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


Tasmanian State election: The Pearlfish factor

*Pic: Who would envy Will Hodgman? The chickens WILL come home to roost …

First published March 20

In the tropical sandy ocean floor there are not many private places but the pearlfish has a unique solution: it hides up the anus of the trepang or sea cucumber. Interestingly the trusty trepang, when attacked, will defend itself by chucking up its guts much like those on the outside pavement who Love Your Local.

The metaphors have endless application to the recent election. The Tasmanian Hospitality Association, which has burrowed itself up the Liberal Party, however, is no laughing matter. As a conduit for the pokies lobby it fuelled millions into the Liberal campaign. This was a crucial campaign for them (here and in South Australia) and Labor underestimated the determination of the gambling lobby to defend its lucrative preserve.

The Liberals outspent Labor 10 to 1 with most coming from gambling interests like Federal Hotels but also from the mainland club lobby and Australian Leisure and Hospitality [ALH], Woolworth’s gambling subsidiary.

As the American electoral experience has demonstrated, money buys elections and the result in Tasmania was a government that only a lot of money could buy.

The Liberals probably would have outpolled Labor anyway but without the excessive expenditure the difference would have been a loss of another 1 or 2 seats resulting in minority government. Forget the Liberal euphoria (or relief). It should be noted – though universally ignored – that the Liberals in fact lost 2 seats despite the extreme campaign spend and pork-barrelling the electorate with crackling and a front-end loader.

That suggests a rather odd desperation in the Liberals’ over-the-top campaign and a frantic determination to fund victory by genuflecting to vested interests. And gratitude will flow. The anti-pokies Tasmanian Hospitality Association is set to be rewarded with state grants of an extraordinary $6.8 million over the next 4 years, more than three times what it has received in the past.

This should be seen for what it is: the THA being reimbursed for its political spending on behalf of the Liberal government. This is breathtaking corruption by any definition, yet many, even in Labor, see it as political business as usual. And that complacency is disturbing.

The level of corruption can only be appreciated when contrasted with the Federal Liberal Governments’ obsessive campaign to shut down the political activity of charities and non-profit advocacy groups like Get Up. “Freedom of Speech”, it would seem, principally applies to pro-government advocacy organisations like the THA.

Other organisations like the gun lobby with its stream of finance from American gun-manufacturers and importers and their links to the notorious American NRA also pose the potential for disturbing political interference. As with the THA, the Tasmanian Liberals did a side deal with the gun lobby in return for political donations though the amount is difficult to pin down. And this parallels with arrangements made by Peter Dutton at a Federal level with the same gun lobby.

These are all disturbing features of the Tasmanian election that pose issues of potential corruption but their emergence has unwittingly altered the likely political narrative to emerge over the next few years.

The pokies issue is far from settled. Whatever is required must pass a sceptical Legislative Council. The weight of obvious vested mainland interests means the narrative becomes: “Whose state; theirs or ours?” A potentially very toxic tale.

Whether this generates a social media campaign against pubs that supported pokies or even a campaign against Woolworths is yet to be seen but the power of public resentment has yet to be manifested.

Similarly, the cloak of secrecy over gun law amendments means once more a cautious Legislative Council and a determined public will paint a narrative of suspicion and vested mainland interests.

Underlying such obvious issues will be inevitable moves to control electoral spending requiring more transparent disclosure of political donations. The government’s response will again determine the narrative. Do we have spending and disclosure laws or are we to have the “best government money can buy.”

In all these instances, the potential for a negative taint to gain barnacle adhesion to the Liberal government over the next four years is considerable. The slogans are readily at hand and the underlying hostility is far greater than might be imagined. The next 4 years may well be far less smooth than the Liberal Government would have liked.

*Dr Michael Powell is Adjunct Researcher, University of Tasmania. *There is a bio of Dr Michael Powell HERE: Andrew Nikolic Chucks a Wobbly

Satire by John …

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


  1. mike seabrook

    March 22, 2018 at 2:23 am

    could tackle the pokies after the precedent now being run against the banks, then the insurance companies are all pinged for rorting, dodgy practices and flogging products unfit for purpose and which are not in their customers interests.

    expect though that the tassie labs ( and the tassie greens) will now flake and flip and embrace the pubs now though

    when the reserve bankers normalise interest rates the game will be up.

  2. mike seabrook

    March 22, 2018 at 1:46 am

    #28 gotta buy the votes and no money from expenses rorting like the vic labs have now been pinged for – tassies pollies are honest – no misuse of postage and pollies office expenses, accommodation and cars and staff involved on non-government matters – trust them

  3. Frank Brennan

    March 21, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    TGC #29 … I’m a person of limited means, and whilst I don’t do fishing, I have been known to go fishing.
    I’ve explained why I won’t “have-a-go-yourself” and the reasons should be self explanatory.
    Five minutes would be about the amount of time either I or my family would last under the glare of public ostracism.

  4. TGC

    March 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    #4 … “Our main hope now is that the Legislative Council will stand firm against the crook legislation that will be thrown their way.”
    Decided already, eh?
    #27 … So you are really absolutely confident about ‘your ‘ cases(s) that you would be prepared to allow me – or another- to bankroll you and yours forever – but not sufficiently confident to ‘have-a-go yourself?
    Do you do fishing?

  5. Peter Bright

    March 21, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Tasmanian election results under the Liberals are a commodity for sale to anyone with the funds to buy them.

    Those still calling Tasmania a democracy are wrong.

  6. FRank Brennan

    March 21, 2018 at 8:22 am

    TGC #24 I could give you a few, but then after that, some of the contracts my family rely on to put food on the table would dry up, and at the very least other family would endure compliance audits from over enthusiastic WST staff.
    Give me a legal document to sign wherein you’ll agree to pick the tab for myself and extended family both now and in the future, plus cover me for all legal expenses, and you’ve got a deal.

  7. Wining Pom

    March 21, 2018 at 1:26 am

    No corruption in Tasmania at all, TGC. All of our politicians spend all of their time making sure that all the people of Tasmania are taken care of all of the time, always. No wads of $10,000 cash in freezers. No houses getting renovated by a completely independent building/logging company. No free use of casinos for party events ever happens. It’s such an honest democracy. We should always be so proud of our hard working pollies.

  8. john hayward

    March 20, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    The problem TGC #24, is that Tas officialdom, including a former Chief Justice, has roundly denied that corruption even exists in Tas.

    They seem to have embraced Humpty Dumpty’s/Mark Shelton’s dictum that a word means exactly what they want it to. Nothing more and nothing less.

    John Hayward

  9. TGC

    March 20, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    TT ers seem to be fixated on ‘corruption’ – but none of those insisting seem to mention an example. That’s a bit corrupt!

  10. Tim Thorne

    March 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    It’s not for me to sit in judgment on my fellow citizens. I didn’t say they had “erred” (#20). I merely made an observation. Corruption might well be considered a good quality in a politician.

  11. spikey

    March 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm


    you looking to chip in trev?

  12. TGC

    March 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    #18 … “Anyone interested in collaborating on a complaint to the Integrity Commission sms me on 0419434260!!!!” It may well be that a significant number of Tasmanians – particularly on TT – would be most interested in such a collaboration but may need to have an outline of the form it would take – some details of the complaint before making a commitment – particularly financial.

  13. Peter Bright

    March 20, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Tim Thorne at #19 bewails the propensity of Tasmanian voters to persistently err.

    I am reminded of this excerpt in the Bible’s Romans 7 …

    [i]” .. for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

    “For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do.”[/i]

    Tim, it seems to me that’s partly the melancholy cause behind the hideous March 2018 election results where lazy mindedness essentially voted for corruption without thinking. This is Tasmania. It’s different here. [i]Whatever you do, don’t think![/i] It hurts too much.

    But the Liberals and their ilk have no such regrets, and it’s now glaringly obvious that they relish implementing their very different mantra ..

    [i]” .. for I have no desire to do what is good, and so I do the evil I want to do.”[/i]

    Corruptly buying the March 3rd election results for themselves was a perfect example of this.

  14. Tim Thorne

    March 20, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Tasmanian voters have consistently rewarded corruption.

    Rarely, if ever, have they had viable alternatives, but historically they do seem to have chosen the greater of two evils.

  15. Duncan Mills

    March 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Anyone interested in collaborating on a complaint to the Integrity Commission sms me on 0419434260!!!!”

  16. Robin Charles Halton

    March 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

    #16, Chris … thanks for the mention, but Sue Hickey is my proxy for the job of Premier!

  17. Chris

    March 20, 2018 at 10:02 am

    RCH would be the replacement, same thing, there are no other suitably qualified ?

  18. Emmanuel Goldstein

    March 20, 2018 at 5:08 am

    During the 2013 State election, Labor conducted a series of telephone call marathons out of Senator Carol Brown’s office and LHMU offices in Davey St. Questions were devised to extract the person’s voting history and intentions.

    A Labor coordinator volunteered that Labor was using the same social media techniques and paid expertise used by US Democrats in 2012 McCain/Obama election. The calls were not random. They were from a targeted list. Was Facebook data used to collate that list?

  19. mike seabrook

    March 20, 2018 at 1:19 am

    will the bruised shell shocked state labs-greens show principles in the lead-up to the next federal election, or will they turn to jelly over the pubs pokies.

    what says the voters in the three northern tas electorates held by the alp.

    will the tassie libs put up recommencing the gordon-below-franklin hydro scheme as their major policy when going for re-election (third term) in 4 years time which should cause ructions in the tassie labs and tassie greens.

    where is the greens spokesman – tassies mckim hiding on people smuggler and refugee issues. will there be another tampa.

  20. Claire Gilmour

    March 19, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    And you better believe that fish is still right up there, still sucking and regurgitating …

    So you must see …


  21. john hayward

    March 19, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    No amount of hubris or corruption will ever be the downfall of a LibLab in government.

    If capers like the attempted gift of half the state to Gunns, the Fox Task Force, the Land Swap, the sacrificial contracts to Sarawak loggers … or other gross breaches don’t rate even a blush, do you really think the electorate’s moral indignation would ever blast an ovine premier out?

    John Hayward

  22. TGC

    March 19, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    #8 … I’m a bit surprised you voted Liberal.

  23. Claire GIlmour

    March 19, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Just when you think you are safe … you have given access to all …


  24. Robin Charles Halton

    March 19, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    #4, #8 John Biggs, Replace Will or the government what are you saying, you may not like either but what is your suggestion, a replacement Premier or replacement government.

    But with whom, name your choice!

  25. John Biggs

    March 19, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    The way forward for the Hodgman Government is to drive using the rear vision mirror: see here http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/cartoon-article/will-hodgman-/

    That is: revive the forestry wars, weaken gun control, deregulate, more mates’ deals, ban peaceful demonstrations, keep your policies secret, open slather for pokies, offer government for sale … after all he himself said: “when corporate or other interests hand over cash to a political party they are entitled to expect that it will act in their interests.”

  26. Claire GIlmour

    March 19, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Hi tech crime is becoming a corporate and political tool …


  27. Robyn Colson

    March 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Tasmania has disposable workers. Will Hodgman is denying death compensation to Tasmanian workers who are killed at work. He is hiding behind outdated, unfair, discriminatory and dangerous legislation in the 1988 Workers Comp Act. He is ignoring a Petition I have sent him many times (published on change.org) that over 600 people have signed, demanding that legislative changes that would help save Tasmanian lives.

    As far as I am concerned he will have no choice but to resign if any more of these workers lose their lives on his watch.

  28. Claire Gilmour

    March 19, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Let’s look into computer hacking ! whereby they make your computer fail. 4 times now it’s happened to me! And you know how I found out I’d been hacked and all from the same places near hobart?… airb@b records it all. Beautiful ! Air B@B is honest !

  29. John Biggs

    March 19, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Greg Barns came to a similar conclusion: that Hodgman’s hubris and corrupt behaviour will see the end of him before this term is out.

    The secrecy, the claiming of a mandate for policies yet to be announced, and many another warp in due process, all suggest dirty work at the crossroads, as my mother used to say, and Will will fall.

    Our main hope now is that the Legislative Council will stand firm against the crook legislation that will be thrown their way.

  30. Chris

    March 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Note one proponent says that the Mountain cable “eyesore” “blows up your nose” well that may be true rather than a suppository of wisdom, which may explain Mathews absence and the numerous stars with their backs to camera.
    All CUB drinkers can boycott if necessary.
    Leave our bloody mountain alone!

  31. TGC

    March 19, 2018 at 9:53 am

    #1 … Lay charges!

  32. Chris

    March 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Will Hiding Hide a gun in the Speakers Chair, or will Will will him to be quiet ?
    Corruption 2 is now in Government !

Leave a Reply

To Top