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


Seafish Tasmania, Cocaine, Trawlers and a fine Stink …

A whale shark caught by Geelong Star …

Eric Abetz was the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation in the Howard Government from 27 January 2006 to 3 December 2007. One could safely say that on all the available evidence Abetz was a disaster in this portfolio – think Managed Investment Schemes, tax scams protected and promoted by Abetz against the advice of the Tax Department leading to the eventual bankruptcy of Great Southern, Gunns, Wilmot, FEA and the loss of billions by both the ATO and investors.

By 2012 Abetz was in Opposition yet we still find him putting his oar in, this time pushing a Super Trawler and then compensation for, in his opinion, the greatly wronged Seafish Tasmania when its licence to fish using the Abel Tasman was revoked by the Labor government, as may be confirmed by these references in Hansard:

Wednesday 12 September 2012:

Abetz: Has the Minister sought or received legal advice going to issues of compensation to Seafish Tasmania as a result of the Government’s latest backflip? Does the Government acknowledge that its knee-jerk reaction has exposed the Commonwealth to yet another significant liability …?

Monday 17 December 2012:

Abetz: I used to be Fisheries Minister. I know about the Commonwealth harvest strategy and I know that briefs go across your desk about these matters each and every day …

Tuesday 18 September 2012.:

Senator Abetz Leader of the Opposition in the Senate: In that case the headlines in the Tasmanian newspapers should be that the trawler may still well be allowed to fish and that no decision has been made. If that is the case, why is it that Labor Senators have been out in Tasmania, along with a Greens’ Senator, celebrating the fact that this trawler [Abel Tasman] has now been stopped? I think we have an issue there of integrity … I have one final question … have you received any advice whatsoever in relation to the possibility of compensation in relation to Seafish Tasmania? In answering that, have you actually sought advice?

Tuesday 18 September 2012.:

Abetz: Let us get back to the actual issue as to whether or not Seafish Tasmania’s application has been prejudged by the Minister … a decision has already been made by the ministers and any submissions that may be made by the owners of Seafish Tasmania will simply fall on deaf ears …

This concentrated campaign by a former Minister for Fisheries for compensation for a Tasmanian company begs the question:

How close is, or was, the Tasmanian Abetz to Geen, a director of Seafish ( http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/linkableblob/4198198/data/seafish-tasmania-pelagic-asic-report-data.pdf )?

The matter did go to the Federal Court of Australia and the Seafish Tasmania case was dismissed with costs awarded against it on 21 Feb 2014 – see Tasmanian Times 22/02/14:


Seafish Tasmania has always been close to our pollies and as a result has been well supplied with government money. On 9th September 2008 Seafish Tasmania received $150,000 from the Tasmanian Labor State Government and in 2012 Seafish Tasmania received, for its fish oil business, a Commonwealth grant from the Federal Labor government of $420,000. It then proceeded to dump some 1200 truckloads of waste fish by-product on private property.

The more than useless Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority ( of the Gunns’-substantially-commenced-Pulp-Mill-at-Longreach fame ) had a rare victory on 9 March 2016 after years of investigation when a record fine of $40,000, plus costs believed to be $100,000, was awarded against Seafish Tasmania for dumping fish waste at Triabunna, a fine that Seafish notably failed to pay, a fine that cost the hapless EPA more than $100,000 to process!

Abetz, as the newly-appointed Minister for Employment in 2014, stated that the Federal Government “did not play favourites” with one company over another, then arranged a gift to Tassal, a Tasmanian public company, of $3.85 million of our money to process its own fish waste at Triabunna rather than use the existing Labor-funded Seafish Tasmania facility. In a funny arrangement it was proposed that Seafish Tasmania would continue to process Tassal fish waste until Tassal built its new facility, then Seafish would close and the workers would be given the option to transfer to Tassal.


We have made arrangements with Seafish that they will continue in operation until this facility is built and then we have made arrangements with Seafish that the employees at Seafish will have first opportunity to work at this new facility.”

How was this deal done? Abetz as Minister for employment knows the answers. Was it a method of transferring money to Seafish Tasmania?

Was Abetz feeling somewhat ashamed of his largesse when he warned that such direct cash handouts to profitable businesses would not flow forever? He continued – “It will be very difficult to justify these ongoing types of expenditure!”

The Liberals then gave Seafish Tasmania and the Dutch-owned Geelong Star free access to our waters, thus causing the Chair of AFMA, Dr Kirsten Davies, to resign over Seafish Tasmania and director Gerry Geen and a perceived conflict of interest over quotas.

At least someone in this sorry saga had enough backbone to behave properly.

Then the story makes an enormous leap onto the front page of all mainland newspapers when a story about Seafish Tasmania and a $350 million dollar cocaine drug bust hits the headlines. This brings the record nearly up to date and shows the calibre of those to whom our Lib/Lab Green-hating pollies gift our money:

From http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-cocaine-ring-bust-largest-in-australian-history-20161229-gtjbjz.html


I quote:

”The former director of a major Australian fishing company has faced court in Sydney after being charged over Australia’s biggest cocaine haul.

Late on Wednesday, the Australian Federal Police announced it had arrested 15 men and seized 1.1 tonnes of cocaine worth an estimated $360 million.

The syndicate was allegedly using a fishing trawler to meet a “mother ship” from South America to bring the cocaine into Australia.

Joseph Pirrello, 63, was arrested in Sydney on Christmas Day.

Pirrello was formerly a managing director of Seafish Tasmania when the company brought the controversial super trawler Abel Tasman (later named Magiris) to Australia in 2012.”

Maybe more of the Tasmanian connection will be revealed when the case goes to court on March 2017.

‘Turn Off The Satellite Transponder’

The Federal Liberal Government allowed the trawler the ‘Geelong Star’ to turn off it’s satellite transponder so it could operate in secrecy. This now appears idiotic given the role of associated fishing trawler owners in alleged narcotics importation.

The Chinese Cocaine Shipment of December 2016

An obvious question now is ‘were Tasmanian fishing trawlers involved in the Chinese plan to import 186kgs of cocaine into Australia?’ ( http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/largest-fish-trawler-geelong-star-arrives-in-australian-waters-20150401-1md4um.html ) Again this may or may not be revealed in court.

I ask:

• Why has this story been run in the Examiner with no mention of Seafish Tasmania?

I tender this to the readers of Tasmanian Times as a snapshot of corporate life and political power in this, your … Tasmania.

Police raid the dinghy as it docked at the tiny Parsley Bay boat ramp on the Central Coast. Photo: NSW Police Media

Sports bags, allegedly full of cocaine, intercepted at the Parsley Bay boat ramp. Photo: NSW Police Media

*John Hawkins has made a particular study of the life and times of Erich Abetz. Born and educated in England he has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of Australian Silver 1800 – 1900, Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking, Zoomorphic, The Al Tajir Collection of Gold and Silver and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art and Antique Dealers Association; seventy five this year he has lived in Australia for fifty years. He has driven his four in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney (1985) and from Sydney to Brisbane (1988) in the two world’s longest endurance marathons; the only teams to ever complete these two events.

ABC: Salmon farming giant Tassal to be probed over witness pulling out of aquaculture inquiry

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


  1. Steve

    May 12, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    #37 … Very interesting story, John.

    The interest is not so much in the content, as in the way it has so spectacularly died. There’s some serious issues involved .. and yet they have just wafted away

    I totally support the question as to exactly who is pulling the strings here.

  2. John Hawkins

    May 12, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Further research shows a detailed story on Joe Pirrello and the trial by Emma Partridge in the Daily Telegraph published on the 30th April, 2018.

    Perhaps the Editor could arrange to republish as it seems to be of no interest to the Tasmanian Media.

  3. John Hawkins

    May 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    As usual in Tasmania, with its complete secrecy over corruption, “No News is Good News”.

    The trial has now taken place and is seemingly reported in only one newspaper in Australia, the Ulladulla Times on 1 May 2018, and this report is not available without payment.

    A Judgement will be handed down on 1 June, 2018.

    The hearing appears to have taken place in the tiny Ulladulla courthouse, and for this [i][b]the biggest cocaine drug bust in Australian history.[/i][/b]

    Senator Abetz, how is this possible – and who is pulling the strings?

    Who has the power over the police, and the legal system in Australia, for this to happen?

  4. John Hawkins

    February 8, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    It is now over a year since this story broke and absolutely nothing has happened.

    No sign of a trial.

    What happened to the Chinese trawler?

    Surely this most interesting story cannot be canned by the all powerful – or could it?

    Perhaps the Editor would care to re-run this article and some pollie in our parliament could ask a question in the House …

  5. Studler van Surck

    February 10, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    And a further question the answer to which might unfortunately discomfort taxpayers who so generously donated millions to Tassal to build a fish-waste rendering plant in Triabunna (that would not stink out the town like the Seafish plant often did) would be: Why is Seafish still rendering and stinking to high heaven and why is Tassal not processing all waste in their heavily subsidised modern plant? Was that not the idea in the first place?

  6. Chris

    February 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Firty 2
    Are u ona fishing expedition.
    Erica Betz might be a see farer from whey back, why dont we ask for a Brandis exposure of his Diary, or woody he like Brandis get a Commonwealth grant to defend, at any cost, his ability to delay same till he replaces Downer, of East Timor fame, as ambassador and representative (ha F…..g ha) of Audstraya.
    OT. or is it?

  7. John Hawkins

    February 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    The public image of Tassal as a good corporate citizen is now under attack in the Senate.

    As a Tasmanian I ask Senator Parry if he knows of any connection between Tassal and Abetz other than the $3.85 million gifted by his government to a Tasmanian public company in an arrangement authorised by the Tasmanian one Senator Abetz when Minister for Employment?

    Will this Liberal Party gift and its ramifications have any effect on Senator Parry and his course of action?

    Has Abetz given Parry a severe talking to warning him not to rock the Liberal fishing boat.

    Will Parry now do his job and be impartial?

    Whish – Wilson must ask Abetz to address the subject 0f the $3.85 million publically in the Senate.

    Here are some further questions:

    Can Abetz explain why a profitable company such as Tassal needed such an enormous free gift of public money.

    Can Abetz explain the part Seafish Tasmania played in this saga?

    Is Abetz acquainted with Seafish director Joseph Pirrello now held on drug importation charges?

    Why is Abetz such a vocal supporter of Factory Freezer Trawlers and Seafish Tasmania?

  8. John Hawkins

    February 5, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    The Tasmanian Liberals are still controlled with an iron fist by Senator Erich Abetz.

    Abetz is very close to Tassal.

    This is evidenced when as Minister for Employment he oversaw a gift of $3.85 million dollars of our money, public money, taxpayers money to Tassal a Tasmanian company as explained above.

    I ask how close is Abetz to the drama that will now be played out before our courts regarding the Tasmanian EPA, the Tasmanian Liberal Government and Tassal over stocking rates in Macquarie Harbour?

    The Tasmanian Liberals decided to discount all independant advice in this matter.


    Who gave the orders?

    Is this another substantially commenced Pulp Mill moment in the life of our EPA?

    I suggest that it is only in your corrupt Tasmania that a private company would be forced into taking its own goverment to court over an environmental issue that it sees as threatening its own existence.

    We live in the most interesting of times.

  9. Jon Sumby

    January 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Re 26 and 27, John and John,
    I don’t think that the Geelong Star had any role in the Basslink outage. It is not a tenable theory and the scenario is so unlikely as to be inconceivable.

    As I have said, turning off the AIS is the sole prerogative of the ship’s Captain and has nothing to with, and is not controlled by, any Australian government organisation.

    John Hawkins, in relation to the location of the Geelong Star at the time, why don’t you put in a FOI request?
    If it is rejected on the basis of commercial in confidence you could appeal based on;

    a) This is in the past and commercial in confidence no longer applies, additionally;
    b) The company involved no longer has any activity in the specific area of the Geelong Star and;
    c) The ship has reflagged and moved to another part of the world and is no longer part of any commercial fishing enterprise in Australian waters.

    Another approach: Since the time of an average midwater trawl is around a maximum of 90 minutes you could be specific and request the location of the Geelong Star within a three hour time period around the location of the Basslink cable at the time of the outage. This could be argued to obviate commercial in confidence as you aren’t asking for the entirety, just a few data points that cannot construct the whole commercial fishing strategy of the company.

    As to your other questions, I don’t know. Perhaps you could unearth the answers?

  10. Mark Temby

    January 19, 2017 at 12:23 am

    A quote from my current read, Saint Germain-des-Pres by John Baxter,
    “Under the occupation, the Lutetia also sheltered collaborators targeted by the resistance. Otto Abetz, the Nazi ambassador to Vichy France, used it to entertain businessmen eager to share the plunder of France.”

    Business acumen seems to be a strength.

  11. John Hawkins

    January 18, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Dear Jon,

    I ask you if AFMA still retains the right under confidentiality provisions not to release the information as to the location of the vessel to the general public?

    Is this the reason we cannot find out if the Geelong Star cut the Bass Strait cable?

    If you are in the drug business and the captain of a ship it must be considered sensible to turn off the transponder but would this be considered routine behaviour from the owner of an industrial trawler?

    While we are at it and you are obviously in the know:

    How many of the crew were Australian?

    Did they catch the full quota and will AFMA produce the figures.

    What is the Tax status of the Vessel?

    Was the licence to catch the fish sold offshore and the profit taken with the fish to a tax haven?

    Did Seafish Tasmania donate to the Liberal party?

    Looking forward to your reply.

  12. john hayward

    January 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Hi, #25, John Sumby. Has the Oz or Tas Govts asked any questions about the shut-down of the transponder, given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the BassLink affair as well as recent possible evidence of Tas fishing industry involvement in other nefarious activities?

    John Hayward

  13. Jon Sumby

    January 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Hi John Hawkins,

    There is an error in your story that you may wish to correct. In the article you write:

    ‘‘Turn Off The Satellite Transponder’

    The Federal Liberal Government allowed the trawler the ‘Geelong Star’ to turn off it’s satellite transponder so it could operate in secrecy. This now appears idiotic given the role of associated fishing trawler owners in alleged narcotics importation.’

    This is incorrect. In fact the AIS system is international law and that law specifies that the Master of the vessel has sole discretion in turning on or off the transponder.

    The Federal Liberal Government has no say in the matter and so did not ‘allow’ the transponder to be switched off. That decision is down to the Captain alone, who does not have to seek permission from any government organisation in Australia.

  14. Studler van Surck

    January 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    We can perhaps look forward to the ex-director of Seafish Tasmania soon pleading “Not Guilty to Drug Trafficking Your Honour, when we acquired the ship we were under the impression we were just going to do a little fishy fishing and create a few jobs for the proletarians that way”.

  15. Tim Thorne

    January 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Today’s Age has reported a similar haul and arrests off Port Fairy. It seems that Erich was not involved.

  16. Chris

    January 18, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Great news the privateer has gone, the greyhounds will bark in unison and and NSW’s Abetz style premier has hung up his dancing shoes.
    Whats waiting in the wings and what dramas are ready to come on stage without their leading actor, oh well time will tell all, perhaps the developers are rehearsing their free enterprise lines?

  17. phill Parsons

    January 18, 2017 at 2:33 am

    #14 Let them eat coke.

    Now we know Abetz has failed to return to the Ministry, either the inner or outer.

    Be assured, Abetz has access to assets just not the ones that take you into the Turnbull Ministry. It is the price Eric has to pay for getting Colbeck put at the bottom of the ticket.

    He is on the outer until Tony returns.

  18. bazzabee

    January 18, 2017 at 1:32 am

    I arrived in Tasmania in 1973 and began working in a regional psychiatric service. I first heard of how drugs entered and departed Tasmania within a few months of my arrival. Drugs were dropped offshore and collected and brought to land mostly on the east coast the drugs were then moved out through Devonport.

    At that time there was also a small but not insignificant amount of cannabis being grown in land from Devonport and around Scottsdale. The cannabis was mostly for local consumption. This was later confirmed by a senior police officer working for the drug squad in a lecture given on ward at the Royal Hobart Hospital in 1974. I recall he thought it was a bit of a laugh he brought some Tasmanian grown dope with him to show us.

    I left Tasmania in 1975 returning in 1981 and again began work in the health sphere it wasn’t long before I heard that things hadn’t changed Tasmania was still a portal for drugs with some finding there way onto the streets mainly in Hobart but most of the drugs left Tasmania. It seemed that nothing had changed although cannabis was I heard also coming ashore from the east coast having been dropped overboard from fishing boats.

    Sometime around 1990/1 I met a former drug squad officer who described in detail how drugs were dropped at sea, collected and landed in Tasmania. Through my work I met addicts, users and the occasional users/dealer all told the same story. By this time there were numerous rumours about the trade being controlled by bike gangs who it was said were well protected.

    But in what is now more than forty years I have never heard of one major drugs bust or any major arrests of importers or exporters.

    This isn’t news, nor will come as shock or surprise to anyone who has had his or her ear to the ground in Tasmania at any time in the last five decades.

    I know that politicians knew and most certainly many in legal profession knew. Just as we who worked in health and drug and alcohol services knew, journo’s knew, youth workers knew and as sure as hell the old bill knew.

  19. mike seabrook

    January 17, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    remember godwin gretch which eric dropped malcolm in and then there was george brandis an invitee to erics anniversary, charging up to expenses

  20. Steve

    January 17, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    #13; I think it was something about being caught sitting on a bag of cocaine. There are limits to political influence, for the moment anyway!

  21. Luca Vanzino

    January 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Why does Eric Abetz have such a whining, moaning, irritating voice?

    So that blind people can hate him!

  22. john hayward

    January 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    #9, Mark. I’m wondering if the “knight ” you remember was in fact a common churl formerly lurking in the Tas Parliament who rose to become a leading brigand in the woodchip racket.

    John Hayward

  23. Chris

    January 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    It gives me a Haddock every time I hear the Orca surface and proclaim and flounder that he has a flathead and is hooked upon the Tasmaneean people who he has like some goldfish gaped at continuously and never given a dammed sting about them.
    #7 is absolutely correct this man has no assetts (to speak of) and those he has are evident on page one of the TTimes and the rest may be in some Trust????
    Dum de dum dee is it safe to go back in the cabinet?

  24. Jane.

    January 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    What is most interesting is the depths the Liberal party Federal members went to allow and support Seafish Tasmania and the arrival of the super trawlers. Feeding the starving in Africa was one marketing ploy, jobs for Tasmanians and on and on it went. They persisted with their nonsense, even calling some voters in their electorates to lobby for the return of the super trawler.So why were they supporting it so vehemnently? Interesting as well that there has not been a peep from the likes of Abetz on how they misjudged their trawler to be tangled up in a drug cartel. It is so typical of look the other way from the Liberals. I do hope this gets more mainstream coverage as the trial begins and how the Liberals got involved. It deserves a 4 corners.

  25. Tim Thorne

    January 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    What I don’t understand is, with the enthusiastic support for Seafish Tasmania from Erich, how come these guys were arrested?

    The register of senators’ interests would not include any assets acquired illegally for the simple reason that senators are honourable and law-abiding people.

  26. Mark Temby

    January 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    #10 Luigi, the TCCI a couple of years back had some insolvency fears with poor bookkeeping and a large debt (around $800k from memory). The TCCI has also never been backward in asking for cuts to public services yet taking taxpayers’ dollars with the other. It’s not much of a recommendation.

  27. Luigi Brown

    January 17, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I see that a group of local businessfolk – a self-styled Tasmanian Business Lobby – has called for Eric’s reappointment to Cabinet. They must have been paralytic drunk at the time. Or else they are Labor flacks in disguise. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-17/eric-abetz-should-to-cabinet-tasmanian-chamber-of-commerce-says/8186168

  28. Mark Temby

    January 17, 2017 at 10:41 am

    #8, John, I remember many years ago a knight who took great offence at not being addressed with his title (Sir). He had become a bankrupt but all his assets were in his wife’s name. He died very soon afterwards so I guess earthly games don’t matter too much in the bigger schematic.

  29. john hayward

    January 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    #7, Peter’s recitation of Eric’s asset declaration caused my crap detector to explode in pieces with a loud metallic sound, not unlike the man’s voice.

    When his whole life seems centred on sequestering the world’s wealth from all but his own ilk, his claimed lack of material success in a job that seems a catered feast for the avaricious, and includes being counsel for FT, just didn’t seem close to plausible.

    John Hayward

  30. Peter

    January 16, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Eric Abetz is as frugal as a monk according to his statutory disclosure.

    He has declared he has no shares, no family trusts, a mere two residential properties (Blackmans Bay and Canberra), no directorships, no partnerships, no liabilities eg mortgages, but he does have a savings account (Commonwealth) and a cheque account (B&E). His only other assets valued over $7500 are life insurance and superannuation.

    Register of Senators’ Interests lodged between 30 August 2016 and 7 October 2016 – Volume 1

  31. Chris

    January 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Erica Betz how the name whines into our heads when he makes an “appearance” on ABC Hobart (to coin a new slogan superseding the old LOCAL radio {ex somewhere else})
    There is the serial “at the end of the day and the Austrayan people”
    phrases trotted out like Turnbull’s hand flapping rants, begging now, via the TCCI, for his job back as a contributor to the people who he has adopted …
    ABBA the recycled slogan Abetz Below Bottom Area on any voting card.
    Like any lawyer lets send him on a fishing expedition and see if he gets caught.

  32. Urban Wronski

    January 16, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Some form of combined marine hazard warning, navigation beacon and bird scarer would be appropriate; an Easter Island type giant representation of the Senator’s humane and compassionate features, his noble, lofty brow, his eyes turned skyward in far-seeing vision and selfless dedication to a higher calling. The Colossus of Toads could be installed in any one of a number of maritime disaster areas off Tasmania’s notoriously perilous shoreline or even be available on barge for hire to be deployed by Border Force and similarly protective agencies.

  33. john hayward

    January 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Eric may have been a disaster as a federal minister, but as a paragon of conservative hypocrisy and selfishness he’s a superstar, a fundamentalist Christian who has seemingly devoted his life to serial betrayals of the public’s trust.

    Tasmania must have a Rushmore-like public monument to this extraordinary man, in addition to the impoverishment of the state’s institutions.

    John Hayward

  34. TV Resident

    January 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    This is a perfect example why we cannot afford to be without a proper ICAC with large teeth and the ability to prosecute, instead of the rediculous ‘Integrity Commission’. The Integrity Commission is obviously directed by people who have NO integrity. Ever since the Integrity Commission has been formed, to my knowledge, very few complaints have even been investigated. Is this because it is just a PR experiment to keep people quiet and imagine that the complaints are being investigated????

  35. Urban Wronski

    January 15, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Brilliant story; a most valuable presentation of the history of an alarming intrigue between Liberals and key players in Seafish.

    Shocking revelations point to corruption in high places – or Libs being played for fools.

    Eric Abetz must come clean on his murky connections. Direct cash handovers. Immediately.

    How can he remain as a Federal Senator? Surely he should be stood down while case goes to court in March?

  36. John Biggs

    January 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

    What puzzles me, given that Abetz has failed miserably in his role as Minister, and given the wonderful gift he handed Labor and the Greens in the last federal elections by insisting Colbeck was placed well down the list, he still has any influence at all in the Liberal Party. He himself is elected only because his name is #1 on the Senate ticket (who decided that?). Why do the Tasmanian Liberals not only put up with him but actually allow him all this power? He is the best thing going for Labor and the Greens.

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