Greens leader Cassy O'Connor is boycotting the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women induction luncheon in Launceston today, believing that the selection process has been politicised by the state Liberal government.
It comes after the nomination of Christine Milne was again rejected by the judging panel - the same outcome as in 2019, during the last round of inductions.
Ms Milne was the leader of the Tasmanian Greens from 1993-98, going on to become the leader of the party at the federal level, succeeding Bob Brown in 2012 and serving in the role for three years before retiring from politics.
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In an email to Communities Tasmania, which oversees the administration of the honour roll, Ms O'Connor apologised in advance for her absence from the function, set to take place at the Tailrace Centre at Riverside.
"It is with a truly heavy heart that, after being a regular and enthusiastic attendee of honour roll inductions in the past, this year I will not drive to Launceston to attend because I feel the roll has been politicised under the current government," she wrote.
"I understand a decision has again been made not to induct Christine Milne AO onto the honour roll, despite her lifelong contribution to public service and conservation.
"Christine was the first female leader of a political party in Tasmania. She led on gun law reform and the apology to the Stolen Generation. She is former [vice president] of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and former Australian Greens leader. By any objective measure, Christine Milne AO is a worthy inductee to the honour roll."
Ms O'Connor noted that in 2019, the head of the state service, Jenny Gale, was inducted "simply for being the very well-remunerated secretary of [the Premier and Cabinet Department]", while Ms Milne was ignored.
"This overt politicization of the roll undermines its integrity and is, I believe, a disservice to all the outstanding Tasmanian women inducted onto the honour roll in previous years and this year."
Minister for Women, Sarah Courtney, rejected Ms O'Connor's claim that the honour roll's selection process lacked independence.
"The public is invited to nominate women or women's organisations for the honour roll," she said. "Nominations are assessed by a panel of independent judges."
This overt politicization of the roll undermines its integrity and is, I believe, a disservice to all the outstanding Tasmanian women inducted onto the honour roll in previous years and this year.- Cassy O'Connor, Tasmanian Greens leader
"This independent judging panel is completely at arm's length from government. "
A Communities Tasmania spokesperson said honour roll nominations were assessed against "rigorous" criteria.
"At no point does any member of government interfere in this process," the spokesperson said.
"We have absolute confidence in both the process and the ongoing institution of the honour roll."
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