Restoring Stability, Certainty And Integrity To Tasmanian Parliament – New “

Liberal Tasmania
  • Jeremy Rockliff Premier, Minister for State Development, Trade and the Antarctic, Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Member for Braddon
  • Guy Barnett Attorney General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Health, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Member for Lyons
  • A re-elected majority Rockliff Liberal Government will act to restore certainty and stability in the Tasmanian Parliament by legislating to require that MPs who quit their party mid-term forfeit their seat in the Parliament.

    “Tasmanians deserve to have the Government they voted for,” Premier Jeremy Rockliff said.

    “At the last two elections, Tasmanians have voted for a majority Liberal Government, but this has been stolen away by individual MPs resigning from their parties and continuing to sit in the Parliament as independents.

    “In many cases, these MPs have proceeded to vote against their original parties, and against policies for which they and their party campaigned for at the previous election.

    “During the previous term of Parliament, the situation of two former Liberal MPs becoming independents created great uncertainty for the Government, for our economy and for Tasmania. The positions they took as independents were often in direct contrast with what they supported at the 2021 election when running as Liberal candidates.

    “They have benefited from significant party campaign resources in order to be elected. They have been supported by their party volunteers at the election. They have been voted for by their respective communities on the basis of representing a particular party, its values and its policy platform. Yet, once in Parliament, they ignore these facts, turn their backs on their party and its volunteers, and cause chaos.

    “This situation is clearly untenable, unfair and lacking integrity on the part of these ‘renegade’ MPs.

    “If re-elected, we will amend section 34 of the Constitution Act to provide that if an elected member ceases to be a parliamentary member of the political party for which they were elected, then their seat becomes vacant, and a recount occurs.

    “This will result in a member of the Party for which they were first elected replacing them, and would restore the proportionality of the Parliament, as chosen by the voters.

    “This new Stability Clause makes it certain that if Tasmanians vote for a majority Rockliff Liberal Government this Saturday, they will get a majority Rockliff Liberal Government.”

    Attorney-General, Guy Barnett, said that with the new Stability Clause, the Rockliff Liberal Government is committed to restoring public confidence in the electoral process and stability to our Parliament.

    “A similar provision already exists in New Zealand, which like Tasmania has a proportional representation electoral system,” Minister Barnett said.

    “Our proposed amendment will mean that if a person is elected as a member of one party, and then chooses to become an independent, or join another political party during the term of the Parliament, they will be required to forfeit their seat.

    “We will consult closely with legal, Parliamentary and constitutional experts to ensure that this new Stability Clause, which may also require enabling amendments to other legislation including the Electoral Act, is drafted and implemented in a way which is practical, workable, and consistent with the principles of representative democracy.

    “This includes giving consideration to removing from the Parliament MPs who may seek to “game” the Stability Clause by refusing to quit their party despite acting consistently contrary to that Party’s position; as well as providing safeguards to ensure that MPs are not ejected from their Party, and therefore the Parliament, without just cause. This could, for example, include the provision of a 75 per cent “super majority”.

    The Premier said that a re-elected majority Liberal Government will commence work on the Stability Clause within our first 100 days and introduce legislation into the Parliament this year, with the intent that it apply to the forthcoming Parliament.

    /Public Release. View in full here.