News, media releases

Premier’s weak response to Courtney scandal farcical

  • Premier – again – shows he is too weak to take real action
  • More questions than answers after Premier’s performance today
  • Full reports into Minister Courtney and department Secretary must be released

Premier Hodgman’s farcical response to the Sarah Courtney scandal has once again highlighted a weak leader who is totally unprepared to make tough decisions and act in the best interests of Tasmanians.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Premier’s failure to take action against a Minister – even in the face of a clear breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct – proved his Cabinet members would not face reprisals for inappropriate behavior under his weak leadership.

“This is a desperately secretive Premier who is prepared to tolerate unacceptable behavior from the Liberal Members of Parliament who Tasmanians put their trust in to represent them and act with integrity,” Ms White said.

“Tasmanians are right to be questioning yet again this government’s lack of transparency and asking: What does a Minister actually have to do to get sacked by this Premier?

“Today it has been confirmed that Ms Courtney breached the Code of Conduct but despite this, the Premier has failed to remove her from his Cabinet, just as he has refused to move his failed Health Minister Michael Ferguson and just as he has refused to address other glaring problems with his government.

“The Premier must end the secrecy and release full, un-redacted copies of the reports he commissioned because right now there are more questions than answers.

“Tasmanians are no clearer today on the pertinent question of when exactly the relationship between Ms Courtney and Dr John Whittington began which is extremely important because of the conflict of interest and because it raises serious questions about every decision she has made as a Minister.

“The investigation has found that Ms Courtney should have disclosed her relationship on September 13 but the Premier says she told him on October 14 – given the serious nature of this conflict, why did it take more than a month?

“The Premier says Ms Courtney has been counselled but does the same apply to Dr Whittington?

“Were staff from DPIPWE interviewed as part of this investigation or were their concerns ignored?

“Have these investigations looked at the potential misuse of taxpayer funds in the course of the relationship between Ms Courtney and Dr Whittington?

“The Premier has to answer these questions – and others – and not attempt to sweep yet another scandal in his government under the carpet.”

Rebecca White MP
Labor Leader