REX GARD­NER

Sunday Tasmanian - - World -

WHEN it comes to a hard day at the of­fice, no Premier in the coun­try can say it with the con­vic­tion of Tas­ma­nia’s Will Hodg­man.

Fol­low­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent reshuf­fle, Premier Hodg­man now has the mam­moth task of jug­gling five port­fo­lios, in ad­di­tion to run­ning the state.

He is the most over­bur­dened Premier by a long shot, and pos­si­bly runs more port­fo­lios than any other Aus­tralian MP.

Vic­to­rian Premier Daniel An­drews and NSW’s Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian find the sin­gu­lar task of be­ing Premier eas­ily enough to fill their work­ing day.

Queens­land’s An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk and South Aus­tralia’s Jay Weather­ill have only added Min­is­ter for the Arts to their job list, which prob­a­bly guar­an­tees a flow of in­vi­ta­tions to great events.

Only in Western Aus­tralia does Marc McGowan hold three port­fo­lios — Pub­lic Sec­tor Man­age­ment, State Devel­op­ment and Fed­eral-State re­la­tions — all of which are ar­guably the re­spon­si­bil­ity of a Premier any­way.

Back in Tas­ma­nia, our over­worked Premier’s seven Cab­i­net col­leagues aren’t short of work ei­ther. They share 20 port­fo­lios.

Yet cu­ri­ously, in the Lib­eral team of elected MPs, there are seven oth­ers with­out min­is­te­rial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Why do Premiers in other states elect to steer the ship, while in Tas­ma­nia our Premier wants to steer the ship, wash the decks and cook the meals?

Not only is our Premier stretched thinly over five port­fo­lios, he will have an elec­tion to fight in com­ing months, by all ac­counts a tough one.

You have to ask whether we are get­ting the best value for money un­der this sce­nario.

You have to also ques­tion how the Premier could pos­si­bly be strate­gis­ing and fear­lessly lead­ing all of his de­part­ments, or whether the depart­ment sec­re­taries and other bu­reau­crats are sim­ply call­ing the shots and run­ning their own shows.

This can hap­pen when the cap­tain has his hands off the wheel.

For the record, Mr Hodg­man, who earns about $300,000 as Premier (less than some of Tas­ma­nia’s se­nior bu­reau­crats) is also the At­tor­neyGen­eral, Min­is­ter for Tourism, Hos­pi­tal­ity and Events, Min­is­ter for Sport and Recre­ation, Min­is­ter for Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs and Min­is­ter for Her­itage.

His work­load in­creased, as did that of other Lib­eral MPs, when Matthew Groom re­cently re­lin­quished his mul­ti­ple port­fo­lios, and Vanessa Good­win left the po­lit­i­cal scene due to ill health.

Mr Hodg­man took on the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral role from Mr Groom, who had stepped in some months ear­lier for Dr Good­win. The heavy work­load of Mr Groom, who was also the Min­is­ter for State Growth, En­ergy, En­vi­ron­ment and Parks, has been divvied up be­tween ex­ist­ing min­is­ters.

Mr Groom’s work­load and the toll it took on home life was a fac­tor in him drop­ping all port­fo­lios and re­treat­ing to the back­bench. He will quit pol­i­tics at the next elec­tion due to fam­ily rea­sons.

Mr Hodg­man’s Cab­i­net in­cludes deputy Jeremy Rock­liff with three min­istries, for­mer Speaker Elise Archer (4), Michael Fer­gu­son (3), Peter Gut- wein (3), Guy Bar­nett (3), Rene Hid­ding (2) and Jac­quie Petrusma (2).

Some sug­gest Mr Hodg­man had an eye on the up­com­ing elec­tion when he chose not to spread min­istries any fur­ther than Elise Archer in his re­cent reshuf­fle.

The the­ory is he wanted the ship to ap­pear sta­ble and not throw rookie min­is­ters into the fire of an elec­tion cam­paign.

So who are these elected Lib­er­als who warm the back benches and are not re­quired for min­is­te­rial du­ties, while their col­leagues down the front are stretched with mul­ti­ple port­fo­lios?

There’s Marc Shel­ton (Lyons) who has been in the House seven years. He is a farmer, for­mer me­chanic, for­mer mayor of Me­an­der Val­ley and a small-busi­ness owner. He had four shadow min­istries when in op­po­si­tion, but didn’t

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