White: Time to get back to parliament

LOCAL Labor member and state opposition leader Rebecca White says the State Government has been given every reason to confirm that Parliament will resume on Tuesday next week (October 17) after a tumultuous time in state politics.

“Last week, when the government was unravelling, I wrote to Premier Jeremy Rockliff to offer a ‘pair’ to offset the absence of a Liberal member for Clark,” Ms White told New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News after a weekend visit to the Derwent Valley.

“This was an important step to provide the government with a path back to Parliament so we could get on with the job of dealing with important matters for Tasmanians,” she said. “Once Elise Archer’s resignation from parliament was confirmed, I reaffirmed publicly that Labor’s offer of a pair still stood. The premier responded with a letter seeking written assurance that the offer still stood, which I have duly provided via a return letter.”

Ms White said the uncertainty of a government in turmoil – caused by the premier’s call to former attorney-general Elise Archer to resign – had had a huge impact on Tasmanian businesses, many which were already doing it tough in a challenging economic environment.

After visiting the ArtHouse Cafe in New Norfolk, Ms White said businesses could not have confidence and certainty in the future when they don’t have confidence and certainty in the stability of government. “I am hoping the letter I’ve sent … puts an end to this chapter of uncertainty and instability and provides some comfort to Tasmanians that their members of parliament can get back to doing the job they were elected to do.”

In a statement last week, Mr Rockliff said parliament would resume on October 17 if Labor provided confirmation of a ‘pair’ until the vacant seat in Clark is filled. “Elise Archer’s decision to resign from the parliament was the right thing to do,” he said.

“I said … that if culture is to change in this state it requires leadership and accountability, starting at the top – no matter how challenging the consequence of those decisions might be. I am hopeful that the events of the past few days open a new chapter in standards and accountability in Tasmania. I look forward to welcoming a new Liberal Member for Clark to the parliament in due course.”

‘Pairing’ is an arrangement between two members of parliament of opposing parties to not vote on a particular matter. This enables an MP to be absent without affecting the result of the vote as they effectively cancel each other out. This is particularly important for minority governments which could potentially lose office on a lost vote.

Picture: Legislative Council president and Labor member for Derwent Craig Farrell MLC, left, with state Opposition Leader and member for Lyons, Rebecca White MHA, Tasmanian Small Business Council chief executive Robert Mallett and David Basser of the ArtHouse Cafe, New Norfolk.

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