In breaking news this evening, Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim has turned down the offer of a seat in premier David Bartlett’s new cabinet. You can read Bartlett’s letter of offer here, although unfortunately we don’t know what portfolio was on the table.
He probably doesn’t want my advice, but it seems to me McKim made the right decision. If you’re contributing half as many MPs as the senior partner, I think it’s reasonable to expect more than one ministry out of nine. A fair proposition would be something like six ALP, two Greens and one upper house independent.
And that seems to be the Greens’ main issue: McKim says Bartlett should “make an offer to the Greens that better reflects the will of the Tasmanian people.” He may also have concerns about how the exceptions to cabinet solidarity would work.
In my view it would be good both for the Greens themselves and for the health of the political system for them to be represented in cabinet. (My friend Guy Rundle put the opposing argument last month – it’s well worth reading, but I think he’s mistaken.) But clearly not at any price.
It looks as if the door is still open for a deal, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. What McKim really needs is for Will Hodgman to join in the bidding war.