Kim Booth's warning: It's a trap!



MAVERICK BASS Greens MHA Kim Booth has refused to support the Greens- Labor deal, warning that Labor could be setting a trap to destroy the Greens.

He also warned that the deal with Labor would hurt the Greens over time, with a "substantial risk" to the party's special brand that had been built up over decades.

Mr Booth came clean yesterday at a Greens press conference to endorse the roles of Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor in the new cabinet, declaring that he was the lone dissenter throughout last week's intense Labor-Green minority government negotiations, as well as the party room vote to take up Premier David Bartlett's invitations.

Mr Bartlett this week repeated his invitation to Mr McKim to become a minister in his cabinet and also asked Denison Greens MHA and Mr McKim's partner Ms O'Connor to accept a secretary to cabinet position. Both offers were accepted.

Australian Greens acting leader Christine Milne yesterday described the move as a breakthrough for the party nationally in the appointment of the first Greens government ministers. An emotional Mr Booth said that his break with his party colleagues on the cabinet appointments issue was a matter of conscience.

"I have to say that particularly the Bartlett-Lennon years have been the most corrupt, dishonest, destabilising periods in Tasmanian government's history," he said.

"Considering that the premier that serially misled the House (of Assembly) and the public is still in office and my role in unearthing corruption in particular and the fact that many of the people that I heavily criticised and have made very strong statements about in Parliament would still be forming part of a new Bartlett Labor government ... I couldn't in conscience sit in a government with them."

Mr Booth said that he did not feel betrayed by the rest of his party colleagues who voted for the Labor-Green deal.

He also refuted claims of a split in the Greens over the party's decision to support Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor's move into a Labor- dominated cabinet.

"We are hardly a party divided if we are all here," he said.

"I appreciate the fact that my colleagues have no problem with me holding a diverse view to them because that is part of the strength of the Greens - we appreciate diversity."

Mr Booth said that he could not speak for Treasurer Michael Aird about following his example and resigning from a cabinet with Greens members after his repeated claims last year that he wouldn't serve in such an arrangement.

"I think that Michael Aird's statements speak for themselves and that it's up to Michael Aird to explore his conscience about that - it's not for me to dictate how Michael Aird behaves but I think that it says more about Michael Aird than anything else if he remains in that position," he said.

Mr Aird said yesterday that he would be staying on as a minister and that he had always got along well with both Mr McKim and Ms O'Connor.

Mr McKim was forced to retaliate to questions about his relationship with Ms O'Connor and its affect on their new roles in Parliament and why she had been chosen for the cabinet secretary job ahead of top vote winner in Lyons Tim Morris or the more experienced Mr Booth.

He said that he had not commented publicly about their relationship in the past and that was how he would continue.

Ms O'Connor said that it had been Mr Bartlett's decision on who from the Greens would be invited into his cabinet and that neither she nor Mr McKim had known that they would be the ones to receive the invitations until they arrived.

"I don't think that I'm any more deserving than any one of my colleagues - we are all capable, reasonable intelligent people who care dearly about Tasmania and making good outcomes for the people of Tasmania but the letter arrived for me this morning and I've written back to the Premier indicating that I would be honoured to accept," she said.