Premier Lara Giddings
Other responsibilities: Treasurer and Arts.
Grade: B- (up from C-)
SHE SAID: There's no denying this has been a challenging year. I'm determined to keep building jobs and opportunities, and helping Tasmanians most in need. We've seen 1500 jobs created since July. More will follow the construction of Musselroe Wind Farm, our $200 million irrigation rollout and strengthened relationship with Asia. We also delivered $37 million in power price relief, and $5 million for cost- of-living initiatives.
WE SAID: Always difficult to grade - a strong performer but is yet to cut through to voters who appear to have lost patience with this long-running government. Impresses with her virtually unflappable nature. Smartly shed the finance portfolio so can work on being a premier rather than a treasurer, and tried to end the year talking about jobs instead of the albatross that is forestry. However, she keeps copping serious flak thanks to diving economic fortunes, a hostile Legislative Council and angry unions. Has bedded down her leadership, and frankly no one else is capable of turning around Labor's tidings - assuming someone can.
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES: Opposition spokesman on economic development, tourism and arts.
Grade: B+ (up from B)
HE SAID: This year - with our alternative budget, the "Roadmap to Recovery and Growth", and five "Future Directions" statements - we have put on the table the most comprehensive agenda of any alternative government in living memory. We have demonstrated that the Liberal team is ready to provide the strong majority government, and the hope for the future that Tasmania needs.
WE SAID: Riding high on a huge personal popularity in the polls as well as a commanding lead for his party. His political strategy isn't complicated: drive a wedge between Labor and the Greens and capitalise on distrust of minority governments. But it does appear to be working. Does he command the troops or is he a figurehead? As the nation's longest serving opposition leader he has had chances, and this election should be his last. Will he have the mettle to slay his political opponents once and for all?
Greens leader Nick McKim
RESPONSIBILITIES: Minister for Education and Skills, Corrections, Consumer Protection and Sustainable Transport.
Grade: C (up from C-)
HE SAID: A year of co-operative government, and lots of outcomes for Greens voters. Tasmania's economic transition is well under way, a ban on battery hen farming, reform of the energy sector, improved education outcomes and important work shepherding the forests toward protection. And the stable government Tasmanians have been looking for from their power-sharing Parliament. Proud for Tasmania that marriage equality passed the lower house, very sad it fell just short upstairs.
WE SAID: Walks a fine line between acting as the leader of his party should and as a minister of the Crown should. Can't stop himself from ruffling conservative feathers, but his comments on starting a rival trade mission and linking anti-logging protests to famous human rights campaigners like Gandhi were silly. Done well with the messy corrections portfolio he inherited. Still repairing relations in education after school closure debacle. Next year's plan to improve high schools will make or break him. In the meantime, would it kill him to wear a tie?
Responsibilities: Opposition spokeswoman on police and emergency services, planning, community development and Aboriginal affairs, and opposition Whip.
Grade: B- (down from B)
SHE SAID: The highlight of my year has been working with the community and working on a plan to restore frontline police services. I'm also committed to fixing Tasmania's broken planning system and I was pleased to detail the Liberal plan to create a single statewide planning scheme. A majority Hodgman Liberal government will make planning faster, simpler, fairer and cheaper.
WE SAID: A workhorse who harbours some serious ambition. With help from the police union has got excellent mileage out of cuts to the sacred "thin blue line". But how will she press home the law and order message to voters when crime in the state is so low? Yet again, missing an opportunity to butcher the government over the planning mess. Must be careful to tone down a tough exterior.
Responsibilities: Minister for Finance, Tourism, Veterans Affairs and Hospitality.
Grade: C+ (up from C)
HE SAID: Through the Tasmanian Access Strategy - to grow services in and out of Tasmania - the restructure of Tourism Tasmania and setting up four regional tourism organisations, I am supporting the tourism industry into the future. As Finance Minister, I am continuing to work with my cabinet colleagues to return the state's finances to a sustainable footing.
WE SAID: The least talkative minister who now and then resembles a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights. Some questioned his ability to take on the finance portfolio, but the topic suits his dry delivery. Slowly but surely gaining confidence since first being elected in 2010 but - just quietly - should hurry up. Come election time though, there's always the surname.
Responsibilities: Parliamentary Secretary for the North Western Economy.
Grade: E- (down from E)
HE SAID: Well, as an old-school Labor man, it's a pleasure to have spent time listening and helping locals with their needs and challenges every day. Simple as it may sound, the people of the North-West and West coasts are what's important to me. I get the biggest kick when we get people new teeth and a roof over their heads.
WE SAID: Struggles to carry out the minimal tasks he is assigned as a backbencher. Often has to repeat the questions written for him as prone to mumbling. Lowlight was taking the shine off eloquent debate on proposed same- sex marriage laws in the House of Assembly when he dredged up claims about homophobia in the opposition's ranks for which he had already been forced to apologise for. Makes up the numbers, but not much else.
Responsibilities: Greens spokesman on forests, energy, justice, primary industry, small business, industry, racing and gaming, and veterans' affairs.
Grade: B (down from B+)
HE SAID: A highlight was helping to drive a grassroots campaign against the super trawler, which united a broad cross-section of Tasmanians in defence of our oceans. The Greens have continued to shine a spotlight on the ongoing destruction of our forests, the wasting of public money on forestry, inaction on pokies and the corrupt approval of the pulp mill. The expert energy panel report, our initiative, has given Parliament a clear way forward on energy reform.
WE SAID: Continued his one- man environment crusade that seems increasingly out of step with his Greens Party colleagues. Must be sleeping like a baby now that the pulp mill project is as likely as snow at Christmas following Gunns' collapse, and Forestry Tasmania (aka the rogue agency) about to be restructured. That might help at election time, but what will he campaign about now?
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on small business, mining, hospitality and veterans' affairs.
Grade: C+ (up from C)
HE SAID: A highlight for me was the Liberals' no more lock-ups stance on mining, and the launch of our Local Benefits Test policy to support Tasmanian businesses and jobs. The lowlight has been the unrelenting decimation of the economy by the Labor-Green government, which has led to record low business confidence.
WE SAID: A jolly and down-to- earth nature can belie his business acumen. As opposition mining spokesman has been able to get some mileage out of the fight over the use of the Tarkine but that also led to questions being raised about his links to mining companies. Tries to take on Deputy Premier Bryan Green in debate but has so far failed to beat the veteran.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on education and skills, innovation, science and technology.
Grade: B- (down from A)
HE SAID: I would rate the positive support for the Liberals' year 7-12 high schools policy from parents, school communities and major stakeholders, like the university and TasCOSS, as the major highlight. The lowlight has been Nick McKim's ruthless budget cuts to schools and the Labor-Green government's decision to legislate for forced school closures.
WE SAID: When he pauses for a moment from being pleased with himself, he is one of the strongest performers on the opposition bench. But then he does have only two portfolios; the fewest of anyone in the Liberal Party. Surely he could relieve Mark Shelton of some? Took some heat early in the year over his 7-12 high schools policy and is yet to fully explain how the numbers add up. Can't afford to lose any momentum on his pro-education agenda.
Responsibilities: Deputy Premier and Minister for Energy and Resources, Primary Industries and Water, Planning, Local Government and Racing.
Grade: C- (down from B-)
HE SAID: The government is securing jobs and creating new opportunities in the rollout of irrigation schemes, major energy reforms to limit power price increases, dairy and aquaculture expansion, growth in mining and the consolidation of Pacific Aluminium and Temco. Launceston's new planning scheme is already stimulating investment.
WE SAID: Carries the mother load of responsibilities within cabinet and this year it appears as though the seams are beginning to fray. Planning remains a debacle; specific legislation was required to get the Parliament Square project off the ground and little progress made on local government plans with Launceston the only one done. Despite clear pro-mining stance is copping flack in his electorate over Tarkine, including from union members. Doesn't appear to have got his way on forestry matters either.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on energy, environment, parks and heritage, climate change and sustainable transport, and justice in the House of Assembly.
Grade: C+ (unchanged)
HE SAID: This government just doesn't understand the impact that charging carbon tax on carbon-free hydro power is having on Tasmanians. It's unfair and it's really hurting. I was really pleased to work with my colleagues this year to prepare a Liberal power policy that would introduce competition, hand back the unfair carbon tax and put genuine downward pressure on power prices.
WE SAID: Why go to listen to what he has to tell the media when you can just break a record and play it over and over and over again? Has been out constantly calling for the carbon tax to be handed back to Tasmanians when his federal colleagues are promising to scrap it all together. Hear little on his other responsibilities ... why even bother with the "sustainable" before transport? With his legal debating experience he is shaping as a formidable opponent on the floor of the house.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on finance, industry and forestry.
Grade: A (up from B+)
HE SAID: In our alternative budget, the "Roadmap to Recovery and Growth", I demonstrated how we would rein in government spending, while prioritising essential frontline services and investing in our economy. In forestry, I have continued to press the Premier to work with us to grow the vital forest industry, rather than working with the Greens to shut it down.
WE SAID: Not just a sharp dresser but a sharp performer in Parliament. Delivers blistering speeches. Has regularly exposed weaknesses of the government in spearheading the opposition's year-long attack centred on forestry and finance. His trademark word is "extraordinary", well so is the volume of his voice. Must ensure that in the lead-up to the election he becomes known as more than just a naysayer.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on infrastructure, local government and road safety, and Leader of Opposition Business.
Grade: C- (unchanged)
HE SAID: I am pleased there is finally recognition of the major freight cost inequity Tasmanian exporters face. The Liberals will continue to focus on ways to address this inequity next year. What has disappointed me is the Green-Labor government's inability to manage major infrastructure - we have a white elephant transport hub at Brighton and their roads package is still in go slow mode.
WE SAID: Hard to imagine Parliament without this veteran there to huff and puff indignation on a point of order in the chamber. A reliable but uninventive performer who should be front and centre considering freight is the number one issue for Tasmanian businesses. Best contribution, however, was stinging attack on the so-far white elephant of a Brighton transport hub. Must be hanging out to usurp Michael Polley as speaker and ease his way into retirement.
Responsibilities: Greens spokesman on water, treasury, economic development, tourism, infrastructure, local government, planning, industrial relations, hospitality and sport and recreation.
Grade: C- (up from D+)
HE SAID: The stalled tax reform process and the high cost of freight continue to be open sores on the economy, but on a positive note there are definite signs of employment growth. Progress on introduction of a waste levy and two-part pricing system for water, as well as moves for compulsory local council voting, all progressed Greens policies.
WE SAID: Yet to learn the difference between a question and a soliloquy. Also struggles to control the chamber when he is deputy speaker. Pursues some important issues but few that grab headlines. His work on the Greens' economic plan, to be released next year, will be critical. So he better get moving.
Responsibilities: Minister for Infrastructure, Economic Development, Innovation, Science and Technology, Police and Emergency Management, Workplace Relations.
Grade: D+ (down from A)
HE SAID: A member of the community recently said to me, ``politicians need to stand up for people, and build and strengthen their local communities''. Our biggest achievements this year have built on those values. Despite challenges, we're growing jobs and opportunities through new regional economic development plans, backed up by record infrastructure investment.
WE SAID: Left on the outer after creating unrest in the PLP ranks he has struggled on with little support. The federal government threw $20 million at freight but the dire situation is effectively the same for exporters. Released a bunch of regional economic development plans, but where is the money to make them work? Oh, that's right, the Premier needed $25 million for her jobs package. As a former unionist this year's no-confidence motion from police members must have stung.
Responsibilities: Minister for Health, Children and Sport and Recreation, and Leader of Government Business.
Grade: C- (up from D+)
SHE SAID: Rising health costs and diminishing GST revenue has created very challenging times. Yet we are building world-class hospitals and laying the foundations of a strong and sustainable health system for the future. Children are central to decision-making across government, and the state has tough new laws to fight high smoking rates.
WE SAID: Horror time at health continued, with this damsel needing to be rescued by another from Canberra. Slipped into obscurity after that, as was already invisible as sports minister. Late in the piece, snagged an extra $35.9 million for child protection services, but only after it reached crisis point. Her condescending responses can grate, but only if you can keep up with her rapid-fire delivery.
Responsibilities: Minister for Climate Change, Aboriginal Affairs, Human Services and Community Development. Greens spokeswoman on environment, parks and heritage, animal welfare and arts.
Grade: B+ (up from B)
SHE SAID: The biggest portfolio win was working to deliver a National Disability Insurance Scheme launch. In housing, we reached the 1400 new homes target, and rolled out energy efficiency upgrades to some 2000 low-income households. We delivered the nation-leading Forest Carbon Study, and negotiated a power smart grid. Announced Aboriginal land to be returned, and plastic bag ban.
WE SAID: Rarely has cause to rise from her minister's chair, with Aboriginal Affairs, Climate Change and Community Development holding little interest for the opposition. From all reports has done well in Human Services hitting affordable housing targets and helping to get a trial in Tasmania of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Sometimes, speaks before she thinks or when her temper gets the better of her. So her increasing use of Twitter must be keeping media minders up at night.
Responsibilities: Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Skills, also Greens spokesman on health, children, mining, police and emergency services and information, science and technology.
Grade: D (down from C+)
HE SAID: Fixing the state's crisis-driven health funding model has been a top priority. I campaigned to trial a single-funder health model in Tasmania, proposed rollout of physician assistants and more preventative health. Our push to end big tobacco donations will continue. The official apology for forced adoptions and the ban on solariums were both Greens-led initiatives.
WE SAID: Dogged in pursuing a handful of issues: protection of the Tarkine; preventative health; and saving the Tasmanian devil. But where is his influence as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Skills and as a former teacher? A ``Mr Nice Guy'' who doesn't appear to be suited to the cut and thrust of Parliament.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokeswoman for human services, children and cost of living.
Grade: D (down from C+)
SHE SAID: Child protection and disability services are issues close to my heart. It's disappointing that under this government both areas are in a sorry state. I look forward to the day when a majority Hodgman Liberal government can start to fix Labor's mess.
WE SAID: Her softly, softly approach is clearly a point of difference to her combative male colleagues. Still waiting for her to have an impact, though, in her portfolios of children, human services and cost of living. Considering the latter is on the mind of every Tasmanian who is watching the cost of power, rent and food all go up, how is that possible?
Grade: C (down from B-)
HE SAID: The year has provided highs and lows with one of the disappointments being Gunns entering receivership after 137 years of operating as a successful Tasmanian company. However, people in Lyons are equally encouraged by the many water and irrigation projects currently under way thanks to state government investment.
WE SAID: Yep, he's still there. In fact this year he managed to clock up a couple of milestones: 40 years in Parliament, and the longest-serving Tasmanian MP. Ever. His influence within the PLP has long waned as the Left grows from strength to strength. Used his conscience vote to say no to same-sex marriage. If any Labor MHA is sure of keeping their seat it's him, but won't know what to do with himself if he loses the role of Speaker.
Responsibilities: Deputy Leader and opposition spokesman for health, primary industries and water and workplace relations.
Grade: B (up from C+)
HE SAID: As shadow health minister, I released a Future Directions paper titled Healthy Futures, which outlined our approach to health including a goal of having the healthiest population by 2025. As shadow agriculture minister, our Cultivating Prosperity document detailed our vision to grow agriculture ten-fold by 2050, and how we would do it.
WE SAID: An affable moderate, who is particularly popular with female voters - just like his leader. Has spent most of the year doing a solid job of tolling the bells on an impending health crisis. Even when straying into "negative" territory still projects a likeable personality. But always in danger of blending into the wall behind him.
Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman for regional development, racing, consumer protection, and sport and recreation.
Grade: E (down from D+)
HE SAID: My highlight is the support the Liberals have shown for regional timber communities. We will strengthen regional communities by growing our pillar industries like forestry, retaining frontline services and extending high schools to year 12. The lowlight is the Green- Labor destruction of regional communities with forestry shutdown and jobs drying up.
WE SAID: Could count his contributions in Parliament on one hand. It is actually possible that he asked more questions in the dying days of Parliament than he did for the entire rest of the year. Persists with his low- profile portfolios but has never looked comfortable since stepping up from local government.
Grade: C+ (up from C)
HE SAID: Most important is the grassroots work that provides jobs and opportunities for Denison. The path is now cleared for redeveloping the Hobart railyards and 10 Murray Street. The forest agreement is crucial for protecting jobs, and our animal welfare improvements have meant a lot personally. I was bitterly disappointed to see same-sex marriage laws defeated in the upper house.
WE SAID: His booming voice commands attention and makes him an effective committee chairman or fill-in speaker. He makes a contribution to various committees and has had an issue-free year as a backbencher. His same-sex marriage speech was a cracker. Seems to be enjoying a low profile, but given his track record as a minister maybe that's for the best.
Responsibilities: Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Cost of Living.
Grade: B+ (up from C+)
SHE SAID: Over 2012, I've helped businesses reduce their power costs, get online and improve their operations. In partnership with the community sector, the government is also trying to ease cost of living pressures. As part of our multimillion-dollar program, we are investing in food security, financial literacy and delivering emergency relief to Tasmanians.
WE SAID: Young and talented - the only one of her kind in Parliament. Handles her backbencher duties with aplomb and sits on a myriad of committees. Will get little public kudos for the work she does in the areas of cost of living and small business as that's reserved for ministers. That might be her lot in life for now, but no doubt a future leader in the making.
Responsibilities: Attorney- General, and Minister for Environment Parks and Heritage, and Justice.
Grade: B (up from C+)
HE SAID: I remain committed to social justice - providing fairness and equality through crucial reform. Landmark surrogacy legislation was a highlight, with electoral donation reform and support for dust-related disease sufferers on the way. We're making progress in the fight to save the Tasmanian devil, and recently unveiled stage one of the magnificent Three Capes Track.
WE SAID: One of only two Northern cabinet members with a lot to lose come election time. Yes, the Liberals are still accepting tobacco donations, but no that won't save your seat. Must be seen and heard loudly in Bass in the lead-up to the next state election. Thankfully, he has thrown caution to the wind and taken a bolder approach to his duties as Attorney-General with success on surrogacy reforms and a long-awaited announcement on age no defence for child-sex offences.