In Their Own Words...Liberals | Labor | Greens | Premier Will Hodgman | Labor Leader Bryan Green | Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor
ACL Tasmanian director Mark Brown
25.05.17 7:06 am
The Australian Christian Lobby thanks Tasmania’s parliamentarians for voting today 16 to 8 against a dangerous euthanasia bill that would have given access to assisted suicide to those suffering from non-terminal illnesses, such as chronic arthritis or disabilities.
ACL Tasmanian director Mark Brown said that it was pleasing that parliamentarians were able to see through the legislation and recognise that no laws that allow for state-sanctioned suicide can be good for society.
“The Parliament has today recognised that it is impossible to safely legislate to grant autonomy for the few, without creating danger to many other vulnerable individuals in society,” Mr Brown said.
“Hidden in the bill were clauses that would have allowed those suffering from non-terminal illnesses, such as chronic arthritis or diabetes to be assisted to suicide.
“Extraordinarily, under the proposed bill, death certificates would have been falsified to claim the cause of death was the non-terminal disease.”
“Any notion of compassion is misguided if we accept killing the person instead of killing the pain,” he said.
“Compassion means to identify with and walk together through suffering.
“This decision upholds the ‘do no harm’ that has stood for thousands of years. This bill would have put an incredible onus on doctors to interpret the definitions of the bill correctly.
“As a society we are heading in the wrong direction when we consider laws that have as their primary focus the death of a patient, instead of the care of a patient.
“Tasmanian parliament’s clear rejection of medical killing legislation should be taken to heart by legislators in Victoria, NSW and WA as they consider their own respective debates on this issue.”
Alex McKinnon, The Saturday Paper
25.05.17 7:01 am
Good morning, and welcome to The Briefing.
NSW coroner Michael Barnes has criticised many aspects of how police responded to the Lindt Cafe siege.
Handing down his findings from an 18-month inquest into the siege yesterday, Barnes said police underestimated the threat gunman Man Haron Monis posed, let phone calls by hostages go unanswered and relied on unreliable advice from a contracted psychiatrist who was unqualified for the situation. Barnes highlighted the 10-minute gap between Monis firing the first shot at 2.03am and police storming the cafe, finding that hostage “Tori Johnson was executed in the meantime before the decision to enter the cafe was made”.
Brian Loffler, New Internationalist Australia
25.05.17 6:45 am
BRIAN MITCHELL MP FEDERAL LABOR MEMBER FOR LYONS
25.05.17 6:25 am
On the eve of the delivery of the Tasmanian State Budget, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the Tasmanian Government must accept responsibility for the state of Tasmania’s public hospitals.
In Federal Parliament on Wednesday Mr Turnbull made it clear that Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman could not expect the Federal Government to step in.
Despite Tasmania hardly rating a mention in the 2017 Federal Budget and missing out entirely on the national $75 billion infrastructure package, Mr Turnbull told MPs his Government provided Tasmania with enough money to “enable the State Government to deliver” public hospital services.
“Tasmania’s public hospital system is in crisis,” said Federal Labor Lyons MP Brian Mitchell.
“Tasmanians are not interested in squabbling between the Federal and State Liberal Governments over who’s to blame, they just want it fixed.
“Waiting lists are out of control, ambulances are ramped for hours and sick patients are being sent home because the hospitals are over capacity – and we aren’t even in peak flu season.”
Mr Mitchell said both Mr Turnbull and Mr Hodgman were failing Tasmanians’ health.
“Under Malcolm Turnbull, Tasmania has the second-lowest bulk billing rate for GPs in the country, and new data shows that since last July’s federal election, bulk billing for GPs has dropped another 2.4%.
“Tasmania’s health system is in crisis, with hospital doctors in revolt over management dysfunction, and Mr Turnbull is making it worse by keeping the Medicare rebate freeze in place for the next three years.
“The freeze drives up the cost of going to the doctor - it’s gone up $5.90 per visit since the Liberals were elected - so Tasmanians are opting to instead attend already stretched hospital emergency departments for treatment.”
“Mr Turnbull and Mr Hodgman should be working together to fix Tasmania’s health crisis, not squabble over who’s to blame.”
25.05.17 5:58 am
25.05.17 5:47 am
25.05.17 5:42 am
24.05.17 6:50 pm
Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Marine Environment spokesperson
24.05.17 6:40 pm
The Minister for Primary Industries refused to commit to not changing laws or licence conditions, again, to help Tassal comply with an Aquaculture Stewardship Council order in Question Time today.
The ASC, a global body, identified 19 non-compliances by Tassal with their fish farming practices in Macquarie Harbour. Four were major, and include failing to comply with state and federal laws, presenting mortality reports to auditors, having an effective mechanism for community complaints, and meeting basic fish welfare conditions.
Last year dorvillied worms, a pollution indicator species, were found 7.5kms away from fish farm sites.
At that time, Minister Rockliff stepped in to protect companies from breaching their licence conditions, removing the requirement to monitor dorvilleids from all Macquarie Harbour Marine Farming licence conditions.
A recent IMAS report revealed dead zones under two of Tassal’s Macquarie Harbour leases. Data collected in January this year confirmed the harbour’s animal numbers and species abundance have not improved, and have even declined at one lease.
The ASC have given Tassal 90 days to fix their breaches, or the ASC stamp of approval will be removed from their salmon products. They recognise the quality of their certification brand is only as good as the rules they enforce.
The Hodgman Government spend a lot of time talking up Tasmania’s clean green brand. Without proper oversight and regulation, that brand is directly threatened.
Without minimal environmental protections the Harbour’s marine environment and world heritage values will be more damaged than they are already.
By refusing to rule out interfering in Macquarie Harbour licence conditions once again, Minister Rockliff is putting the marine species that rely on the harbour for survival, as well as the reputation of the salmon farming industry and the jobs it provides, at risk.
Mark Shelton, Liberal Member for Lyons
24.05.17 6:37 pm
The State Parliament has today supported legislation to ban super trawlers in Tasmanian waters.
All Tasmanians who love to fish will be happy this Bill will soon be law.
The Living Marine Resources Management Amendment Bill 2017 fulfils an election commitment by the Tasmanian Government to protect the small pelagic fishery from the impact of super trawlers.
Until now, any future government could have allowed freezer factories into Tasmanian waters simply by a change of regulation.
The Hodgman Liberal Government’s legislation means this will no longer be possible, and instead if a future government wants to weaken the laws, it must bring in an Act of Parliament.
Our Bill should give recreational fishers additional comfort that any future attempt to let super trawlers into the small pelagic fishery will be met with Parliamentary hurdles.
The Tasmanian Government will continue to work with the Federal Government to enact a ban in Commonwealth waters as well.
24.05.17 6:06 pm
Water restrictions at Whitemark on Flinders Island have been lifted.
Water supplies serving the community are now at a level where restrictions on the use of water are no longer necessary.
Stage 2 water restrictions were put in place for Whitemark on 22 March following ongoing dry weather which resulted in the islands water storages falling to low levels.
TasWater’s General Manager for Service Delivery Bennie Smith said that rain during autumn, along with close monitoring of water demand for the town, indicates the water supply is now adequate to meet the needs of the community.
“In addition, we have carried out an extensive assessment of the town’s reticulation network to identify and repair leaks in the system which is helping reduce water going to waste.”
Customers and residents in the town will be receiving notification of the lifting of restrictions by mail this week.
Mr Smith appreciates the cooperation of the Whitemark community and reminds customers to think about using water wisely even though water restrictions have been removed.
TasWater’s ‘Save Each Drop’ program aims to promote water conservation and details can be found on our website, http://www.taswater.com.au
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison
24.05.17 2:40 pm
I was very disappointed when the Prime Minister refused to do something about the serious problems with the Tasmanian health system. Frankly it’s in crisis, a series of state governments have failed to fix it, and there’s a compelling case for some form of federal intervention.
As I put to the Prime Minister in Parliament today, Tasmania has the slowest ambulance response times of any state, GP bulk billing rates are falling and patients are waiting years for urgent specialist appointments. Doctors tell me that patients are dying while waiting for treatment and the problem is only set to get worse unless something is done.
The AMA, the Royal Hobart Hospital Staff Association and others have all criticised the Tasmanian Government for the way it’s handled the health system. It’s clear that the State Government can’t be trusted and the billions of dollars the Federal Government is spending on Tassie health isn’t getting to those who need it.
It was disingenuous of the Prime Minister to refer to the new funding deal for the Mersey Hospital. This was after all no more than a political fix and one that will continue the reality of too many hospitals, which is part of the State’s underlying problem.
John Ramsay, Chair, Tasmanian Health Service Governing Council
24.05.17 2:37 pm
It is incorrect to claim that the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) said no to, or sought to prevent, a review into adverse events or data related to deaths at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
The THS has introduced a process of root cause analysis to routinely investigate serious adverse events.
Further, the THS has a Governing Council Subcommittee on Quality and Safety, and an Executive Director for Patient Safety, to ensure continuous improvement in patient care.
With regard to the matter raised in Parliament today, at the instigation of the Subcommittee earlier this year, following discussions with the CEO, a group of clinicians proposed that they undertake a review at the RHH, in relation to the causes of death which were indicated by reported data.
The THS Governing Council Subcommittee on Quality and Safety advised the clinicians that the review could occur, however it should follow the National Health and Medical Research Council Guideline on ethical considerations in quality assurance.
This guideline is important to ensure that in conducting quality assurance activities, participants, patients and families are afforded appropriate protections and respect, that outcomes are used to assess and improve service provision, that relevant ethical principles and legislation are adhered to and that activities are conducted ethically.
As such a process involves sensitive patient information and clinicians reviewing the notes of patients that were not in their own care, it is essential that due and proper process is followed.
Subsequent to this occurring, the clinicians withdrew their proposal. The THS Safety and Quality Subcommittee decided to proceed with the study in accordance with nationally accepted guidelines and the first stage of the study has commenced.
THS takes quality and safety very seriously and continues to review data to ensure that hospital data coding is accurate and, of course, there is a continual focus on maintaining and improving the quality of care.
24.05.17 2:30 pm
Brenda Rosser, West Calder
24.05.17 2:00 pm
A dwelling along the West Calder Road taken in 1983. The area was predominantly grazing land with scattered paddocks growing root crops organically.
The same dwelling in West Calder after tree plantation establishment. Picture taken in 2009.
The Tasmanian Fire Service ‘Fuel Break Calculator’ only relates to ‘button grass plains’ according to a gentleman at the Tasmanian Fire Service.
He said that the TFS made a mistake when they advised the forest companies to use this calculator to size the break between plantation trees and dwellings.
This mistake has huge ramifications for the safety of rural residents all over Northern Tasmania because the plantations have been placed way too close to their houses; thus lives are in great danger.
The Tasmania Fire Service Fuel Break Guidelines are available on the Tasmania Fire Service website ...
The fuel break design calculator is available ...
Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy
24.05.17 1:43 pm
The Hodgman Liberal Government is working hard to keep downward pressure on power prices and the cost of living and we welcome today’s support for our legislation from the Legislative Council, with minor amendments.
Given the significant volatility in the national market following the South Australian blackouts and the closure of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria, Tasmanians were facing power hikes of about 15 per cent, or $300, from July this year.
The Tasmanian Government regarded this as unacceptable and legislated to protect Tasmanians by allowing the Treasurer to set the wholesale price from July 1. This effectively caps electricity prices for the next twelve months and will protect households and small businesses from a massive price spike.
The Hodgman Liberal Government will always fight to keep down cost of living pressures, like water and power prices, unlike the massive power hikes Tasmanians endured under Labor and the Greens.
Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Human Services
24.05.17 12:07 pm
Tasmania’s Neighbourhood Houses will receive a $25,000 boost in funding to support their work in local communities.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is Building Tasmania’s Future by reinvesting in essential services for Tasmanians in need.
Our strong Budget discipline means $10,000 in surplus funds from this financial year will be provided to each house, with another $15,000 to flow in the coming Budget.
That’s a significant increase in funding for our Neighbourhood Houses and brings our total investment to more than $6 million.
Including indexation of their base funding and assistance to help meet their obligations under the Fair Work Australia Equal Remuneration Order, they will each receive at least an extra $44,000.
The Liberal Government’s support of Neighbourhood Houses recognises the important role they play in being responsive to local need in local communities.
Offering a range of activities that build life skills and encourage social interaction, they make a real difference in the lives of families and individuals.
We are pleased to help the staff and volunteers who do such great work in communities across Tasmania.
This additional support builds on our investment since coming to Government, including our Capital Infrastructure Program, which has been utilised to modernise facilities in Neighbourhood Houses.
The Liberal Government is a passionate supporter of Neighbourhood Houses in Tasmania because they are the centre of many local communities providing vital support services and social connections.
24.05.17 12:03 pm
In parliament this morning Minister for Human Services Jacquie Petrusma announced a welcome one-off boost to the 35 Neighbourhood Houses across Tasmania.
“This is a very welcome and timely boost for the volunteers and staff of each community run Neighbourhood House” commented John Hooper, Executive officer of Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania.
The State Government announced in the 2016-17 Budget $15 000 a year extra funding over two years, for each House. This was an acknowledgement of the pressure each Neighbourhood House is under to cover costs and support their community.
Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania in October submitted to the State Government as part of the Budget Submissions process for each House to receive extra recurrent funding of $41 255. NHT Budget Submission 2017-18
Today’s announcement we see as an acknowledgement of the government’s belief in the vital work of Tasmania’s Neighbourhood Houses, and that the calls from Neighbourhood Houses to their local members of parliament for much needed financial support has been heard. This brings the extra funding for this year to $25 000.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Minister, the Treasurer and all the Government that through savings made in the 2016-17 State Budget they’ve found this immediate lifeline for our Members, and we look forward to further discussions on how a permanent recurrent funding boost can be found.”
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison
24.05.17 11:30 am
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will ask the Prime Minister the following in Question Time today …
“Prime Minister the Commonwealth must intervene in the Tasmanian health system.
“Waiting times are the longest of any state, for example 946 days for urgent gastro and liver appointments, and doctors tell me patients are dying while waiting for treatment.
“Moreover bulk-billing by GPs is, in truth, declining, and Ambulance Tasmania has the slowest response time of any state.
“No wonder the AMA has lost confidence, and the Royal Hobart Hospital Staff Association warns of a severe risk to patient safety over winter.
“Prime Minister considering the Federal Government spends billions on Tasmanian health, will you now order an urgent inquiry into this dangerous, costly and avoidable fiasco?”
WHEN: Approximately 2:15pm TODAY 24 May 2017
WHERE: House of Representatives ( watch live at http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament )
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...
Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
24.05.17 10:35 am
It is important to correct misleading claims made by the Greens yesterday that access to unregistered medical cannabis products will be restricted under the Controlled Access Scheme (CAS).
The scheme is not restricted to Epilepsy.
Medical specialists will be able to seek authority to prescribe these products for any condition they think could be assisted.
These conditions may include severe Epilepsy or the side effects of cancer pain treatments, among others.
It is not up to the Government to tell doctors what conditions can or cannot be treated with these products, provided they are a qualified specialist for that particular medical condition.
We are working with senior clinicians through our Expert Reference Groups on Epilepsy, oncology/palliative care and pain.
The Government’s responsible announcement has been welcomed by medical cannabis advocates, the AMA and Epilepsy Tasmania as striking the right balance for medical access and patient safety.
Alex McKinnon, The Saturday Paper
24.05.17 9:09 am
Good morning, and welcome to The Briefing.
Greater Manchester Police have named the person suspected of bombing Manchester Arena yesterday as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.
Police said 22 people died and at least 59 were injured when Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in a suicide attack at the arena. In a statement, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins asked that “people allow the police and coroner to release the names [of victims] once the families are ready and appropriately supported”, and said that “now more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate”
Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training
24.05.17 9:08 am
The Hodgman Liberal Government wants to give Tasmanians every opportunity for a great future by ensuring they get the best possible education, which is why now is a great time to visit your local library as we enter Library and Information Week (LIW).
Running from 22-28 May, LIW is an annual event run by the Australian Library and Information Association,this years’ theme is ‘Celebrate’.
With just under three million visits in the last financial year, LINC Tasmania is one of the most frequently accessed government services in Tasmania. Additional digital content now available means that more people can benefit from the broad range of information and services on offer through LINC’s website, no matter where they live.
LINCs and libraries across the state will join the National Simultaneous Storytime event on Wednesday 24 May at 11:00 am with a reading of ‘The Cow Tripped Over the Moon’, written by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood.
As well as supporting younger language and literacy development, LINCs play a vital role in our ten-year strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy outcomes, benefitting from recurrent annual funding of $300,000 for the LINC Literacy Skills Development Program.
I encourage all members of the community to come and see what your local LINC or library has to offer.
Find out more at http://www.linc.tas.gov.au
24.05.17 6:29 am
Tourists would be disappointed at a visit to Sydney under new climate change modelling. Pic: Coastal Risk Australia 2100
Lara Giddings MP Shadow Attorney-General
23.05.17 7:11 pm
Hodgman Government ignoring expert advice
Protection of children always paramount but mandatory sentencing is misguided
The Hodgman Liberal Government has ignored expert legal advice by pushing ahead today with its move to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offences.
Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings said while the protection of Tasmanian children should always be paramount, expert evidence shows mandatory sentencing is not the answer.
“It will not decrease the incidence of offences and it is not a deterrent. Submissions to the Government make it clear mandatory sentencing may in fact be counter-productive,” Ms Giddings said.
“Evidence shows mandatory sentencing reduces the incentive to enter a plea of guilty, meaning more cases will go to full trial where victims will have to testify.
“The Sentencing Advisory Council goes as far as to say in its report “mandatory sentencing may in fact be counterproductive and have other unforeseen and unintended consequences such as the risk that fewer people report sexual assaults to police”.”
“The report also highlights the risk that there could be fewer convictions in cases where jurors believe the mandatory sentence does not fit the crime.
“Opposition to the bill has been raised by the Law Society, Civil Liberties Australia, The Independent Bar, the Australian Lawyers Alliance and, most importantly, two reports by the Sentencing Advisory Committee have advised against mandatory sentencing.
“I fail to understand how the Government can continue to ignore expert advice.
“Everyone wants to protect children but mandatory sentencing is not the solution.”
Matthew Groom, Acting Attorney-General
23.05.17 7:11 pm
I am very pleased the Government’s Bill to introduce minimum mandatory sentences for anyone who commits a serious sexual offence against a child has today passed the House of Assembly.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is sending a strong message that there will be zero tolerance for heinous crimes committed against children, a position the community overwhelmingly endorsed at the election in 2014.
It was therefore disappointing to see Labor and the Greens ignore the will of the community and attempt to block measures which are aimed at protecting children.
I call on Labor to listen to the community, and in particular listen to victims of childhood sexual assault, and reconsider their position before the Bill reaches the Legislative Council.
Peter Gutwein, Treasurer
23.05.17 7:09 pm
Ivan Dean’s concession today that he agreed that it was reasonable that a document wasn’t provided to the public Accounts Committee undermines his entire argument as well as Labor’s.
When discussing my concerns regarding the leaks from the Public Accounts Committee and my reluctance to trust them with sensitive information, Mr Dean said: “That is a reasonable position in my view.”
This document has already been assessed by an independent third party as containing Cabinet information and that’s why it will not be released.
By calling for another independent assessment, Mr Dean is questioning the integrity of the public service, which is incredibly unfortunate.
The fact is, the Tamar Valley Power Station was never sold, it won’t be sold and we kept the lights on.
23.05.17 7:02 pm
The release of a report by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies has revealed that not one, but two of Tassal’s farms were dead zones in January this year.
SFP Tasmania supports Huon Aquaculture and Environmental Tasmania call for an immediate stock reduction by Tassal to comply with 12,000 tonne biomas limit.
They are literally burying brand Tasmania in salmon faeces. Based on this mistreatment of Macquarie Harbour and potential to Okehampton bay their leasing operations should be ceased immediately.
“We the SFP Tasmania stand for sustainable salmon farming now and into the future” says vice chair Ken Orr and “unless this government acts we will not only lose this important industry, the damage to the brand Tasmania will be gone forever.”
SFP Tasmania calls on Premier Hodgman and Environment Minister Matthew Groom to stand up and prevent further damage now before it’s too late.
23.05.17 6:55 pm
Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens’ Education spokesperson
23.05.17 5:01 pm
The Greens referred concerns about the governance of TasTafe to the Integrity Commission after serious allegations were raised with our office early last year. Those concerns centered around appointments and procurements specifically.
It is pleasing that the Integrity Commission have taken our referral seriously and investigated the matter thoroughly. Their report, tabled in Parliament today, was comprehensive, raised a number of serious issues and recommended improved processes and consideration of code of conduct investigations.
TasTafe plays a critical part of Tasmania’s education system, helping young people develop skills for their future. They need support to teach trades, and we hope this investigation and the actions surrounding it will not impede that.
The investigation and subsequent report reinforce the importance of well-funded and independent oversight of the public service. Without bodies like the Integrity Commission allegations and conduct are not able to be investigated with the same strength.
The government appears to have taken this matter seriously. The Deputy Premier assured Parliament they will be implementing the recommended changes to recruitment, induction, and procurement processes, however, the Greens will be following this up in this year’s Budget Estimates.
While the Integrity Commission found no evidence of it, it’s worth noting Tasmania is the only Australian jurisdiction without a crime of misconduct in public office. Last year, the government voted against a Greens’ amendment to the Criminal Code Act 1924 that would have introduced this crime.
Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens’ Primary Industries spokesperson
23.05.17 5:00 pm
Today’s announcement that the government’s medicinal cannabis Controlled Access Scheme will provide access for children with drug-resistant epilepsy is a positive step forward. It’s welcome news after years of inaction on this issue.
Last year the Liberals committed to providing access to medicinal cannabis for a wide range of medical conditions.
In State Parliament today, however, the Premier was unable reassure Tasmanians suffering terminal illnesses or chronic conditions, other than children with drug-resistant epilepsy, they would have the same access or provide them with information about when it might occur.
Growers and suppliers are under immense pressure from patients, and their families, trying to access medicinal cannabis to treat many serious medical conditions.
People suffering from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, those with eating disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic arthritis or terminal illnesses are currently being forced to break the law to access medicinal cannabis.
There may also be real delays for those people trying to access the scheme, because of the lack of specialists. The Greens have been contacted by a constituent who has a child eligible for the Controlled Access Scheme, and advised an appointment with a neurologist in Launceston would be a 12 month wait.
Tasmanian patients, and their loved ones, believed the Liberals were making it easier to access medicinal cannabis, and to do so legally. The government’s announcement about the restricted Controlled Access Scheme will water down the hopes of those Tasmanians.