culture in this Government - and it is not just with this Premier, it goes to the previous premier and the premier before that - is that being slippery with the truth is not only okay, it is encouraged. We have had three Liberal premiers who basically say to their Cabinet members, whether it is by a nod and a wink or just simply it is the culture, that it is okay not to be honest. You have a deep integrity problem in the Government. It did not just start with this Premier. So, let us hear from the minister. I am happy to give my last two and a-half minutes on this contribution over to the minister to give her an opportunity to get up in this place and tell us why that media release on 6 July last year was so blatantly dishonest.