Australia: Tasmanian education minister Sarah Courtney quits politics following French vacation criticism

Publicado: 11 febrero 2022 a las 12:03 am

Categorías: Noticias Oceanía

Australia/February 11, 2022/By: Mostafa Rachwani and AAP/Source:

Courtney will resign after drawing criticism for holiday in France as Tasmanian schools prepared to reopen amid Covid concerns

Tasmania’s education minister, Sarah Courtney, has announced she is resigning from politics amid criticism for taking a French holiday as stressed parents prepared to send their children back to school during the pandemic.

Courtney’s holiday went for several weeks and overlapped with the return to school and uncertainty over Covid restrictions and concerns, drawing criticism from Labor and the Greens.

Courtney, who caught Covid while overseas and had previously held the health portfolio, announced on Thursday she was going.

“I am resigning as both minister and member for Bass,” she said.

“I have given my heart and soul to this role for eight years and have taken every step to ensure it is my first priority.

“However, I believe the time has come for me to move on.”

Courtney added that she was not resigning over the criticisms surrounding her holiday, but as a result of a “range of different factors”.

“The decision was the culmination and confluence of a range of different factors. I’ve been reflecting on my time. The past two years in particular has been especially gruelling; rewarding, but very gruelling and exhausting,” she said.

“When I was on leave, it gave me the opportunity to properly consider what future is personally right for me and my family.

“It has not been a quick nor an easy decision.”

Courtney contracted Covid while on holiday, forcing her to isolate in France days out from the school year beginning. She only returned to the state this week.

She also referenced a recent family tragedy, saying a funeral was to be held tomorrow for her grandmother who had died with Covid.

“Having the opportunity to spend meaningful time with the people I love is very dear to my heart,” Courtney said.

“When I was in isolation recently with Covid, my grandmother died. I’m very close to the women in my family. The funeral is tomorrow.”

Courtney was elected to parliament in 2014 and also holds the tourism, hospital and events and disability services portfolios.

Tasmanian opposition leader, Rebecca White, told reporters Courtney’s resignation created a “mess.”

“We no longer have a minister to support our students and our teachers when they are facing the most disruptive weeks of learning in our memory.”

“We had always called on Sarah Courtney to come back to do her job. And instead of that she’s resigned and left Tasmania in a bigger mess.”

White added that “no Tasmanian” would accept Courtney’s explanation for her resignation.

“There’s not a single Tasmanian that I’ve spoken to who thought that the minister taking a holiday to France in the lead up to schools going back was a good idea.”

“There can be no doubt that the minister’s resignation today has everything to do with the criticism she rightfully received for being absent with the risk of Covid returning to schools.”