Tasmanians have known ever since the Lennon government began to implode that their society was at a crossroads. During the Lennon premiership, democracy in Tasmanian fell into deep disrepute, and David Bartlett and his majority Labor government made little progress in restoring its reputation.
The March 20 election produced a 10-10-5 House of Assembly which has given Tasmania a remarkable opportunity to make a fresh start. Tasmanians, indeed Australians, have watched and waited with great interest as the Governor and the three parties sorted out who will form a government.
We now know that there will be a Labor minority government with one Green as a Minister in the Cabinet and another as Secretary to Cabinet. Even so, Labor will need the support of one of the three Greens not in Cabinet or the Liberals to get legislation passed in the House of Assembly.
While most of the recent media coverage has focused on the toing and froing of the negotiations between the Greens and Labor and the final Cabinet makeup, there has been little discussion on what changes are necessary to improve the way Tasmanian democracy and public administration works.
Change requires more than obsessing over who ought or ought not to be Yes Minister for this and Yes Minister for that. David Bartlett and Nick McKim have stated they aim to work together to make minority government work while Will Hodgman has emphasised that one of the key themes of his opposition will be accountability.
If two of the three parties can agree on legislative priorities, and the community supports those objectives and appreciates the benefits they offer, the new parliament may help transform Tasmania and the way the government operates.
So what are the policy, structural, procedural, managerial and administrative changes you would like to see put in place to strengthen Tasmanian democracy over the next four years? How can these be achieved? Who will champion them?
So it’s over to you Tasmanian Times readers.
Please submit a comment (register here if you haven’t already) on what you think:
* are the key issues/areas where reform/change is needed;
* what benefits could be achieved for such a change;
* who you think could drive the reform/change; and
* how the community could support the change process.