Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

The Goose and the Gander … Dastyari and Harriss

*Pic: Sarawak Report, HERE: Tasmanian Independent MP Paul Harriss hob-nobs while ‘on holiday’ in Sarawak with corrupt dictator Taib Mahmud’s two top cronies Awang Tenggah and Len Talif Saleh.

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Sam Dastyari … from Federal Parliament’s website

Watching the political destruction of Senator Dastyari by the Murdoch Press over a suggested bribe has been an enlightening experience.

The Murdoch-owned Mercury has in the past had every opportunity to draw attention to the relationship between Ta Ann (a Sarawak company), its owners, Forestry Tasmania – and one Paul Harriss, the protector and promoter of that company in the Upper House of the Tasmanian Parliament.

Harris piloted legislation through Parliament allowing Ta Ann to take up a special position in Tasmania and benefit from the in-part reduction of the Peeler Billet contracts for an enormous cash payment; contracts that now cost Forestry Tasmania over one million dollars a week in losses.

This matter only became seriously interesting when, like Dastyari, Harriss in his statement to the Tasmanian Parliament admitted accepting cash from Ta Ann whose owners have a track record of corruption in Sarawak.

After his election to the Lower House and his ascension to ministerial office why did Paul Harris retire and vanish from the Tasmanian political scene?

Does Harriss have something to hide which is now known, in some way, to someone, somewhere?

Why has the owner of the Mercury not pursued Harriss with the same relentless vigour as shown by The Australian in its pursuit of Dastyari?

I raised the matter of Harriss and Ta Ann in my history of forestry in Tasmania as tabled by Andrew Wilkie in the House of Representatives and again here on TT: HERE: Forestry Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie MP and the tabled document …

Not a squeak out of the ever-compliant Mercury!

I suggest that the Liberals compounded the possible felony when, on his election to the Legislative Assembly, they made Harriss Minister of Forests.

Senator George Brandis, the Attorney-General, said of Dastyari: “He will never be able to give a speech without people asking ‘Who wrote the script and how much did they pay you for that?’”

Why would The Mercury ignore a good Tasmanian story when it is gifted to them on a plate?

What say you Mr Mercury Editor regarding integrity, honesty and truth in reporting?

I suggest that we are extremely badly served by the Tasmanian press, be it the Mercury or the The Examiner, whose previous editor Gilmour left it to work for the Liberals.

*John Hawkins is a Sandhurst-trained former British army officer, now an Australian resident of almost 50 years. For the past 14 years he has been enhancing the Bentley landscape in the Chudleigh Valley, Tasmania. He is well known for his two-volume standard reference on Australian Silver, and for his knowledge of the Life and Times of Erich Abetz.

• Bob Hawkins in Comments: Thanks John. I was still almost young when I realised that there are none so blind as those that are paid not to see. Early in my years in Asia and the Pacific, I discovered how a handful of dollars here and a handful of dollars there can bring on instant blindness (and, of course, onset of I-don’t-recall syndrome). Australians in Asia were in my days (maybe still are) notorious for their capacity to pay a bribe or take one. I had to smile recently when an elderly Third World “statesman” from a forest- and mineral-ravaged nation protested that he was clean as a whistle, and always had been. Malaysians (and not just them alone) have been actively corrupting Asia-Pacific politicians since way back to the 1960s. It’s everywhere, John, it’s everywhere.

• Trish Kyne in Comments: The musings surrounding the lack of investment, along with the ongoing difficulty in attracting viable businesses to Tasmania as a whole, and the Huon Valley in particular, can be laid squarely at the door of the closed shop attitude of the puppet masters. Underlining this in small communities are the faceless financial contributors that engineer the exclusive money making deals, which ultimately line their own pockets; while the community they espouse to support trail further and further behind. Newspapers appear happy to publish the most amazing claims by ‘large employers’ in the state, without doing due diligence in following up those stories by looking under rocks for the truth. Likewise, the papers rarely publish letters from the public that point out the flaws in said stories. Tasmania needs independent watchdogs across the board that actually have the power to do their designated job. Maybe an anti-corruption Crime Commission with the power to investigate, prosecute and oust the bad guys. Quiet retirements don’t deliver change.

… John Hayward in Comments: While no one could accuse Rupert of being politically non-partisan, he has generally recognised that the Tas LibLabs are true neoliberals in their devotion to kleptocracy. If Harriss seemed to have a stash of get-out-of jail-free cards, what about the Labor lads immersed in pulp mills, land swaps, fox hunts, and sweetheart sales of public assets? Not much thunder heard from Mercury. Sam should have set up shop here, a renowned blind spot for ethical radar.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Bob Hawkins

    September 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks John. I was still almost young when I realised that there are none so blind as those that are paid not to see. Early in my years in Asia and the Pacific, I discovered how a handful of dollars here and a handful of dollars there can bring on instant blindness (and, of course, onset of I-don’t-recall syndrome). Australians in Asia were in my days (maybe still are) notorious for their capacity to pay a bribe or take one. I had to smile recently when an elderly Third World “statesman” from a forest- and mineral-ravaged nation protested that he was clean as a whistle, and always had been. Malaysians (and not just them alone) have been actively corrupting Asia-Pacific politicians since way back to the 1960s. It’s everywhere, John, it’s everywhere.

  2. TV Resident

    September 10, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Our lab/lib gov’ts, both state and federal, are mixed up in China and Indonesian corruption up to the eye balls in my opinion. They are selling us out hand over fist to foreign entities under the guise of foreign investment. No amount of exuses could possibly excuse them from their self serving, self inflicted money orientated mess. All the more reason the back the ‘Independents’ at election time.

  3. phill Parsons

    September 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    It doesn’t matter how it is described, donations or gifts to political parties or politicians by foreign interests are unacceptable.

    For the Lieberals to admit they have taken them and then say we are not influenced by those donations when deciding policy would be laughable except that it shows the contempt with which they hold voters intelligence.

    It is bad enough that donations are virtually secret for 6 months and there is no limit to them.

    Just as debates should include parties over a certain size of vote by law so their campaigns should be publicly funded to remove the taint of being beholding to the big donors.

  4. Trish Kyne

    September 10, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    The musings surrounding the lack of investment, along with the ongoing difficulty in attracting viable businesses to Tasmania as a whole, and the Huon Valley in particular, can be laid squarely at the door of the closed shop attitude of the puppet masters.

    Underlining this in small communities are the faceless financial contributors that engineer the exclusive money making deals, which ultimately line their own pockets; while the community they espouse to support trail further and further behind.

    Newspapers appear happy to publish the most amazing claims by ‘large employers’ in the state, without doing due diligence in following up those stories by looking under rocks for the truth. Likewise, the papers rarely publish letters from the public that point out the flaws in said stories.

    Tasmania needs independent watchdogs across the board that actually have the power to do their designated job. Maybe an anti-corruption Crime Commission with the power to investigate, prosecute and oust the bad guys. Quiet retirements don’t deliver change.

  5. Claire Gilmour

    September 12, 2016 at 12:20 am

    What we need is a documentary. A movie of the history pages.

    Imagine a series based on the “Life and Times of Tasmanian Times” …

    … the people, the realism, the hopes and dreams, the squandered, the honesty and dishonesty, the fakes and failures and the corruption, the loves and destinies … the knowledge … the voice …

  6. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Yes, thank you John H. While presumably a number of us were reminded of Paul Harriss by the Dastyari news, you actually did something about it and sent something off to Lindsay. Well done! In answer to your question as to why Harriss went from the Parliament, one version is that Hodgman told him ‘go or be sacked’. Public perceptions of his performance as Resource Minister at the time were quite low.

    I was tempted to ask ‘What’s the difference between Harriss accepting cash etc from Taib and Dastyari soliciting cash from the Chinese? Maybe it’d be better worded to ask ‘what are the similarities?’

    It’s like asking what’s the difference between Libs and Labs? That sort of question can only take you so far. In Tassie at least, it’s more instructive (in my opinion) to examine the similarities. Oh, and with Harriss gone, we (briefly) got Adam Brooks, who seemed to have some trouble with a ‘conflict of interest’ (mining minister misleads Parliament over company email) and now we have the Minister for Witch-hunts, the Triabunna Kid, back in from the cold, an exile that was apparently imposed by Mr Abetz … who is it? … Guy Barnett. That’s about three (Resource/Mining) Ministers in Hodgman’s first term. Doing well, aren’t we?

  7. john hayward

    September 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    While no one could accuse Rupert of being politically non-partisan, he has generally recognised that the Tas LibLabs are true neoliberals in their devotion to kleptocracy.

    If Harriss seemed to have a stash of get-out-of jail-free cards, what about the Labor lads immersed in pulp mills, land swaps, fox hunts, and sweetheart sales of public assets? Not much thunder heard from Mercury.

    Sam should have set up shop here, a renowned blind spot for ethical radar.

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