Labor, Greens ready to test government

Deputy Labor leader Michelle O'Byrne
Deputy Labor leader Michelle O'Byrne

LABOR and the Greens are promising to take the fight up to the new government when they take their new positions in Parliament this week.

The Liberal government is keeping the bulk of its legislative agenda under wraps, but is expected to table bills to unpick the forestry peace deal and extend the payroll tax exemption for small to medium businesses hiring new employees for another year.

They will also formalise arrangements for the $30,000 first home builders grant, which expires at the end of the year.

Deputy opposition leader Michelle O'Byrne said they were looking forward to their first chance to question the Liberals directly.

"I think the new government is struggling with the difference between opposition and government," Ms O'Byrne said.

"They are now responsible for the future of Tasmanian jobs and frankly they need to give better than one-liners.

"This will be the first time in 16 years that the Liberal Party have had to answer questions and be accountable for their policy positions and their statements."

Ms O'Byrne suspected the Liberals' secrecy was because they had some nasty surprises for the public.

"My biggest concern is the reason they're not sharing their legislative agenda is that it probably includes some things that the Tasmanian population aren't going to expect," she said.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff refused to provide details on the Liberals' plans for Parliament, except to say that each new legislation tabled would be about jobs.

Greens leader Kim Booth said they would be fighting with one hand behind their back after being denied any extra resources by the new government.

He is still waiting for a response from Premier Will Hodgman to his third letter requesting additional money to hire staff on top of the one electorate officer each of the three Greens MPs are entitled to.

Mr Booth said the Greens had vacated their electorate offices and were redirecting money allocated for rent to pay for a chief of staff as a short- term measure.

He named the "so-called forestry industry reforms, the dangerous moves to abolish suspended sentences and the Liberals' spending-spree election promises" as priorities to be scrutinised.


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