Was Rockliff’s Desperate Dictatorship ‘Clause’ Designed To Distract?

Jeremy Rockliff’s Sunday morning announcement that a re-elected Liberal Party would abolish parliamentary democracy should be treated with the contempt it deserved, Independent MP and Bass candidate Lara Alexander said today.

Mrs Alexander said it seemed clear that the announcement was designed to capture the news cycle, perhaps to distract from disturbing reports about just when the office of then Police Minister – now Deputy-Premier – Michael Ferguson was made aware of allegations of child abuse against disgraced police officer Paul Reynolds.

On Sunday morning the ABC revealed that Right To Information (RTI) documents showed that then Police Minister Ferguson’s office was notified of child sex abuse allegations against Reynolds before Reynolds’ funeral – with full police honours – was held.

A report into child sex allegations against Reynolds found that he groomed and sexually abused teenage boys in the north and northwest for 30 years, starting in 1988.

According to the ABC report, Mr Ferguson was unable to say definitively when exactly he read the document.

Mrs Alexander said the revelation was a concern, given the Rockliff Government’s appalling record on identifying and bringing to justice child abusers in the ranks of the Tasmanian public service.

“I can only assume that the so-called “Stability Clause” announcement – under which MPs who resign from the Party they were elected with will be expelled from the Parliament – must have been designed as a desperate distraction from Mr Ferguson’s woes, because no sane politician would suggest it as a serious proposal,” Mrs Alexander said.

“The only good thing about it is that, if I am fortunate enough to be re-elected, I won’t need a departmental briefing on it because I’m already intimately familiar with the form of Government the Premier is proposing, having grown up under a version of it in communist Romania.”

Mrs Alexander said if the Premier wanted to propose new legislation governing the behaviour of MPs, he should draft a bill calling for the expulsion of Premiers who deliberately avoided oversight to sign secret deals with the AFL committing the State to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

“My colleague John Tucker and I were branded as ‘rogues’ by the Liberal Party and its media allies, but who is the rogue?” Mrs Alexander said.

“A premier who deliberately goes behind the backs of his Treasurer and Cabinet to sign a secret deal to build a billion dollar Stadium nobody wants – and agreeing to extortionate ‘penalty’ clauses, or the MPs who raised the alarm about his rogue behaviour and the secret deal?

“If John and I had not had the ability to resign from the Liberal Party and stay in Parliament to hold the Rockliff Government to account, the appalling AFL deal would still be secret and the disastrous Mac Point Stadium proposal would have been rammed down our throats without any parliamentary scrutiny.”

Mrs Alexander said that the Premier had perhaps been in parliament too long and had lost sight of why he was there in the first place.

“Jeremy Rockliff, just like the rest of us, was elected to serve his constituents in Braddon,” she said.

“Unfortunately, while I believe that the interests of the electors should always be the most important guiding factor in an MP’s decision-making, Jeremy Rockliff clearly no longer shares that view, preferring to place the needs of Party above all else.”

Sunday March 17th, 2024

Tags: News