ALP stalwart to retire

The leader of Government business in the Upper House, Doug Parkinson, will retire after 16 years in Parliament. (ABC News: Damien Larkins)

Map: Hobart 7000 Tasmanian Upper House Labor stalwart Doug Parkinson has confirmed he will retire at next year’s election.

The leader of Government Business has held the seat of Hobart since 1994.

The 66 year old says it is widely known he does not wish to serve another six-year term.


The resignation triggered a round of hats-in-the-ring.

Current Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valentine indicated he would bid for the Parkinson seat; Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said she would stand for Mayor; as did Alderman Damon Thomas.

• Nick McKIm

Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

The Tasmanian Greens today said that the ability of the Legislative Council to block money bills without it needing to face a general election was undemocratic and required reform.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that, in the event of the Upper House blocking supply, the Constitution Act 1934 does not require the Upper House be dissolved but, instead, it would be the House of Assembly that would face an election.

Mr McKim also said that recent statements by Ivan Dean MLC, threatening to block the forthcoming Budget Bills in the Upper House over the issue of AFL games at Bellerive, highlighted this serious discrepancy between the two Houses, and the disruptive financial threat it poses to the Tasmanian community.

“The Legislative Council is Australia’s only House of Review which has the ability to block supply without then being required to face voters at a general election,” Mr McKim said.

“The Greens believe the issue requires investigation and reform, and we have proposed that the matter be sent to a Parliamentary Committee.”

“It defies common sense that one chamber will be held accountable to the electors should it seek to block supply, while the other chamber is not subject to similar accountability.”

“Blocking Supply Bills has serious ramifications for all Government employees and contracts, as it can prevent day-to-day financial commitments from being met, and any decision to grind the State’s financial dealings to a halt should mean that those responsible face the people at an election,” Mr McKim said.

Text of Motion Tabled by Greens Leader Nick McKim MP:
That this House notes:

1. Reported comments, published in the Mercury on the 4th of June this year, by the Hon. Ivan Dean MLC in which he canvassed blocking the State Budget during the Legislative Council debate saying “we can block the budget, we have the opportunity to do it”;

2. That any move to block Supply Bills will threaten the payment of all government employees’ salaries, and other routine government accounts;

3. Alone of all Australian Upper Houses the Legislative Council blocking Supply cannot result in it being dissolved and facing election; and

4. That this House agrees that the Standing Committee on Working Arrangements of Parliament inquire into this and related matters.


Premier’s Letter to Julia Gillard Vindicates Greens’ Position – and Respects All Those Doing it Tough
Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

The Tasmanian Greens today stepped up their campaign to freeze the imminent automatic flow-on pay rise for State MPs, and called on the Premier to investigate other measures, should Prime Minister Julia Gillard not be able to assist in decoupling the State from the Federal pay rises in this instance.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said allowing a pay rise of up to four per cent, when the State Budget is projected to contain serious cost-cutting measures, would be out of touch with community expectations.

“The Greens have been pursuing appropriate mechanisms to address serious community concerns about the imminent automatic flow-on pay rise State MPs are set to receive through Federal-wide increases,” Mr McKim said.

“We welcome the fact the Premier has written to the Prime Minister on this matter and note she is yet to receive a reply. We believe this puts the onus squarely back onto the State to find appropriate mechanisms to forestall State MPs’ imminent pay rise.”

“Given the current financial situation, Tasmanian MPs’ automatic pay rise would be seriously out of touch with community expectations as the cost of living continues to rise.”

“The Premier’s request to the Prime Minister for a Federal freeze on MPs’ pay vindicates the Greens’ concerns and those of many others in the community that this would be unacceptable and insensitive in the current tough financial climate,” Mr McKim said.