Media Releases

Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

  • Two weeks since Jaensch’s lie
  • Premier ignores calls for action
  • If Jaensch won’t resign, he must be sacked

Peter Gutwein has failed in his duty to ensure his ministers face consequences for lying to the Tasmanian community.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said her call for the Premier to initiate a formal investigation into Roger Jaensch’s repeated dishonesty has fallen on deaf ears.

“It’s been two weeks since Roger Jaensch lied to the Tasmanian Parliament, and more than a week since I wrote to Peter Gutwein calling for an independent investigation into a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. The Premier has had plenty of time to take action.

“At a time when people in his own electorate are struggling to find affordable rentals, Roger Jaensch decided to make it easier to evict people with no ‘genuine or just’ cause and then had the nerve to lie about it in State Parliament.

“The Ministerial Code of Conduct is crystal clear:


“Ministers must not mislead Parliament or the public in statements they make and are obliged to correct the Parliamentary or the public record in a manner that is appropriate to the circumstances as soon as possible after any incorrect statement is made.”

“On any reasonable interpretation Roger Jaensch misled Parliament.

“Adam Brooks’ resignation from Parliament last year after lying to the Tasmanian Parliament should remind the Premier that this sort of behaviour should simply not be tolerated.

“It is the Premier’s responsibility to ensure that his Ministers display the highest standards of honesty and integrity. If Ministers can’t be trusted to tell the truth in Parliament, how can Tasmanians have confidence in anything they say?

“Roger Jaensch appears to have no intention of doing the right thing by resigning. It is the Premier’s responsibility to uphold the Ministerial Code of Conduct by sacking his lying minister.”

  • Borders set to reopen, no health check plans in place
  • Government has had months to prepare
  • Peter Gutwein must explain his plan

With just over two weeks to go before our borders are opened to most states and territories, it’s alarming that no health check protocols have been developed for major entry points into the state.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said borders were originally scheduled to reopen in August, but Peter Gutwein still hasn’t clearly communicated what plans are in place for health screening for visitors entering the state.

“We have heard that the government has only just begun conversations with the airports about the protocols that will need to be in place to manage the numbers of people arriving in the state.

“Peter Gutwein has had adequate time to prepare our major ports of entry for the influx of arrivals expected when borders open, with staff trained and ready to undertake the necessary health checks. However, it seems that none of this work is advanced.

“It’s unthinkable that these plans are not already in place, with simulation drills being run at all facilities and clear protocols in place to deal with any arrivals displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

“Tasmanians need to know what Peter Gutwein’s plan is.

“The Premier’s own advisory committee has called on the government to give confidence to Tasmanians that control mechanisms to manage COVID-19 risks are being rigorously applied, particularly in the context of relaxing interstate border restrictions.

“Peter Gutwein needs to put the necessary measures in place and the Tasmanian public needs to be reassured that everything possible is being done to prevent COVID-19 from being brought back into the state.”

  • Frydenberg budget an ‘incoherent grab bag’
  • Albanese offers an economic reset and renewal
  • Women key to kick starting the economy again 

Tasmanian Labor has welcomed the alternative vision for economic recovery laid out in Federal Labor’s budget response.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Anthony Albanese’s prescription for repairing the economy and setting Australia up to recover from the recession has families at its core.

“The promise of a universal childcare subsidy will help more people into jobs,” Ms White said.

“It puts women and families at the heart of the recovery, which is where they belong - not relegated to an afterthought as the Morrison Government has done. 

“Labor would invest in more social housing to help people into secure and affordable accommodation and support our construction sector with increased building activity.

“Local manufacturing will be revived under Labor, with a strong focus on renewable energy to help re-energise our economy.

“The Liberals missed a prime opportunity with this week’s Federal Budget, to build a better and fairer Australia. Instead they stuck to their tired old formula of tax cuts that favour higher income earners and re-announced infrastructure projects.

“There is little in the Morrison budget to help the 11,000 Tasmanians who remain out of work as a result of COVID-19. What good are tax cuts to them?

“And infrastructure spending is all well and good, but the State and Federal Liberals have demonstrated that they are incapable of building anything.

“Labor will not overlook those most in need and the most disadvantaged by the country’s first recession in thirty years.

“With Tasmania’s economy hanging by a thread, this was the most important Federal Budget since the Second World War and the Liberals squibbed it.

“Labor will not leave people behind and we offer a plan that would see savings of $600-$2900 a year for every family with children in care.

“All eyes are now on the Premier and Treasurer as he prepares to hand down his state budget next month.

“Let’s hope Peter Gutwein is not looking to the Federal Liberals and their budget as a blueprint. To do so would be disastrous for Tasmania.”

  • Budget ignores most vulnerable
  • Pensioners, unemployed, housing, health all miss out
  • Liberals miss opportunity to build a better Australia

The Federal Budget has failed those most in need, missing a prime opportunity to build a better and fairer Australia.

Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Morrison government’s failure to provide ongoing support to our aged population, the unemployed and other vulnerable Tasmanians is bitterly disappointing.

“With Tasmania’s economy hanging by a thread, this was the most important Federal Budget since the Second World War,” Ms White said.

“But, instead of a vision to build a better and fairer society, the Liberals have stuck to their tired formula, while abandoning people and businesses that really need support.

“Infrastructure spending is all well and good but the state and federal Liberals have an appalling record of building anything. They are good at making announcements and then re-announcing them again and again, but they never deliver.

“Once again, we have tax cuts that benefit those on higher incomes but nothing for the 11,000 Tasmanians who remain out of work as a result of COVID-19. What good are tax cuts for people in desperate need of a job?

Data out today from the ABS shows Tasmania’s jobs recovery has stalled, with more jobs lost in multiple sectors including construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Job losses revealed today are worse than the numbers announced just a fortnight ago and indicate approximately 800 more jobs have been lost in the state over the past month.

“While one-off payments to people on age and disability pensions will be welcome, they are not nearly enough to provide real support to deal with the cost-of-living pressures they face.

“Other big losers from this budget are critical essential services including health, housing and education.

“There is no commitment from the Federal Government to build new social housing. This would have helped create jobs in the construction sector and assist some of the nearly 3,600 households on the waiting list and in desperate need of housing security, with some at risk of homelessness.

“There is barely any additional funding to help out the health system, which was already at crisis point before COVID-19 hit the state, and little additional support for education at a time when students and teachers have faced significant disruption to their learning.

“With this budget, the Morrison Government had a unique opportunity to address inequity and build a better and fairer Australia.

“The Liberals are behaving as though the crisis is behind us when, in reality, we are still in the middle of it.

“These are unprecedented times. For the Liberals to deliver a ‘business-as-usual’ budget is beyond belief and it lets down all Australians.”

“All eyes are now on Peter Gutwein as he prepares to hand down his budget on 12 November to see if he can plug the holes left by his Liberal colleagues in Canberra.”

  • Reduced health services in Derwent Valley cause for concern
  • 1200 people sign petition calling on the government to act
  • Government’s response pathetic and out of touch

The Liberals have snubbed a petition signed by 1200 people concerned about regional health services in the Derwent Valley.

Labor Leader, Rebecca White, said residents were rightfully concerned about access to a GP or after-hours health care.

“With the retirement of two long-standing local doctors almost a year ago, some Derwent Valley residents are still waiting to get on the books with local GPs,” Ms White said.

“In some cases, Derwent Valley residents have been forced to travel to Sandy Bay, Sorell and Brighton to get an appointment or to make sure they can get their prescriptions for medication.

“People in rural and regional areas deserve access to timely and local health services but are continually treated with contempt by the Liberal government.

“It’s no surprise that people in the Derwent Valley have been forced to take matters into their own hands, with 1200 people signing a petition calling for the government to act.

“Yet instead of taking these concerns seriously the government has continued to ignore residents’ concerns.

“The government’s response to the petition was to tell residents that they have ‘an appropriate level of access to out of hours care through the New Norfolk Ambulance Tasmania service’.

“This is completely out of touch – the ambulance station is dependent on volunteers to fully staff the roster and in some cases cannot open because there isn’t anyone available.

“A lack of access to GPs and community-based care contributes to added pressure on the hospital system because people can’t access the care they need to stay well.

“Labor understands the importance of making sure people have access to health care when and where they need it and will continue to call for better regional health services for the Derwent Valley and other regions across Tasmania.”

  • Premier must direct investigation into breaches
  • Toxic culture in Liberal Party revealed again
  • Roger Jaensch unfit to be Minister of the Crown

Labor has called for a formal investigation into breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct by Roger Jaensch.

Labor Leader, Rebecca White, yesterday wrote to the Premier requesting he direct an arm’s length and independent assessment of Jaensch’s breach to ensure the Ministerial Code of Conduct is upheld.

“It is the Premier’s responsibility to ensure that his Ministers display the highest standards of honesty and integrity,” Ms White said.

“Instead Peter Gutwein has surrounded himself with people whose default is to deceive and mislead.

“Adam Brooks’ resignation from Parliament last year after lying to the Tasmanian Parliament should remind the Premier that this sort of behaviour should simply not be tolerated.

“Peter Gutwein’s failure to change the toxic culture in the Liberal Party is a damning reflection on his own integrity and a blatant display of weak leadership.

“Roger Jaench is clearly unfit to be a Minister of the Crown. At a time when people in his own electorate are struggling to find affordable rentals, Roger Jaensch decided to make it easier to evict people with no ‘genuine or just’ cause and then had the nerve to lie about it.

“It is vital that the Premier now directs an independent assessment of Jaensch’s breach to ensure the Ministerial Code of Conduct is upheld.”

  • Roger Jaensch lied
  • He did not correct the record
  • Gutwein must sack the Minister

Peter Gutwein must uphold the standards enshrined in the Ministerial Code of Conduct by sacking Roger Jaensch.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Ministerial Code is crystal clear:

“Ministers must not mislead Parliament or the public in statements they make and are obliged to correct the Parliamentary or the public record in a manner that is appropriate to the circumstances as soon as possible after any incorrect statement is made.”

“On any reasonable interpretation Roger Jaensch misled Parliament,” Ms White said.

“He did not correct the record, in fact he created a new lie – the nonsensical claim that Cabinet has not made a decision until legislation is introduced to Parliament.

“Governments make decisions every day without passing laws through the Parliament.

“Roger Jaensch has dug a big hole for himself and the Premier is right down there with him, cheering him on.

“The leaked document has the words “decision” emblazoned across it. It literally could not be clearer.

“All Tasmanians should be concerned about the appalling standards that have been tolerated and encouraged by Peter Gutwein.

“If Ministers can’t be trusted to tell the truth in Parliament, how can anyone have confidence in anything they say?

“If Peter Gutwein doesn’t take action against his lying Minister, then the Ministerial Code of Conduct is not worth the paper it is written on.”

  • Premier must explain speedy backflip on FIFO workers
  • PESRAC recommendations call for clear explanation of decisions
  • Will these rules apply to other Tasmanians travelling to non-affected areas?

Peter Gutwein needs to explain what advice he relied on when backflipping on his decision around FIFO workers.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor raised the plight of FIFO workers after many felt they were being used as pawns by the government when it announced that seasonal workers could come into the state without quarantining.

“The Premier has accepted the recommendations of the PESRAC interim report, which clearly calls on the government to explain the basis of these decisions,” Ms White said.

“Mr Gutwein says he relies on public health advice when making decisions about border controls but he couldn’t explain today what that advice was or why it had changed so quickly.

“What the Premier did say is that public health officials are happy for FIFO workers to return home to Tasmania and not go into quarantine if they have been away for seven days or more.

“If public health advice supports the return of Tasmanians from non-affected areas who have been away for longer than seven days, can Tasmanians who’ve been separated from their families on the mainland be reunited if they comply with the same conditions?

“Many families have been separated for months, with some missing the birth of grandchildren and others unable to see their children or parents.

“The Premier needs to explain whether the same public health advice will allow Tasmanians to visit their loved ones in a non-affected area and then travel home after seven days and avoid quarantine and, if not, he must explain why not.

“The Premier has not been consistent and transparent in his decision making.

“Tasmanians have made many sacrifices over the past six months. They deserve a full explanation of the decisions that affect them.”

  • Latest ABS data shows sobering reality for thousands of Tasmanian workers
  • More pain ahead with imminent JobKeeper cuts 
  • Government must join Labor and fight for greater federal support

Tasmanian workers, their families and businesses across the state face more significant pain unless Peter Gutwein gets his head out of the sand and stands up for Tasmanian jobs.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said next week’s planned cuts to JobKeeper, on top of yesterday’s sobering jobs figures, will leave the economy on a knife edge.

“The latest ABS data shows Tasmanian jobs are down by 4.3 per cent or more than 11,000 jobs, since March, with job losses here higher than anywhere except Victoria and the ACT,” Ms White said.

“ANZ economists have warned against cutting government stimulus too early and say the outlook for household spending is particularly uncertain.

“And the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has today called on the government to act, with the CEO Michael Bailey saying “now it’s time to outline a clear plan for dealing with the economic crisis that COVID has created”.

“Yet, the Premier and his hapless Finance Minister Michael Ferguson continue to spin the numbers, while failing to acknowledge the reality facing thousands of Tasmanian workers, their families and local businesses.

“With 15,000 Tasmanian businesses in receipt of JobKeeper, tens of thousands of workers are just a week away from a significant pay cut, with the economy set to lose millions of dollars.

“The Premier must stand up for Tasmanian jobs and I urge him to join Labor in fighting his federal Liberal colleagues for greater support, rather than backing these damaging cuts to JobKeeper.

“Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package sets out a plan to get Tasmanians back into jobs and help those hardest-hit by the pandemic. We need to put Tasmanians above politics and work together to protect local jobs and keep Tasmania’s economy afloat.

  • Government must be clear on its plan to manage COVID
  • Premier continues to ignore advice from his own advisory council
  • Tasmanians deserve to know their sacrifices have not been in vain

Peter Gutwein has failed to explain how the state government would handle future outbreaks of COVID-19.

Labor Leader, Rebecca White, said the Premier failed to answer questions in parliament today about the state’s COVID management plan.

“The Tasmanian community has made sacrifices on the basis the government would do the work to prepare our state for any future outbreak,” Ms White said.

“Now that the Premier plans on loosening border controls the community needs to have confidence the government has a plan if and when COVID returns.

“Yet today in parliament Peter Gutwein ignored calls to explain his plan, in the same way he has ignored the advice of his own advisory council.

“Recommendation two of the PESRAC interim report called on the government to immediately explain to the community its future COVID-19 management strategy, including how any future outbreaks will be handled.

“The call from PESRAC was more than two months ago, and Tasmanians are still waiting for clarity.

“The Premier has said people should expect more cases before we are through this. It’s vital that Tasmanians understand the pathway out of this pandemic and that the government is clear on its plan to manage and respond to COVID.”

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