Politician who attempted suicide is “sacked”

In early August 2008, Paula Wriedt, Tasmanian MP, tried to commit suicide.  Six weeks later the Tasmanian Premier has sacked her from Cabinet, according to an ABC report.

Premier David Bartlett denies this is a sacking, more a “withdrawal of commission”.  He says it is for the good of the government and for the good of Ms Wriedt.

Ms Wriedt was asked to resign her Cabinet position but the Premier says she was “not in a position to make such a decision”.

An audio interview with the Premier put to him that his decision was “despicable” and “reflects the way the state deals with people with mental health problems”.

Ms Wriedt’s suicide attempt had already raised discussion on the workplace issues of stress, compensation, workloads and mental health.  The listener’s question in the audio interview will reflect the majority of the community’s response to the Premier’s decision and Premier Bartlett will have a difficult time explaining how his decision was for Ms Wriedt’s benefit.

Ms Wriedt’s current situation and future career decisions will provide an interesting illustration on how the public service and Tasmanian politics manages an employee with mental health issues, particularly when, on OHS matters, the public service should be exemplars.

3 thoughts on “Politician who attempted suicide is “sacked””

  1. Neville
    Your points are valid but given your last sentence why is the approach to combatting stress segmented into work and non-work? Is this demarcation what the work/life balance movement is trying to erase?

  2. The difficulty is in proportioning \’work\’ experience from \’real life\’ experience. It may well be that Ms Wriedt\’s depression came from her ministerial work, or it may be that her personal life was the real cause. In any case, \’stress\’ cases have the unfortunate reputation of being an \’escape situation\’, where the person who needs help in regaining the reality of life and learning to live with what they have, gets lost in blamining someone of some other situation for their condition.
    In my experience, rarely does the true cause(s) of a persons strees get identified and therefore assist in proper treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *