Peter Gutwein should make himself Health Minister.
It defies the orthodoxy and tradition of Cabinet government but it would prove he is a leader.
Of course it won't happen, but his authority and stature in Tasmania beckons the risk.
Health is a ministerial graveyard.
Traditionally, premiers appoint leadership rivals to health because it keeps them too busy to plot and scheme.
Labor used health as a campaign attack theme, but it's a tired strategy.
The Libs never closed a hospital but Labor closed or emasculated two that I know of, Ouse and Rosebery.
Health is an easy target but that's the politics.
If Tasmania wants to end the waiting lists and ambulance ramping it has to be the top priority and there can be no higher priority than the boss running health.
It's a risk.
If the Premier fails it follows that the government fails, but I have yet to see a Tasmanian government control this bottomless pit of taxpayers' money.
Health ministers going back generations have tried to tame the perennial hospital crisis, but you may as well use a garden hose to fight a bushfire.
The state doesn't raise enough taxes, GST and other revenue to fix the crisis.
So next week you'll likely see Sarah Courtney in the job again, which is fine, but the bottomless pit will remain, and, like a virus, health will gnaw away at them.
Health in all states and territories has its own stifling inflation level of up to 10 per cent.
You can't throw money at it to fix it. You simply have to manage it and no one else could manage it like the Premier.
Gutwein is a competent operator.
A Labor MP once told me that when in government the party scoffed at the lack of talent and basic incompetence on the Liberal opposition benches.
"But, there was one bloke we prepared for in Question Time and that was Gutwein. He knew budgets."
So I would give Gutwein health, mental health, family violence and climate change.
Michael Ferguson would get treasury, finance and state growth and Courtney tourism, small business and science and technology.
Jeremy Rockliff would keep education and gain infrastructure, trade and defence industries.
Interstate ministerial councils run education on automatic pilot these days. Time he got more challenges.
Guy Barnett and Elise Archer would keep their portfolios. She's not a line minister, while it makes sense for a Lyons MHA to be managing primary industries, biosecurity, etc.
I would blood Jo Palmer on veteran affairs and aboriginal affairs.
Jane Howlett would keep sport, recreation and racing while Mark Shelton would add planning to his local government portfolio and keep police and emergency services.
If Roger Jaensch loses his seat in Braddon, I would give housing to Nick Street, or give housing to Palmer and blood Madeleine Ogilvie on veteran affairs and aboriginal affairs if she gets up in Clark.
God, this is hard work.
Choosing a ministry is like courtesy wedding invitations.
The buggers you never guessed in a million years would attend, are lining up with loving RSVPs for a night of free feed and booze.
I've waddled through a rough ministerial list.
The main point is that if you want to throw the house at health; if you want to put all your money on black, the boss has got to take it over.
Labor and unions would sneer at it and most likely would mock it even if there were gains, but of course they would, because that's the politics.
I've never known a PM or premier to take on health and to a certain extent, that's the appeal.
You may think such a complex, politically risky portfolio would be too distracting for the leader, especially in government, but what else is there in Tasmania that is such a major distraction?
Surely the health of the community is the number one distraction for any government.
Ferguson, Rockliff and Barnett can take care of the economic responsibilities. It's time for the other ministers to step up.
They just won a historic third term and they can't cruise forever on Labor's internal woes or the fading impact of the pandemic.
Without the pandemic, the Libs may not have secured a third term and the cut-up of preferences may still deny them a majority.
Gutwein won't keep his pledge to resign. It would be irresponsible for him to even think about it. He would look like a coward.
By 2025 I have no doubt Labor would have sorted out its differences, and hunger for power, and by then the Libs would be overly fatigued and needing a break in opposition after 11 years in government.
For Gutwein, it really is the last hurrah.
Short of a stunning Labor catastrophe, neither he nor a Liberal successor will win a fourth term.
He's got nothing to lose now.
- Barry Prismall, former The Examiner deputy editor and Liberal adviser.