Tasmanian Times


Double standards at the top

MAKE no mistake, the Premier has misled Parliament and the Tasmanian people over Betfair and his dealings with the Packer family.

He has also smeared a Walkley award winning journalist, and alleged an almighty conspiracy to deflect any responsibility for his grievous error of judgment in accepting Packer family largesse just days before signing Tasmania up to Betfair.

If we are to believe the Premier’s statement yesterday that Cabinet had decided to give Betfair the tick on October 24 last year, then the first misleading of Parliament occurred on October 25 when he stated categorically no decision had been made. But then maybe, he was telling the truth at the time?

What of those persistent rumours circulating in State ALP circles that Cabinet had not in fact agreed on Betfair before the deal was signed?

Labor Cabinet ministers should be grilled on this issue, and without delay.

The Premier’s misleading of Parliament on November 8 last year is clear to any person who understands the English language. In denying he accepted free hospitality, the Premier denied reality. If being upgraded to a luxury room which can cost up to $4000 a night is not free hospitality, then what is?

The Premier’s performance on ABC breakfast radio today has done him more harm than good. When he asked what motivates newspapers like the Herald Sun to behave in the way they do, Paul Lennon revealed he does not support a free press if he is the target of its scrutiny.

Good on Ellen Whinnett for having the necessary scepticism and initiative to undertake a Freedom of Information search on the details of Mr. Lennon’s stay in Melbourne. This is a case of a journalist acting in the public interest. If she had not done so, Tasmanians would still be in the dark about the crude mechanics of the Betfair deal, and the events preceding its
signing by the Premier and James Packer.

To allege a colossal Murdoch press conspiracy is laughable

Yesterday’s nationwide revelations were not, as Mr. Lennon claimed today, “tabloid journalism at its worst”. They were vitally important to the citizens of Tasmania, who will make a judgment on Lennon Labor’s performance at the polling booth this year.

As a former journalist myself, I read every word of the Mercury coverage and found it to be a straightforward retelling of fact — a hallmark of Whinnett’s style.

And to allege a colossal Murdoch press conspiracy is laughable. The Premier is in strife because, at best, he did something incredibly politically naive in checking into room 3188. At worst, he is hopelessly compromised by the timing of the stay in Melbourne and the signing of the Betfair deal.

It also displays the double standard which is a feature of his leadership. While the number of homeless in Tasmania is sharply rising (Mercury 11 Jan ’06) and Lennon Labor does naught to assist them, our Premier lives the high life as a guest of the mega-rich.

Instead of conceding that he made a terrible mistake in accepting thousands of dollars worth of free hospitality from the Packer family before signing up to Betfair, the Premier is playing the victim. When it’s convenient and the pressure is on, he trots out his family as the wounded party.

If the Lennon family suffers — and no one would wish that upon them — it is their patriarch’s lack of judgment that has caused it.

Cassy O’Connor is Greens’ Candidate for Denison

What Peg reckons:

For comment: Cath Hughes, Media Advisor, 0419 886 304
Peg Putt MHA
Tasmanian Greens Opposition Leader
Friday, 13 JANUARY 2006

And Call an Election Immediately

The Tasmanian Greens today called for the Premier to present himself to the people for judgement by calling an election immediately after he failed to resign over twice misleading Parliament and accepting the benefit of free hospitality in dubious circumstances.
Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA believes that the Premier’s behaviour was not only a massive error of judgement but may constitute a criminal offence because he was negotiating a lucrative deal with the company who supplied him with a free hospitality upgrade, and has been compounded by his twice misleading Parliament and refusing to recall the House to face the music.
The Greens outlined the growing litany of unacceptable behaviour by the Premier, comprising:
• Allowing actual or perceived influence on his Betfair decision by accepting a free hospitality upgrade from the company which stood to gain from that decision;
• Misleading Parliament on two separate occasions over Betfair issues;
• Breaching the Government’s own Ministerial Code of Conduct;
• Disgracing Tasmania in the eyes of the nation;
• Refusing to resign or take responsibility;
• Failing to recall Parliament.
“The Premier has thumbed his nose at Parliament and his duty to account honestly for himself when he has breached the norms of acceptable behaviour in public office, so he must go to the people now and allow them to make that judgement on him,” Ms Putt said.
“An election should be called immediately.”
“The key issue will be that of honesty and decency in Tasmanian politics and the arrogance, impropriety and cronyism of Paul Lennon.”
“The man has a thick hide and has blamed everyone but himself whilst launching diversionary tactics, but the people of Tasmania are dissatisfied and want him called to account.”
Ms Putt has received a disappointing response from the Police Commissioner refusing to launch an investigation into a possible breach of Section 71 of the Criminal Code on the basis that the media have not printed evidence that Paul Lennon understood he was being influenced.
“It is up to the police to investigate whether the Premier was influenced by the lavish treatment he received, not the media to do this work for them,” Ms Putt said.
“Because I believe in upholding high standards in public office I will follow this matter up by now referring it to the DPP for consideration.”

What Will reckons:

Media Release

Deputy Leader of the State Opposition
Friday January 13, 2006

Labor reps continue to distance
themselves from damaged Premier

Members of the Labor Party, both from within and outside of Tasmania, were continuing to distance themselves from beleaguered Premier, Paul Lennon, following his stupid and foolish behaviour over the Betfair Suite Scandal, Deputy Leader of the State Opposition, Will Hodgman said today.

Mr Hodgman said that two Victorian Labor Government Ministers yesterday eagerly denied that politicians regularly received hotel upgrades, directly contradicting statements by their Labor colleague, Premier Lennon who said upgrades were all part of the business.

“The whiff of cronyism, stupidity and arrogance is now the aroma of Tasmania’s beleaguered Premier, Mr Lennon, and a significant number of Labor identities is attempting to distance themselves from the awful stench,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Behind the scenes the Labor Party is hard at work undermining Mr Lennon and discussing how they can remove him from the leadership post before the Labor Party is subject to yet more damage.

“The Labor Party’s Franklin MP has been effusive in his criticism of the Premier describing the Premier’s behaviour in the Betfair Suite Scandal as “silly and stupid.”

“Yesterday, Victorian Health Minister, John Thwaites distanced himself from the activities of Mr Lennon whilst the Victorian Gaming Minister, John Pandazopoulos was openly critical of Mr Lennon’s decision to even licence Betfair.

“For Premier Lennon’s colleagues in Tasmanian State Parliament, this scandal is a matter of life and death in terms of their parliamentary careers. Either they openly support Mr Lennon and attach themselves to damaged goods or they work behind the scenes attempting to claim the scalp of the beleaguered leader and perhaps save their electoral hopes.

“Since Premier Lennon’s potentially corrupt activities were revealed:
· Racing Minister, Jim Cox, hurriedly moved to distance himself from the Betfair Suite Scandal by denying he stayed at Crown Casino;
· Labor sources said that the Betfair Suite Scandal revelations had heightened internal unhappiness with Mr Lennon’s leadership;
· Labor’s Franklin MP, Harry Quick said “I can’t believe someone would be so silly and stupid”;
· Bass Labor MHA, Kathryn Hay, deserted the sinking ship, announcing her retirement at the next election;
· Members of the Labor Party’s Left faction looked to replace Mr Lennon but said that there were no obvious replacements among Labor’s talent-less group of 18 Upper and Lower House MPs; and
· Sources said that ALP State Secretary, David Price, was working behind the scenes surveying numbers for leadership aspirant, Minister Bryan Green.

“We can’t be expecting to get good governance out of people more concerned with plugging in the massive holes in their sinking ship than reducing the worst hospital lists in the nation, improving declining standards in our schools and upgrading the State’s crumbling roads,” Mr Hodgman said.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Albert M. Dollar

    January 21, 2006 at 1:27 am

    [Posted by Super_Annoyed on 01/17 at 09:01 PM]
    “The posts by Mr Dollar (#22) and Mr Brannan (#23) underline my point that twisting and misleading commentary, coupled with comments of a personal nature, seems to be the preferred strategy of Green members/supporters when questioned too hard.”

    Don’t get your cape in a twist Super A.

    It’s not real, matey. . . it’s only a cartoon.

  2. Cassy O'Connor

    January 20, 2006 at 4:09 am

    In answer to your line of questioning Super A… The Tasmanian Greens are committed to negotiating with either party to form stable government.

    Personally, I relish the prospect of contributing to an expanded Green team, and an electorally-chastened Tasmanian ALP, to restore honesty and decency to government in Tasmania. Some Labor MPs will be easier to get along with than others, and sometimes there will be serious dispute, but that is the nature of healthy democracy.

    Again personally, I would like to see Labor MLC Lin Thorp invited into the Cabinet room, to add her considerable intelligence and common sense to more values-driven policy.

    Balance of Power governments can be highly effective if approached with maturity and mutual respect by the parties involved. In Europe they are the norm. In May 2005, Twenty-six European Parliaments were operating under some form of minority or shared arrangement to form government. The ACT has experienced almost continued multi-party administration. New Zealand is now also governed by a power-sharing alliance.

    I suspect that if Labor is in the position of having to come to an understanding with the Greens after the Election, Paul Lennon’s Premiership will be short-lived. Many of his colleagues and the burghers at Labor House are well aware of Big Red’s shortcomings as a builder of consensus. No point speculating too deeply on who might replace him. At this stage of course, it’s all only in the realm of possibility. We first have to win those two extra seats – Braddon and Denison. Plenty of intensive, life-educational campaigning ahead between now and polling day, but it’s very do-able. We do believe it is.

    On policy priorities; the Tasmanian Greens continue to work with experts, community and stakeholder groups to evolve a comprehensive range of policies on the economy, environment, social justice, public health, education and housing, and so on. Of course there will be a list of first-order priorities should the Greens be in a position of greater influence in Parliament, and other initiatives which may be relatively easily achieved. But our policies are our policies and we will continue to work towards the integration into Tasmanian law of the Greens’ more just and sustainable vision.

    Naturally, we’re in this for the long haul…

    Cassy O’Connor
    Greens’ Candidate for Denison


  3. Barry Brannan

    January 18, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    I expect the Greens would choose the policies they are most interested in having implemented. Having the chance to implement some policies is better for the Greens than implementing none at the moment.

    I think your question is really about which policies take priority. On that I can’t say, but I expect forestry, for instance, would be one. I wouldn’t describe this situation as “giving away” some policies as it sounds overly negative. It is just about prioritizing and maximizing the returns.

    As you say, you wouldn’t want to work with someone you think is corrupt but we all have to deal with working with people we don’t like at some point. This situation is no different and it is workable so long as the players are mature and want to make it work. The desire to form a coalition government with Labor should not be construed as an endorsement.

    The details of a working model is something that I’m sure could be worked out but I don’t think anyone is in a position to articulate at this point.

  4. Super_Annoyed

    January 18, 2006 at 7:12 am

    Mr Brannan – mockery is certainly an example of a personal attack, to quote #23 “Apparently only He has been granted the supreme ability to know the Truth”. Mockery is a typical tool used to undermine credibility, in the absence of good argument. Enough said on that as I would not wish to descend to this level of interchange.

    On to the facts at hand. Sue Neales in today’s Mercury reinforces the points of my previous post. The Greens and the ALP have vastly different positions on particular issues. If they were to govern together, then both would have to give way on particular platforms. So, my question is, as the Greens have articulated their wish to share power, which of their platforms will they give way on? What is core and non-core? I know that, personally, I wouldn’t want to work with someone who I have described as corrupt and unworthy of leadership, so I am curious as to the moral character of a political party willing to partner with someone they have labeled as ‘criminal’? I think this is a political ploy that will backfire unless the Greens can articulate a model for a working government.

    Personally, I am not opposed to a Greens-Labor accord – I suspect we would see some good progression on important social issues that are important to a subset of MHAs on both sides, before we flip back to majority Government at the next (early) election.


  5. Barry Brannan

    January 18, 2006 at 3:05 am

    Annoyed, what was twisted and misleading about what I said? That comment simply reaffirms my view that anytime you disagree with something, you label it as twisting, misleading, misinterpreting and hypocrisy. This, by the way, is the core of my personal comments about you and is relevent to our discussion.

    How about rationally arguing the point instead of labelling?

    Listen to an alternative point of view: Peg Putt’s ambition for a coalition is not a low tactic with pure power as a goal. The Greens exist to implement a policy platform. Becoming part of government is the way to achieve that. How is that a low tactic? How is it hypocrisy?

    In fact, by speaking out now at least the Greens are being open and honest about their intentions. Voters know what they are voting for. On the other hand do we really know what Labor would do in the event there is no majority?

    Your question about what Green platforms would be pushed aside is what you would call “misleading”. It is without basis. The Greens will not compromise its policies.

    Just because the Greens called on the Premier to resign doesn’t mean they cannot work together.

  6. Super_Annoyed

    January 17, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    The posts by Mr Dollar (#22) and Mr Brannan (#23) underline my point that twisting and misleading commentary, coupled with comments of a personal nature, seems to be the preferred strategy of Green members/supporters when questioned too hard. I only contribute so that this excellent site does not become a clearing-house for the same tired Green propaganda and me-tooism posts. For the record, I am no fan of up-market reds or fancy beverages, just the odd glass of beer. I am also no fan of hypocrisy, and that is why I am annoyed by the Greens.

    Back to the issue du jour. Peg Putt’s now naked ambition for a government of accord/coalition, with deputy Premier thrown in, highlights and supports my proposition that the Greens are like any other political party, are capable of low tactics as much as any, and have power as the ultimate goal. The next set of questions that should be asked are what current Green platforms will be pushed sideways in the pursuit of coalition? How can they work with a Premier that they have called on to resign as they believe corrupt? Perhaps Ms O’Connor, as originator of this thread, can indicate where she may see possibilities for compromise and how she would feel working with the State Labor Party?

    The other major issue of the day, as highlighted in the Mercury today, is Dead Snailgate. When can we expect a response? Or at least a terrific Kudelka cartoon?


  7. Barry Brannan

    January 16, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Indeed our Super Hero is rather presumptuous to tell us that presenting a criticism or an alternative point of view is misleading, twisting or misinterpreting the “facts”. Apparently only He has been granted the supreme ability to know the Truth. When will his true identity be uncovered?

    As the election campaigns continue we will see much better if the Greens are “just as bad as any other party”.

    Just watch for the tactics used by every party. Who will play fair? Who will do whatever it takes?

    The Libs have already fired their first shot and I don’t think they’ve earned any points for playing nice.

    Fasten your seatbelts.

  8. Albert M. Dollar

    January 16, 2006 at 8:33 am


    [ Cue dramatic intro audio-track ]

    Spawned from the primordial ooze and the Big-L family that rejected him. Left in the care of his Gran, Daisy Dems, he was alone and adrift after her sudden and tragic death. Yet from sad beginnings, a new superhero is born ( at least in his own mind ) –

    ” I am S U P E R A N N O Y E D . . . ”

    Able to leap between the Retro and Maldini’s in a single bound, SUPER ANNOYED marshalled his souper-dooper brane-power and set out to rid the Tasmanian blogosphere of “Green zealots” – and other grassroots, community folk trying to express themselves in the face of the corporate-controlled proto-duopoly called the Australian media.

    One day a week, SUPER ANNOYED becomes his mild-mannered alter-ego, slaving away at the Daily Planet for his autocratic boss, Rupert. But the other 6 days of the week SUPER ANNOYED springs into action [ cue sound-effects: “SPROING!” ] and, between cafe lattes and a few bottles of up-market red, he rids your local independent media of misguided, “twisted”, and – errrr – independent voices(?).

    ” Thank you SUPER ANNOYED . . . You saved the day! ”

    [ Cue feel-good outro audio-track ]
    [ Roll Credits]

    Produced by: Albert M. Dollar, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

    [ Fade to black ]

  9. Dr Kevin Bonham

    January 16, 2006 at 7:24 am

    Pilko, the wishful thinker here is you, wishing your beloved Greens were lily-white (if you’ll excuse the colour confusion of the metaphor) when actually some of them are just as bad as any other party – only worse because they pretend to be better.

    What the national press says about the issue is just not all that relevant here. Sydney journos don’t vote in Tassie elections, Tassie-bashing is a national journalistic space-filling sport, and the issue only has that much interest to journos elsewhere because it involves a Packer. The impression I am getting is that within Tasmania the trail (no snail jokes please) is already going cold.

  10. Jon Kudelka

    January 16, 2006 at 5:16 am

    Stuff the Crown Casino affair, I want to hear more about Dead Snailgate.

  11. Super Annoyed

    January 16, 2006 at 5:05 am

    I certainly agree with post 18.

    It is clear that the Premier behaved somewhat inappropriately but it is another thing to allege corruption or criminal activity (Barry – that is why the police didnt pursue the issue, Mr Lennon has broken no law, which the DPP will confirm).

    My issue is with the allegations and political blood-lust stirred up in the Greens over this issue. My point is that this makes them no different to other political parties, and that they are playing the person rather than the ball in the hope of squeezing out a few more votes (see many comments of a personal nature throughout TT messages directed against Mr Lennnon).

    I dont hold any hope of convincing the Green zealots who inhabit this site (and, for goodness sake, say the same things over and over and over again) but I also think that it is appropriate that hypocrisy and twisting of the facts does not go unchallenged. That’s why I am Super Annoyed!

  12. Lee Lacker

    January 16, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Cassy O’Connor, I support everything that you said in your latest post. I also don’t question your motives or your passion.

    My issue was the way the media in particular used the story to insinuate corruption had taken place. The Opposition parties were only too pleased to pursue this line despite how ridiculous this assumption seemed to be.

    But that’s politics, I suppose, anything for a few extra points.

    It’s interesting to note that debate now has wound down to the more sensible observation that Lennon’s hotel upgrade is simply another example of the government’s aloofness and ignorance of how this would be perceived by those that are doing it tough.

    This is where the debate should have always been, and where a majority of Tasmanians would sit up and take notice.

    I think the ludicrous suggestions of last week has only served to obscure this point.

  13. Pilko

    January 15, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    You wishful thinkers can spend all day on the TT imputing naughtiness to the Greens. It will be of little consequence. Whatever makes you feel better I s,pose.

    Cassy is spot on and the National press agree with her.

    The facts stand, and are thus: Paul Lennon has landed himself, and his party in hot water. Again.

    It’s gone national, and the press are not being very kind. They are not talking about whether the Greens play politics in Tasmania as much as Lib/Lab. The national press are talking about Lennon. They are also talking about how his actions could potentially damage Labor’s chances of early electoral success in 2006.

    And Guess what folks? It nobody else’s fault but his. It is Lennon who is reaping what he has sown. Even, ALP man Harry Quick described Lennon’s actions as ‘stupid and silly’.

    Indeed, Lennon now has a rather unflattering profile nationally which he has nurtured over many years now. It is consistent with the one whistle blower Bob Cheek showed us in his recent book.

    I might add, that the Greens came out of Cheeky’s book looking about a million times cleaner than Lib/Lab (see Cheeky on perks).
    Now that is from a bloke who was on he inside.

  14. Dr Kevin Bonham

    January 15, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    Barry: In my view Putt did not intentionally mislead parliament in my case but her false statements were a result of a combination of political bias and scientific ignorance.

    Whatever the source of the mistake, it remains the fact that Putt, despite having been informed of the truth, has failed to correct the record. She has therefore permitted misleading material to remain on the record uncorrected, and this is every bit as bad as intentionally misleading the house in the first place.

    My belief is that Putt’s claims were actually based on an incredibly sloppy and error-ridden submission written by Dr David Obendorf on behalf of the Launceston Environment Centre. Claims resembling both Putt’s claims occur in this report but nowhere else in the debate apart from Putt’s silly interjections (so much for Green parliamentary standards!). In one case Putt’s claim closely follows a totally false claim by Obendorf that my 1996 report’s data set “does not separate the numbers of live and dead snails counted at each site”; in the other case Putt’s claim may be an incorrect elaboration of a correct comment by Obendorf.

    To say there is “not always opportunity to” correct mistakes is a totally laughable excuse. All I want is a correction read on the floor of the House and hence into Hansard for the permanent record, which there are abundant opportunities for politicians to make. Putt has a mere six and a half years to do so since first being informed by me via letter on 1 May 1999 that her comments were false.

    I asked Putt again about the issue at a public meeting at the University of Tas on 17 July 2002, at which her response was that my claims could not be true and that the Greens would not vilify anyone’s reputation. I emailed her the passage in question again as disproof of this but there has still been no retraction.

    It is amusing to contrast Putt’s inaction with the conduct of Senator Bob Brown, who made similar comments about my work in the Senate but who at least was so good as to read a letter from me into the Senate Hansard correcting the record.

  15. Justa Bloke

    January 15, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Corruption has traditionally been rewarded in Tasmanian politics by re-election or promotion.

    As Joh B-P once famously asked – who would want a premier who was too stupid to get something extra for himself out of his position?

  16. Just Frank

    January 15, 2006 at 10:22 am

    Cassy O’Conner’s latest comments are again spot on, just checking the latest news on Paul Lennon, now on crikey.com.au we getting the issues confirmed.
    To me the 6 star hotel upgrade is just one more indicator to what this island has in common with other islands in the world. The powerful take for granted what others don’t dare to dream about.
    Whilst fresh fruit and a bottle of bubbly would not be presented in a brown paper bag, this is whole affair indicates what is possible to imagine…

    Yes, as suggested on Crikey, I am sending it to a Friend or two!
    Cheers for now
    Just Frank

    Lennon: from luxury to the losers’ lounge
    Crikey, Australia – 2 hours ago
    By Hugo Kelly.

    Lennon: from luxury to the losers’ lounge

    By Hugo Kelly
    Date: 13 January 2006

    Paul Lennon’s bumbling failure to stamp out the Crown payola story means his well-laid plans for an early election are doomed. Had Lennon admitted he made a blunder and apologised, maybe he would have got away with it. But his clumsy attempt to blame a News Ltd and racing industry conspiracy has only made him more enemies.

    This is an issue that must be tested in Parliament, otherwise the voters will surely boot out Lennon over this. Which means no election before March at the earliest.

    A media release today by Liberal leader Rene Hidding highlights Lennon’s ongoing problems. Now it appears Lennon has breached his own code of conduct:

    MPs must at all times avoid taking advantage of their official position for private benefit. Public duties must be carried out objectively and without consideration of personal or financial gain.

    The Government has adopted a Gifts Policy applicable to all members of Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretaries. Its starting point is that gifts, other than token items, should not be accepted…

    It looks like larger-than-life Lennon’s arrogance and hubris are starting to bite him where it hurts.

  17. Cassy O'Connor

    January 15, 2006 at 6:31 am

    Lee Lacker, Elizabeth and Super A wrongly attribute the worst of motives for my written observations on the Premier’s self-inflicted political pain.

    I am not driven by malice or blood-lust, nor do I stick my head up for a bit of a kicking on a nasty whim. Like a growing number of Tasmanians (if we are to believe the latest polls), I’m sickened by Lennon Labor’s twisted priorities. Far from the sleek interior of room 3188, too many of our fellow Tasmanians can’t get access to affordable housing; emergency accommodation; hospital care when they need it; a child protection officer if a child is in danger; focussed, compassionate mental health services; adequately funded drug rehabilitation … the list is long.

    But when hope is lost, they sure can find a poker machine to gamble away their modest incomes. No shortage of revenue funnels into corporate and state government coffers, right out of the pockets of those who can least afford it. Soon, there will be Betfair to add to this socially corrosive mix.

    The Premier has been caught out misleading Parliament and the Tasmanian people over Betfair and his privileged treatment as a guest of the Packer family. Surely that is a matter worthy of intense debate in the public domain?

    As someone who grew up in a Labor family and has given a sizeable chunk of their professional life to the Federal ALP, I believe with all my being that Lennon Labor is a murky reflection of everything the party should stand for. Where we could be brought together by a shared set of social and environmental values, we are riven by a government and entrenched interests that can’t countenance any other way. Tasmania and its citizens are being treated with contempt. Therein lies my motivation.

    Cassy O’Connor
    Greens’ Candidate for Denison

  18. Barry Brannan

    January 15, 2006 at 4:41 am

    It is important to consider intentions. In Kevin Bonham’s example, did Peg Putt deliberately mislead or was it just a mistake? Mistakes happen – no big deal. I do think it would be appropriate to correct the record if a mistake is made but there are not always opportunities to do so. I recall Peg Putt making apologies in public for other mistakes.

    Super Annoyed’s case is hardly convincing. Just because the police didn’t take on the case, it doesn’t mean that Paul Lennon is innocent.

    I have no doubt that referring the case to the DPP is a political manoeuvre that impacts badly on Mr Lennon but it is not ‘misleading’, because the criminal code could be applied.

  19. Super Annoyed

    January 14, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    Dear Mr Brannan – see post 8 above. Lots and lots of more examples. In this specific case, see statements from Ms Putt that the Premier had possibly committed a criminal offence. Another disingenuous comment from a Green – Ms Putt would have known that this would not have been a criminal offence (or should have known) but was happy to make the slur, and not to recant when the police indicated there was no case to answer.

    So a bit of unaccountable public misleading leads to raising a serious aspersion that the Mr Lennon is a criminal. And now she plans to waste someone’s time at the DPP to get an answer she knows she is going to get – but that seems not as important as the scurrilous political hatchet job.

    I don’t really imagine the Greens are any less pure than their opponents. It’s their holier-than-thou attitude coupled with the gross examples of manipulation that gets me annoyed.

    On bumper stickers – I don’t own a car. If I did, bumper stickers are a bit trite and tribal for my liking.

    I remain, S. Annoyed.

  20. Dr Kevin Bonham

    January 14, 2006 at 6:27 am

    Barry, surely we should be more superficial than just addressing who is in the arbitrarily constructed “spotlight” for being misleading and move on to the broader issue of which politicians actually mislead the house, irrespective of whether it is reported.

    I reckon the answer is “most of them” and the only time you hear about it is when opposing politicians and the media smell what they think is a significant beatup that might play among voters and/or readers.

    Of course the Mercury’s motive as a pawn in the rivalries of media moguls is way too obvious, and today I see said paper trying to beat an embarrassed retreat having realised that most voters simply don’t give a stuff about the multi-page splashes, just as far more serious scandals never stopped Robin Gray polling multiple quotas.

  21. Barry Brannan

    January 14, 2006 at 1:20 am

    Super Annoyed, do you have a GREENS TELL LIES sticker on your car?

    “… as they have made an art out of misleading comments”

    Since when? I think you are getting confused. Who is currently in the spotlight for being misleading?

  22. Dr Kevin Bonham

    January 13, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Peg Putt misled parliament on 16 March 1999 when she made the following false statements – the first of which would be defamatory if made by her outside Cowards’ Castle – about my land snail research.

    1. “That guy counted dead snail shells as part of his count of how many snails there are. That’s how accurate he is”.

    False – my report on the species clearly explained that numbers of dead shells were not used to form population estimates.

    2. “Are you aware that he’s the one who did the original report as well, that he now criticises?”

    False – the first field report on the species was written by other authors in about 1987. The only body of work of my own on this species that I have ever criticised was a 100-200 word submission in 1994 proposing that the species be downgraded from Endangered to Vulnerable status, and I criticised that report for not going far enough in the direction of delisting.

    Whatever one thinks of my actions on this issue it remains a fact that Putt misled the house over it. Peg Putt has been informed by me both by email and in person that these statements are false and that I wish them to be retracted on the floor of the house. To her total discredit as anything remotely resembling a human being, she has not done so! Yet now she wants Paul Lennon to go over what she alleges to be the same thing!

    Any call by Putt for another member to resign on grounds of misleading the house is lunatic inconsistency unless Putt herself resigns first.

  23. Neil

    January 13, 2006 at 6:06 pm

    Well said Cassy!

    We again reap the foul fruits of Pig Red and his single handed running of Tasmania’s minority-of-one government, aided by a chinless, cowering Labor cabinet and a totally befuddled Liberal “opposition”.

    If this latest Lennon stench doesn’t deflate Labor and Liberal’s windbaggery against minority government, then nothing will!

  24. Lee Lacker

    January 13, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    What a ridiculous assumption to make, to suggest that the Premier makes far-reaching decisions on Tasmania’s gambling industry based upon the decore of his hotel accomodation!

    Does anyone really think that Lennon is that stupid, or that the Labor cabinet would sanction such decisions based on the sort of upgrade he got?

    Really think about that question, because that’s the issue here.

    Everyone who is sticking the knife into him is playing shallow politics; it’s a nasty way to think and behave.

    And what a disappointment that Cassy O’Connor could issue such a sensationalist media release. There goes the idea that she was above all that.

    But that’s politics for you isn’t it, you don’t look at issues based on their merit, you stay in your party camp and attack when you smell blood, be it either right or wrong, you feel obliged to do it, because it makes you feel good when someone falls and your man stands over the corpse.

    That’s the name of the game right?

  25. Anne B

    January 13, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    I reckon Brian Green is a good bet to replace Lennon. He’s in the left faction but acts like he’s in the right. He’s got a moustache, which is apparently obligatory for Labor Premiers these days, and he’s about the only one there who might be capable of being premier.

    To go through the list, Llewellyn’s been so hopeless with the hospitals, Lara Giddings and David Bartlett are too new, Kons doesn’t have much to say, Wriedt is too indecisive. That’s about it isn’t it?

    How about Peg Putt for Premier?

  26. Jason Lovell

    January 13, 2006 at 9:23 am

    I believe this piece by Cassy O’Connor, regarding the Premier’s acceptance of inappropriate corporate hospitality from a beneficiary of his Government’s decision-making, hits the nail on the head. Several times over.

    The Premier has dug himself an enormous hole here, all by himself; the racing establishment did not accept inappropriate largesse – that was Paul Lennon alone. The media did not lie to Parliament about receiving the inappropriate hospitality – Paul Lennon did this all by himself. And nothing in Cassy O’Connor’s article sounds as dodgy as the repeated and conflicting “explanations” that we’ve heard for this behaviour, explanations provided by … Paul Lennon.

    There are a couple of other issues of interest I wouldn’t mind probed:
    – The Premier has publicly stated that the Herald-Sun apologised to him one day after splashing the scoop about his receipt of inappropriate hospitality. The scoop was published in the Herald-Sun on January 11th. There was no apology in the January 12th publication of the Herald-Sun. None. Just more of the same – that is, a number of different articles detailing the issue. There can be only one “explanation” for this anomaly.

    – The Premier has stated publicly that he has also received an accomodation upgrade while staying at the Launceston Country Club Casino. When was this? Let’s hope it wasn’t a few days before the pokie license extension was given for free to Federal Hotels, owners of the Launceston CCC.

    – The Premier has stated publicly that he didn’t realise he had received a room upgrade until he received the key and saw the room number on it. He has also stated publicly that he did not realise he had received a room upgrade until he actually walked into the room itself. Which of these two versions of the same story is true?

    – The Premier has publicly stated that the decision to allow betting exchanges was made by Cabinet and then Parliament and not by him alone. He has also stated publicly that he “was the only politician [in Australia] prepared to take on the racing establishment”. So which is it? Are all Members of Cabinet and Parliament ‘tak[ing] on the racing establishment’ too, or is it just Paul Lennon by himself?

    Reading through just some of the growing list of anomalies raised by Paul Lennon’s repeated attempts to explain the situation away, I believe that the most effective MP in Tasmania’s Parliament summed it up best on ABC Radio this morning:

    “O what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.”
    [Peg Putt, 7ZR, 13/1/06, Orig. Sir Walter Scott]

    Jason Lovell

  27. Super Annoyed

    January 13, 2006 at 6:28 am

    Well it would appear that Ms O’Connor has flipped into complete political mode with this posting.

    Yes, it would be fair to criticise the Premier’s judgement on the hotel upgrade. Is the potential minor misleading a punishable offence? Probably not and the Greens know it, as they have made an art out of misleading comments.

    That they decide to go in for the attack is really par for the course and is reminiscent of the campaign from various forces to expel the former Governor (what did he do wrong exactly again?). I’m still waiting on a few good ideas from the Greens that would make them worthy of government of the State (or co-government potentially). Ms O’Connor’s disingenuous final line is simply appalling. And it annoys me.


  28. Elizabeth

    January 13, 2006 at 5:28 am

    This rant is ridiculous.

    Also notice all the cooking metaphors!

    “He has also smeared a Walkley award winning journalist” – smeared her with what exactly? cooking chocolate?

    And when did Walkley Award winning journalists become untouchables?

    “Labor Cabinet ministers should be grilled on this issue”. Grilled is ok, we also like oven-baked, and pan fried is nice. I thought Greenies were mostly vegetarian anyway. Cabinet Ministers would probably be a bit too stringy for our tastes.

  29. Just Frank

    January 13, 2006 at 5:08 am

    Thank you Cassy O’Conner, well explained.

    When one listenes to the ABC talkback radio and the Premier’s statements, it sounds as a story is for stupid sheep and ex convicts.
    What does he expect, how low is this, clever Tasmania?
    Soon the numberplates will be changed to the “Tasmania – Gambling & Pretender State”
    AND regarding the story in

    The Mercury, Australia – 9 hours ago
    … revelations simply added to concerns the free hospitality Mr Lennon received from PBL during his stay at Crown Casino was only the tip of the iceberg of the Premier’s impropriety and compromised deals…

    Come on Rene & Co, here is your chance to put some facts to the public!
    Let’s put some timber and woodchips on the plate, maybe.
    Just wondering what’s below the “tip of the iceberg”, before Tasmania’s community runs into it.

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