Investigation needed into potential misuse of taxpayer funds in Courtney scandal

Jen Butler MP
Labor Member for Lyons                                                                                       17 October 2018

Investigation needed into potential misuse of taxpayer funds in Courtney scandal

• Spending of taxpayers’ money – including on trips – must be looked at
• Costs of secretary’s decision to work from Launceston must be scrutinised
• Hodgman running cover for undisciplined Liberal Ministry

Head of Labor’s Spending Scrutiny Committee Jen Butler has demanded the Premier refer the potential misuse of taxpayer funds by former Minister Sarah Courtney and the secretary of her department Dr John Whittington to the Auditor-General.

“The Auditor-General must be asked to investigate the expenditure of taxpayer funds including funds expended on the recent trade mission to Asia, including China and Hong Kong,” Ms Butler said.“The Auditor-General must also investigate whether or not Dr Whittington was working two days a week from Launceston, in Ms Courtney’s electorate, whether this was appropriate and the cost to Tasmanian taxpayers.“Tasmanians need to know how much of their money has been spent on travel, accommodation and entertainment during the period of Ms Courtney and Dr Whittington’s affair.

“If the Premier refuses, he is running a protection racket for bad behaviour for an undisciplined Liberal Ministry which has no regard for taxpayers’ money.
“The Premier must also clear up his mixed messages on Dr Whittington – has he been stood down or is he on leave?”

MP introduces motion into parliament to stop the sale of three churches


Lyons Labor MHA Jen Butler.

The state government is being urged to intervene to stop the sale of three historic northern Tasmanian churches.

Lyons Labor MP Jen Butler has tabled a motion in the House of Assembly calling on the Minister for Heritage to stop the closure of St Mary’s at Hagley, St Andrew’s at Westbury and St Andrew’s Carrick by the Anglican Church.

“These churches are of irreplaceable significance to Tasmania’s heritage and must be protected,” Ms Butler said.

She said the Anglican Church has voted to proceed with a plan to sell 76 Churches to partly fund the redress scheme.

“We acknowledge support for the redress scheme,” Ms Butler said.

“But we must acknowledge the significant historical importance of St Marys Church at Hagley, St Andrews Church at Westbury and St Andrews Church in Carrick.”

She said St Marys Church in Hagley was built in 1861 by Sir Richard Dry, one of our founding fathers, the first Tasmanian born Premier, Speaker of the House and the first Tasmanian to be knighted. “

Sir Richard Dry, part of the ‘Patriotic six’ stopped the transportation of convicts to Tasmania and later introduced mandatory public education,” Ms Butler said.

“Sir Richard Dry is buried underneath the chancel at St Marys Church, Hagley.”

She said St Andrews Church at Westbury included the largest collection of works by internationally renowned wood carver Ellen Nora (Nellie) Payne including the magnificent Seven Sisters Screen, church pulpit, prayer desk and altar.

“We call upon the Minister for Heritage to stop the closure and sale of the Quamby Parish churches and other significant historical churches based on their irreplaceable significance to Tasmania’s heritage,” Ms Butler.

A Government spokesman said the sale of churches was a matter for the Anglican Church to determine.

“The Tasmanian Government has acted swiftly in moving to conduct a review of the Burial Act, and is committed to preserving, protecting and clarifying both the rights of community members and the obligations on cemetery managers,” the spokesperson said.


JUNE 12 2018

Sue Bailey - The Examiner




Huge economic boost as St Helens gears up for a One Night Stand

Labor Lyons MP Jen Butler has congratulated her home town St Helens on securing one of the country’s biggest music events in a significant cultural and economic coup for the East Coast.

Ms Butler said she was thrilled Triple J’s One Night Stand concert would be held in St Helens on September 1 considering the boost the event had given to towns where it has been staged in the past, including Mt Isa in Queensland and Geraldton in Western Australia.

“With the East Coast so reliant on tourism and tourist dollars, this is a significant coup for my home town,” Ms Butler said.
“I understand that as of this morning – after Triple J made the announcement – there has been a rush on accommodation in the region and that’s great news for the local industry.

“You can’t underestimate the value of an event like this for St Helens on both a local and national scale, giving a boost to local business and providing nation-wide exposure for the region.

“I know that the most recent event in Mt Isa last year was estimated by the local council to have given the town a $3 million boost in terms of the sheer numbers of people who travelled north to take part.

“With acts like Vance Joy, Peking Duk and Middle Kids in this year’s line up, local business can look forward to a boom.

“In that regard, local resident Kristi Chapple deserves a huge congratulations for making an official submission to Triple J to help put St Helens on the national music map.”



Jen Butler, State MP for Lyons, gets flu shot at local pharmacy


Jen received her flu vaccination at New Norfolk Pharmacy, highlighting just how easy it is to access this very important health service through community pharmacies.

Pharmacy owner Belinda Bird said having Ms Butler as a flu vaccination customer sent an important message to the community, particularly given the recent survey results of about only half of Australians planning to have a flu shot this year

“It is so much easier and more convenient than having to go to the doctor, getting a prescription, taking it to the pharmacy to be dispensed, and then returning to the doctor to get the injection.

Now people are able to come into our pharmacy and in a very short time get their vaccination and be protected against this disease".

Last year we saw about 250,000 people being infected with the flu. Around 18,000 Australians are hospitalised due to the flu each year with 3,000 dying. Everyone needs the protection of a flu shot.

Ms Bird said in the time that community pharmacists had been administering the vaccine there had been a high percentage of people being vaccinated for the first time. “In the past they have not been able to take the time of having a vaccination done through a GP,” she said.


Ms Bird stressed that pharmacists giving the shot had to undergo special training.

“This ensures we have the knowledge and skills to both deliver the vaccine safely and effectively, as well as being able to identify and treat any possible side effects.”

For more information contact: Belinda Bird on 6261 2246


Listening to rural communities - 15 second TV ad


New Norfolk police

On behalf of Labor's Shadow Minister for Police and Emergency Management, David Llewellyn AM MP, I have launched a petition calling on the Tasmanian Government to reconsider its decision not to give New Norfolk a permanent police presence. New Norfolk's police station is staffed during the day, but in the evening police have to travel from Bridgewater to attend incidents in New Norfolk.

Hard copies of the petition are available to sign at Banjos New Norfolk and the New Norfolk Newsagency. David Llewellyn will be tabling the petition in Parliament later this year.

If you are concerned about this issue and would like to add your voice, click here to sign.

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Listening to rural communities

I have just released my first video advertisement. As your Member for Lyons in a Tasmanian Labor Government I will work with industry to give rural Tasmanians the skills and training they need to get well-paid jobs and stay in rural Tasmania.


Fix the Bridge!

Fix the Bridge petition

There has been decades of inaction on the Bridgewater Bridge. Some residents have even had their properties acquired to make way for a new bridge that has not even been funded.

In a cruel twist, the Hodgman Liberal Government had the gall to list a new Bridgewater Bridge in their 2017 State Budget with not a single dollar of funding attached to it.

Enough is enough. The 70-year-old Bridgewater Bridge is well past its useful life. It is part of a National Highway and a major infrastructure bottleneck. There is no safe pedestrian and cycling access between Bridgewater and the Western Shore.

Tasmanians demand action now! Have your voice heard and sign Jen Butler's petition calling on Federal and State Government's to fix the bridge!