Giddings to miss debate on forestry

FORMER Premier Lara Giddings is out of the country and will miss a crucial week in State Parliament.

Ms Giddings attended a women's leadership conference in Germany that wrapped up on Friday, but extended her trip.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green has defended her absence, which leaves Labor with six members.

Ms Giddings, who steered the Labor Party through the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, will not be able to defend her party's position on forestry when it is debated today.

The Franklin MHA attended the Berlin International Women's Forum last week and, according to conference details, it finished on Friday.

Despite appearances on social media placing her at Rokeby in the state's south on Monday, opposition staff confirmed Ms Giddings was still overseas.

The post was made by a staff member, who attended on her behalf.

A Labor spokesman said Ms Giddings paid for the trip, and the taxpayer would not be footing the bill.

The spokesman said the extended stay was planned before the parliamentary sitting schedule of 42 days had been released.

Mr Green said Ms Giddings had his "absolute support" to be overseas.

"We talked about this a long time ago," Mr Green said.

"Lara is very passionate about women's issues and law reform, I thought it was important she attend," he said.

Members of Parliament are not awarded annual leave, and Ms Giddings receives a salary of about $150,000.

The conference was made up of 700 female leaders from 30 countries.

The last time Ms Giddings was overseas she cut her trip short to return for the 2013 bushfires.

Ms Giddings will return for next week's sitting of Parliament.


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