The question: Mr Lennon you were quoted in The Age last week as saying that “well over $100,000” worth of renovations were done on your home by Gunns subsidiary Hinman, Wright and Manser, a company which promotes itself as a civil construction company specialising in million-dollar state and local government contracts, not home renovations. Gunns is planning a billion dollar pulp mill your government is massively promoting. Is there not an issue relating to appropriateness and transparency in using a Gunns company to renovate your historic home?
The answer, Paul Lennon: Good morning Lindsay, I wish you had asked me these questions before you started raising them on your dubious website.
Look, I just hope at the end of the day, after this election is over, that my family can have some of its privacy back. I do not think it unreasonable for me to be asking for that to occurr.
Now if Lindsay had bothered to check with the Southern Midlands Council* then he would have seen that all the appropriate legal requirements were followed to the letter of the law, that all the neighbours near me were formally notified as required by the law, that the planned renovations at the home were publicly put on display as required by the law, that all the necesssary approvals from the Heritage Council were provided as required by the law and what my family has had to go through I believe no-one should have had to go through.
The way our privacy has been invaded as a family is something that has disturbed me, quite frankly, and the way in which this matter was brought up publicly I think should be the subject for further debate for another day as well.
Now I do not think that frankly it is any of Lindsay’s business what is happening with our private family home, to be honest with you Tim and he seeks to make a connection which is totally unreasonable.
The company Hinman Wright and Manser has done some of the work at my family home, I have made that public some considerable time ago, I did not need Lindsay Tuffin’s website to raise the matter, it has been raised with me before and I had confirmed that publicly.
Many other contractors have worked on my home as well, my family home. I think, I mean, I just believe that there needs to be understood here that there has been, I think, an unreasonable invasion on my family, it has been quite distressing for my wife and for my children and it is, as I said some weeks ago, it is the sort of thing that discourages people from entering public life in the first place.
Tim Cox: What he is getting at of course is that Hinman Wright and Manser is a company that does very large works, like the emergency department for the Royal Hobart Hospital, rather than home renovations. Do you feel it appropriate to let us know how you came to have Hinman Wright and Manser do that work instead of, you, know, Tim Cox Builders for example.
Paul Lennon: But Tim, you ask anyone who is doing home renovations in Tasmania at the moment, trying to get hold of a builder is not easy, I mean, we waited well over 12 months, well over 12 months, as many other Tasmanians have, before we could have builders available.
Hinman’s have done some of the work, but there have been many other contractors out there as well, I just do not see what business it is of Lindsay Tuffin’s, you know he is an assistant editor* with The Mercury, he should actually declare himself completely as well, I do not see what business it is of his and what relevance it has to my public life, what my private affairs are with my family.
I just hope Lindsay understands the distress he has caused my family, particularly my wife.
*One journalist at least tried to do this; was told the information was confidential and was referred to the Premier’s Office.
*Absolute rubbish: he is not an assistant editor and has no input into decision-making at The Mercury, as the ABC has clarified and this website has clarified.