By Managing Director Becher Townshend
Well, they saying goes a week can be a long time in politics, and if that is the case then the last 24 hours has been an eternity.
Gone after 20 years as a member of parliament and the last two as a Minister in the Hodgman Liberal Government, is Paul Harriss.
Mr Harriss was a long term member of the Legislative Council but in the lead up to the last state election, was the surprise package for the Liberals deciding to run as a party member in the lower house seat of Franklin.
This move effectively secured a third seat in the five member electorate for the Liberals, pushing Labor’s David O’Byrne out of parliament and scotching his leadership ambitions (for the time being).
Mr Harriss cited personal family reasons for calling it a day and it would be fair to observe that after being the Forests Minister in Tasmania for the last two years, it has been a tough job.
This role of Forests Minister is now transferred to the Treasurer Peter Gutwein, who will now need to do even more heavy lifting for the Government as they wrestle with the future of Forestry Tasmania as well as dealing with the southern forests residue issue.
Most importantly for the State Government, a second limo will now grace the North-West Coast seat of Braddon, with the elevation of Adam Brooks from Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business to the newly created Minister for Mining, Building and Construction, and Racing.
Mr Brooks is electorally very strong in his home seat of Braddon who has worked hard to demonstrate he has the goods to be Minister. His appointment also sends a strong message to the North-West Coast as it was this region that delivered the State Government an unprecedented four out of the five seats up for grabs at the last election in Braddon.
The elevation of Mr Brooks see’s former Senator and now Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Guy Barnett pick up responsibility for Small Business.
While Mr Barnett would have no doubt been keen for a Ministry of his own, small business is an excellent fit for him as he has had a long association with this sector, who will applaud the Premier on his appointment.