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Women – Honour Roll

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: Women

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, you weren't the minister at the last celebration to honour outstanding Tasmanian women and we know how important the Honour Roll for Tasmanian women is to acknowledge the great women who are such an important part of our community.

I'm interested in exploring whether there is going to be an effort to avoid the debacle of the last honour roll, when there were two outstanding nominees, one of whom was Christine Milne, former Australian Greens leader and former vice chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the other was former attorney-general the late Vanessa Goodwin, who also missed out on nomination for the honour roll, both of whom at face value are extremely deserving. At the same time, a very well-paid, very senior public servant was inducted onto the honour roll for doing her job. Can you reassure the committee that the process for this year's honour roll will be substantially improved?

Ms COURTNEY - With regard to the process that is undertaken in the department, I will ask either the secretary or deputy secretary to go to that detail because that doesn't happen in my office. A few things we have done this year that are really important is we've refocused the selection criteria. We've simplified the past criteria to ensure we are capturing the information we need. We've developed guidelines to support the applications including information on who can be nominated and how, ensuring that the information provided provides the panel with the information it needs to make a decision. It's my understanding that there has been historically a very wide range in the type of information that is provided and I think that can provide some challenges for the committee with regard to how they do that.

We have an updated nomination form with additional information for completion, including the topics to address as well as suggested word limits to try to provide consistency in the type of information being used by the panel, and the requirement for at least one referee report using a referee report template. In terms of the actual process that has been undertaken, I will get Kate Kent to talk to that.

Ms O'CONNOR - I understand the process in broad terms because I was the minister once. I want to be really sure that the process this year won't exclude people who potentially should be on the honour roll.

Ms COURTNEY - We won't need to go through it but I have confidence that the refreshed guidelines and material that's provided will provide the panel with the information they need to be able to make the best decisions. I can't comment on what those outcomes will be.

Ms O'CONNOR - They make recommendations to you, though.

Ms COURTNEY - I've not received those, so I can't comment on them.

Ms O'BYRNE - You don't sit on that panel do you, minister?

Ms COURTNEY - No, I don't.

Ms O'CONNOR - I don't need any extra information, Ms Kent, beyond just to flag our concern about the last process and desire for this one not to be the same.