Image for ‘Democracy dies in darkness’

Pic: of Will Hodgman from his website


First published June 13

Tasmanians call on Premier Hodgman to provide the community with information and answers to questions about conduct before and during the 2018 state election A newly formed group is calling upon the Hodgman government to answer questions about the Liberals’ conduct before and during the 2018 state election campaign.

The group brings together a number of Tasmanians seeking answers to specific funding and policy promises made during the election including:

1. Why did the Liberals hide the Tasmanian Hospitality Association’s funding increase of 300% ($6.8 million over four years) until after the election?

2. Why did the Hodgman government hide its proposed changes to firearms laws until 2 days before the election when a whistle-blower exposed them, and why did it promised $59,000 funding to the Sporting Shooters Association, despite that organisation claiming that it is in a “powerful financial position”?

3. Why did the government instruct the Mount Wellington Cable Car proponent to cancel a community meeting planned for February and why did the Treasurer sign off on an secret exploration licence for the proponent just days before the election was called?

4. Why did the Environment Protection Authority withhold news of the death of up to 1.35 million fish in Macquarie Harbour and its intention to reduce the number of fish in the harbour from 12,000 to 9.500 tonnes until 3 days after the March election?

As Tasmanians, we get to live in one of the best democratic systems in the world. However, democracy, in these days of darkness, is fragile. We are watching major democratic institutions start to crumble.

Tasmania can be a shining light to the world as a place of equality, health and happiness – but only if it is a functional democracy.

The 2018 election saw the governance of our island home being eroded by vested interests, secret donations and secret deals. We saw an unprecedented amount of donations from the gambling industry and a number of policies being developed exclusively with interest groups rather than all interested Tasmanians. Many of these policies remain hidden leading to a lack of mandate.

“Tasmanians today are sending a message to the Liberal government and all elected representatives that we do not accept this corruption of our democracy. And neither do we accept the Liberals’ refusal to disclose the source of potentially huge donations” said Amanda Sully, Director of the 2018 Tasmanian Election Inquiry Ltd.

On watering down firearm laws Mr Browne, spokesperson for Gun Control Australia stated: “The Premier didn’t bother telling the Tasmanian community he intended on watering down gun laws because according to him, it was ‘one of 200 policies not published on the Liberal Party’s website’. Is he seriously suggesting he was unaware of the community’s deep concern for tight gun laws? This is secrecy and manipulation at worst, or a completely out of touch Premier, at best.”

“Whilst other community groups cried out for funding, the Premier secretly promised the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) a $59,000 grant on the same day the policy was released to the Firearms Consultation Group. This grant is a disgrace.” said Mr Browne.

On the decision surrounding the cable car on Kunanyi Mt Wellington, Ted Cutlan from ROCC said: The Cable Car proposal is characterised by secrecy, a lack of consultation and bypassing of normal planning processes. It is typical of how business is so often done in Tasmania and it must stop.”

On donations from the gaming industry, Pat Caplice from Rein in the pokies said: “The amount of money that flowed into the 2018 Tasmanian State Election courtesy of the Gambling Lobby and Federal Hotels is absolutely shocking. The Tasmanian people deserve to know how much the Farrell family paid for a re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government and what rewards they hope to gain form such support”

On the secrecy surrounding Macquarie Harbour, Rebecca Howarth from Tasman Peninsula Marine Protection said: “1.35 MILLION salmon were killed in Tasmania’s major West Coast farming region, Macquarie Harbour, between October 2017 and March 2018. We only know of the scale of mass fish deaths because of a leaked document. None of Tasmania’s salmon companies would reveal the exact number of their losses and it appears that the Hodgman Liberal Government concealed the disaster in the lead up to the March 2018 state election.

“It’s not good enough and Tasmanians are not going to stand for our democracy being bought. We are calling on the Premier to let the sun shine in on some of our darkest corners and give us answers
to questions about what went on before and during the 2018 election.” concluded Ms Sully.

Amanda Sully, Director of the 2018 Tasmanian Election Inquiry Ltd

Roland Browne, spokesperson for Gun Control Australia

Ted Cutlan from Residents Opposed to the Cable Car

Pat Caplice from Rein in the pokies

Rebecca Howarth from Tasman Peninsula Marine Protection

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