Giddings back to defend trip and absence

Former Premier Lara Giddings is back in the state after a three-week trip overseas.
Former Premier Lara Giddings is back in the state after a three-week trip overseas.

FORMER Premier Lara Giddings has defended her absence from State Parliament last week, saying she will now look to apply lessons learnt at an international women's leadership conference back home in Tasmania.

With Ms Giddings missing from the House of Assembly, Labor was left with six members for the three sitting days.

The Franklin MHA attended the Berlin International Women's Forum the previous week, and had extended her overseas trip.

Ms Giddings returned to Tasmania on Sunday, and resumed her place in the lower house this week.

Ms Giddings said yesterday that she did not consider it inappropriate to skip the parliamentary sitting week.

"I think most people would understand after four years' heavy time in government, having one week off Parliament is not unreasonable," Ms Giddings said.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green defended her absence last week, saying Ms Giddings had his "absolute support" to be overseas.

Ms Giddings said she footed the bill for the three-week trip, which was locked in before the release of the parliamentary sitting schedule.

Ms Giddings was among 700 female leaders at the conference in Germany, whom she described as "highly accomplished women" drawn from politics, the private sector and the arts.

"This is a group of women you wouldn't otherwise have access to," she said.

"It's a pretty impressive group of women you're able to pull together in one room."

Ms Giddings said discussions raised at the forum, particularly those centred around education innovations, would undoubtedly trigger discussions between herself and parliamentary Labor Party members.

"Being able to hear what's going on around the world makes you stop and think what we are doing in Tasmania," she said.

"It makes you think about what we are doing well and what we are doing poorly, and that we might be able to find ways of addressing the weaknesses."

Ms Giddings said international approaches to teaching and learning could help inform Labor policy.


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