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

Bob Hawkins

Gutwein should foot the Huon council inquiry bill, says former mayor

*Pic: Will does the honours …

*Pic: Anonymous sent these pics showing former deputy mayor Mike Wilson’s boat launch by the Liberals in 2013. Hodgman and Petrusma did the official duties. Anon says: ‘It was pre-election and although Giddings was Premier and a Franklin member and Bacon was Tourism Minister they were not invited. These pics or similar were published in the Huon News.’

Pic: of Peter Gutwein, from his website

First published April 21

Peter Coad, mayor of Huon Valley Council until it was sacked last October, is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the council’s “debacle”.

He also believes that the Tasmanian Government should foot the bill for the costs of the board of inquiry into HVC that Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein established in September 2015.

In response to recent media articles indicating that Huon Valley and Glenorchy councils are likely to be ordered to pay the costs of inquiries into their councils, Mr Coad said: “The minister for local government and the then director of local government were directly involved in the causation of the Huon Valley Council board of inquiry.”

Mr Coad said that, in his role as a councillor, he met with Mr Gutwein and Premier Will Hodgman at a prearranged meeting in Hobart in June 2015, at which he raised concerns about the governance of the council.

“That meeting,” he said, “was supposed to be confidential. However, the minister responded to the points I had raised in confidence by replying to me via the general manager, who was central to the issues that had been discussed at our meeting.

“I don’t believe this misdirection of correspondence, which should have been addressed directly to me, was a mistake on the part of the minister. It certainly led to serious disruption within the council.”

The consequence, Mr Coad said, was a formal complaint, by the GM against the mayor, that was never dealt with because of the appointment soon afterwards of the board of inquiry.

“I believe that both the minister and the then director of local government should have known that, by sending the minister’s written response to me via HVC management, it would have caused serious problems for the mayor and council.”

After his “confidential” meeting with Mr Gutwein and the premier, said Mr Coad, “the minister advised me, in August 2015, that he would not order a board of inquiry — yet soon afterwards he announced an inquiry into the council”.

Mr Coad said: “Mr Gutwein rejected my request for an inquiry — yet he agreed four weeks later with someone else’s request. The question is: from whom did that request come?

“Then, after Mr Gutwein ordered the inquiry, he called in parliament for me to resign without offering any justification for his statement.

“I was not alone among councillors who did not agree with the process the minister had put in place to achieve his ministerial directions, yet he did not call for any other councillor to resign.”

Mr Coad said that a situation had developed where “the minister was playing very serious political games” with a democratically elected mayor”.

“Later, after the board of inquiry had produced a draft report,” said Mr Coad, “the minister was clearly supportive of the still-secret Page Seager report — commissioned without the mayor’s knowledge — which called for the removal of him as mayor. What were the minister’s real motivations? The Page Seager report, which cost council some $54,000, was commissioned by management to respond to the interim findings of the Gutwein inquiry, which, it should be noted, did not recommend removal of the mayor.”

Arguing that that the board of inquiry into HVC was of Mr Gutwein’s and the Local Government Division’s making, Mr Coad said: “The Huon Valley Council should not have to pay any of the costs of the board of inquiry until a parliamentary inquiry is conducted into the actions of the minister and his then director of local government as to their personal involvement.

“Both the minister and the director were part of the problem, and the State Government should recognise this in considering who should pay the costs of the inquiry — which I understand are estimated at $336,000.”

Mr Coad said he would welcome, and fully co-operate with, a parliamentary inquiry, to which he was prepared to provide a full range of information and documentation.

“The State Government,” he said, “should be serious about being open and transparent about what truly occurred in the Huon Valley Council debacle. And it should be prepared to support an inquiry.”

• Duncan Mills in Comments: As a ratepayer and resident and a social ecologist, I am appalled that so many in the community think its ok to play the system to the the benefit of themselves and their own supporters …

• gerrya in Comments: Love the contradictions appearing pages 1 to 3 of today’s Huon Valley news. Pages 1 and 2 carry the article at the head of this TT post (looks like HVN reads TT). Page 3 carries yet another weekly pre election (?) post by Mike Wilson stating that “The community must be encouraged to be more involved in the running of their council” …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

Huon Council short-shrifts former mayor’s plea to pay his legal costs …

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


  1. Geoffrey Swan

    May 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    #33 Well said Helen Waine and great follow up Gerrya (whoever you are) at #34

    I believe our best option is to push for amalgamation with Kingborough. After listening to the audio files from the Kingborough Council meetings the likes of Wilson et al would never stand a chance of ever being elected into such an intelligent, well-mannered and respectful group of Councillors – IMV.

    And you are correct in your comments #34 about no longer being Councillors. I had good reason to raise complaints of conduct against former and now sacked Pav Ruzicka for his appalling behaviours around the Council table and the response from Acting DLG was as follows:

    Thank you for your email of 11 October 2016 requesting an update on the status of your complaint set out in your email of 2 October 2016. As the Acting Director of Local Government, I apologise for the delay in writing to you further about your correspondence.

    In respect to your complaint about the behaviour of former councillor, Mr Pav Ruzicka, I can advise that my powers under section 339E of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) are limited to the investigation of complaints where a council, councillor or general manager has failed to comply with requirements under the Act or any other Act or that a councillor, general manager or employee of a council may have committed an offence under this Act.

    While I understand your concern in regard to Mr Ruzicka’s behaviour while holding the office of Councillor, your letter does not raise matters specifically relevant to a breach of the requirements of the Act or an offence under the Act. If Mr Ruzicka was still a councillor, you may have made a code of conduct complaint under the Act about the alleged behaviour, however there is no provision to make a code of conduct complaint against a person who is no longer a councillor.


    Acting Director of Local Government
    Local Government Division
    Department of Premier and Cabinet

  2. gerrya

    May 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    #33 Helen – Sadly the only mention of integrity in the code is to, wait for it, The Tasmanian Integrity Commission (a somewhat toothless relative of a famously extinct Tassie creature).

    Whilst the April 2016 version of the code now provides many instances in the section related to Principles of good governance that might not be understood by Wilson and HoH, Section 4 of the Code (pages 7 onward) include numerous requirements that must (read mandatory) be met by Councillors. Reading though this section reminded me of the numerous instances recorded in TT (and hopefully elsewhere) that were clear breaches of the Code by Wilson and HoH.

    Two things to consider moving forward:

    1. As Mike Wilson & Co are no longer Councillors any retrospective complaint is unlikely to succeed. That said, if (and it is probable) any were to return to HVC, we must ensure recordings are audible, retained and easily accessible to enable all of us to prepare and submit a substantial complaint. I am prepared to stump up $75 to hold these miscreants accountable.

    2. A sanction shown on the Code flowchart http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/284663/Local_Government_Code_of_Conduct_Framework_-_Flowchart.pdf, states under Removal from office, that theMinister may remove a councillor from office if he/she has received the suspension sanction for three code of conduct breaches during one term of office or two consecutive terms of office.

    Hardly likely to happen given that:

    a. The current Minister clearly does not understand or observe any Code;

    b. It is quite likely that Gutwein is backing Wilson & Co albeit at arms length

  3. Helen Walne

    April 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    #29 Gerrya – Mike Wilson persists with his inappropriate advertising in the HVN. It’s like seeing something writhing in its death throes but can’t expire completely. He doesn’t seem to get it that the community IS getting involved – it’s the reason he is no longer a councillor.

    And we’ll stay involved to make sure we get integrity included in council’s Code of Conduct.

  4. Bob Hawkins

    April 30, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    #31. There’ll be no local-government justice or democracy for the people of the Huon Valley if — after LG Minister Gutwein’s reform measures are implemented — we get left, as an unchanged municipality, hanging off the bottom of Tasmania, beyond the reach of the safety that amalgamation with Kingborough would offer.

  5. William Boeder

    April 29, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    An interesting matter that has been inclined in my direction is the “audio tape of one of this State’s local council meetings,” and I must say the conduct throughout this council meeting should have its attendant persons feeling proud of their responsible actions and dutiful representation to be serving on this local council.
    Each of the elected officials attending this Kingborough council meeting had all performed their roles in the most (the word meticulous comes to mind) exemplary manner.
    The entire meeting was conducive and in line with the prescribed procedural process of council meeting decorum, even so far as to for me to claim the councillors themselves performed their role in a faultless depiction of how simple it is to participate in a relaxed yet officially conducted local council meeting.

    Indeed this referred to council meeting should set ‘the high-bar standard’ for the performance and conduct ‘for all local councils’ that was so clearly apparent during this (non-disclosed) recent local council meeting.
    There were no councillors that were outspoken bigots, nor rebellious anti-the-Mayor persons, also there were no live conspiracies being acted out against the popularly elected Mayor during this above-referred to council meeting.
    One must acknowledge that a very poor precedent had already been established in the HVC council that could possibly permit ‘the group of 6’ or “the group of 7 which included the … General Manager” to conduct a council meeting in a manner that had previously been set in place within this local council by its former vaguely literate former Mayor.
    I believe this former Mayor has since enabled himself to become a member of this State’s legislative council.
    Or, this person was somehow permitted to become a member, by this State’s minister for local government, to sail so easily into this new field of endeavour, yet this same person was not suitably qualified to enter into his now established seat in Tasmania’s legislative council.

    This deliberate action of appointing the former Mayor traduces all precedent in that this referred to person must have been ineligible to hold that new appointment.
    So one must question why the minister for local government Mr Peter Gutwein, could possibly be on-side with the strife-provoking rebellious group of HVC councillors along with the former HVC inappropriately appointed General Manager.

    Therefore it is my now fully informed opinion that Minister Peter Gutwein should stand aside and be relieved of his ministerial duties and responsibilities, or even that he be suspended from retaining his ministerial post as one of Tasmania’s government ministers.

    This call comes as a product of Mr Peter Gutwein displaying his clear bias in the matter of the HVC disconformities and the disgraceful group of 6 councillors (and GM) conducts, further that he has been poorly representative in his performance as a suitably responsible State government minister….

    More especially so in that he had permitted the then HVC rebel group of persons to reject out of hand or even to ignore the HVC responsibility to meet the legal costs incurred by then Mayor Peter Coad.
    Mayor Peter Coad had been compelled to gain a legal opinion in order to achieve the best resolve to enable the proper conduct of all HVC council meetings leading into the future.
    Surely even Blind Freddy would accept the payment of costs be met by the HVC.

  6. Robert LePage

    April 28, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Having studied the comments for this article I can find not one comment in favour of Gutwein or the HOH. It bodes well for the coming election and the possible wipe out of the Libs ( Will is in the Franklin electorate remember) and also if and when we get a HVC election.

    Chickens do come home to roost, perhaps Lib/HOH should keep that in mind.

  7. Gerrya

    April 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Love the contradictions appearing pages 1 to 3 of today’s Huon Valley news. Pages 1 and 2 carry the article at the head of this TT post (looks like HVN reads TT). Page 3 carries yet another weekly pre election (?) post by Mike Wilson stating that “The community must be encouraged to be more involved in the running of their council”.

    Mike Wilson (or his ghost writer) surely knows that the community wanted more involvement; that is fundamentally why they voted for Peter Coad as Mayor.

    Not only did HoH lock the community out of all affairs (they are still doing it with the Seager report), they have done little for the residents of the valley other than incur significant cost by way of the inquiry and associated legal advice.

    Get off the electioneering kart HoH & Co, take some Bex and a good look at what you are doing, and then take a lie down until any forthcoming election is done and dusted…. Please!

  8. Brenda Rosser

    April 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    This seems to be an appropriate time to remember the advice NAFI (National Forest Industry Association) gave to the review of plantations in Australia in 2004: “regulations place an additional burden onto prospective plantation growers and this has been recognised as reducing the level of new investment in some States”. NAFI specified such things as ‘water resource management’, ‘land rates’, infrastructure provision, ‘fire fighting guidelines’, ‘biodiversity conservation’, ‘vegetation management’…(page 40)

  9. Brenda Rosser

    April 24, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Peter Bright, of course! How could you possibly fool the general public into believing that governance is carried out here without the existence of a ‘regulator’. A mask in some form is necessary to hide the parasitism and take nourishment away from healthy dissent.

    Or, in reference to your 2 Timothy Verse 3, it could be that we’re feeling the economic death throes of the state. Fraud is ubiquitous. It’s a tool to keep externalising costs onto some unwitting rate payer or neighbour. Fraud creates some semblance of a viable economy in the days when that long-delayed ‘tomorrow’ has finally arrived. Real expenses are can no longer be delayed but they’re completely unaffordable. The end of the world has been postponed, for now.

  10. William Boeder

    April 24, 2017 at 1:23 am

    #24. Brenda, perhaps there is something of the same in the other large political party, though I believe this State Liberal party have taken on the same ways as that of the American Democrats party, eg; the Clinton/Obama means of government administration.
    Those leadership practitioners of legerdemain in America that are appointed to high office, see to it that the national government funding allocations are carved up in such a way that the shifty government agencies and bureaus are the one’s that get their plenty.
    Then begins the shovelling of kickbacks down the line to their equally shifty appointees down at the coal-face level of society, as well as any associated State departments, with plenty left over for expensive get togethers in exotic locations with all personal expenses paid by the highly funded super wealthy Federal Bureaus and Agencies.
    At the end of the day The people that actually end up subsidising such outrageous goings-on are the people who pay their income taxes, then along with whatever other nation-wide filching of monies is in place to snatch money from the working class people in the good ol’ US of A.

    Currently Tasmania’s Liberals are capering about in a blatancy of pompous disdain, looking down upon the Tasmanian taxpayer in the manner of shut up about citizen welfare budget cuts, just pay your taxes, then ye deal with your own community problems and deficiencies.

    There no longer exists the fidelity, probity, nor the faithful trust that once upon a time could be expected from persons given high office and positions of authority.
    Nowadays scamming and rorting along with the denial of responsibility or accountability for State agenda items that have since shit themselves through laziness incompetency or just pure intended neglect.

  11. Peter Bright

    April 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Brenda, I believe that fake institutions such as the Office of the Ombudsman and the Integrity Commission are deliberately set up with malicious cynicism and a guarantee of copius supplies of whitewash, all paid for by us of course, to protect the incompetent and the guilty.

    It’s tragic that Tasmania is riddled with both.

  12. Brenda Rosser

    April 23, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Some folks I know in the Kingborough shire had to fight the council for 8 years in order to persuade them to redirect a new suburbs runoff to some other site than their driveway. Brilliant isn’t it. In the ordinary translation of the criminal code the police needed to go into the council chambers, handcuff and charge the council officers responsible. It’s all neatly outlined in the Tasmanian Criminal Code.

    Oh, but no. “I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

    [From the Preface]”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

  13. Brenda Rosser

    April 23, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    William Boeder, I wish I could say the problem was specific to the Liberal Party. It’s not. From my experience Tasmania’s institutions have a very prolonged history and habit of corruption. And that has to surely reflect on the Office of the Ombudsman and now the Integrity Commission.

    Over 90% of dwellings are not constructed according to the provisions of the building code….just one instance.

  14. Leveller

    April 23, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Sadly Tasmania need’s to be re-labelled on our number-plate’s “TASMANIA THE CORRUPT ISLE” until such time as those who hold “Public Office” and those who “Misuse Public Monies” and are self-serving themselves (and other’s in the both the private and public sector’s) we need a 100% total INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION with the toughest legislative power’s in Australia if, we are to ever lead by example.

  15. John Hawkins

    April 23, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    How many former Mayors are warming the green and red seats in state parliament.

    Meander has two pro logging deadwood ex mayors to promote and gladhand all those who leach off the public logging purse.

    Armstrong is another pro logger from the Huon.

    Can we have a list of other ex mayors in our parliament?

    Then we can begin to see why we pay a million a week to a bankrupt Forestry Tasmania.

  16. Peter Bright

    April 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Brenda, we can share our concerns between ourselves until the cows jump over the moon, but unless we are empowered (or until we take that power) to effect our own remedies, or until we can truly trust our elected representatives do that for us, we could be fooling ourselves that progress will surely come by itself.

    The Minister for Local Government is a Liberal. Cunning businessmen who want to enhance their ability to implement their own questionable desires in their area make themselves available for local government elections. Having been elected by the voters (many of whom, in this state in particular, are simpletons) and being businessmen, they expect their friends the Liberals, being those who so often recklessly favour exploitation of anything and anyone for ill-gotten gain, will support their mischievous plans.

    I believe this explains why we’ve been just told in these columns that three councils, Huon, Burnie and Brighton, really do need investigation.

    But who is there to do that? Why, goodness gracious me, it’s the Minister for Local Government himself – and he’s shown he won’t do the right thing until it’s perceived that there’s no other option.

    But we citizens are not entirely blameless. Our mistake, in these increasingly troubled times, is in expecting mere mortals to be able to cope with problems now tumbling into our lives in torrents. Everywhere nowadays the signs are becoming ever clearer that they can’t.

    I have been wondering if there is something big going on in our world – something of Biblical magnitude such as that referred to in 2 Timothy Vs 3:

    [i]”But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
    2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
    3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
    4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God –
    5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.[/i]

    This is immediately followed by [i]”Have nothing to do with such people.”[/i]

    Maybe this provides one possible answer to your question, Brenda.

  17. William Boeder

    April 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    As a point of serious concern how can the people in this State reverse what appears to be the worst ever deliberately biased-form of the “deep in the dark conduct” specific to the Tasmanian State Liberal party, through and by being so poorly representative in its due governance, among all the other Australian States and territories?
    A deep analysis is well warranted to the voluminous amount of Commercial in Confidence dealings, then the cloaked over non-published reports resulting from the numerous huge and costly Reviews and Inquiries forever being conducted in this State.
    So much so that this form of quasi-racketeering has now become a cornucopia financial food trough to feed a number of “State government catered for legal firms” resident in this State, surely there is need for such a probing analysis as will ultimately reveal the broad extent of the volume of this mob of ministers and their pumped-up State legislated GBE Authorities of their known squalid obfuscated dealings and undertakings.

  18. Brenda Rosser

    April 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Peter Bright and ‘Leveller’, if we don’t find a way to share our stories of what our local councils are up to, and the lack of oversight, then we are lost. Any ideas on how we can do this in a safe environment?

  19. Leveller

    April 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Minister Gutwein MP, Minister for Local Government, if the mayor and councillors on the BRIGHTON COUNCIL won’t investigate fraud allegations in relation to the actions … there, who will? Will you finally take action against this Council?. If not, why not?

  20. Peter Bright

    April 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t expect Liberal ministers to expose allegations of fraud and other wrongdoing in Tasmanian councils – and likely everywhere else, too.

    What’s still ongoing in the Huon Valley Council is a classic example of applied character assassination such as that murderous mentality that connived to destroy the character of ex Mayor Peter Coad, overwhelmed as he was but not yet destroyed by an avalanche of manufactured loathing set off by conspirators who in their world of business darkness could not stand the spotlight of focused integrity aimed by one hired by the public for that job.

    Fraud, deception, lies and wrongdoing are the Liberals’ stock in trade, and I’ve never known it more blatant than now.

    These malpractices are also the stock in trade of those lucrephiles of the business world, those immoral narcissists who see themselves as having a right to exploit anyone and anything anywhere for personal gain regardless of the personal and environmental consequences.

    Liberal ministers can be relied upon to protect their own kind, thereby giving rise to the view that they are not only complicit but secretively supportive of wrongdoing as well, however damaging and cruel.

    The fact that their income is taken from the workforce they plot to undermine is utterly abhorrent.

  21. Brenda Rosser

    April 23, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Minister Gutwein, if the mayor and councillors on the Burnie City Council won’t investigate fraud allegations in relation to the actions of officer/s there, who will? Will you finally take action against this Council?

  22. Mike Bolan

    April 22, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Peter, the public paid for the Council’s salaries, and all of their various expenses. We also pay for Peter Gutwein, and his department. We pay for the messes that Councils make, then we pay to investigate them, then to clean up the mess. You may distinguish between money from the Council budget versus the State budget, but we pay the lot…and it’s not a pretty picture nor a good investment

  23. William Boeder

    April 21, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    #12. The local government minister has opened himself to an as yet unknown enfilading of ridicule due from this State’s citizens in the manner the minister has dealt with the Huon Valley conspiracies that had been targeted into the back of former elected Mayor Peter Coad.
    A more competent minister would have first queried the huge cost of each of the individual invoiced cost for the legal expenses incurred by the actions and intent of the infighting HVC conspirators.
    A certain mob of lawyers are forwarding highly inflated invoices for services covertly performed.
    A full external audit by an out of State appointed Auditor should now be put in place, how else to halt the evil of cronyism in Tasmania?

  24. Robin Charles Halton

    April 21, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Social ecologist! Ah what ah, Canberra come to rescue the Huon Valley!
    Gutwein will be choking on his Cornflakes!

  25. TV Resident

    April 21, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I am in agreement with Peter Bright.no 2…The gov’t here appears to be run by ‘plutocracy’, ‘nepotism’ and mates. All gov’t officials and parliamentarians in government, I believe should come from the mainland as the gene pool here is just toooo tight. When we see so much blatant corruption and there is no-one to rectify the problem, there is something drastically wrong with the system. What we really need is an ICAC as they have in NSW to do lots of digging, but I don’t think we would have enough cells to imprison the number of offenders.

  26. Treeger

    April 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    The whole thing looks to have set up to create a bit of income for a few out of work politicians and beaurocrats (much like out of work actors get a bit of work from Home and Away now and then) all at the expense of ratepayers and the ex mayor. Each ratepayer in The Huon now has the privilige of paying their share of $100k per annum for 3 years, lucky the tide of blow ins is increasing, 1) to spread the cost and 2) to increase the chance of new candidates being voted in if there is ever another election.

  27. Bob Hawkins

    April 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Best bit of local fake news I’ve seen this year appeared in the Mercury on Thursday (April 21). It reported that Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein had “rejected a call from sacked Huon Valley mayor Peter Coad for a parliamentary inquiry to probe the council’s troubles”. Later in the article, Gutwein is quoted thus: “There has already been an independent inquiry into the Huon Valley Council and I have acted on its recommendation.”

    If Gutwein and his minders had bothered to read carefully what Coad’s media release is saying, they would have noticed that he is not calling for another inquiry into council’s behaviour; what he is calling for is a parliamentary inquiry into the behaviour of Gutwein himself — and that of the then local government director — before the minister finally ordered a board of inquiry into HVC.

    How much longer do we have to watch government ministers — often when they are reeling from one disaster to another — resorting to mindless dissembling, especially when their own behaviour is being called into question?

    The US, now that it appears to be warming to a knee-jerk jerk as its leader, could look to morally impoverished Tasmania for simpleton lessons in the practice of “fake news” and “alternative facts”.

  28. john hayward

    April 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    What were the grounds for commissioning the Page Seager report at taxpayer expense and then refusing to release it to public scrutiny?

    One can only surmise from the speed at which it was allegedly written that it might have been a plagiarised chapter from one of Donald Trump’s tax returns.

    John Hayward

  29. Simon Warriner

    April 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Clearly Minister Gutwein needs to do some work on understanding what conflicts of interest do to a politician’s credibility. His is in tatters.

    After being caught out telling lies about Tas Water he has now been revealed to be the most un-trustworthy individual.

    The evidence keeps mounting up that competent and honest government ain’t going to come from anything comprised of political party members.

  30. Bob Hawkins

    April 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I, too, want to see the Page Seager report out in the public arena. However, I would imagine that, if each of its points were read without comparison with the corresponding point in the draft Board of Inquiry report it was responding to (released in March 2016), it would probably reflect poorly on the performance of the mayor and favourably on council management. And, considering that correspondence between HVC and its lawyer reveals that the $54,000 Page Seager response (more than 50 pages) was apparently completed within about a day of its commissioning, where is any supporting evidence to back each point? Almost certainly it would be flimsy (and highly questionable). In the commissioning letter from council management to Page Seager, the mayor of HVC is referred to as “Lord Mayor”. This raises strong suspicions as to the authorship of that particular letter — even HVC’s dysfunctional management should have known its popularly elected leader was not entitled to such a lofty appellation.

  31. Geoffrey Swan

    April 20, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Dear Minister Gutwein .. I know your minders read TT so I am hoping my comment will cross your desk and just maybe you will actually read this.

    Having read your response in today’s Mercury to Mr Coad’s very well written press release that you are rejecting a Parliamentary inquiry and stupidly suggesting the BOI did just that:

    1. With respect Mr Gutwein, you surely have not read and understood Mr Coad’s press release. He is seeking an inquiry into your actions and that of former DLG Phillip Hoysted. Please do not attempt a cover up or provide a diversion as you attempted recently over the TasWater stuff.

    2. Your follow up actions from that private and confidential meeting (to include the Premier) was a disgusting act of betrayal from a person in your position.

    3. If you were truly across the many issues of the dysfunction of the HVC Council “blind freddy” would have known that Ms Watson (IMV) has been complicit in this entire debacle – so why set her up to attack Mayor Coad – or was that indeed your intention. And was this a backhand way to remove Mayor Coad from office because he was asking too many questions and pushing too many buttons.

    4. I have questions on notice with Commissioner Taylor from last months HVC meeting due for a response at this weeks Council meeting – and they are:

    a. Can Council please advise who commissioned and authorised Page Seager to provide a legal report to Council and the date of that commissioning?

    b. On what date was this report received by Council and/or Council management?

    c. Was the Mayor consulted by Page Seager in the preparation of the report , if not, why not?

    Mayor Coad has already answered (c) in his above press release and if Commissioner Taylor keeps to her current “oil on water” approach to the HVC issues – she will likely say – this was before my time, I was not privy to the report so I cannot answer “why” Mayor Coad was not consulted.

    I do however remain very interested in answers to (a) and (b). If the answers to my public questions are honest and transparent I believe we will see further compelling reasons as to why the Page Seager report must be released.

    And then of course there is always RTI – but having been there of late I have no faith in this process in this corrupt political state.

  32. Duncan Mills

    April 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    As a ratepayer and resident and a social ecologist, I am appalled that so many in the community think its ok to play the system to the the benefit of themselves and their own supporters.

    If we and our children are to have a world of quality we all must aspire to standards trustworthiness, integrity , honesty and justice. This means governance for all and from the perspective of the most disadvantaged.

    Taking this report at face value: minister Gutwein along with the conspiritorial officers both state and local government; betrayed all who aspire to these values, and perhaps even the minister himself in more reflective moments. It suggest that we may have government that overloads its ministers or at least does not understand the issue of reflective deliberative process well enough to give it the resources it needs.

    As government the Liberals are responsible, even for the deficiencies in the Local Government Act that allows staff and councillors act in such contempt to a democratically elected mayor, who was so particular about due process. A well drafted act would have provided an unambiguous and well considered framework for the division of powers, roles and responsibilities. Paying particular attention to the balance of power and the resourcing of those tasked with exercising those powers. Such as funding mayor Coads legal expenses.

    As well as paying exMayor Coad’s bill, relevant reforms to Local Government Act would be an act of responsible government.

    This is nothing less than the cost government learning; the greater benefit of which would be the improvement of all local government in Tasmania.

    To put the cost of these failings on individual officers, ratepayers and residents is a failure to govern responsibly and a further injustice to Huon citizens.

  33. gerrya

    April 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    It appears the Minister has rejected the call for a Parliamentary enquiry – surprised, not me!

    Cannot afford any scandals with an election on the horizon.

    Something very fishy in the valley & nothing to do with Huon Aquaculture or Tassal (Mr Swan’s concerns aside)

  34. Peter Bright

    April 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Anne Elston at #1 despairingly asks [i]”How do we stop another dysfunctional council being elected when our Tasmanian politicians behave like this?”[/i]

    By securing the administration of Tasmania externally by mainlanders Anne, or by importing mainlanders to do the job here.

    Home grown Tasmanians are not congenically capable of admininstering this state with intelligence, principle, integrity and capability.

  35. Anne Elston

    April 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Yet another piece of evidence outlining the deeply flawed and unethical way our Tasmanian government works. There is little change in the HVC. We have the same ethos – ‘we’ll do it our way, and we don’t have to listen to residents and ratepayers.’

    I am one of many who wants to see the Page Seager report, which was funded with our money. I also want to know who leaked it to their ‘friends’ in the media.

    These are questions Gutwein should ensure are answered, but as he has been complicit in the whole, sorry process from the beginning, what hope do we have? How can we ever see the BOI recommendations dealt with?

    How do we stop another dysfunctional council being elected when our Tasmanian politicians behave like this?

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