Tasmanian Times


Griffith Revew: Edition 39: Tasmania: The Tipping Point?


Edition 39: Tasmania: The Tipping Point?

Deadline for submissions: 14 September 2012
Publication date: Late January 2013

For too long, as the smallest and least wealthy of Australia’s states, Tasmania has been on the edge of national conversations about prosperity, identity and equity, widely regarded as the ‘poor cousin’. In Tasmania: The Tipping Point? Griffith REVIEW will move the state centre stage, serving up strategic slices of Tasmania’s past, present and future. Thinkers and doers from Tasmania and beyond – including members of its extensive diaspora – will examine whether Tasmania has reached a ‘tipping point’.

Once the Apple Isle, Tasmania has recently become the focus of concerted efforts to improve its lagging educational outcomes, enliven an economy highly dependent on the public purse, and better connect Tasmanians with twenty-first century agendas. The success of these ambitions and interventions will be considered.

Tasmania’s geographical isolation, distinctive natural environment and smallness of social scale are increasingly seen as blessings, presenting marketable opportunities. Since the blockbusting arrival of David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart’s northern suburbs, more people champion Tasmania’s potential as a testbed for clever cultural, economic, environmental and social initiatives. At the same time, they often struggle with embedded local resistance to change.

Tasmania: The Tipping Point? challenges how Tasmania is seen by outsiders – and illuminates how Tasmanians see themselves, down home and in the wider world.


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


  1. Bob Kendra

    August 28, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Though I was born locally, I have travelled and have to say that we really are backward, ignorant, inward-looking, intolerant and damning towards educated free-thinking people. We pick the time and place to act anything less than macho, folksy and simple down the street and in the shops. This is certainly true in the country and in poorer suburbs. The media create the values and role models that keep us on the straight and narrow with broad accents and dumbed-down talk in public.

  2. David Obendorf

    August 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Tasmania’s mediocrity and passivity is worn like a badge of honour; especially by the calibre of politicians elected.

    Why would you want to actual think when you can just be another passive, compliant Tasmaniac?

    The form of democracy we govern ourselves with in this State actually promotes, encourages and rewards that reactive, mediocre, hear no evil-see no evil-speak no evil approach.

    Power for it own sake seems to be all…. hence even the Greens passivity on so many issues that used to be their heartland only 3 years ago.

    Did I expect any different? Perhaps not.

  3. Peter Bright

    August 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I feel obliged to sadly endorse TasBrain’s blunt but correct general evaluations of some Tasmanian citizens, especially that in his first sentence.

    In the last decade I’ve twice visited the Menzies Centre and asked at Reception to speak with those professionals who’ve studied the reasons behind this incredibly frustrating and vexatious phenomenon, but alas, the women there were of the same stock and did not comprehend my request. I twice left in head-shaking despair uttering unprintable mumbles.

    As far as I’ve been able to discern, the reasons underlying Tasmanians’ galling stupidity, endured by me for so long at every social level, are ..

    (a) island development isolated from the mainland and its corrective influences where if you’re not quick, you’re dead, and ..

    (b) a history of incest – you know, with Randy Tom having Aunty Jane just over the next ridge, and ..

    (c) the imported convict mentality with its entrenched underlying tendency to criminal behaviour and subsequent breeding, and ..

    (d) the island’s glacial period/s where iodine, essential to human mental health as well as physical health, was swept out of its soils.

    Remedying this in the short term seems impossible but TasBrain’s suggestion in his second sentence is really sensible.

    Thanks for a very incisive post, TasBrain.

  4. TasBrain

    August 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    The main problem for Tasmania is its incredibly stupid and inbred locals. The main goal should be to try to discover ways of encouraging them to leave the state and have the concentrated stupidity diluted in the wider Australian population.

    Sadly at the moment the smart people are leaving, making the net effect an even more stupid state.

    The closest any politician has come to this truth is when a recent failed candidate called the electorate “brain dead zombies”. All the other politicians cynically flatter their moronic constituents and just perpetuate the problem.

  5. David Obendorf

    August 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Tasmania: The Tipping Point?… Taz-mania has been teetering on the precipice of its tipping point for a long, long time.

    Does that say it’s never say die approach is it’s strongest quality or an inherent failing?

    The cargo cultism of the Apple Isle that political science academic Tony McCall and economist Saul Eslake have been telling us about for many years now are mere reiterations of early forebodings going back to the post-WWII era of Hydro-industrialisation and the growth of the woodchip industry.

    Old stuckness and inflexible thinking has the potential to take Tasmania into collapse mode.

    History tells us that it takes sudden-ness – an unexpected shock – that causes the ‘die-hard’ mentalities to [i]die[/i] and the complacent to wake up!

    If Tasmania is at that sort of tipping point… it’s a good omen for this island.

    What’s the alternative?

    As royal mistress, Madame de Pompadour, told the Sun King, Louis XIV of France as a a famous omen to the French Revolution: [i]”Au reste, apres nous, le Deluge.”[/i] [Translation: Besides, after us, the Deluge!]

  6. Mark

    August 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    John Howard used the term “aspirational” to describe elements of his converts. People need an incentive to strive beyond their fellows in a disadvantaged society. Young Tasmanians are one example but the world is full of similar stories. Aboriginals from the NW of WA where the Pilbara is mined for its riches fail to gain employment. The mining companies use s457 visas to recruit from overseas while the unions are only representing their current members. Young aboriginals are often too illiterate to pass the OH&S needs of truck driving or similar.

    Education is one factor but the lack of any promise of employment often presents itself like a “glass ceiling.” Where mining companies, large corporations (look at recent employment decisions by News Ltd) or governments (lack of regional employment programs in their own departments) fail to have confidence in the youth or education systems, it is little wonder the youth reject their part of the desired social bargain.

    Tasmania needs a five to ten year employment plan led by the Federal government where education courses are directly linked to the jobs on offer. The youth will then have no-one to blame but themselves…and hasn’t our generation taught them very well how to blame!

  7. phill Parsons

    August 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Resistance to change is an endemic global phenomenon. Tasmania only exemplifies such resistance in a particular social environment.

    Poor educational outcomes. Will someone review the product in its spatial relationship and answer how many of the smart ones move out of the State. Comments on why should be included.

    MONA is not a new phenomenon, just new for Tasmania. A testbed perhaps but for what purpose. Testing the idea that quality has an attractiveness, that modernity is interesting or that an all weather attraction works well in the Hobart climate?.

To Top