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Want of confidence in the Speaker

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 2 March 2023

Tags: No Confidence Motion, Integrity, Conflict of Interest

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, we have to seek the leave and have the leave granted to have the full and substantial debate about this matter. It is a tragedy that we are standing here having this discussion today. We should be talking about the issues that matter to Tasmanians. It should not be a question of democracy. There should be no question in Tasmanians' minds about the integrity of any member sitting in the Chamber. That it happens to also be the Speaker of the House is a terrible place that we have come to. That is exactly why we have to fully and comprehensively debate the substance of this motion.

The reason we have to do it is because the Liberals have hidden the information from the very beginning, well before the state election, but especially during the state election, when the Liberal Party cooked up the Local Communities Facilities Fund as an opportunity to pork barrel their way back in, as they did in 2018 when they romped in on the dirty money of the gambling industry. This time they used the Tasmanian version of sports rorts. The Greens have spent two years unpacking what happened, thanks to the media interest and Tasmanians' interest, the people who hold a candle for democracy who understand that we could be living in Ukraine, we could be living in Russia. But we have the great privilege of living in a society governed by the rules of law and the integrity of people who come to this place to make the laws that govern us all. If we cannot have faith in the people who bring themselves here to represent us, then what do we have? We have hard times ahead.

I agree with the Treasurer that this is like chickenfeed compared to the issues we are facing. Except it is not. It is not about a game. I know that the Liberals have now turned everything into a game. They are even putting up Facebook posts of parliament, reporting the votes on a football stadium field with 'for' and 'against', like winners and losers. This is what the Liberals are doing. Everything is a game, everything is about footy, everything is about bread and circuses, just so we do not see what is really happening in Tasmania.

We are here, Mr Speaker, because we do not have confidence in you. We do not have confidence in you because you have failed at the hurdles. You did not take the opportunities to keep yourself out of the conversation in the first place. Then you hid your role and you did not disclose your interests. You did not disclose your involvement in the Bracknell Hall committee in your disclosure of interest. You did not uphold the code of conduct that we all signed up to. This is misconduct by every name.

It is a disgrace that we are here. Any Speaker with integrity would have vacated the Chair during the debate yesterday. Any Speaker with integrity would have had a conversation with his colleagues and would have said: 'Look, let's just go to parliamentary privilege, I am happy to be sent for us to have a conversation in the manner in which parliament provides for members to defend themselves.'

If you have nothing to hide, why did this not go to parliamentary privilege? Why did it just sail through? Why did you not say: 'I am actually voting with the move to take this to parliamentary privilege because I have nothing to hide, I have done nothing wrong, there has been no misconduct, I am happy to explain.' But you did not do that, Mr Speaker, because you do have something to hide. That is exactly why we are here. You have been hiding it and your colleagues have been hiding it the whole way through.

We are talking about $400 000 of Tasmanians' hard-earned money. When you are talking about people doing it tough, just remember that some of those people are forced to pay money that goes into state coffers and you spend it. Except you are taking $400 000 of that and instead of putting it into other facilities or paramedics, doctors and nurses, it has gone to pump up the Bracknell Hall redevelopment again on top of the $600 000 you got from Scott Morrison and that swanning around when he came here and had a special little chat with the Premier and probably with yourself at the same time. Mr Speaker, you have demonstrated you have none of those qualities -