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Tasmania: power seduces « Previous | |Next »
April 9, 2010

I see that Tasmanian Governor, Peter Underwood, has invoked the constitutional default position to a hung Parliament. David Bartlett’s caretaker government must continue and the government be tested on the floor of the House of Assembly. The Greens have said they would guarantee they would not move or support any no-confidence motion in a new Labor government in parliament. They went for stability as the best way to establish their legitimacy.

The Liberals refused to even talk to the Greens. Ruling out any deals with the Greens meant that Labor could continue in Government, after, Will Hodgman, the Liberals Leader refused to give guarantees to Labor. So no explicit Lib Lab coalition. The Liberals are angry--we was robbed--- as it is more years in opposition for them. Is that what the party wanted? Or were they doing the bidding of the old guard run by Senator Eric Betz that is allied with Gunns, and who cannot accept that Tasmania is changing from extractive industries based on unprocessed commodities such as mining and forestry, that can no longer compete on the world stage, to clever new technologies.

Bartlett refused to talk to the Greens as well. They were the enemy etc etc. Old Labor still sees the pulp mill as the states saviour, is willing to subsidize the bulk extractive forestry industry, and desires to destroy the Greens. They are in bed with big corporate money and had little time for democracy. The political wheel turns, and Premier Bartlett has grasped minority government in Tasmania suggesting some sort of deal with the Greens, even though he said there would never be no deals. If he is to retain power beyond the first Liberal no confidence motion, then he has to talk to the Greens.

That could mean a more accountable Labor as some bills would have to be negotiated. So there are some brakes on the unfettered power of corporatism. Then again, it could mean that there could be appalling Labor legislation supported by the Liberals and opposed by the Greens. So LibLabs remain in lockstep. Still that even that is a better scenario than a Lib-Lab coalition, as that would mean corporate interests completely smothering the public interest.

The Governor's reasons for his decision have been made public. Hodgman and the Liberals had assumed that Labor had made promises at a Press conference prior to the election not to block supply and that it would not move a vote of no confidence in a Liberal government except in extreme circumstances. Bartlett denied it. The Liberals had been had about the LibLab promise.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:29 AM | | Comments (10)


The Australian rants and raves about the nasty, horrible evil Greens.

That Greens leader Nick McKim was in a position to play the kingmaker is unfortunate. Since last month's election he has attempted to bully the major parties into dealing him into government - efforts rightly rebuffed by both leaders. Even now, his promise to support Labor in the legislature is contingent on the Liberals not offering the Greens a power-sharing deal......Although the Greens enjoy strong support among Tasmanians with safe jobs in the professions and public service, the party is poison for people who know their family's future depends on developing the state's abundant natural resources.

The editorial concludes by supporting LibLab----it says that the job for the two main party leaders is to work so hard that only environmental eccentrics will feel the need to vote Green at the next election.

I think you mean Lord Eric Abetz, not Erica Betz LOL

For a party with such a lot of fervent monarchists, the Libs don't have much joy from governors.

Thanks Meika. I guess I see the Lord of old Tasmania as a bit of a cross dresser.

you do have to wonder about the tactics of the Liberals. They boxed themselves into the corner.

Underwood was always going to give the incumbent government the first call to try its luck on the floor of Parliament on constitutional grounds. The Liberals would always going to move a no confidence motion in Labor. They needed the Greens to support them to get it passed, as they would not expected some of Labor to vote with them.

On the other hand, if Underwood did ask Hodgman if he could demonstrate supply and confidence if he was appointed a minority government, then Hodgman could not do, this--as he had not support from either Labor or the Greens--- and so he was not been appointed.

So why didn't the Liberals talk to the Greens? They needed to in order to get passed the first hurdle.

Hodgman struck me as sensible and forward looking when I was there on a phototrip in March--so it must be the power brokers in the Liberal Party who vetoed talking to the Greens, knowing that this would mean that the Liberals would end up in Opposition, given all the Greens talk about ensuring stability--ie., a successful coalition government in which they can deliver some policy goals.

The Greens are still talking about power sharing and support, and Labor will probably have to give at least one Green a portfolio, but I wouldn't get too excited about any genuine Coalition of the Cooperative between the ALP and Greens.

The Liberals may be squealing like stuck pigs at the moment, but they'll support the ALP when it suits them both.

Erica has his talking points on the Greens all sorted regardless of the differences between the Greens in the Federal Senate and the Tasmanian Greens. He won't be letting go of his favourite Tasmanian projects any time soon.

the events suggest that Erica + the old Liberal guard are more interested in establishing the Gunn's pulp mill in the Tamir Valley, and continuing destruction of native forests in Tasmania, than they are getting their party into government.

maybe the Liberal equation or playbook or strategy goes like this after they get over their "betrayal". They reckon they will sweep into power after a couple of years after inflicting damage on Labor + the Greens; with the Liberal's relentless napalm style attacks causing the collapse of the co-operation between Labor + Greens and the emergence of angry recrimination and deep bitterness from the flames.

Presumably, history says that this will happen is the argument. The new Labor government is a replay of the early years, it all ends in tears some time down the track, they then pick up a swing of a further 5% or so and win a majority, and Erica is your uncle.

Bartlett's promise to "put the past behind us and build trust" will probably turn out to be a hollow one given the culture of, and level of corruption in, the Tasmanian Labor Party.

They are haunted by the past and constrained by the shackles of the old guard.

Re Nan's comment first up here, I'd say the qualifier in the Murdoch rant is the term, "abundant", as to resources.
Others think differently; they are worried about damage done by actually quite intensive logging and land clearance of the wrong sort, with big infeeds of toxic chemicals into the system and potentially fatal results as to biodiversity.
The big example could be the plight of the once thriving Tassie devil population, they are most likely bellweather for what's happened to the ecosystem as a whole.