The Tasmanian Greens today said both Labor and the Liberals needed to heed the strong criticism by respected outgoing Legislative Council President, Sue Smith MLC, describing the cut to MP numbers as one the biggest mistakes she witnessed in the Parliament.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that restoring the parliament to 35 in the House of Assembly is inevitable and Labor and the Liberals should just get on with it.

“I admire independent MLC Sue Smith for using her closing speech to push the case for restoring numbers in Tasmania’s Lower House from 25 to 35,” said Mr McKim.

“When such a respected and independent political figure as Ms Smith describes the 1998 cut in numbers as one of the biggest mistakes she has witnessed the parliament make, and to the detriment of the Tasmanian community, then Labor and the Liberals should sit up and take notice.”

“Restored numbers in the Lower House would undoubtedly lead to better decision-making capacity, more effective governance and better outcomes for Tasmania.”

“Achieving this would secure stronger representation for the Tasmanian public as well as ensuring a far more robust parliament.”

“The parliament in its current form has reduced the amount of talent available for key positions and gridlocked the parliamentary committee system.”

“In 2010 all three party leaders signed an agreement to restore the House of Assembly to its previous stronger form, however since then both Labor and the Liberals have back-peddled on their commitment to this reform.”

“The argument that the State cannot afford this at the moment is not acceptable as it is when times are tough that we really need good quality decisions.”

“Cutting the numbers in the first place was a blatant political decision to try and get rid of the Greens in the House. This self-serving strategy by Labor and the Liberals has resulted in weaker democracy for Tasmania,” Mr McKim said.
Nick McKim MP Greens Leader Friday, 19 April 2013