Cassy O'Connor

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Cassy O'Connor
Cassy O'Connor in March 2021.jpg
Leader of the Tasmanian Greens
Assumed office
12 June 2015
Preceded byKim Booth
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
for Clark
Assumed office
28 September 2018
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
for Denison
In office
7 July 2008 – 28 September 2018
Preceded byPeg Putt
Succeeded byDivision abolished
Secretary to Cabinet
In office
21 April 2010 – 11 November 2010
Minister for Human Services
In office
11 November 2010 – 17 January 2014
Preceded byNick McKim
Succeeded byRebecca White
Minister for Community Development
In office
11 November 2010 – 17 January 2014
Preceded byNick McKim
Succeeded byLara Giddings
Minister for Climate Change
In office
12 May 2011 – 17 January 2014
Preceded byNick McKim
Succeeded byLara Giddings
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
In office
12 May 2011 – 17 January 2014
Preceded byNick McKim
Succeeded byLara Giddings
Personal details
Born (1967-04-01) 1 April 1967 (age 55)
Canberra, Australia
Political partyGreens
Spouse(s)Steven Lees (1st)
Nick McKim (2nd)

Cassandra Stanwell O'Connor (born 1 April 1967)[1] is an Australian politician, who has been a Tasmanian Greens member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly since 2008, representing the electorate of Division of Denison which was renamed to Clark in September 2018.

One of two Greens in the eight member cabinet, O'Connor was Minister for Human Services, Community Development, Climate Change and Aboriginal Affairs in the Bartlett and Giddings cabinets from 2011 until 2014.[2]

On 12 June 2015, O'Connor was confirmed as the new Greens leader in Tasmania, after the resignation of Kim Booth.[3]

Early career[edit]

She became well known in Tasmania as the face of the "Save Ralphs Bay" campaign. This community campaign began in March 2004, when Sydney-based developer Walker Corporation announced its intention to construct Tasmania's first canal housing estate in the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area east of Hobart.[4][5] In June 2010 the legal confirmation of the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area as being 171 hectares came into effect, therefore preventing Walker Corporations proposed canal housing estates.[6]

Political career[edit]

O'Connor addresses media, Hobart, March 2006

O'Connor finished second on the Tasmanian Greens Denison ticket in 2006 with 3.6% of the primary vote. She received 70% of Tasmanian Greens Leader Peg Putt's preferences and eventually reached almost half a quota before being excluded. She first won the seat of Denison on a countback of votes on 21 July 2008 after the sitting member and leader of the Tasmanian Greens Peg Putt resigned earlier in the month.[4]

Cassy O'Connor was re-elected at the 2010 election, receiving the highest number of first preference votes in Denison with 16.2%.[7]

On 19 April 2010, Labor Premier David Bartlett appointed Ms O'Connor as Secretary to Cabinet. In November 2010 she was promoted within the Bartlett cabinet, holding two portfolios. O'Connor and Nick McKim are the first Greens in Australia to hold Cabinet positions.[8]

In 2011 O'Connor was given full Ministerial responsibility for Human Services, Community Development, Aboriginal Affairs and Climate Change. Elements of Community Development include Multicultural Affairs, Seniors, Women, Youth and Gambling. Her colleague Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim MP was Minister for Education, Sustainable Transport, and Corrections and Consumer Affairs.[9]

On 16 January 2014, Premier Lara Giddings announced that the power sharing arrangement with the Tasmanian Greens was over, and that O'Connor and McKim would be replaced by Labor MPs, effective 17 January. She said that the ALP would not govern with Greens in the cabinet in future.[10]

In a speech to parliament in November 2017, O'Connor implied that Greg Geason had been appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania because of his friendship with Premier Will Hodgman. Hodgman said that Geason's appointment had been made by an independent selection panel, and the Tasmanian Bar Association issued a statement calling O'Connor's remarks an attack on judicial independence that had "the potential to undermine public confidence in the Supreme Court and the administration of the law in Tasmania".[11]

O'Connor is a Critc of Chinese influence in Australia.[12][13][14]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2009, O'Connor confirmed she was in a relationship with fellow MP and leader of the state Greens party, Nick McKim.[15] She was previously married to Stephen Lees and has four children born prior to the relationship with McKim.[16]


  1. ^ "Cassandra Stanwell O'Connor". Members of the Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  2. ^ Brown, Damien (11 November 2010). "Bartlett's new Cabinet". The Mercury. News Limited. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Cassy O'Connor to take Tasmanian Greens leadership". ABC News. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b "New member for Denison". ABC News. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Convincing win to O'Connor in recount". The Mercury. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ Ralphs Bay Conservation Area (Clarification) Act 2006 cited in: "Media Release: 171 Hectare Ralphs Bay Conservation Area Comes Into Effect Today". Tasmanian Greens. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Division of Denison – first preference figures". Tasmanian Electoral Commission.
  8. ^ "Greens, Bartlett reach last-minute compromise". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Giddings removes Greens from Tasmanian Cabinet". Radio National. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Greens probing of Premier's best man being appointed to Supreme Court shut down". 28 November 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Tasmanian Greens leader accused of 'racist dog-whistling' as party split over China". 4 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Blow-up in Tasmanian Parliament over allegations of 'anti-China' racism". ABC News. 20 August 2020.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ Peter Wels (4 July 2009). "Green MPs pair off". The Examiner. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  16. ^ "Cassy O'CONNOR MP – Electorate: DENISON – Inaugural speech". Parliament of Tasmania. 22 July 2008. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 2007-07-15.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Tasmanian Greens