Ricky Ponting Michelle O’Byrne
Nanjing Night Net

Bob Brown

Nick McKim

Darrel Baldock

Princess Mary

John Kirwan

Terry Martin

Matthew Goss

The Examiner has picked the top 50 newsmakers in Tasmania in 2011 …

Click here to view The Examiner’s top 50 newsmakers in 2011

THE TOP 10

1 – LARA GIDDINGS: When Ms Giddings took over as Premier of Tasmania from David Bartlett in January, she couldn’t possibly have imagined how badly 2011 was going to turn out.

She kept Treasury and oversaw a horror budget, saw her Education Minister defeated in the Legislative Council elections and ended the year answering questions about a rumoured leadership challenge from Franklin MHA David O’Byrne.

2 – BOB BROWN: The leader of the Australian Greens seemed to be wielding nearly as much power as the Prime Minister as he used his party’s balance of power in the Federal Parliament to push the environmental lobby position on key issues such as the carbon tax and alternative energy.

3 – TERRY MARTIN: The former politician finally faced court over child sex charges and received a 10-month suspended jail sentence for having sex with a 12-year-old girl prostituted by her mother and a family friend. Justice David Porter said Martin’s hypersexuality was an illness that had to be treated as a mitigating factor in considering his sentence.

4 – RICKY PONTING: After relinquishing the Australian captaincy at the beginning of the year, the Launceston-born cricketer found himself fending off calls to retire altogether from international cricket. As Australia’s most prolific run-scorer, Ponting said he was determined to bat on.

5 – MICHELLE O’BYRNE: Not many people were surprised when Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said she was worried that the state’s hospitals wouldn’t meet their budget targets. In October she fronted 1500 angry health workers in Launceston concerned about their jobs in the face of a $100 million budget reduction at the LGH.

6 – MATTHEW GOSS: The Launceston cyclist capped an outstanding 2011 by winning the Tasmanian athlete of the year award in December. His victory in the Milan-San Remo classic was just one highlight of 2011 as he set his sights on representing Australia in London at the Olympic Games.

7 – NICK McKIM: With responsibility for education and the prison service, the Greens cabinet minister in the Labor government certainly had his hands full in 2011. There was the unsuccessful plan to close 20 Tasmanian schools in the state budget and a few problems at Risdon Prison, including cells that couldn’t hold prisoners and a hostage situation.

8 – DARREL BALDOCK: He remains the St Kilda Football Club’s only premiership captain and his death in February was a time of sadness as well as celebration for the life of a man who continued to achieve after his illustrious football career. His state funeral at Latrobe was attended by 5000 people from all sections of the community.

9 – PRINCESS MARY: The Crown Princess of Denmark started the year by giving birth to twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine and then dealing with the worldwide interest in her growing family. She spent the latter part of the year relaxing with family and friends in Hobart.

10 – JOHN KIRWAN: Faced with making savings of about $100 million a year, the Launceston General Hospital chief executive told a University of Tasmania graduation ceremony that he’d never seen health services reduced the way they were being cut in Tasmania. He described the situation as a fundamental shift and not a short-term adjustment.

Click here to see who else made The Examiner’s top 50 newsmakers in 2011

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