Libs hold fire as new-look house sits

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - ALEXAN­DRA HUMPHRIES State Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter

THE Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil is yet to be­gin de­bat­ing key govern­ment Bills af­ter the first sit­ting day of the week.

Up­per House MPs spent yes­ter­day dis­cussing spe­cial in­ter­est mat­ters, which means the Govern­ment is yet to test the new make-up of the House fol­low­ing the elec­tion of La­bor’s Jo Siejka to the seat of Pem­broke.

The seat was pre­vi­ously held by for­mer At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and govern­ment MLC Vanessa Goodwin.

Ms Siejka’s elec­tion means La­bor has four MLCs in the 15seat Up­per House, af­ter the party claimed Rum­ney from con­ser­va­tive in­de­pen­dent Tony Mul­der in May and El­wick from for­mer Glenorchy mayor Adri­ana Tay­lor last year.

In a let­ter to MLCs, Leader of the Govern­ment in the Up­per House Leonie His­cutt said key leg­is­la­tion to be de­bated this week in­cluded the Bill to dis­miss Glenorchy City Coun­cil and hold fresh elec­tions, and moves to con­tinue phas­ing out sus­pended sen­tences.

Mrs His­cutt said it was un­likely the Govern­ment’s TasWater takeover Bill would come to a vote.

“I take se­ri­ously the role of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil to scru­ti­nise leg­is­la­tion and if mem- bers have sug­ges­tions to im­prove the out­comes we seek, my door is al­ways open,” Mrs His­cutt wrote.

“Honourable mem­bers, I urge you to come and see me to dis­cuss any re­quests or in­quiries you may have about our up­com­ing Leg­isla­tive agenda.”

Ear­lier this week Op­po­si­tion Leader Re­becca White wrote to Pre­mier Will Hodg­man of­fer­ing to work with him to progress the Govern­ment’s leg­isla­tive agenda with only a hand­ful of sit­ting days re­main­ing un­til the March elec­tion.

She said records showed La­bor had helped pass a ma­jor­ity of the Govern­ment’s leg­is­la­tion. The of­fer came af­ter Trea­surer Peter Gutwein said La­bor’s ad­di­tional seat in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil would make it “nigh on im­pos­si­ble” for the Govern­ment to pass Bills through the House.

The Govern­ment dis­missed Ms White’s let­ter as a stunt.

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