The Backwater State

by Nico.

Bob Hawke and the Labour Party have a lot to answer for.

It was he and his mates who passed the World Heritage Act under the “treaties” powers of the Government. This provided a pulpit for every Green on earth to be outraged at Australia’s “failure” to protect frogs and things.

More importantly, it was passed quite cynically to prevent the Franklin Dam being built.

Tasmania has very few industrial resources, but one shining light is hydroelectric power generation. It’s hard to find anything which is more clean, green, environmentally friendly and less polluting than to generate electricity by using falling water.

Opposition to dam building in Tasmania from the Greens reveals their true purpose. It has nothing to do with lack of pollution, greenhouse gases or dirty industries. Freely available power at cheap rates will mean industrial development and population growth. Both of these in the green paradigm represent a nightmare.

Green philosophy has nothing to do with being Green; it has everything to do with being anti-development – anti-growth-at all costs. The idea of any kind of industrial machinery, no matter how neutral or harmless represents an object of fear. To talk to these deep Greens is to enter a nether world of delusion and darkness. Their ultimate aim is to return society to a pre-industrial state of agricultural smallholdings, individual plots and small family farms, all of which are supposed to be self-sustaining.

That’s fine for those who want that kind of thing. If some people want to go and live in a humpy in the sticks, grow their own vegetables and knit their own socks, then there is absolutely nothing to prevent them from pursuing that kind of lifestyle. However for most Australians that is not the way they want to live, and they are becoming increasingly resentful at the self-righteousness of Green politics which tells them that they should. That kind of lifestyle may give some satisfaction if you like it, but if it is not your way of life, then for most people it removes two main drivers for their lives; hope and ambition. Therein lies part of the Tasmanian malaise. There is no hope, and there is thwarted ambition.

The Greens are latter day Puritans, and nowhere in Australia is their presence more pervasive, stultifying and negative than in Tasmania. They are the new buckled shoe and black pointy hat brigade; self-righteous, overweening, hectoring, lecturing and dictating – determined to impose their so-called “progressive” agendas on a population which has the highest unemployment in the country, the lowest per capita income and the most dismal prospects for enterprise, manufacturing and retailing.

For the Greens, the rule of law is a minor irritation to be ignored, invoked when convenient, and contemptuously defied, by direct action, if necessary. For the Green left, personal ideology trumps law every time.

In Tasmania a clear economic case exists for the building of several more dams and more major infrastructure. The Basslink cable which joins Tasmania to the mainland is grossly underutilised, and potential exists to sell large amounts of energy to the mainland. This would also go a long way to alleviating the dismal condition of this state’s finances and help to lift Tasmania out of being the economic basket-case of Australia.

The Green left government of Lara Giddings has been an unmitigated disaster, and in the forthcoming 2014 election they are likely to be routed. Unfortunately, the Liberals under a lacklustre Will Hodgman do not inspire confidence either.

Hodgman acts as if afraid to tackle those things which need to be tackled, afraid to attack the attitudes which have been holding Tasmania back, and incapable of driving an inspiring media presence.

It seems that this backwater State is doomed to remain nothing more than the poor cousin of the rest of the Commonwealth. There is much potential which has been smothered by stultifying left-wing paralysis.

What the place needs is a conservative nationalist; someone who will raise the tone, provide optimism to working people, hope to businesses, ambition to school-leavers and,kick the Greens in their collective heads.

More on Tasmania’s new Premier

Tasmania's new Premier speaks for herself:


During her press conference as premier today, Lara Giddings, 38, revealed a three-year-old's fear of a "bad man" led her into politics.

"(In) 1975, and a dramatic political event occurred in Australia with the dismissal of the Prime Minister. My mother, a very passionate Labor supporter … was so upset she went to bed, literally, I think, for a week," she said.

"So as a little three-year-old, I'm obviously wondering what's gone wrong that my mum's so upset, and in my own analysis I decided that Mr Fraser must be a 'bad man'. And what do bad men do? They kill little children.

"So my mother very quickly said, 'No, no, no Lara, he doesn't kill little children, he just wouldn't hold your hand to cross the road.

"To me that sums up why I am a member of the Labor Party … It is about helping people cross that road."


Tasmania’s turning point?

Terry-Barnes Terry Barnes analyses the political climate in Tasmania prior to their crucial state election.

The opinion polls are saying it, the media is starting to say it, and even the Labor Premier, David Bartlett, has all but conceded it: the Liberal Party is likely to be the largest party in the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly after the Hare-Clark system grinds its way through Saturday’s election count.

This has been an interesting campaign to watch, with each of the three main parties led by 40-odd year old men: David Bartlett for Labor, Will Hodgman for the Liberals and Nick McKim for the Greens. 

If the polls are right, on Saturday the Liberals look set to become the largest party while falling tantalisingly short of an absolute majority in the 25-seat lower house.  Last Monday, though, struggling Labor incumbent Bartlett made a startling admission – that if Labor does not win the most seats that he will resign as Premier, leaving it to Hodgman to form a minority if not a majority government.

For a Labor leader to be prepared to scuttle away five days out from polling day has the deceptive appearance of graciousness in potential defeat but it really demonstrates a political reality – that minority administration with the Greens holding the balance of power is toxic for effective government.  Bartlett clearly doesn’t want it if he can’t win in his own right.

If he is Premier in a hung parliament, Will Hodgman will not only be working to deliver his own promises – which, according to the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s election “spendometer” are by far the least expensive of the three main parties – but he also will have to resist the policies that McKim and his Greens will push from the cross-benches, including:

  • A Department of Climate Change that regulates the life out of the Tasmanian economy in the name of a 40 per cent drop of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020;
  • An education system that is more about social inclusion than teaching and learning excellence;
  • Further drastic limits the use of Tasmania’s forest resources; and
  • Generally handing the Tasmanian public sector an even bigger share than it already has of the State’s economy and workforce.

Majority government by either the Liberals or Labor would be far preferable for Tasmania’s future than minority government, and both parties are going hard in the final week to persuade voters to give them enough seats to end the threat of a Green balance of power.   But Bartlett’s late decision to throw as much mud as possible at a media-friendly McKim, especially Labor’s accusations about the legalisation of heroin and giving hardened prisoners the vote, suggest hysterical desperation in a tired government that is all but begging for a spell in the paddock.

Bartlett’s antics could backfire badly on the Government.  While the intention clearly is to scare Green flirters back to Labor, more wavering voters could well be turned off by Labor’s weak and mud-flinging display and turn to the only other alternative for stable majority government – Will Hodgman’s Liberals.

Unlike Bartlett, Hodgman has been smart and disciplined.  He has kept his guns firmly trained on Labor and is going all out for majority government.  A strong closing campaign by a Liberal team ready to lead can ensure that enough seats fall Hodgman’s way on Saturday night to avoid the nightmare of cohabitation with the Greens.  Let’s all hope that he wins through because where Tasmania goes, a post double dissolution Senate could follow.Terry Barnes is an Editor of Menzies House.