Media release – Dr Bastian Seidel MLC, Labor Member for Huon, 23 August 2021

Statement by Dr Bastian Seidel

I wrote to Rebecca White yesterday evening and offered my resignation from the Labor Caucus as well as my resignation as Shadow Minister for Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing and as Shadow Minister for Parks and the Environment.

Rebecca accepted my resignation this morning. I’ll leave parliament on its last sitting day this year on December 3.

I’ve considered my decision carefully. The problems in the Labor party are obvious.

I have tried to work constructively to solve some of our issues in our party, but have come to the realisation that I have failed. I can’t work in a toxic environment and I can’t work with people who constantly leak information to the media out of pure selfishness.

I don’t enjoy political infighting. Compared to others – I actually don’t get a kick out of it. It is sad and depressing and too often I felt like I was a dispensable pawn in somebody else’s stupid game. I did not sign up for that. My community and my electorate of Huon did not sign up for that either.

Politics was never part of my career path. Professionally I have accomplished absolutely everything I dreamt about when I was a kid. I graduated from medical school in my 20s, got a summa com laude PhD and wrote a medical textbook before I turned 30, became a clinical professor before I turned 40. I became the youngest national president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners shortly after. I don’t have to prove anything to myself or anybody else.

But it has not been straightforward. My first wife died unexpectedly from a brain hemorrhage in 2014. No warning signs. It just happened.

It was a wakeup call for me not to waste any minute of the life that’s been given to me and to start giving back to my community in the Huon Valley. Working harder for better health services. That’s what I did.

I allowed myself to fall in love again. I adore my wife Alex and my two young children. But I have not been there enough for them. They don’t mind really as long as they know that my time away is filled with meaning for my community.

They wanted me to make a difference. It is about standing up for what is right. But my brief time in politics has left me disillusioned, bitter and just sad.

There has to be virtue in politics. But I just can’t see it. And it is for that reason that I have decided to resign.

Comment (via Twitter) – Dr Kevin Bonham, psephologist, 23 August 2021

So Labor down one Legislative Councillor (at least as a member of caucus, not clear if he intends to remain notionally Labor) and Huon will go to a by-election next year.

If he formally resigns before 1 Jan then the writ for the by-election would normally be issued within 40 days meaning early 2022. If he formally resigns 1 Jan or after then the by-election will be held with the annual elections in May.

Seidel won a superb victory for Labor last year in a seat with a conservative history that the party had only ever won once before back in 1942.

So it’s a while ’til the by-election anyway but the obvious speculation is Huon Valley Mayor Bec Enders either as a Liberal or an independent – if interested. Performance at state election wasn’t that strong but Lib campaign was very incumbent-focused.

Media release – Rebecca White MP, Labor Leader, 23 August 2021

Thank you Bastian

It is with great sadness and reluctance that I accepted Member for Huon, Dr Bastian Seidel’s resignation.

His departure is not just a loss to the Labor party but to the Parliament and the people of Tasmania.

I understand Bastian’s frustrations with the party and it is terrible that as a consequence of the events of the past few months Labor has lost someone of his credibility, calibre, dedication to the community and who has so much to offer public life in this state.

Both before and during his political career, Bastian has made a significant contribution to public policy and I want to acknowledge and thank him for the huge amount of work he did to prepare and present Labor’s health policies at the most recent election and for his hard work during the campaign.

We will miss his thoughtful contributions and I wish him and his family well as they look towards the future.