Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Lindsay Tuffin

Bartlett chose O’Connor. The Body language …

Premier David Bartlett chose Cassy O’Connor as second Green to join his Labor Cabinet, Greens Leader Nick McKim said today.

Radio National’s Fran Kelly asked Nick McKim about innuendo surrounding the choice of a couple (McKim-O’Connor) to join the Bartlett Cabinet. It is possibly unique in Australian, perhaps rare in world political history.

McKim said the innuendo was unfortunate – but to be expected in politics – and revealed that the choice of O’Connor as the second Green, and Cabinet Secretary, was made by Premier Bartlett.

ABC Radio also reported Treasurer Michael Aird’s recanting of his pre-poll pledge never to serve in office with a Green.

It was just politics, it seems …

Kudelka on Aird: HERE

What Bartlett said on Monday, April 19:

David Bartlett, MP

Premier

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cabinet Secretary Position

The Premier, David Bartlett, said he and Greens leader Nick McKim had reached a compromise position that would mean Mr McKim would accept his invitation to become a minister in the Labor Government.

Under the compromise the Greens would be offered a Cabinet Secretary position.

“I will be writing to Ms Cassy O’Connor inviting her to accept the position of Cabinet Secretary.

“While not a Minister, it will be possible for Ms O’Connor to be delegated some responsibility to assist a Minister in his or her portfolio.

“I have chosen Ms O’Connor based on merit and because I believe she has energy and a lot to offer in this role.

“The decision follows conversation between me, Nick McKim and the Deputy Premier, Lara Giddings.

“As I have said repeatedly, I want to work with members of parliament to provide stable and effective government for all Tasmanians for the next four years.

“The goodwill shown by Mr McKim is indicative of the co-operative politics that Tasmanians have shown they want.

“I remain committed to continuing to build the trust that we have built up in the past week which I am confident will see stable government achieved.

“Tasmania has come too far in the past decade in creating jobs and growing the economy to see the clock wound back because of uncertainty and instability in parliament.”

From:
http://www.media.tas.gov.au/release.php?id=29435

What Cassy will do:
Nick McKim:

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP today confirmed that he will delegate some of his portfolio responsibilities to Cabinet Secretary Cassy O’Connor MP.

Mr McKim said he would delegate to Ms O’Connor Disability Services and Housing, within the Department of Health and Human Services, and some elements of Community Development, including Multicultural Affairs.

Examiner: Body language says a thousand words

BY ALISON ANDREWS CHIEF REPORTER
22 Apr, 2010 08:48 AM
MICHELLE O’Byrne was ecstatic, Bryan Green was remorseful and Michael Aird was conciliatory at Tasmania’s Government House yesterday.

But it was what was not said at the formal swearing-in ceremony for Premier David Bartlett’s new ministry that was more interesting.

National Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, there with former Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Put, said that it was a coming-of-age for her party after she watched Nick McKim sign up as Australia’s first Greens government minister.

“This has been 21 years in the making,” Senator Milne said.

“It was May 13, 1989, when the first Greens entered the Tasmanian Parliament. That was the start of it. This is a fitting 21st birthday present.”

But the unspoken communication between the main players at yesterday’s ceremony suggested that the Greens should proceed with caution rather than celebration.

Government House had done its bit to encourage the state’s new Labor Greens minority government to be a co- operative model.

Braddon MHA Bryan Green, back as a senior minister responsible for six portfolios, four years after being relegated to the back bench after facing court twice, was seated next to his former arch enemy, Greens leader Nick McKim.

And Governor Peter Underwood urged the new Government to be tolerant and respectful of each other, and always work collaboratively for good government.

But he probably didn’t notice the looks of glee shared between Mr Bartlett and Mr Green as Mr McKim took his oath as a new minister, swearing allegiance to the Queen and the Government.

(They looked like boys at school whose plan had worked.)

Or the heavy hand that Mr Bartlett placed on Mr McKim’s shoulder when he congratulated him afterwards instead of the kisses and hugs he gave his Labor colleagues.

Or Mr Green and Mr McKim talking to everyone around them except to each other sitting together in the front row.

Or Treasurer Michael Aird studying the floor as Mr McKim was sworn in as Human Services Minister.

From Alison Andrews’ report, HERE

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. salamander

    April 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Bartlett’s smirk making it’s mark again.

    The only good thing about his behind the scenes plans is that they so often go pear-shaped, so there is some hope for the state. I really doubt that he is capable of the necessary conciliatory and transparent behaviour without being forced.

  2. George Harris aka woodworker

    April 22, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Wait a minute. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. I thought it was spelt out that, by abstaining or absenting themselves from cabinet decisions, or the cabinet room, when issues such as forestry are dealt with, the Greens can argue and vote against such matters on the floor of parliament, thus keeping their principles and policy position intact. Similarly, the Labor members could keep their policy stance intact. If a forestry matter came up, the real acid would be on the Liberals. It would be a real test on how solid their support for the forestry sector actually is. If a forestry matter was lost in a vote, the Libs would cop plenty of curry, but if there was a subsequent no confidence vote, the government would survive. The Greens and Labor would survive, both with their principles intact, but where would the Libs be?
    It sure as hell is going to be interesting!
    Who would want to contest another state election in the short term? The Liberals as a party are not in good shape financially, and a number of the candidates who blew a lot of their own money in the recent campaign would not stand again. Some are so pissed off over favouritism issues they will probably never stand again. Will’s personal vote will not be as high next time, and the prospect of maybe not holding the newly won ten seats would make them nervous about going to see their bank managers too soon!
    Cost would be a big issue for Labor candidates as well, and while the Greens have good grass roots fundraising capabilities, the prospect of loosing votes to the perception of hung parliaments and minority government would likely see their vote struggle to get anywhere near where it did this time.
    So, for all three parties, the need to make this work is considerable.

  3. Steve

    April 22, 2010 at 2:43 am

    10; Mike, is there any chance that you could put your comment into a decipherable form?
    From what I can gather, you’re concerned that the Greens might benefit from donations from Gunns. Can’t see that happening!!
    Not sure what you’re trying to say about involvement with subsidies. Mind you, Nick McKims minister for prisons. Hmm, food for thought!
    Line in the sand? Can’t imagine that the Greens will have much of a say in the behaviour of “their fellow labor cabinet members.” Question of numbers if nothing else.

  4. john hayward

    April 22, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Given his values, an appointment from Barty would seemingly be an embarrassment compelling one’s resignation.

    John Hayward

  5. Mike Bolan

    April 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Neil & autofear, there appear several serious risks to the Greens (hopefully NMCO will deal with these effectively).

    The risks I see so far are that:

    1) at a subsequent election Labor argues that a vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor anyway, thus chewing into the Green vote.

    2) electors become disenchanted if the Greens fail to rigorously pursue their agenda.

    3) The Greens become tainted in some way through association with Labor and/or their policies.

    The risk to the Greens is that they lose their differentiation from Lib/Labs and come to be seen as indistinguishable from Labor.

    NMCO will need to box very clever to avoid all of this.

  6. mike seabrook

    April 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    i gather that means that the greens will not get to share in any of the donations labor receives from gunns and other forest companies.

    or be involved in any subsidies or infrastructure spending which benefits gunns, associates or other forest industry participants.

    i gather that the greens can rely on the line in the sand not being crossed by their fellow labor cabinet members.

  7. Neil Smith

    April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Mike (#6), maybe McKim/O’Connor will clarify shortly whether they have “agreed not to participate in forest policy debates”.

    If so, I would have assumed that this is confined to cabinet-level discussions, and might be smart given that they would surely be beating their heads against a brick wall.

    Hopefully, such an agreement leaves them free to continue to act as opposition members on the floor of the House with regard to forestry issues.

    Thus they might not have gained a lot in this department, but not lost anything either.

    Maybe I am being naive. We all wait with bated breath.

  8. autofear

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Thats very concise Mike Bolan. (6) Not all the risk has been transferred to the Greens. They are not ‘locked-in’ to Barty’s gang and can withdraw completely at the drop of a hat. It’s Barty who is skating on very, very thin ice. Your observation about The Greens not entering into forest policy in cabinet shows that they have given-up on this issue in the face of the Liberal-Labor accord on logging. I think McKim still has the training wheels on.
    Any mature politician would have sat back and let the scoundrels who shrunk Tasmania’s parliament fight it out between themselves. McKim seemed to be the only politician actually interested in having a government after the votes came in.

  9. Jon Sumby

    April 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve read some of these ‘job for the girlfriend’ slurs and some of them border on the actionable IMHO.

    One possible political reason, that I have not yet seen canvassed, is that Bartlett may have made this choice to maximize difficulty for the Greens; in that O’Connor and McKim have said they will remove themselves from discussions and policy-making within the Greens if it places themselves at a possible conflict-of-interest situation or other probity reasons.

    In Cabinet and then in their party, this may make for difficulties. Not overwhelming, but the possibility is that it makes the working of the Greens more difficult.

    It could also be a possibility that they could fall afoul of this undertaking and then political mileage could be made of this, trying to undermine the credibility of the Greens and show that they cannot be trusted with the levers of power.

    Just a thought.

  10. Mike Bolan

    April 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    This whole arrangement could be interpreted as a ‘greenwash’ of State Labor, giving the appearance of an environmental and ethical tick to Bartlett.

    How such concerns can be resolved when the leader of the Greens is a member of the government is very hard to imagine.

    For example, it’s been reported that McKim/O’Connor have agreed to not participate in forest policy debates.

    If true, that implies that they will not represent one key segment of their electorate. They would have colluded with the government to leave those who oppose forestry actions unrepresented, once again giving forestry completely free rein.

    In this case, what would those concerned about forestry have got in exchange for losing that representation and focus?

    When people’s health is being threatened by smoke created by one heavily subsidised industry, surely they deserve the most robust representation?

    There appear to be many risks in this arrangement, and all of them appear to be risks to the Greens and their supporters.

  11. mike seabrook

    April 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    tasmanian liberals prefer to lie in the trenches with the pulp mill, rather than go over the top of the trenches with policies.

    is mr abbott going to do the same, or will he find the anzac spirit and attack the 5 tasmanian labor held house of reps seats.

  12. Political Activist

    April 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Perhaps it is only the first time that a couple in a relationship have been recognised in Cabinet together, because Nick and Cassie have been open and honest about their relationship. Well done.

    Does anyone honestly believe that no MP has ever had a “secret” relationship with another MP? Good grief.

    Congratulations to David Bartlett, Nick McKim and all the Labor and Greens MPs for going the extra mile and burying a few hatchets along the way.

  13. Casey

    April 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    It’s obvious isn’t it?

    How could anyone have expected Cabinet confidentiality to survive the pillow talk?

    Of course O’Connor had to be put on a string as well!

    Casey

  14. John Dudley

    April 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    The nomination of Frankie and Johnny was clearly their own doing.
    What astonishes me is that aside from Kim Booth there seemed to be not a squeak of protest from the others.

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