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Burch quits cabinet to focus on Tuggeranong

By Charlotte Harper - 19 January 2016 12

Joy Burch
After six years as an ACT Government minister, Labor MLA Joy Burch announced today that she will not seek a portfolio in Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s cabinet reshuffle this week.

See Ms Burch’s media statement here.

Ms Burch made the announcement at an emotional media conference outside the Hyperdome on Anketell Street in Tuggeranong, a symbolic gesture as she said she will now focus on her constituents in Brindabella as well as getting Labor re-elected in the October election.

“I will contest the 2016 election and the people of Brindabella will have no greater advocate than I,” Ms Burch said.

“My passion for delivering the best for the people of Tuggeranong has in no way diminished; my resolve has in no way weakened. There is always more to do and I look forward to putting my focus into my local community.”

Ms Burch denied any link between the decision and an ongoing investigation into the actions of a former staff member. She resigned as Police and Emergency Services Minister on December 16 when ACT Policing commenced an investigation into Fairfax Media reports that her most senior adviser briefed Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union ACT Secretary Dean Hall on the contents of a meeting between Ms Burch and Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers.

The Minister said today that the investigation was of her former staff member only.

“It’s not been about me. It never has been about me. It never will be about me,” she said.

“What I am absolutely clear about is that the Chief Police Officer and the Chief Minister and the Attorney-General have been very clear: this is not about me.

“It has not impacted on this decision. This decision is about ensuring my focus is on the people of Tuggeranong and Lanyon Valley and ensuring the Labor Government is re-elected in 2016.”

Ms Burch held back tears at one point when talking about her achievements as a Minister, giving examples including the introduction of 4000 extra childcare places in the territory, the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme to the ACT, and making English compulsory to the end of Year 12.

Andrew Barr

Shortly afterwards, Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced that he will this week be expanding his cabinet to seven, with two new ministers to be appointed in coming days.

“I will appoint a strong team of highly experienced ministers and fresh faces who will bring energy and enthusiasm to the renewed ACT Ministry,” Mr Barr said.

He paid tribute to Ms Burch’s efforts to seek reform in service delivery within her portfolios over her six years as a minister.

“Minister Burch has worked in her ministerial career across a number of portfolios as ACT ministers get to do, so she’s had the opportunity to reform areas of public service delivery and has done so. That has, as she’s said herself, from time to time meant the ruffling of some feathers.

“I think that’s the nature of politics. Anyone who is in the business to reform, to get better outcomes, will from time to time ruffle the feathers of some stakeholders, but I want my ministers to be reformers, to be out there looking at better ways to deliver services.

“Minister Burch did that during her time. She has very gracefully stood aside at this point, noting as I indicated prior to Christmas that there would be a reshuffle before the assembly resumed, she’s made way for a new generation of Labor ministers.

“I am very grateful for her contribution and for the way she has handled herself through what has been undoubtedly been a very difficult period, where she has had a great degree of media and personal scrutiny.

“But today’s decision reflects a period of reflection for Minister Burch over the summer period. It’s the right decision for her and the right decision for the Government, and will allow me to bring some new faces into the ministry.”

The Chief Minister said he and Police Minister Simon Corbell had received an update from the Chief Police Officer in relation to the ongoing investigation into Ms Burch’s former staff member which had indicated that it would come to a conclusion in coming weeks.

He confirmed Ms Burch herself was not under investigation.

“At no point now, or in the past have the police been investigating Joy Burch. She was not the subject of their investigation.”

He stressed that police operational matters were independent of the government and that he would therefore await the conclusion of the investigation.

“I did communicate to the Chief Police Officer and he agreed that given the public interest in the police evaluation that it would of course be necessary for the Chief Police Officer to make a public statement in relation to the outcomes of the work. He agreed and will do so.”

Ms Burch will retain her remaining portfolios of Education and Training, Disability, Racing and Gaming and Arts until after the reshuffle later this week.

Nominations for the ministry opened at a caucus meeting yesterday and close at 5pm today, Mr Barr said. He will allocate portfolios after caucus elects the seven ministers.

Neither Ms Burch nor Mr Barr ruled out the possibility of Ms Burch returning to the Ministry post-election should Labor retain government.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Burch quits cabinet to focus on Tuggeranong
PantsMan 4:22 pm 21 Jan 16

Like how the Canberra Times got this off their website ASAP. Cannot have it up because it might hurt Labor.

crackerpants 3:49 pm 20 Jan 16

gooterz said :

No one is expecting better representation to come from labour. I’d expect a raft of independents at this next election as noone knows who will win power.

Time for a change

Agreed. I’m not sure Labor got that memo though. Good luck to them.

gooterz 9:55 am 20 Jan 16

No one is expecting better representation to come from labour. I’d expect a raft of independents at this next election as noone knows who will win power.

Time for a change

crackerpants 6:55 am 20 Jan 16

Nilrem said :

That thing with the pokies was disgraceful. Labor needs to cut its ties with pokies, and its institutional links with the union movement, if it wants to remain electable in the long term.

Agreed.

Ian said :

We’re all supposed to pretend she stepped down voluntarily, right?

I’m not so sure…I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that this is a strategic move. Tuggeranong has been neglected (quite literally stagnating in some areas) for a long time, and Labor must know that they’re on the nose in Canberra’s south. This gives Joy Burch a fresh(-ish) start, whilst positioning a Labor member to campaign hard for the people of Tuggeranong and win back votes that might otherwise be lost.

I don’t live in Tuggeranong but go there often enough, and it really saddens me that such a beautiful part of our region has been let go, while we have Labor throwing good money after bad with more and more hairbrained schemes.

miz 8:10 pm 19 Jan 16

rommeldog56 said :

Ms Burch,

Can you – or someone in the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t, please advise on the increasing smell from the Mugga Lane tip that is affecting Tuggeranong residents. See this link to RiotAct thread :

http://the-riotact.com/why-does-tuggeranong-stink/161163

There has been silence from ACT MLAs representing Tuggeranong and ACT Gov’t Ministers to date – even to written requests & eMails !

Yes, can the ACT Govt representatives of Tuggeranong actually DO something, PLEASE, for your constituents.

Ian 4:46 pm 19 Jan 16

We’re all supposed to pretend she stepped down voluntarily, right?

bj_ACT 4:45 pm 19 Jan 16

Goodness me, she has sat back and said nothing about the Unemployment rate for Kambah doubling since 2008. Watched on as Job after job dissapeared from Tuggeranong to Civic/Gunghalin. Supported federal funding earmarked for Lake Tuggeranong get re-directed to Dickson Wetlands. Talked about the Ashley Drive duplication for 3 Election periods and not actually started it. Never ever can I can recall that she has made a stand to support Tuggeranong ahead of the key ACT election winning zone of Central and Northern Canberra.

For everyone’s sake she should stand aside and give us a Labor representative who will actually do something meaningful for the region. Her record must surely rank her the worst Labor politician since self government. Fellow RiotACTors – Does she give Paul Osborne a run for his money in the bad local member stakes?

rommeldog56 3:51 pm 19 Jan 16

Ms Burch,

Can you – or someone in the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t, please advise on the increasing smell from the Mugga Lane tip that is affecting Tuggeranong residents. See this link to RiotAct thread :

http://the-riotact.com/why-does-tuggeranong-stink/161163

There has been silence from ACT MLAs representing Tuggeranong and ACT Gov’t Ministers to date – even to written requests & eMails !

neanderthalsis 3:33 pm 19 Jan 16

So Barr payed tribute to her for ruffling some feathers? Do those feathers include:

Votes of no confidence from teachers and community groups,
The CFMEU /police briefing
The Menslink/criminal son working with youths,
The handling of the child in a cage affair,
$50 pokies schemmozzle,
Abolishing a number of independent education advisory councils,
Inappropriate fringe festival acts,
Considerable drops in the literacy and numeracy levels in ACT schools,
The Chris Pyne re-tweet,
The Fitters Workshop decisions,
The Chisolm youth housing cluster,
Kids in government care housed unsupervised in derelict buildings…

To name but a few.

John Hargreaves 3:23 pm 19 Jan 16

The maths are simple. There are 8 Labor members. There will be 6 Labor members and Rattenbury. Porter is not contesting the election, Burch has stepped aside. Given that the Governmentcan’t afford to lose Mr Corbell early, it leaves 6 left to fill 6 vacancies. Durrrgh! Welcome Back Mr Bourke and welcome in Mr Fitzharris.

John Moulis 2:42 pm 19 Jan 16

Just go, Joy. You’re starting to look like Tony Abbott in drag, hanging around like a bad smell and refusing to take the hint that it’s time to go.

Nilrem 2:03 pm 19 Jan 16

That thing with the pokies was disgraceful. Labor needs to cut its ties with pokies, and its institutional links with the union movement, if it wants to remain electable in the long term.

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