Tassie independent demands ministers' help

·2-min read

Independent MP Kristie Johnston has told Tasmania's re-elected Liberal government she intends to cut the crap and expects the help of every minister.

Earlier this month the popular former mayor became the first independent elected to Tasmania's lower house since the size of parliament was reduced in 1998.

She's told The Mercury she's still working out how she'll fit in, but she's determined to "go in there and just cut the crap out and get to the issues".

One of her first acts as an MP for Clark has been a letter to all nine cabinet ministers seeking a thorough briefing about their work.

"As a newly elected member of parliament, I need to hit the ground running and gain as much knowledge as I can before this parliament sits for the first time later in June," she said on Sunday.

"I want to hear directly from each minister about all aspects of their portfolio, including the government business enterprises and government companies that they are ultimately responsible for."

She's promised to take a cooperative and consultative approach, but has also warned she "won't do deals" or trade her vote.

"I'm a collaborative person by nature but there is no way I will support something I don't believe in," she said.

"My constituents have told me over and over again that they are sick of politicians being abusive and fighting amongst themselves. They want elected members to focus on every-day problems, like the health crisis, ridding our suburbs of poker machines, and fixing traffic congestion."

She said she was very aware that she was just one of 25 lower house members and "that I don't hold the balance of power".

"But as we have seen in the run up to this election, a one-seat majority can disappear in an instant," she said.

The comment was a reference to former Speaker Sue Hickey, who was told by Premier Peter Gutwein in March that she would not receive Liberal Party endorsement.

She promptly quit the Liberals to run as an independent and Mr Gutwein used that as a reason to call this month's election, an entire year early, because the Liberals no longer enjoyed a majority.

Ms Hickey ultimately failed to be re-elected in Clark.

Ms Johnston said she is full of optimism as she starts her parliamentary career but isn't wearing rose-coloured glasses.

"My feet are firmly planted on the ground," Ms Johnston said.