TASMANIA’S two newly-elected members of the Legislative Council have taken their seat in the chamber for the first time.
Member for Huon Bastian Seidel (Labor) and Rosevears MLC Jo Palmer (Liberal) were sworn in and were given a warm welcome by fellow MLCs.
The return of Legislative Council sittings followed the elections for those divisions on August 1, which had been scheduled for May but were postponed due to coronavirus.
Ms Palmer, a former long-time newsreader with Seven Tasmania News, defied a strong challenge from independent Janie Finlay to win Rosevears by 260 votes.
In Huon, local GP Dr Seidel was elected ahead of one-term incumbent Robert Armstrong.
Legislative Council president Craig Farrell welcomed Ms Palmer and Dr Seidel and wished them well in their role and said members would endeavour to support them.
“We are ready to support, advise and assist you in any way that you require, particularly in the early stages of your elected term when it feels quite strange for a little while until you settle in,’’ Mr Farrell said.
“I know that you will find your time here very satisfying and rewarding, not only as you get the opportunity to assist people that you represent, but also here in the Legislative Council to contribute to legislation that will benefit people of the state.
“I know you both very well and it’s a tremendous privilege and a great honour to be elected to the Tasmanian Legislative Council.
“Knowing you as I do, I know you will be very effective members and represent your electorate very well over the next six years.”
New MLC Bastian Seidel is sworn in the Tasmanian Legislative Council. Picture: Zak Simmonds
One of the first pieces of legislation that Ms Palmer and Dr Seidel will be asked to consider is a new voluntary assisted dying Bill which is being introduced by Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney as a private member’s Bill in the upper house this week.
Mr Gaffney presented more than 100 written submissions on the issue on Tuesday morning, and is expected to table the Bill on Thursday.
Last week, a petition featuring more than 13,000 signatures in favour of voluntary assisted dying was tabled in the House of Assembly.