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

Pembroke by-election is a referendum …

The by-election for Pembroke today is considered by many as a referendum on the proposed State takeover of TasWater, with the Tasmanian State election due in March.

The pending vote in Tasmania’s Legislative Council, to decide upon this proposed State takeover of TasWater, has been placed on hold, by the Liberal State government, until after this by-election in Pembroke.

With the numbers in the Legislative Council reported by insiders to be finely balanced in consideration, the State Liberal government hopes that the number of Liberal members in the Upper House will be restored today, to the number enjoyed prior to the resignation, earlier this year, of their Liberal member, Vanessa Goodwin (due to cancer).

For the Tasmanian Liberal government, in hot water controversy in each ministerial portfolio, and beset with resignations, they believe that their chances for re-election in March next year may be boosted if the State takeover of TasWater is approved by the Legislative Council.

In opposition to the takeover is the Tasmanian Labor Party, the Tasmanian Greens, and an overwhelming majority of the 29 owner-councils, legislated members of the Owners’ Representatives Group (ORG) and the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).

As a resident at Pioneer, a town living with an alert for lead-contamination since 2012, I have seen the Tasmanian State Liberal government ignore our town since taking government. Not one member of the Liberal State parliament has ever attended a public meeting at Pioneer. Requests by me for a meeting with Minister Peter Gutwein to discuss the detail of problems have been declined. Questions in parliament about Pioneer have been deflected by Minister Gutwein, so that they have gone unanswered. In Budget Estimates in 2016, Minister Gutwein defended TasWater, rather than stand up for Pioneer. Questions and evidence relating to failed process at TasWater, and with the 29 owner-councils, were ignored by Minister Gutwein, who the responsible Minister for drinking water, and the Minster for Local Government.

Doug Chipman, the front-runner in today’s Pembroke election, has been the president of LGAT since 2015. He is also the Mayor of Clarence. Today he runs as an Independent candidate for Pembroke. Doug Chipman’s candidacy is notable because of the senior role he has held at LGAT, representing the councils in issues relating to TasWater.

Today Doug Chipman states in this questionnaire his new view on TasWater, which is to formally support the real-time reporting of all drinking water data on TasWater’s website, so long as the cost for the policy is reasonable.

The State Liberal government candidate for Pembroke, James Walker, who supports the proposed State takover of TasWater, would not answer Q2 of the questionnaire. It can only be assumed that he does not support the policy for real-time data reporting at TasWater. In all discussions so far in the public arena, the State Liberal government has expressed its opposition to the real-time reporting of all drinking water data on TasWater’s website. (Also, in the House of Assembly this week, the State Liberal government voted against a motion which sought to adopt the real-time disclosure of money donations to political parties in Tasmania.)

So Mr Chipman’s new position today, for real-time data transparency at TasWater, would be a significant new point to consider for people voting in Pembroke. Alas, it is unlikely that most folk of Pembroke will learn about his view in time for the election today. To-date, not one of the candidates has mentioned this policy in any media or public forums for discussion, leading up to today’s by-election. But for readers here, Doug Chipman’s new view will highlight an additional contrast to the view of the State Liberal government, with regard to their plans for TasWater.

Richard James (Independent) proves that it is possible to simultaneously support the State takeover of TasWater and support the real-time reporting of all drinking water.

On the morning of this Pembroke by-election, Tasmanians sipping their morning cup of tea may wonder (a new Boil Water Alert at Risdon Vale was lifted on Thursday) what this new view means for Tasmania’s chances to adopt this policy?

Since the LGAT motion of July, 2015, which was successfully upheld, in favour of more timely and comprehensive data reporting on TasWater’s website, there has been more than two years of frustrated lobbying for this policy at TasWater: state-wide, beginning at Pioneer, where an alert for lead-contaminated drinking water has been active since 2012. Indeed, until now, Doug Chipman has held a position of silent opposition to the policy for real-time data transparency.

Since 2015, this LGAT motion has travelled along a dark and endless detour, but perhaps there is now an unexpected glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

Tasmanians trust that this new statement of action for transparency by Mr Chipman holds water.

It will be a great disappointment for many Tasmanians that the State Liberal government continues to oppose this policy for real-time data transparency at TasWater.

The explicitly defined policy presently enjoys the support of Tasmania’s Legislative Council (since August, 2016), the Tasmanian Labor Party, and the Tasmanian Greens.

TasWater has opposed the policy for the real-time reporting of all drinking water data; but a brief for an independent cost-analysis of this policy was recently lodged by the CEO of TasWater, Mike Brewster, following sustained lobbying. TasWater have since received the report and a quote. It is presently under consideration by TasWater and the Economic Regulator.

The report for the independent cost-analysis has not been released by TasWater for public viewing at this time.

Pembroke Questionnaire ~ Chipman’s New View On TasWater

The Hobart electorate of Pembroke includes the eastern-shore suburbs of Bellerive, Clarence, Geilston Bay, Howrah, Lindisfarne, Montagu Bay, Mornington, Otago, Risdon, Risdon Vale, Rose Bay, Rosny, Rosny Park, Tranmere, and Warrane.

The candidates for the Pembroke by-election today were asked two questions relating to TasWater:

1. If you become the member for Pembroke, will you support the proposed legislation for the State takeover of TasWater?

Yes ~ James Walker (Liberal Party), Richard James (Independent).

No ~ Doug Chipman (Independent), Bill Harvey (Greens), Jo Siejka (Labor), Hans Willink (Independent)

2. If you become the member for Pembroke, will you support the policy of real-time reporting of all drinking water data on TasWater’s website, so long as the ongoing cost for this policy is reasonable? [The definition of real-time was provided to candidates.]

Yes ~ Doug Chipman (Independent), Jo Siejka (Labor), Bill Harvey (Greens), Hans Willink (Independent), Richard James (Independent).

No ~ [James Walker (Liberal Party) did not reply to this question, but State Liberal Party policy opposes real-time data reporting at TasWater.]

Additional comments ~ These can be found at the end of this article (see below).

Failed to reply to the questionnaire ~ Carlo Di Falco (Shooters, Fishers, Farmers Party).

NOTE:

Each candidate received this questionnaire from two sources. First, via Facebook, on November 1; and for a second time, via e-mail, on November 2. James Walker (Liberal Party) answered only one question of the questionnaire; and despite a follow-up e-mail from me, asking Mr Walker to answer both questions, he failed to reply, and so did not answer Q2.

Additional Comments by the Candidates for Pembroke ~
TasWater Questionnaire.

James Walker (Liberal)

‘Thank you for your email survey about TasWater.
Yes I support the Hodgman Liberal Government’s plan to take control of TasWater.’
[Mr. Walker did not answer Q2.]

Jo Siejka (Labor)

Q1: No. TasWater takeover as presented currently is not supported by Tas. Labor.
Q2: Real-time reporting – yes, supported in principle, subject to costing and accuracy (a robust system in place to ensure that the validity of data sets is able to be relied upon).

Richard James (Independent)

Q1: Yes. I believe water and sewerage services are essential services and have to come under the umbrella of State Government control. It must stay in public ownership and I would not support legislation to sell water and sewerage services to the private sector.

Q2: I would support the policy on the understanding a State takeover of TasWater would continue to provide real-time reporting until the State Government’s capital works programme of providing fresh water to all Tasmanians is concluded. Subsequent to that an assessment should be undertaken to determine whether real-time reporting of all drinking water should occur in accordance with decisions reached between Legislative Council decision 2015, Tasmanian Labor Party and the Tasmanian Greens. Reasonable costs made available to support the reporting process.

Questionnaire on Facebook HERE

*Tim Slade is an MEAA member, and he is a resident of Pioneer, Tasmania.

ABC: Voters at polling booths on Hobart’s eastern shore offer their views on issues in the Pembroke by-election

Examiner: Labor leads in poll: Rolling coverage of Pembroke

Examiner: Siejka still leads in 2017 Pembroke by-election. LIVE

ABC: Labor’s Jo Siejka WINS seat in Tasmania’s Upper House from Liberals

What the peerless Dr BONHAM says …

• Chris Harries in Comments: Labor now has 3 Leg Council seats. Libs 1. When it comes to their boast to be able to form ‘Stable Majority Government’ this makes a very big difference. The Libs won’t admit it openly but this result is a shattering blow for their state election prospects. The most likely result next year will be no majority for either side, but who else will win seats? This will be where the interest lies …

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. TGC

    November 7, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    #11 “re #10 … We weren’t. Some links would make the point; without them it is pointless.”
    ‘We’ did at #5
    and “Keep it up Trevor, you do more for my case than I ever could” Case?

  2. Simon Warriner

    November 7, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    re #9 … not readily at hand, just the same as I don’t have evidence that not breathing causes death, beyond the bleeding obvious. Keep it up Trevor, you do more for my case than I ever could.

    re #10 … We weren’t. Some links would make the point; without them it is pointless.

  3. TGC

    November 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    peaking of money and raking it in- Labor dud
    Nicola Roxon scores another motzah!

  4. TGC

    November 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Does #8 have any evidence to show where abandoning “… the idiotic “ opposition for opposition’s sake attitude would see a vast improvement in the affairs of the state”. is in place around the world and is working successfully? And if there are such ‘statres’ – what is the point?

  5. Simon Warriner

    November 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    re #3 … a big part of the reason the libs have a dearth of talent from the business world is because most of the talent understands that to be a party politician you need to be conflicting your interests, and the best businessmen, the ones most suited to government, understand that conflicted interests make for really bad governance. Labor party pollies seem not to care that much about the issue, perhaps because they are overly represented by ex staffers and union reps who have grown up on a diet of conflicted interest.

    And then we have the last line of #5. The point of being in government is to deliver governance that serves the greatest possible common good. Sometimes that will require opposing bad legislation, and sometimes it demands good legislation be supported regardless of who puts it up. Less of the idiotic “opposition for opposition’s sake” attitude would see a vast improvement in the affairs of the state.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Wouldn’t a “State takeover of TasWater” be an example of Labor Policy 101?

  7. Russell

    November 6, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Ha ha ha! Lieberals received half the vote this time than they got last time when Vanessa Goodwin won.

    Well wee Willy, you can’t spin that into a positive result. When are you going to dump the neanderthal McQuestin?

  8. TGC

    November 5, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Few if any candidates for a seat in the Legislative Council understand its role – and as a result during campaigning make ‘promises’ about what they will bring to their electorate which they cannot fulfill – because they will never have any money!
    The LC hasn’t any money! It can prevent a Government spending money – it can prevent a government raising money-both to some extent – but MLCs are ‘broke’ – not personally of course, because they are overcompensated for the ‘work’ they do.
    The latest successful candidate may well be able to look forward to over 20 years secure employment – and over a $2 million income with much more to follow after those 20 odd years – and yet not make any contribution whatsoever to anything to do with Tasmania. She may say an occasional “Yea” or “Nay” but can do both or either without having any personal knowledge of why she said one or the other.
    And Rebecca White- as likely new Premier – will make exactly the same ghastly mistakes and the same terrible political decisions as all Premiers who have gone before her – and Tasmania will continue to be saved – economically – by a federal system that works in its favour.
    And please Rebecca – spare us the abysmal – “If the government would put up legislation that is in Tasmania’s interests – we will support it.”
    What’s the point of being an ‘Opposition’?

  9. Chris Harries

    November 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry, make that 4:1 (#2)

    Remarkable response from Will Hodgman. Paraphrasing his post-election comments goes something like: “By all means vote Labor, but just don’t vote for Greens and Independents. The most important outcome is majority government.”

    We can regard this in three ways:

    1. As a major party leader, it’s just a plain dumb response because it gives Labor a leg up.
    2. He was stuck for a reasonable sounding response and just blurted out whatever was in his head.
    3. He really and truly believes his mantra of majority government – so much that it’s somewhat immaterial which side gets elected so long as it’s a majority.

    I think number 3 hits the mark. It’s what he earnestly believes and I guess it’s at least honest of him to say what he believes.

  10. TGC

    November 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    #2 … “One other observation is that Tasmania keeps reverting to Labor, and is thus known by pundits as a ‘natural Labor state’. This is true historically and keeps repeating itself in modern times, often surprisingly.” The observation is true but not sure about the “surprisingly”.

    The ‘conservative’ side of politics was often represented by Labor eg Cosgrove and Reece, and the Liberal ‘conservatives’ generally failed to match – except perhaps for a brief period under the early Robin Gray regime.

    Tasmania is short on prominent (read socially and politically intelligent) business people to whom the Liberal Party would be a generally natural attraction. Currently the talent pool is pretty dry.- with a very few exceptions.

    On the other hand the Labor Party will always have trade union support – despite that movement having historically low financial adherents.

    Most of all the ‘Left’ thirsts for change – any change in society – and the theme ‘it’s time for a change’ rings sufficiently appealingly across the electorate – stupid though that catch-cry is – to give Labor an advantage. The likelihood is we will experience it again very shortly.

    It’s probably not going to bring any thing meaningful

  11. Chris Harries

    November 5, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Labor now has 3 Leg Council seats. Libs 1.

    When it comes to their boast to be able to form ‘Stable Majority Government’ this makes a very big difference. The Libs won’t admit it openly but this result is a shattering blow for their state election prospects.

    The most likely result next year will be no majority for either side, but who else will win seats? This will be where the interest lies.

    One other observation is that Tasmania keeps reverting to Labor, and is thus known by pundits as a ‘natural Labor state’. This is true historically and keeps repeating itself in modern times, often surprisingly.

  12. Christine

    November 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Tas Water released raw sewerage down Montagu Bay Road yesterday, and then tossed a few buckets of soapy water over the mess.

    We have photos.

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