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Hanson loses Health as Coe gives all 11 Libs MLAs a gig

By Charlotte Harper - 2 November 2016 4

The Shadow Cabinet, which consists of all 11 Canberra Liberals MLAs. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Former ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has lost the senior Shadow Health portfolio to former Speaker Vicki Dunne and all 11 MLAs have picked up responsibilities in Alistair Coe’s allocation of Shadow portfolios for the 9th ACT Legislative Assembly.

Mr Coe said he very confident that the 11 members of the Canberra Liberals team were capable of stepping up to Shadow Cabinet.

“More importantly, this gives us reach into the community. We have 11 people that will be advocates for this portfolio space, making sure we have the policy settings right,” he said.

“We’re going to be a collaborative opposition, we’re going to work with the community, we’re going to have conversations with the community.”

He said it was a team that could match Labor, “and then some”, but did not commit to taking the same shadow portfolio structure to the next election.

“I’m not wedded to having the same portfolios for four years, we’ve got to make sure we’re an effective team,” Mr Coe said.

Mr Hanson stays on as Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs.

He says he will continue to scrutinise the Government’s legislative agenda.

“But also as many people will be aware there are a range of probity issues and integrity issues surrounding the Labor-Greens Government and I’ll be digging into that,” the former party leader said.

“There is talk of establishing an ICAC, I’ll hold the Government to account on that and make sure it’s got teeth, make sure it would look at some of the issues of the former Brumbies site, dealings with the CFMEU, some allocations of funding to UnionsACT, issues like that that are currently under investigation by the police and by the Auditor-General I think need to be referred onto an ICAC that can actually investigate and find out what’s been going on in this city.”

He said he thought the decision to give Health to Mrs Dunne was the right one.

“I think that’s the right call, I’ve been doing Shadow Minister for Health now for eight years, I think that’s long enough and I think Vicki Dunne’s an excellent replacement there to bring fresh eyes,” he said.

“And as Vicki said, she’s got real experience as a healthcare consumer and I think that will bring a new look to that portfolio so I think it’s a good move.”

Andrew Wall will replace Steve Doszpot as Shadow Minister for Education and retain his shadow portfolio of Industrial Relations. He will also be spokesman on Local Business and Tourism.

Mr Doszpot picks up the Shadow portfolio of Urban Services and retains responsibility for ICT and Seniors.

Mr Coe will stay on as Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Transport and go head to head with the Chief Minister in Economic Development.

His deputy, Nicole Lawder, takes on the Shadow Planning, Infrastructure and Heritage portfolios.

Giulia Jones adds Police to her previous shadow portfolio of Emergency Services and stays on as Shadow Minister for Women.

In addition to her role as the Opposition’s Health spokesperson, Mrs Dunne will serve as Shadow Minister for the Arts.

The former Speaker said she was pleased to be returning to a policy role, as while having enjoyed her time as Speaker, she had missed being part of policy formation during the last Assembly.

“I am a bit of a policy wonk, so I do enjoy the prospect of getting back into that space,” Mrs Dunne said.

Of the new MLAs, Elizabeth Lee will be Shadow Minister for the Environment and Shadow Minister for Disability.

Elizabeth Kikkert will be spokesperson for Families, Youth and Community Services as well as Multicultural Affairs.

Mark Parton will become Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing.

James Milligan takes on Indigenous Affairs and Sport and Recreation.

What’s Your opinion?


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4 Responses to
Hanson loses Health as Coe gives all 11 Libs MLAs a gig
1
Garfield 4:56 pm
02 Nov 16
#

I’d be interested to hear from John Hargreaves or Greg Cornwell on the pros & cons of having all members on the front bench and no back benchers. It’s my understanding that they’re all bound by ministerial solidarity meaning that nobody can even consider crossing the floor unless they resign their portfolios. While that may promote the illusion of harmony, it also means that nobody can come out and say that a policy the party has adopted is wrong.

A solid voting block of 6 could completely disregard the views of the other 5 without consequences. I’m not saying that having a Benardi or Christenson breaking ranks would be good for the Libs in the ACT, as part of the problem here is the perception of being too conservative already, but having a couple of socially moderate back benchers able to threaten to publicly disagree on any stances taken that are too conservative could be a good thing for them.

I guess the other obvious pro is that it gives all the newbies a chance to cut their teeth and demonstrate their talents immediately, but even that raises two questions for me. What if someone doesn’t perform? Does Coe single them out as entirely unsuitable by forming a backbench of 1 person? To me that would be more conspicuous than having a number on the backbench and just doing a reshuffle. My concern is that someone who is not ministerial material could retain their portfolio as it would be too embarrassing for the party to drop them.

Then there’s also the issue of whether Dunne & Doszpot will run again in 2020. Neither performed well at this election as the only sitting Lib MLA’s in their electorates and both must be approaching the end of their parliamentary careers. If they’re not likely to run, wouldn’t it be better to give the responsibility to the next generation so that they’re up to speed in the case of a Liberal win in 2020, however unlikely that may appear now.

The final thing I noticed is that law lecturer Elizabeth Lee as the only lawyer of the lot is not shadow AG. I wonder if that’s just a temporary anomaly so that Hanson can oversee the Libs efforts regarding the establishment of the ICAC or whatever they’re going to call it. He at least has first hand experience dealing with Labor & the Greens in the Assembly and maybe they’re worried a newbie might fall into a trap that could lead to a longer term disadvantage for the Libs.

I wonder if they may have been better assigning the higher level responsibilities to the 5 returning MLA’s who are likely to contest the next election, and have the other six operate as assistants. They could even rotate the others through various roles like a grad program so that they get something of an understanding of a broader range of areas and the opportunity to display strengths or weaknesses in the different areas.

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2
Mysteryman 9:27 am
03 Nov 16
#

Garfield said :

I’d be interested to hear from John Hargreaves or Greg Cornwell on the pros & cons of having all members on the front bench and no back benchers. It’s my understanding that they’re all bound by ministerial solidarity meaning that nobody can even consider crossing the floor unless they resign their portfolios. While that may promote the illusion of harmony, it also means that nobody can come out and say that a policy the party has adopted is wrong.

A solid voting block of 6 could completely disregard the views of the other 5 without consequences. I’m not saying that having a Benardi or Christenson breaking ranks would be good for the Libs in the ACT, as part of the problem here is the perception of being too conservative already, but having a couple of socially moderate back benchers able to threaten to publicly disagree on any stances taken that are too conservative could be a good thing for them.

Do you realise that the Labor party functions this way? Labor policy does not allow any member to cross the floor – minister or backbencher. If you do, you’re out of the party. The only exception is for a conscience vote. And they are rare as hens teeth.

Their ‘problem’ of being too conservative is only seen as a problem for people on the left. They seem to think that every party improves by moving closer to left-wing politics.

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3
Garfield 10:45 am
03 Nov 16
#

Mysteryman said :

Garfield said :

I’d be interested to hear from John Hargreaves or Greg Cornwell on the pros & cons of having all members on the front bench and no back benchers. It’s my understanding that they’re all bound by ministerial solidarity meaning that nobody can even consider crossing the floor unless they resign their portfolios. While that may promote the illusion of harmony, it also means that nobody can come out and say that a policy the party has adopted is wrong.

A solid voting block of 6 could completely disregard the views of the other 5 without consequences. I’m not saying that having a Benardi or Christenson breaking ranks would be good for the Libs in the ACT, as part of the problem here is the perception of being too conservative already, but having a couple of socially moderate back benchers able to threaten to publicly disagree on any stances taken that are too conservative could be a good thing for them.

Do you realise that the Labor party functions this way? Labor policy does not allow any member to cross the floor – minister or backbencher. If you do, you’re out of the party. The only exception is for a conscience vote. And they are rare as hens teeth.

Their ‘problem’ of being too conservative is only seen as a problem for people on the left. They seem to think that every party improves by moving closer to left-wing politics.

I’m fully aware that Labor functions that way and I think it’s a big weakness for them. If a Lib backbencher threatens to cross the floor the leadership has to be more consultative which should result in broader support and better policy. Ideally a threat to cross the floor would be done behind closed doors rather than in public.

The problem of being too conservative is seen by people who are socially left of where the Libs have been sitting, which does not necessarily mean its confined to people who are left of centre. There’s also the issue of the ACT being socially left of centre on average, meaning for the Libs to govern they need to win the votes of some people who are left of centre. I looked up the Lib’s values on their website one day and there’s stuff there about personal freedoms, but they seem to be against the freedom of same sex couples to marry, against the freedom of terminally ill people to choose to end their suffering, against the freedom for people to choose to smoke pot, against women being able to choose to have an abortion and against people choosing to use prostitution services that are freely offered. About the only freedom they seem to support is free speech, and in the ACT that’s been in the context of supporting people harassing women seeking to have an abortion.

If the Libs were to become less socially conservative they could appeal to more Canberra voters, and doing that wouldn’t need to see them abandon their economic conservatism or indeed move away from their party’s stated principles. The problem with people on the right is that they seem to see left v right as a single axis and either can’t distinguish between social and economic issues, or place their own personal social views ahead of economics and the public’s social views.

I’m socially rather libertarian but more economically conservative and each year that goes by its getting harder to vote for the Libs because they seem to be getting more socially conservative and placing that ahead of the economics. If they don’t change course, one day I’ll end up voting for someone else and they will have lost a long term voter. I think they’re at great risk of transitioning back to a purely conservative party rather than the broad based liberal party that was originally formed, meaning lengthy spells in opposition such as here in the ACT, or having to compromise with less conservative middle ground parties, and they haven’t shown a great talent for compromise in the ACT.

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4
Mysteryman 4:20 pm
03 Nov 16
#

Garfield said :

Mysteryman said :

Garfield said :

I’d be interested to hear from John Hargreaves or Greg Cornwell on the pros & cons of having all members on the front bench and no back benchers. It’s my understanding that they’re all bound by ministerial solidarity meaning that nobody can even consider crossing the floor unless they resign their portfolios. While that may promote the illusion of harmony, it also means that nobody can come out and say that a policy the party has adopted is wrong.

A solid voting block of 6 could completely disregard the views of the other 5 without consequences. I’m not saying that having a Benardi or Christenson breaking ranks would be good for the Libs in the ACT, as part of the problem here is the perception of being too conservative already, but having a couple of socially moderate back benchers able to threaten to publicly disagree on any stances taken that are too conservative could be a good thing for them.

Do you realise that the Labor party functions this way? Labor policy does not allow any member to cross the floor – minister or backbencher. If you do, you’re out of the party. The only exception is for a conscience vote. And they are rare as hens teeth.

Their ‘problem’ of being too conservative is only seen as a problem for people on the left. They seem to think that every party improves by moving closer to left-wing politics.

I’m fully aware that Labor functions that way and I think it’s a big weakness for them. If a Lib backbencher threatens to cross the floor the leadership has to be more consultative which should result in broader support and better policy. Ideally a threat to cross the floor would be done behind closed doors rather than in public.

The problem of being too conservative is seen by people who are socially left of where the Libs have been sitting, which does not necessarily mean its confined to people who are left of centre. There’s also the issue of the ACT being socially left of centre on average, meaning for the Libs to govern they need to win the votes of some people who are left of centre. I looked up the Lib’s values on their website one day and there’s stuff there about personal freedoms, but they seem to be against the freedom of same sex couples to marry, against the freedom of terminally ill people to choose to end their suffering, against the freedom for people to choose to smoke pot, against women being able to choose to have an abortion and against people choosing to use prostitution services that are freely offered. About the only freedom they seem to support is free speech, and in the ACT that’s been in the context of supporting people harassing women seeking to have an abortion.

If the Libs were to become less socially conservative they could appeal to more Canberra voters, and doing that wouldn’t need to see them abandon their economic conservatism or indeed move away from their party’s stated principles. The problem with people on the right is that they seem to see left v right as a single axis and either can’t distinguish between social and economic issues, or place their own personal social views ahead of economics and the public’s social views.

I’m socially rather libertarian but more economically conservative and each year that goes by its getting harder to vote for the Libs because they seem to be getting more socially conservative and placing that ahead of the economics. If they don’t change course, one day I’ll end up voting for someone else and they will have lost a long term voter. I think they’re at great risk of transitioning back to a purely conservative party rather than the broad based liberal party that was originally formed, meaning lengthy spells in opposition such as here in the ACT, or having to compromise with less conservative middle ground parties, and they haven’t shown a great talent for compromise in the ACT.

Those same arguments are made constantly about the Federal Liberal party. And they won the last two elections. So the idea that the Liberal party are “too conservative” for most voters doesn’t seem to hold water. In the ACT, well, the they lost by 1 seat. And the “huge swing away” that has been reported really wasn’t that huge. I don’t think it was their conservative social policies that lost the election, it was the poor campaign and the lack of visibility in the 4 years between elections.

Left-leaners always want parties to be less conservative, and they speak as though their position is the default position and what everyone else should be aspiring too. That mentality colours the way they view anyone to the right, but I’d argue that it’s not based in reality. The few voters the Libs might pick up by mimicking Labor’s left-wing social policies would be negated by the masses of voters they’d lose for doing it.

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