The Greens today tabled the House of Assembly Restoration Bill 2018*, which would restore the State’s Lower House to 35 seats. This Bill would strengthen democracy in Tasmania, as it was 20 years ago before the Liberals and Labor cut the numbers.

 

In their attempt to get rid of the Greens, the Liberal and Labor parties created governance chaos and diminished the health of our democracy. Parliament was left with too little talent, corporations left to lobby a smaller number of Ministers and an erosion of democracy.

 

This week has shown us that a House of only 25 members makes it very difficult for the Premier of the day to have real choices.

 

At present, we have a Premier holding seven ministerial portfolios in the absence of Minister Courtney, while Minister Ferguson grapples with an starved health service while also administrating Police, Fire and Emergency Management and leading the House of Assembly.

 

Not a single State or provincial government in a federal system and a comparable population, has a Parliament of the same size or smaller. There are just two smaller parliaments – the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, with a combined population one fifth Tasmania’s.

 

Our Bill has the support of the TCCI and even the Southern Young Liberals, who moved and passed a motion at the Liberal Party’s recent State Conference.

 

The reduced House of Assembly is a an obvious problem to everyone. Restoring the numbers to 35 has the support of the business community, the community sector, and, we believe, MPs of all colours.

 

The Greens will bring the House of Assembly Restoration Bill on for debate in the next sitting week. We are hopeful for tripartisan support to strengthen Tasmania’s democracy and return greater power to the people.