The year of dangerous living

These assessments are based on a politician's performance in Parliament and in front of the cameras, not in their electorate, and are compiled by our senior editorial team. 

Tomorrow, we look at the Legislative Council.

Premier Lara Giddings

Other responsibilities: Treasurer and Arts.

Rating: C (down from B-)

A year when unemployment hit a decade-high is never going to be good one for the leader of the state. Things are certainly looking up as she constantly reminds us, but is there enough time to recover from the disastrous job figures? Usually unflappable when facing never-ending questions, she has erred a couple of times this year. With just one word, she managed to put not just the public offside, but rile the majority of her own party members. "Absolutely" was her response to a question about having Greens in cabinet. The issue reflects her admirable determination not to backflip for popularity's sake on one hand, but also her lack of political nous.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman

Other responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on economic development, tourism and arts.

Grade: A- (up from B+)

The likeable face of the Liberal Party's main danger is taking potential victory for granted. Likeable and trustworthy is what the polling says and criticism from the government that he is weak and untrustworthy has hardly made a dent. Not used to the tough questions, he made a meal of the release of the alternative budget, and is a bit too sensitive when things don't play out the way he wants. Lets others on the shadow bench do the talking on the tricky issues too often. Will need to toughen up to be convincing as a credible leader of the state rather than just a nice guy.

Greens leader Nick McKim

Other responsibilities: Minister for Education and Skills, Corrections, Consumer Protection and Sustainable Transport.

Grade: D (down from C)

A shocker of a year as both Greens leader and government minister. While things quietened down in education, it was his other portfolios that gave him grief. A messy industrial bus dispute required a former Labor premier to save the day. And a former prisons boss departed in dramatic circumstances, alleging corruption in the system and getting a huge payout to make him go away. Adding to his bad run, he failed to get voluntary euthanasia past the first hurdle in the lower house.

Elise Archer

Responsibilities: Opposition spokeswoman on police and emergency services, planning, community development and Aboriginal affairs, and opposition whip.

Grade: B (up from B-)

When the best the government has got against this tireless electorate worker is criticism for going to too many meetings, she must be doing something right. The Police Association has made her job fairly easy. Like many of her colleagues, it's time to start explaining her position as well as trading blows with her counterpart.

Scott Bacon

Responsibilities: Minister for Finance, Tourism, Veterans' Affairs and Hospitality.

Grade: C (down from C+)

Holding a handful of the dullest portfolios, Mr Bacon rarely steps into the spotlight. And the nervous media performer prefers it that way. He seems to be providing adequate assistance to the Treasurer as finance minister. Sometimes it's easy to forget he's the Tourism Minister, but he did manage to secure extra marketing funding.

Brenton Best

Responsibilities: Parliamentary Secretary for the North-West Economy.

Grade: D+ (up from E-)

Bestie, as he's known, suddenly seemed to realise an election was around the corner, rousing him from a 3 1/2 year parliamentary slumber. He marked his dramatic reawakening crossing the floor to vote no confidence in a government minister. It just so happened that the minister was one of two Greens in cabinet. Revelling in his new-found status as troublemaker, Mr Best proceeded to bumble his way through a series of motions, questions and stunts targeting the Greens in cabinet. The undisciplined backbencher even got away with calling for the Premier to step down. What were they going to do anyway strip him of the invented title of North-West jobs detective? His antics might be making him more popular among some of his North-West constituents, but are not achieving anything except tearing his own party apart.

Kim Booth

Grade: B+ (up from B)

Relentless and uncompromising, he has further distanced himself from his more pragmatic Greens colleagues in Parliament this year - most obviously when he voted against the forestry legislation. We detected some delight when he was able to say "told ya so" when the sale of Aurora collapsed - something he warned would happen without wholesale competition. He lost some of his thunder with his usual enemy Forestry Tasmania undergoing reforms, but the pulp mill is back on the agenda - conveniently just in time for the election.

Adam Brooks

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on small business, mining, hospitality and veterans' affairs.

Grade: B- (up from C+)

Don't let the brash, unpolished tone of voice fool you. This successful businessman has a lot to offer. His straight-talking style and friendly character appeal to his North-West constituents, while he contributes valuable understanding of what business needs. He disappeared from view when it came out that he took a drive with fellow Braddon representative, Greens' Paul O'Halloran, in the murky days following the unclear election result. This suggests there's some truth to the theory he was keen on doing a deal at the time.

Michael Ferguson

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on education and skills, innovation, science and technology.

Grade: B (up from B-)

Mr Ferguson has made the shadow education portfolio his own with his finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to what's happening in schools. He toned down his sparring matches with Education Minister Nick McKim, but his trademark smug smile or an indignant interjection was never far away.

Bryan Green

Responsibilities: Deputy Premier and Minister for Energy and Resources, Primary Industries and Water, Planning, Local Government and Racing.

Grade: C- (no change)

This loyal deputy is a reliable defender of his leader. The government's strongest performer in Parliament is best off the cuff. He would have been relieved to get the protracted forestry legislation bedded down - no small feat to accommodate a cantankerous bunch of MLCs' demands while keeping the original signatories from walking away at the 11th hour. On mining, it doesn't seem to matter what he does, he can't seem to get traction in his home turf of the North- West. The collapse of the sale of Aurora's residential customer base in September was a huge blow. The weekend that followed that news, he let his temper boil over at the AFL grand final. While some might be all for bringing a bit of biffo back, the scuffle with a Northern Midlands councillor wasn't a good look - punch or no punch.

Matthew Groom

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on energy, environment, parks and heritage, climate change and sustainable transport, and justice in the House of Assembly.

Grade: B (up from C+)

A media adviser's dream, the shadow energy minister never strays from the script. It might make for a good grab, but leaves you wondering: does he actually know his stuff? Indications are he does. How else was he able to completely wrong-foot the government by exposing them over the collapse of the Aurora sale process?

Peter Gutwein

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on treasury, industry and forestry.

Grade: B+ (down from A)

Leads the Opposition attack in Parliament. When he gets going - which is often - he sends everyone reaching for the volume button. As the man in charge of the figures, he got tied up in knots counting expected revenue from the carbon tax while at the same time assuming it will be scrapped under a Coalition government. Extraordinary, as he would say.

Rene Hidding

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman on infrastructure, local government and road safety, and Leader of Opposition Business.

Grade: C+ (up from C-)

So close to the Speaker's seat he has coveted so long, we wouldn't be surprised if he's already had the robes fitted. With freight costs again dominating, particularly in the North, he's had plenty of material to throw at the state government, although he hasn't really made them pay. Promised $33million over three years to get an international ship link back, but industry doesn't seem convinced.

Tim Morris

Responsibilities: Greens spokesman on water, treasury, economic development, tourism, infrastructure, local government, planning, industrial relations, hospitality, and sport and rec- reation.

Grade: C+ (up from C-)

He's the guy that would drop everything to come round and fix your fence - just don't get him started on tax reform. This year he's cemented his reputation for taking on the worthy but dull issues. After spending months on a state-based Greens economic plan, he missed out on his one chance to shine when his federal colleagues swallowed up his hard work, launching a 20-year econ- omic vision for Tasmania in the lead-up to the federal election. Bummer.

David O'Byrne

Responsibilities: Minister for Infrastructure, Economic Devel- opment, Innovation, Science and Technology, Police and Emerg- ency Management, Workplace Re- lations.

Grade: C (up from D+)

Seen by many in the party as the next leader, he's resisted the urge to challenge for the top job now. Instead he's biding his time as a frustrated police, infrastructure and economic development minister. Desperately needs to get a win on freight.

Michelle O'Byrne

Responsibilities: Minister for Health, Children, and Sport and Recreation, and Leader of Govern- ment Business.

Grade: B+ (up from C-)

This fast talker put decriminalising abortion at the top of her must-do list this year, pulling it off on the final day of Parliament. There are always problems in health, and the construction of the Royal Hobart has not gone exactly as planned, but it was a walk in the park compared to the previous years of drastic budget cuts. As leader of government business she's organised and quick on her feet to help interrupt the opposition's attacks.

Cassy O'Connor

Responsibilities: Minister for Climate Change, Aboriginal Af- fairs, Human Services and Com- munity Development. Greens spokeswoman on environment, parks and heritage, animal wel- fare and arts.

Grade: B (down from B+)

Well-respected in the community, housing and disability sectors she deals with. She has worked hard to prepare for what has been a relatively smooth introduction of the national disability insurance scheme. She's not afraid to speak her mind and is a fear-some - bordering on vicious - player in Parliament. Easily dispatched Brenton Best when he tried to highlight public housing issues, but went a little too far calling him a "loser" and had to retract the comment. It's not the only time her sharp tongue has got her into trouble - criticising the PM for firefighting, for example.

Paul O'Halloran

Responsibilities: Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Skills, also Greens spokesman on health, children, mining, police and emergency services, and in- formation, science and tech- nology.

Grade: C- (up from D)

This year seems a bit of a replay of last year for this most likeable politician. With nothing to lose given he's facing almost certain defeat in March, he could've stirred things up a bit. But instead he stuck with his tried and true issues - all things Tarkine, pre- ventative health and endangered species. Got more media attention over revelations of the car ride he took with Liberal Adam Brooks after the unclear 2010 election result than any of these.

Jacquie Petrusma

Responsibilities: Opposition spokeswoman for human ser- vices, children and cost of living.

Grade: D- (down from D)

Lowlight was attempting to politicise the suicide of Hobart teenager Chloe without any answers on what more the state should have done or how the system should be improved. Makes you wonder if she's up to the job of handling the difficult portfolio or better suited to taking easy shots.

Michael Polley

Responsibilities: Speaker

Grade: A

Bowing out after more than 40 years, the veteran will be missed in the corridors of Parliament as much as in the Speaker's chair. Hard to imagine Tasmanian politics without this cunning tactician in Parliament. The man certainly knew how to get what he and his electorate wanted. His wit and experience as Speaker has kept the rowdiness to acceptable levels.

Jeremy Rockliff

Responsibilities: Deputy Lib- eral leader and opposition spokesman for health, primary industries and water, and workplace relations.

Grade: B+ (up from B)

Solid performer. He appears so often with his sleeves rolled up, he must be working hard, right? He competently fills in for his leader, which seems to be quite often, taking the lead on the issues of the day. The health crisis might have faded as budget cuts eased off, but there's always a new report or stats out to throw at the government. For a start, he's found plenty of faults and delays with the building of the new Royal Hobart Hospital.

Mark Shelton

Responsibilities: Opposition spokesman for regional development, racing, consumer protection, and sport and recreation.

Grade: E- (down from E)

Really don't know why he bothers turning up to Parliament. Must be doing something right in the electorate because he's not doing much in Parliament except keeping the seat warm.

Graeme Sturges

Grade: D (down from C+)

Cruising to retirement, he surprised no one when he confirmed he would not be vying for his seat in 2014. Wholly unremarkable year, popping up only to ask the odd Dorothy Dixer. His only other notable contributions were on the two conscience votes, speaking passionately in support of repro- ductive health and backing voluntary euthanasia.

Rebecca White

Grade: C+ (down from B+)

Was there for her community when they needed her most, working tirelessly during January's bushfire and sought no publicity for it either. Whether she's been overlooked by the party leadership or has resisted a bigger workload, she is under-utilised. Quietly works away on cost of living issues but seems to do little more than help at the fringes.

Brian Wightman

Responsibilities: Attorney- General and Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, and Justice.

Grade: B+ (up from B)

Well and truly settled into his role as AG, carrying a big legislative load. Understood to be quite well respected in the law community, but is he as competent as he is cheery? Achievements for the year included strengthening anti-discrimination laws, unexplained wealth legislation and cracking down on dangerous dogs. His attempt to rush through election spending caps was a low point. Pretty quiet on environment unless there's a Tassie devil to be found.

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