The Labor Party is disappointed that the Liberal government and Independent Member for Clark Madeleine Ogilvie have again joined forces to vote down a sensible option for more regular parliamentary sittings.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the rejection of Labor’s proposal for parliament to meet fortnightly leaves Tasmania without sufficient parliamentary oversight of decision making and also diminishes the flexibility the government may need to deal with matters that could arise before the next sitting day scheduled for 3 June.
“Throughout this crisis, Labor has provided support for the government’s measures to keep Tasmanians safe, and the parliament has handed them extraordinary powers to do this” Ms White said.
“But we have always maintained the need for scrutiny of government legislation – that is our job and we owe it to Tasmanians to do our job comprehensively, particularly during a State of Emergency.
“With the government set to announce its pathway to reopening the economy tomorrow, it is perfectly reasonable to expect Tasmania’s elected representatives to meet more regularly and make sure the community has its voice heard in the parliament.
“Our proposal for parliament to return in two weeks and meet fortnightly thereafter, was a sensible option and I’m disappointed that the Liberals and Madeleine Ogilvie have again joined forces to defeat it.
“Measures have been put in place to allow parliament to meet with appropriate social distancing in place to protect staff and MPs, and I will be writing to the Premier, asking him to reconsider the parliamentary sitting schedule.
“The government has our support to do all it needs to protect lives, but we cannot allow parliamentary scrutiny and transparency to be diminished – they are vital to our democracy.”
Rebecca White MP