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Liberals keep seeing the Palmer United Party danger signal

March 11th, 2014 Comments off

One thing you can say about Peter Reith is that he knows a danger when he sees one. And the danger currently in the sights of the former Liberal ministerial hard man is independent MP Clive Palmer.

Reith has used his Fairfax column this morning to attack Palmer and his party in a way that is becoming more common for Liberals. It appears to have dawned on supporter of the coalition government that the Palmer United Party has the potential to be as disruptive to them as the Greens have become to Labor.

2014-03-11_palmerPartially decide they will at state elections in Tasmania and South Australia this weekend with the bigger test to come with the West Australian Senate election next month.

The Liberal concern in Tasmania is well illustrated by the complaint lodged by the party’s state secretary Sam McQuestin over this advertisement published in The Mercury yesterday:

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The alleged crime is the presence in the ad of those “three amigos” photographs. Under Tasmanian electoral law it is illegal to print any advertisement with a photo of a candidate without their written consent. The leaders pictured say they have not consented.

Hardly a hanging matter I would have thought but enough to have the Liberals pointing to the potential 12 months jail sentence that would rule the Palmer United Party’s Senator-Elect Jacqui Lambie, who the advertisement says authorised it, ineligible to take her seat in the Senate from 1 July. And what a pyrrhic victory for Tony Abbott’s team that would be with Ms Lambie replaced by another Senator chosen by PUP and Clive Palmer given yet another reason to be as difficult to deal with as possible.

A silly and childish game that Labor is joining in with by referring to the electoral commissioner a letter Clive Palmer has distributed to Tasmanian households in which, Labor says, he appears to have named both the Premier Lara Giddings and Opposition Leader Will Hodgman. That, according to ALP state president John Dowling, could potentially be a breach of section 196 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act making the federal MP also liable for a 12 month term in jail. Hard not to be on the Palmer side in arguing, as he did this morning saying that “as a member of the House of Representatives from Queensland I don’t feel I am restrained in naming any person in Australia, referring to them in relation to a public debate that’s going on in the country. And I don’t think there is any law that seeks to stop that freedom of speech.”

If there is such a law there shouldn’t be and the most likely result of this petty point scoring is to give PUP the attention needed to do better on Saturday than the opinion polls are currently showing.

 

 

Prime Minister Abbott gives the Greens a boost

March 8th, 2014 Comments off

After last September’s federal election it was possible to think that the Green vote in Tasmania was about to sink away. The party’s Senate share fell to 11.1%, down from the 20.3% recorded in 2010 and its lowest this century. Perhaps the state election would see the Greens reduced to a meagre rump.

Not so it seems now. A ReachTel poll for the Hobart Mercury this week puts the likely Green vote at 18.2%. That is down on the 21.6% recorded at the last Tasmanian state election in 2010 but represents a minor decline compared with the complete collapse being forecast for the Labor Party it partnered in government until last months political divorce. Labor’s figure in 2010 was 36.9% and the ReachTel estimate with a week to go is 23,6%.

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The Mercury commentary this morning observed:

2014-03-08_commentary Increasing the chances of the Greens actually emerging with as many or more seats than Labor surely is the crass attempt of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to back the repeal of parts of the Tasmanian forest put onto the World Heritage list. Being able to concentrate on trees rather than matters of social justice tends to maximise the Green vote and concentrate on trees in the closing days of this campaign the Greens are:

John Howard joins in the PUP attack

March 3rd, 2014 Comments off

3-03-2014 howardThe evidence mounts that the Liberals see the Palmer United Party as its new principal opponent. Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard took up the theme of the Party’s sneaky advertising on a visit to Tasmania at the weekend.

A vote for the Palmer United Party would cost jobs and be a waste, Mr Howard told a fund raising dinner in Launceston on Saturday while warning about what he says would be a mis-direction of non-Labor votes.

“Coalition government doesn’t work in a state that needs economic development,” he said.

“It is obvious that there is only one party that can form a majority government _  that is the Liberal party.

“Now the only real threat to that _ and therefore the Liberal majority government _ is that people who do not want Labor might decide to waste their vote with the Palmer party.

“If Palmer gets one or two seats he is then in the position to bargain with the Liberal party in relation to another coalition government and you have seen over the last four years that those things don’t work.

“A state like Tasmania needs to send a clear message to the rest of the country that investment is welcome and that jobs are a top priority and it can only do that if it is unfettered, if it can have a clear majority in its own right.”

 

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Sneaky Liberals in attack on the Palmer United Party

March 2nd, 2014 Comments off

A keen observer of electoral advertising would realise that Sam McQuestin is a key player in the Tasmanian Liberal Party team. The state party director’s name is the one that appears at the bottom of all the Liberal ads.

2-03-2014 libadBut when it comes to being negative about the Palmer United Party, Sam prefers not to disclose his Liberal Party affiliation. From this morning’s Sunday Tasmanian:

2-03-2014 sneakyliberalsProbably a sign of just how concerned the Tassie Liberals are that PUP just might do well enough to thwart their efforts to become a majority government.

 

 

Categories: Elections, Tasmanian election Tags:

A century breaking vote for Labor in Tasmania?

February 16th, 2014 Comments off

Grim news for the Labor Party in Tasmania as the state election approaches. A poll in Saturday’s Hobart Mercury puts the Labor share of the statewide vote at just 24.6%. 16-02-2014 Taspoll If that happens it will be the worst result since the 10.6% recorded in 1903 when candidates stood under the Labor banner for the first time. 16-02-2014 laborvote

Dusting down the law-and-order playbook for the Tasmanian election

January 25th, 2014 Comments off

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What would an election be without it? Law-and-order has made its early election campaign appearance with the Liberal leader Will Hodgman promising more policemen on the beat if and when he becomes premier. The Liberals have promised to spend $33 million to put 108 extra police officers on the beat during their first four years of government and restore police numbers to the level preceding 2011 cuts made by the Labor government. And where will the money be coming from to ay for this initiative? Well the magic asterisk will do the trick – it will be taken out of savings made in the Liberals’ alternative budget.

If you can’t get a footballer, get a footballer’s mum. Clive Palmer has a penchant for footballers. His Palmer United Party stood several of them at the federal election and one of them will be a Senator come 1 July. This week in Tasmania there was a variation on the PUP theme. Debra Thurley, mother of Clarence football star Cameron Thurley,is the lead candidate on PUP’s five-member ticket for the seat of Franklin. Ms Thurley’s son, reports Ther Mercury this morning, was left fighting for his life last year after an accident at a Hobart nightclub in September. The former AFL player was in a coma for 23 days and his mother said the time she had spent with her son gave her the opportunity to see firsthand the difficult circumstances Royal Hobart Hospital staff worked under. ‘‘Cameron really, really wants me to do this and was very supportive when I was running before [in the federal election],’’ she said.

From this morning’s Australian papers.

Jakarta bent upon rocking the boat – Cameron Stewart in The Australian writes how Australia and Indonesia are fast losing patience with each other over asylum-seekers, putting at grave risk Canberra’s hopes of repairing the diplomatic damage from the recent spy scandal.

“Yet it is Indonesia that is setting the tone for this latest slide in the relationship. Indonesia’s inflammatory response this week to unproven claims that returned asylum-seekers were abused by the Australian navy says much about Jakarta’s prickly mindset in the wake of boat turnbacks and the spying controversy. So does its overreaction to the mistaken intrusion into Indonesian territorial waters by the Australian navy, which has prompted Indonesia to send extra military forces to patrol its border zone.”

‘Positive’ PM cuts impressive figure in Davos – Dennis Shanahan retains his title as Tony Abbott;s greatest cheer-leader with this piece in the Oz:

“Yet Abbott has used his three-day flying visit to Switzerland to full effect on every level and left a positive impression with some of the most senior business people in the world as well as ‘opinion formers’, WEF directors and other world leaders. Chief executives of foreign corporations were asking after some of Abbott’s presentations if they ‘could have one of him’ in their country because of his clear and positive outlook.”

Pilger deploys a bludgeon against ‘racists’ like us – Gerard Henderson uses his Oz column for a little film reviewing with a John Pilger documentary in his harsh sights:

Some of the alienated types are best described as belonging to the FIFOE set. That is, they are fly-in, fly-out-expatriates who make use of January 26 to give their nation of birth a dreadful pasting. Perhaps the most prominent FIFOE is John Pilger, the Sydney-born, London-based filmmaker and journalist who writes for the leftist New Statesman magazine. You have to admire Pilger’s chutzpah. For decades, he has been writing books and making documentaries about Australia, which he describes as a ‘secret country’. Never before has a so-called secret nation been examined in such detail from open-source material. Pilger’s latest documentary, Utopia, is produced by Dartmouth Films in association with the taxpayer-subsidised SBS TV Australia. Many of Pilger’s previous films have been shown on ABC TV. So Pilger gets taxpayer-funded assistance to reveal details about Australia which he claims were hitherto ‘secret’… Pilger’s alienated preaching seems to have little impact outside of the green-left set. His aggressive vox pops of selected Australians that feature in Utopia suggest he doesn’t like his fellow citizens very much and appears to regard them as uninformed racists. Australians tend to have good antennae with respect to alienated members of the intelligentsia who look down on them.”

Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.

  •  President Boehner? Not If That Rules Out Wine And Cigarettes – “House Speaker John Boehner used his first-ever appearance on NBC-TV’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk politics and, as President Obama and others have also done on late-night TV, have some fun at his own expense. Asked Thursday if he has any presidential ambitions, the Ohio Republican joked that: — ‘Listen, I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I’m not giving that up to be president of the United States.’
  • John Quiggin is, as usual, Brilliant.