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Former deputy premier goes from court to Parl -

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Former deputy premier goes from court to Parliament

The World Today - Thursday, 13 March , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Felicity Ogilvie

ELEANOR HALL: The former deputy premier of Tasmania may have escaped criminal charges in court
yesterday but his return to Parliament this morning has been like a re-trial.

The prosecution dropped the criminal charges against Bryan Green when a second trial ended with the
jury unable to decide if the Labor MP had broken the law.

Mr Green was accused of giving a building accreditation company that was run by a former Labor
minister a lucrative state-wide monopoly worth a million dollars a year.

In Hobart, Felicity Ogilvie reports.

FELICITY OGILVIE: It's been a dramatic week for Bryan Green. Yesterday the former deputy premier
was nervously waiting the end of his second trial, sitting in the dock, facing the possibility of
21 years in jail for signing a document that gave a company an exclusive million dollar contract to
accredit the state's builders.

This morning he was back in Parliament, relaxed, and greeted by his Labor colleagues with
handshakes, hugs and kisses.

But the mood on the opposite side of the chamber was very different and can be summed up in the
first question of the day from the Opposition leader, Will Hodgman.

WILL HODGMAN: And in light of a Morgan opinion poll that has revealed that more people believe your
government actually encourages corruption more so than in any other state or territory, why was the
establishment of anti-corruption commission and a parliamentary standards commissioner, such a
glaring omission from your so-called Agenda 2008 speech?

FELICITY OGILVIE: Like a defence lawyer the Premier, Paul Lennon, immediately defended his
colleague and friend Bryan Green.

PAUL LENNON: Today's question of course is entirely predictable, from the honourable member...

MAN (interrupting): ... what everyone in Tasmania wants to ask, and wants you to answer.

PAUL LENNON: ... Mr Speaker, and Mr Speaker every member of the Tasmanian community is innocent until
proven guilty, except of course Mr Speaker, those who tried in the kangaroo court of this chamber.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Bryan Green's name wasn't cleared yesterday. For the second time the jury
couldn't reach a verdict. But Bryan Green declared himself innocent on the front steps of the
Hobart Supreme Court.

BRYAN GREEN: I maintain that I was innocent with respect to my intentions at the time. My intention
now is obviously to go back to the north-west coast and work hard to ensure that I am elected at
the next election.

FELICITY OGILVIE: When Mr Green was charged last year the Premier indicated his deputy would get
his job back if he was found not guilty.

The non verdict might've seen the charges dropped but it's not good enough for Paul Lennon to
reinstate his former deputy.

PAUL LENNON: Mr Green has paid a very hefty price, Mr Speaker, for what he has acknowledged himself
was an error of judgement and Mr Speaker, as I say I don't, I expect him to use the next two years
to re-establish himself in the electorate.

Mr Speaker, I don't expect there to be Cabinet vacancies between now and the next state election.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Being a backbencher isn't so bad considering under the Tasmanian Constitution Mr
Green could've lost his seat if he was found guilty. And this morning in Parliament the Premier
hasn't ruled out giving Mr Green a ministry if he's re-elected at the next state election.

There was more good news for Mr Green - the Government is considering paying his legal bills.

Bryan Green will find out if his electorate wants him back at the next state election in 2010. The
mayors in his electorate are confident he'll be returned.

Mike Downie is the Central Coast Mayor.

MIKE DOWNIE: I think his votes at the last state election certainly indicated to us, to the
community, very strongly that he was one of the most popular or is the most popular and probably
one of the most hard working politicians we've had on the north-west coast for a number of years.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Burnie Mayor Alvwyn Boyd is friends with Bryan Green.

ALVWYN BOYD: It's a while away yet and Bryan works very hard for his electorate and he's always
been very popular and he does a good job and I think it'll still happen. I think Bryan will retain
all that confidence in the community and he'll fight back.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Bryan Green topped the poll in his electorate of Braddon at the last state
election. The only politician in Tasmania who got more votes was the Premier.

ELEANOR HALL: Felicity Ogilvie in Hobart with that report.