Tasmanian Times

Charles Wooley

This election …

*Image from HERE

Tomorrow’s election is the first I can remember in a long time with a clear point of difference between the major parties. Certainly it was a courageous call on the part of Labor to take on the Federal Group’s pub pokies monopoly.

It was also courageous on the part of the Liberals to so clearly throw in their fortunes with the top end of town to support something that does so much harm down the bottom end of town. In any other circumstance such blatant support of a rich mate’s monopoly would not have passed the pub test. But since the pubs are anything but neutral ground in this dispute it will have to be tested around the kitchen table tomorrow morning before you go to vote.

“Sorry kids, there’s no Weetbix this morning. Dad put his pay packet through the pokies while he was exercising his democratic right of freedom of choice. The silly old bugger.”

“Wait on kids, Mum doesn’t understand the principle at stake here. You’ll thank me one day. If we let them take away a flutter on the pokies the next thing is you’ll grow up to find they’ve taken away your right to have a drink and a smoke.”

After Brexit and Trump I don’t make big calls on election results. I just can’t pick them any more such is the volatility of the political landscape. Labor’s Rebecca White is definitely the underdog while Will Hodgman and the Liberals should expect a narrow victory. But what if between them they only have the numbers to form a coalition government? I’ve speculated on this before. If they stick to their words, in a hung parliament that is now their only honest course of action. They’ve both clearly ruled out the Greens.

Tomorrow, don’t be bullied into voting for only one party. It is your democratic right (even more than having a flutter) to vote across the paper for candidates of your choice. The best people aren’t all in the one party. Again it’s your choice rather than the choice of the party factions.

It is fundamental in our Westminster system of government that the peoples’ choice is supreme. Political leaders are, if I may coin a phrase, ‘at the Bec and call of the Will of the people’ and are expected to submit to your wishes.

The Prime Minister or the Premier is by tradition the leader who can cobble together the numbers to pass money bills on the floor of the lower house. When our Constitution was drawn up political parties were not even mentioned in that document. Whatever the parties tell you, it is your right to vote for whomever you wish and the politicians’ job is to form a workable government. If the present leaders can’t do that then inevitably someone else will. It is unacceptable to send the electorate back to the polls, like naughty children, until they get it right.

Dictatorships like China and North Korea demand 100 percent majority governments. In the free world 90 percent of governments are negotiated from a minority position. Which do you prefer? In New Zealand the new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cobbled together a government although ten seats short of the long-ruling National Party. The Nationals had arrogantly promised to govern only in their own right so Ardern nimbly slipped into the Treasury benches by forming an alliance with New Zealand First and the Greens.

The poor old Nats are still wondering how that happened.

In Tasmania it is perfectly reasonable to describe Bec White, as ‘attractive’ but don’t use that word in New Zealand. On ‘60 Minutes’ this week I used that word to describe the 37 year-old pregnant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. I’m not sure what is the most common meaning of ‘attractive’ in the land where sheep are nervous but it ‘attracted’ fury among the splenetic trolls of Kiwi social media.

My grandfather was a Kiwi (I narrowly avoided a very nasty case of dual citizenship). I remember he once described the label of a bottle of whisky we gave him as ‘attractive’ but I think unlike me, he got away with it.

Despite the negative commentary on unsociable media my film crew and I actually had a great time with the PM and her TV star husband Clarke Gayford. They actually liked the story. The PM gave me a tour of the beautiful old Parliament House in Wellington. Clarke has his own fishing show and so we went fishing in the Bay of Islands, caught a few snapper and had a wonderful day. Now I am waiting to hear what the Kiwi animal rights lobby has to say about that.

There is so much mean-spiritedness abroad these days sometimes you just have to cop it.

But tomorrow is your day in politics and you can win. Please don’t see voting as a dreary chore. Tear up the how to vote cards and make your own choices. This is a small community so forget the parties and vote across the board for people you feel you can trust and for the candidates you find attractive.

I mean in the politically correct sense of the word, of course.

*Charles Wooley is a legend of Australian journalism, partly through his history with Sixty Minutes. His columns on Tasmanian Times are HERE

Matthew Denholm, The Australian, Tasmanian election: Liberal poll-eve plan to relax gun laws

AEU: Teachers alarmed at The Liberals’ proposed loosening of gun laws

Rebecca White: Liberals’ reckless and dishonest plan to water down gun laws

Rebecca White: Labor has today released correspondence with Greg Farrell in the interests of openness and transparency

Guardian: Tasmanian election: on all sides, forestry is the issue that dare not speak its name

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


  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    March 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Sorry (well, not really) to interrupt the flow of invective about firearms, but here is a letter-to-an-editor which seems to be based on knowledge, expertise and experience:

    [i]”It seems that finally someone in government has seen past the fear and loathing campaign surrounding the ownership and use of firearms (The Australian, ‘Liberal poll-eve plan to relax gun laws’, 2/3).

    “The changes proposed in Tasmania seem quite fair and reasonable to me as a farmer and recreational shooter, even though the gun-control lobby assumes anyone with access to a firearm to be a lunatic. Why not have a 10-year licence? The same applies for vehicle licences and nobody checks the mental health status of drivers. I’m offended at the inference that firearm owners need their mental health checked regularly.

    “Anyone who knows of the feral pig and feral goat problem across much of the western side of the Great Divide would have an instant understanding of the need for access to automatic firearms. The same goes for suppressor technology (or “silencers”). In every other workplace the worker’s safety is paramount, yet shooters are expected to make do with earplugs. Modern suppressors on centre-fire rifles can reduce the decibel rating by around 30-40 per cent, enough to reduce the explosive impact on an operator’s ears to a safe level.

    “When it comes to logical, evidence-based discussion around firearm ownership and use, most of the media lines up on this side of ignorance and stupidity.

    Mark Dwyer, Rankin’s Springs, NSW.”[/i]

    If anyone is ever up that way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rankins_Springs

  2. Simon Warriner

    March 4, 2018 at 10:33 am

    re #31 … this: ““We are going to be run by big business”: don’t forget Big Unions as well, many of which seem to syphon their members’ super into political donations;”

    Care to explain how that happens, Leonard? Industry Super Funds are all run through Australian Super, whose board has both union and industry representatives present, and who are consistently among the best performers. You don’t get that result by wasting members funds on [political donations. Quite how the unions would get access to their members’ super to divert it in the way you are suggesting is beyond me. Perhaps there are super funds run by unions, but I am not aware of any.

    It would seem you have made exactly the same mistake you were chipping others for making. If I am wrong, then examples will be needed to demonstrate that.

    Not that I entirely disagree with the point about “big unions”. There is an an argument to be made that they are working hand in glove with big business, and have been since the days of Hawke and his very shonky “accord”. Some of the information leaking out about enterprise agreements that disadvantage workers would seem to support that view.

  3. pat synge

    March 4, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Hi Jack #33 … I don’t know if the targeting of Andrew Nikolic was “grass roots” but I would be surprised if Getup lost any supporters due to it! Probably gained some.

    There is a distinct difference between popularly supported third party campaigning and that of vested interests. Motivation.

  4. Jack Lumber

    March 3, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Re #30 … thanks but I feel the clarification you provided doesn’t explain the role and activities of GetUP with Andrew Nikolic . Was that grassroots ?

    Please do not think I am happy about how things transpired but it seems third party electioneering is used across the political spectrum

    Re #31 … fair point and the responsible minister did say that any amendments will comply with the National Firearms framework BUT the optics and the opportunity to test a minority of one would make a challenge on the floor a possibility and they will be punished if they do not reflect all Tasmanian views

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    #1` Hawkins, you gambled with your vote and now have to bear the consequences of your poor judgement for your mainly marginal Greenie candidates of choice!
    The population is moving away from the Greens that has been a well known fact being bandied around for some time now, have you not been listening John, obviously not!

    My candidate of choice a new Liberal for Denison succeeded showing that I am a reliable source, actually as well recognised local expert judge of political potential!

    You can now retreat to your folly and suffer the indefinitely for the next four years.

    Realisation that the Liberals are reelected is well and truly in the best interest for Tasmania.
    Jobs and business as usual continues.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    March 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    ~ #14 “It is also appalling that native wildlife can be killed without adequate controls on rural properties” – it would be “appalling” if true, but is it?

    ~ #15 “Anyone who viewed the ABC reporting” – but does it actually do ‘reporting’?

    ~ My #23’s “T B NcCauley”: my bad x 2 – didn’t Spellcheck + fat finger syndrome (the other FFS);

    ~ #23: “We are going to be run by big business”: don’t forget Big Unions as well, many of which seem to syphon their members’ super into political donations;

    ~ #27: oh, dear, not the old ‘more education’ fantasy (dealt with effectively by Miss Eliza Doolittle), although better schooling would definitely help – hey, this is one area where ‘Tazzee leads the nation’ could really achieve something (even catching up to NSW [Thank you, ex-minister Carr] would be brilliant);

    ~ #29: “The Libs will be tested early if they try amend firearm legislation” – depends on what amendments, surely?

  7. pat synge

    March 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    You ask a valid question, Jack #29.
    “What is the difference between the following : GetUP and the pro pokies campaign?”
    • Getup is mostly funded by small donations from concerned citizens. They claim that in the last financial year they received donations from 57,419 individual donors, making up 491,228 individual donations. 97% of these donations were under $100. All donations over $10,000 are declared within 30 days.
    • The pro-pokies campaign was funded by a business with a vested interest.
    A significant difference.

  8. Jack Lumber

    March 3, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    So with all the discussion re third party electioneering
    What is the difference between the following
    GetUP and the pro pokies campaign ?

    As to the outcome , the people have spoken
    If you can’t get a quota under the HareClarke system
    then you are not reperesenting the voices of the

    The Libs will be tested early if they try amend
    firearm legislation and if they do they will be punished
    in every electorate ( state and federal )
    Lets see how smart they are

  9. Chris

    March 3, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    In relation to the 2018 election; the question arises .. has the Liberal Party been bought by betting interests (Corporations)?

    YES, YES, YES. Wild Will will bet your socks and ya shirt, Exclusive Brethren all over again!

    Tissue paper thin, enjoy it all you can, and watch Cassie ask where the money came from. Does the Choc Top Kid know?

  10. pat synge

    March 3, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    #24 … Thankyou, Robert. I understand how you feel today.
    “So….give up and accept the inevitable”

    I don’t believe it really is inevitable, but I acknowledge that it will be a hard fight to win. Especially when third parties don’t even have to give money directly to political parties but can simply run scare campaigns. And people are easily scared.

    Education is probably the only real solution.

  11. Jack Lumber

    March 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    WIll David Foster be the new special advisor to Premier Hodgeman?


    Make the pokies great again

  12. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    # 24 – what about the 4c per kwh on long term contracts for hydro sales to the hobart zinc works , bell bay aluminium smelter and a few others of est. 60% of tassies hydro output

  13. Robert LePage

    March 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    With the result now in favour of the blue corner it is obvious that the only way to recover democracy in Tasmania is to stop all donations/bribes.
    How that can be done is the big question.
    All the time that libs are in control and possibly a lot of the labs, it will not be possible.
    They like having a rich benefactor to give them bags of money.
    So my fellow voters, give up and accept the inevitable.
    We are going to be run by big business and the very rich. Make the most of it and find someone who thinks you have something to offer and is willing to pay for it.

  14. Leonard Colquhoun

    March 3, 2018 at 1:31 am

    About Comment #8’s “No ALP candidate argued [their ban-pokies-in-pubs] point” … Perhaps most of them realised that it was a brain-fart which (i) was based on a statistic that about 1% of pokie players could be classes as ‘addicted’ and (ii) which insulted the other 99% as dumb bogans who couldn’t tell a losing hand from their other left foot.

    What a foolish way to disrespect voters who are (or were) the ALP’s base, to cosy up to Green fanatics and killjoys. As T B NcCaulay might have put it: ‘The Greens hated pokies, not so much for the harm it caused the minority, but for the fun it gave the majority’.

  15. TGC

    March 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    And #15 must be very disappointed.
    But, the best bit about #1 is to try to imagine if,in fact, the 5 he nominates all got up.

  16. TGC

    March 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    #1 Has demonstrated he’s very much a ‘below the belt’ ‘guy’ and why he insists that he will be voting “below the (‘non-existent’) line” suggests he is unfamiliar with the system of voting at this State level as against for the Senate

    Unsurprisingly #1 is all over the place.

  17. Simon Warriner

    March 2, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Nah Stephen, Tassie Times is ok. This bizzare legislation only applies to newspapers according to it’s defining reference legislation which was repealed 20 years ago, and 6 years before the current legislation passed parliament.

    That is according to the mockeries editorial today.

    It is truly odd, and if anyone can explain it please go right ahead …

  18. Stephen Menadue

    March 2, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Is Tassie Times in breach of the laws we are talking about with regard to election day advertising? Please educate me.

  19. Simon Warriner

    March 2, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    re #16, that applies to all parties standing candidates Keith.

  20. philll Parsons

    March 2, 2018 at 9:29 am

    #5 … Tasmanian Electoral Act 2004, Clause 198. Look in https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/ for all the ins and outs.

  21. Keith Antonysen

    March 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

    No 13, Simon … The question now arises – what other nasties do the Liberals have that have not been released?

  22. Ted Mead

    March 2, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Anyone who viewed the ABC reporting on the Liberal proposal to relax gun law control would have come to the conclusion that this is a major blunder in the Liberal’s election campaign.

    In the Libs attempt to covertly seek the redneck vote, this will hurt them big time at the ballot box.

    Will’s in damage control now, realising that the untimely leakage of his policy is a monumental error.

    Divine intervention may have finally arrived!

    A hung parliament is beckoning!

  23. Andrew Ricketts

    March 1, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    I agree that Premier Hodgeman, the current Liberal parliamentary leader, may have made a cataclysmic error. Hopefully he reaps the reward. The Liberals will never be forgiven for this!

    This was not intended to be a public policy – it was leaked – or am I wrong?

    But the Liberals were found out at the last minute. The scurrilous Liberals have also lied in claiming this relaxing of gun laws will not make us less safe. It is absolutely a stupid and idiotic deception.


    Personally, I regard this action as a crime. You cannot have politicians who do this sort of thing. Acting without probity.


    The way our election campaigns are conducted needs to be overhauledd, and I am not just talking about the donation laws.

    The trouble is that this is all happening only one day before the election and many people may not get to hear about it.

    Tasmania’s gun laws are of crucial importance to our safety.

    If this is the current Liberal Police Minister’s doing then the whole matter should be investigated.

    Was this initiative discussed with Police during his recent Ministership?

    I wish to respectfully oppose post #12. Perhaps it is meant to be an attempt at humorous banter,but it fails. Worse – It is inappropriate to craft sarcastic comment which actually encourage the opposite action viz a viz “Vote Liberal” than the writer had intended. The writer of post #12 may think their attempt at humour is obvious, but it is not necessarily so.

    The Liberal’s dishonest claim that farmers need semi-automatic weapons to shoot native animals is both ludicrous and offensive.

    It is also appalling that native wildlife can be killed without adequate controls on rural properties. Only the ignorant, far right rump of the TFGA would raise and campaign for such a thing as semi-automatic guns.

    The Liberals did not announce this Policy. They were caught out being dishonest. How can they be trusted?





  24. Simon Warriner

    March 1, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    re # 10 … good point well spotted, Emmanuel.

    re #11, #12. Yawn. Non issue, designed to irritate the hell out of people who will never vote Liberal anyway. While you are talking about that you are not talking about the pokies and the Farrel family attempting to buy the election. See how it works?

  25. john hayward

    March 1, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I think Will has clinched the election with the master-stroke of borrowing Trumpty Dumpty’s position on semi-automatic rifles. Who remembers Port Arthur, or Florida, these days?

    This guy is chokka with both brains and moral integrity. Vote Liberal!

    John Hayward

  26. Keith Antonysen

    March 1, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    It is highly significant that the Liberals are being sneaky through pushing gun law changes without allowing any commentary on the matter. The Liberals have displayed contempt towards the electorate by stopping any discussion prior to the election on the gun matter.

    Pokies have taken up much oxygen during the pre-election period, and regional planning is another area hardly covered.

  27. Emmanuel Goldstein

    March 1, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    On the one hand the Liberals menace us with the spectre of coalition government as unworkable, unstable and dangerous. On the other hand the Liberals could not form Commonwealth government outside of a coalition with the National/Country party.

  28. Nigel Crisp

    March 1, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    #4 & #7 … Yep, exactly right, and I think Jacqui has made a major tactical mistake in taking on Kent. He’ll vote with the Liberals on every occasion, so much so that he’ll be a closet Lib anyway.

    I thought he might jump ship, but if he doesn’t get thrown out of the JLN, it won’t matter much as the Libs can count on his vote anyway.

    Health reasons alone should have made Jacqui steer well clear of the man.

  29. Greg James

    March 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I would shy away from calling Bec White attractive, in that a sense of purpose and an intellectual curiosity appears to be greater assets in her case.

    The pokies issue started out with great noise but the ALP dismally failed to put the case forward. They did not develop the argument, instead it wallowed in Jobs,Jobs,Jobs wrapped in the Australian Flag. The pro-pokies campaign was also a dog’s breakfast, except they had more money, much more.

    No ALP candidate argued the point, just look at Tim Cox, Bacon or David OByrnes digital media or any other advertising they or any other candidate distributed. Try out Haddad or Midson or for that matter any of the Liberal candidates. They didn’t want to know either way about taking on Federal Hotels. They are all in it for other reasons.

    In fact the ALP ran dead on the issue, they did not attend rallies, engage the anti-pokie lobby or use Federal Hotels as a bogeyman or as a topic of conversation. They as a group ran from pokies, which shows their ultimate attraction to the policy as careerists.

    In fact the faceless men of the ALP interfered with a very viable policy and a call to action, so much so that they screwed up. No division was created or sense of purpose. I am sure Bec White wanted to get bang for her buck of investment in the policy which could be her defining moment.This is the cost of listening to professionals in the ALP, rather than the grass roots of the party which is the part which has a moral purpose. The professionals have one vision – and that is their career.

    I expect the ALP to go back to the old ways once David O’Byrne is Leader of the Opposition.It will not be attractive and it will produce the same result of no difference between the parties. The voters treating Labor, Liberal and Greens as their football teams are blindly supporting people seeking a better pension or pay off.

  30. Studler van Surck

    March 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Well, John Hawkins is 80% right methinks, but his final pick (he greatly underestimates the danger) is a ticking bomb.

    Kent runs in Jackie Lambie colours but does not agree with her policies. In the unlikely event that he gets up, he is likely to quickly defect and either become a quasi-independent (supporting the Liberals) or a full-blown Liberal. He has been a booster of the Tassal Okehampton fishfarm, and as a ex-Woolworth man is likely to love their pokies. Reconsider please, John.

  31. Doug Nichols

    March 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Charles, and Pat #2, How To Vote cards are not permitted in Tasmanian state elections, so I don’t see how you can tear them up!

    #1 … what line will you be voting below, John? This is a state election we have happening on Saturday, not a federal election. The Senate has the silly above-the-line system. You won’t see any lines on Saturday as the Hare-Clark system doesn’t have a line.

  32. Catherine McNeill

    March 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I heard this morning on the ABC that it is against the law to hand out ” How to Vote” cards in Tasmania. Is this true and if so, why has no one been arrested ?

  33. Andrew Ricketts

    March 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Regarding the Tasmanian Liberals’ recent ad hoc plan to relax gun laws …

    What a dumb shit idea.

    A shameful position made by an inveterately weak party.

    Regarding comment No 1, Hawkins’ assessment of Michael Kent “could be dangerous” .. but he is surely a Liberal in sheep’s clothing and if elected is unlikely to be under any control of Lambie’s party.

  34. Keith Antonysen

    March 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    The Liberals have stated they are good economic managers; or is it a matter of good luck?

    >GST receipts have increased
    >The population of Tasmania has increased
    >Tourism has been increasing.

    .. factors the Liberals were hardly able to control.

    In relation to the 2018 election; the question arises .. has the Liberal Party been bought by betting interests (Corporations)?

    Whichever Party wins the election, it will still have the benefits of the 3 factors above. By not voting for the compromised Liberals .. there is still Labor, the Greens, Jacqui Lambie Network; Hunters, Fishers, and Farmers Party, and Independents to vote for.

  35. pat synge

    March 1, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for that, Charles.

    The idea that majority government is the only way forward is foisted on us, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

    That well-known economic basket case Germany hasn’t had a majority government for years (and hasn’t had any government at all for months!) and yet it seems to lead Europe.

    Our current federal government is made up of a longstanding coalition of two parties that often have strong disagreements on policy, but eventually manage to arrive at compromise positions and provide stable (and sometimes highly entertaining) government.

    As Charles says: tear up the ‘How to Vote’ cards.

  36. John Hawkins

    March 1, 2018 at 11:56 am

    The proposed changes to the gun laws show how a Liberal pollie will do anything to get elected and keep his snout in the trough.

    A real dinkie-die, died in the wool, true blue Liberal:

    1. Will sell his soul to the Pokie industry.

    2. Buy the gun lobby preference vote of the Shooter and Fishers party with automatic weapons.

    3. Roll back world Heritage Listing of our remaining forestry asset to buy the loggers.

    … and all this in a state in which 49 per cent of the population lack the literacy and numeracy skills needed for work and life.

    Correcting this appalling state of affairs is what this election should be about.

    It suits the Liberals to keep the population illiterate and incapable of voting below the line, for this requires a mind and literacy, and therefore can be guaranteed to sink the Liberal ship of state.

    A tick or a cross is invalid.

    Over 10 per cent of votes cast will be invalid.

    Charles, it is a long road to hoe.

    Voting for individual candidates below the line means nothing to most as their minds are so warped by a Green hating newspaper run by a 4 times married American Australian.

    They vote for a party – Blue or Red above the line

    Blue the Liberals are a disgrace.

    Red Labour is at least is trying to help the poor and the addicted, and for this their leader should be rewarded.

    I agree with you Charles; choose your candidates carefully here in Lyons.

    I shall vote below the line for:

    1. Rebecca White, articulate and intelligent, has taken a brave stand for the good of Tasmania.

    2. Fraser Brindley, who I know is honest, straightforward and intelligent.

    3. Lucy Landon – Lane Pulp Mill campaigner, who I know and is clever and honest.

    4. Jen Butler.

    5. Michael Kent. This could be dangerous as he may turn out to be a snake in the grass, but he has run a successful business and is new blood amongst the living fossils of the Liberal Party for whom he may be a plant.

    Hare Clarke allows me that choice.

    It is the quality of the candidate that matters – not the party!

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