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Bec White and Labor simply give up the ghost in Parliament


Michael Ferguson, Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government has used Parliament this past fortnight to continue delivering our Plan to build a stronger economy and create jobs, invest in essential services and to protect our community and way of life.

The evidence shows that our Plan is working and our disciplined economic management has delivered the best business conditions in the country, which drives economic growth and helps to create new jobs.

Parliament has this week passed a number of important pieces of legislation, such as our landmark biosecurity legislation, without amendment and with full support of industry and the community.

The Government also delivered key aspects of its legislative reform to protect vulnerable Tasmanians, including increasing protections for Tasmania’s children and young people and to hold offenders to account in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which includes making members of religious ministry, and members of the Tasmanian Parliament mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect.

We moved to criminalise acts of serious bullying, including serious cyberbullying and to protect the victims, particularly children and young people. Our legislation strikes the right balance, ensuring we protect Tasmanians from serious cases of bullying, while also being careful that we do not unnecessarily bring people, especially young people, before the courts.

In contrast, it has been a shocking fortnight for the lazy Labor opposition, which under Rebecca White has no long-term plan, can only resort to silly stunts and scare campaigns and is not only getting closer to the Greens, but has seemingly now outsourced all legislative scrutiny to them too.

Of the 11 bills that were debated in the House this fortnight Labor only spoke 11 times, for a grand total of 2 hours and 4 minutes – less than ten per cent of the 23 hours allocated for legislation this fortnight. And Labor was forced to embarrassingly acknowledge in a Parliamentary vote that they only have one solitary policy.

Neither Rebecca White or the Recession's Finance Minister Scott Bacon had anything at all to contribute on key pieces of legislation in the past two weeks. This is the clearest sign yet that the O’Byrne's are calling the shots in the party.

At least the Greens, with only two members, spoke 14 times on legislation and for nearly double the time that Labor's 10 did.

After five and a half years in Opposition, Labor still have absolutely no long-term plan or vision for Tasmania – only stunts. And this new record low Parliamentary performance makes it official.