So here we go again.
A spot of déjà vu after agreeing to be on the ticket supporting Tasmanian Greens lead candidate for the Bass electorate, Jack Davenport. A surprise phone call from our wonderful surfing senator Peter Whish-Wilson, when in Perth visiting friends and family recently, and the power of persuasion is the only reason I agreed – but only on the condition I was number five on the ticket. That’s a distant last for those unfamiliar with Tasmania’s Hare Clark system, with zero chance of being elected. Really, I’m just there so all those who want to vote Green all the way down the ticket can do so. In 2014 I had some small advantage of name recognition due to the pulp mill campaign. That’s not the case this time around so if I achieve a dozen votes I reckon I’ll be doing well! However, every vote counts.
I suspect this short sharp campaign will be a little different to the last time I put up my hand, back in 2014 when we still had the wonderful Kim Booth representing the Greens in Bass. Supporting a sitting MP is a vastly different prospect to getting our lead candidate over the line and into parliament so Bass has a Greens MP once again. Kim’s re-election was always a nail-biting time and this election is unlikely to be any different.
What a fantastic Greens team we have though, and really hoping Tasmanians will see through the undeniably cynical tactics of premier Peter Gutwein to go 12 months early, arguably hoping that by riding on the back of Covid, he can replicate the recent WA result that saw a landslide Labor victory. Too much of a landslide really as there’s now a completely ineffective Opposition which isn’t healthy for democracy at all. I hope that won’t be the case here.
Despite the carefully constructed spin Mr Gutwein has done very little, really, in respect of ‘keeping us all safe through Covid’ other than follow the advice of the state’s public health officer. Just as all the premiers have done. He and his government have done next to nothing to address the housing, homelessness, hospitals and health issues – all of which are a disgrace. The economy here, and throughout the country, is likely to tumble like a pack of cards when the loss of JobKeeper starts to kick in, bringing into question the economic credentials the Liberals like to pride themselves on, but which in fact have no basis in reality. Meanwhile the trashing of our environment, our forests, our rivers, lakes and oceans continues.
Here’s hoping enough Tasmanians will see through the spin and the May 1st result will be a government that is made up of Liberals, Labor AND the Greens. What a turn-up that would be! A minority or coalition government in other words, that too many sadly remain fearful about when it comes to Tasmania, yet appear to be quite comfortable about in a federal context. Odd, but shows the powers of persuasive spin.