Tasmania to increase parliament numbers

Ethan JamesAAP
Tasmania's lower house will increase to 35 MPs under a plan supported by all sides of politics.
Camera IconTasmania's lower house will increase to 35 MPs under a plan supported by all sides of politics. Credit: AAP

The lower house of Tasmania's parliament is set to grow by 10 members, following concerns about politician burnout and a shallow ministerial talent pool.

Liberal Premier Jeremy Rockliff on Wednesday announced he would table legislation this year to return the 25-seat House of Assembly to 35 members for the next state poll due in 2025.

Tasmania's lower house was reduced in size in 1998 and the island state's seven electorates cut to five.

Two Liberal premiers have quit politics in recent years, both citing a heavy workload and a desire to spend more time with family.

Will Hodgman, who led the Liberals to power in 2014, stepped down in early 2020. His successor Peter Gutwein followed suit in April.

"Ultimately this is about ensuring the Tasmanian parliament remains in the best shape to deliver the best outcomes for Tasmanians," Mr Rockliff said in a statement.

The move is backed in principle by the Labor opposition and the Greens, who have vocally pushed for the restoration of parliament, and lower house independent Kristie Johnston.

"Tasmanians will be better served by a larger parliament and a deeper talent pool for the ministry, and they deserve stronger representation at the community level," Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said.

The Liberals have been forced into several cabinet reshuffles this year following Mr Gutwein's resignation and the departure of senior MP Sarah Courtney.

Ministerial responsibilities are split between nine of 13 lower house Liberal MPs.

Along with the duties of premier, Mr Rockliff holds the health, mental health and wellbeing, tourism and trade portfolios.

Mr Gutwein had indicated he supported a return to 35 members but said it wasn't a priority for his government.

Ms Johnston said the shift from 35 to 25 members, viewed in some quarters as a move to lessen the influence of the Greens, impacted parliament's ability to function and the ability of committees to scrutinise issues.

"I look forward to seeing the detail of the bill but this should be a straightforward matter of reversing a previous bad decision," she said.

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