10 Comments
Mar 26Liked by Tim Dunlop

Rebecca White’s concession speech before all the votes have been counted suggests the ALP hates the Greens so much that they would be happy to suffer 4 more years of irrelevance on the Opposition benches than actually putting those differences aside to enact good and considered legislation. Such great vision! What does the party even stand for except as a vehicle to punch left rather than the common opposition.

Jeremy Rockliff’s ‘victory’ speech was embarrassing. 63 percent of the population chose another party and he claims the entire state for the liberals when the numbers do not lie.

The beauty of Tasmania’s electoral system to me is that no party can hide behind the single member preferential voting to hide their party’s deep unpopularity with two thirds of the electorate.

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Mar 26Liked by Tim Dunlop

John, while I agree entirely with your remarks, I must wonder if there was not an element of cowardice in Ms White's, well, capitulation.

Tasmania, not unlike the rest of Australia, has serious issues in their health, education and housing portfolios. Addressing these problems takes money. This puts the incoming government, whatever that may look like, in the position of deciding where to spend the money. In Tasmania's case, it seems to boil down to building a football stadium or addressing other more serious issues.

While this should seem straightforward, the political reality is that it is not. It will take some courage to drop the stadium proposal which, arguably, would be the right thing to do. Perhaps Ms White wants this issue over and done with before she finds the courage to take the Premiership.

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Mar 26Liked by Tim Dunlop

Hi Jim, you make good points and there could be a larger strategy afoot. I cannot pretend to understand all the issues in Tasmania. However, what we can see is bad politics in White’s campaign from the outset to trash the Greens and pretending the ALP is going to win a majority when no serious poll placed it at over 30 percent was folly and showed a good bit of delusion and arrogance. Twice leader, now already portrayed by the media as a 3-time loser.

She was more conciliatory in her speech on election night, when she acknowledged minority governments could be the future. but perhaps it is time for a new ALP leader who is willing to ally with Greens on the basis of defeating the Liberals. Compare White’s rhetoric to Lara Giddings who spoke positively about the Green/Labor coalition. If ALP continues to attack the Greens they are perpetual losers.

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Mar 26Liked by Tim Dunlop

At every level of government, the major parties have little choice but to learn to live with the Greens and/or a loose coalition of independents.

I have no doubt that that is how governments of the future will be formed.

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founding
Mar 26Liked by Tim Dunlop

Great article Tim. I was in Tasmania on election night (I vote in Lyons) and White’s speech certainly left open the possibility of Labor forming government. Seems like she got rolled by the ‘faceless’ men in the ALP’s state administrative body. They seem to be too scared to want to govern. One wonders why the ALP bothers standing sometimes. The Rundle piece in Crikey was excellent, I thought. Such an opportunity for change wasted by a yet again gutless ALP.

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author

I hope some good investigative reporter follows up on what happened between White's election-night comments and what she said the next day. We deserve to know.

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founding

Yes indeed. Plenty of Tasmanian voters want to know. Did you see Jacqui Lambie's comments? She was absolutely livid about the ALP giving up the opportunity to form government.

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Good piece, and I think wise to acknowledge we are in transition and that it is not inevitable that a sensible cross-bench emerges as an enabler of sensible government (although it's far and away my preference).

If anything, your piece understates two risks.

The ALP diktat to Tasmania did not shock or surprise me (I wish it did). Both party machines have way too much invested in terms of personal careers and life decisions to allow a simple thing like the benighted view of the ignorant masses getting in the way. Like any cornered animal, they will fight, honourably and dishonourably, smartly and stupidly, to survive, because they see the battle as existential. It doesn't have to be - there's a perfectly valid way to work with the views of the unhomed third - but all they see is oncoming headlights.

The second risk is that the longer the majors fail to deal with the unhomed third, the more explosive the response of that third will be as their needs are ignored. Their ranks, our ranks, will swell, and at some point frustration will boil over. I can see a few trigger points already, as I'm sure your readers can too, but to some extent it doesn't matter what it is. Trying to maintain the entitlement of the majors is not sustainable, and systems under pressure need release or redesign (I'm not an engineer btw, just struggling for metaphors).

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author

I have to admit, I am *always* shocked when parties act against the interests of the electorate and democratic norms. I'm a bit wide-eyed like that!

And yes, while it is an existential battle, the view is particularly shortsighted on Labor's part. Community independents and Greens could easily keep them in power pretty much indefinitely if they just allowed themselves to normalise the idea of minority government.

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Mar 28Liked by Tim Dunlop

Top article TD.

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