Greens cabinet minister Cassy O'Connor says her problems with parking fines belong to a "past life" and did not reflect poorly on her ability to perform her job.
"Parking fines have been a bit of a bane of my life," Ms O'Connor said yesterday.
She said that her failure to pay 17 overdue fines, dating back to 2006, until May last year did not mean she was incapable of managing her portfolios.
"All I can say is that as a minister I juggle things every day. As a former journalist I do question the news value of it, I'm not sure that parking fines go to the heart of what I'm doing as the Minister for Human Services."
Ms O'Connor, who now has access to a chauffeur-driven car for official duties, has not had a parking fine since late last year, but paid a $337 overdue infringement notice on Wednesday.
Senior law lecturer at the University of Tasmania Michael Stokes said that there was nothing to stop people with unpaid fines entering Parliament.
"It's not ideal in the sense that MPs should set the standards for other people."
But he said that the more important thing was she had not tried to use her position to get out of the fines or reduce the penalties.
Ms O'Connor acknowledged her poor record, which includes losing her driver's licence for three months last year, was a bad look.
"I'm not proud of this, I'm human, I've made a mistake and I have dealt with that mistake."
The bulk of the fines were accrued before her election to State Parliament in 2008.
She was unable to estimate how much she had paid in fines and late fees, but denied it was as high as $20,000.
"In my past life as a community activist for Ralphs Bay, I was doing 40, 50, 60 hours of volunteer work, and obviously I didn't pay enough attention to some of the details of my life."