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ReachTEL: Liberal 47, Labor 24, Greens 18 in Tasmania

The latest ReachTEL survey suggests the die is well and truly cast for next Saturday's Tasmanian state election.

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A ReachTEL automated phone poll of 2600 respondents conducted last night for The Mercury shows the Tasmanian state election situation much as it’s been for a very long time now, with the Liberals on a commanding 47.4% (up 0.2% from the last poll on February 13) and Labor on a dismal 23.6% (down 1.0%). The Greens are on 18.2%, up 1.0% on last time, while the Palmer United Party is down 0.8% to 6.7%. Electorate breakdowns and other detail presumably to follow in tomorrow’s paper.

UPDATE: Kevin Bonham has detailed results and better-informed analysis than I would be able to manage.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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67 thoughts on “ReachTEL: Liberal 47, Labor 24, Greens 18 in Tasmania

  1. Henry

    Alea jacta est.

  2. Ross

    Beware the Ides of March on the 15th. If only we had another Julia to slay.

  3. Coast

    If the Greens have picked up support in Denison and have at least held their position in Bass and Lyons then this poll strengthens the scenario that the Greens will pick up more seats than Labor thus becoming the official Opposition.

    Got to wait til 830am when Kevin Bonhams blog analysis will make it all clear!

  4. Psephos

    [Greens will pick up more seats than Labor thus becoming the official Opposition.]

    A veritable wet dream for the Liberals.

  5. meher baba

    Psephos@4. Yes, the Libs will be happy at the prospect of the Greens supplanting Labor.

    But it’s an inevitable outcome of where Tassie Labor has been heading in recent years. Everyone knows exactly what the Tassie Greens stand for (which is something a bit more moderate than the mainland watermelons) and are either for ’em or agin ’em. The Libs have set themselves up with a brand which we might call FTG (ie, F@#- the Greens). Their position on the forests seems to be more dream than reality, but it has a clear appeal to a near majority (including a significant proportion of Labor’s key blue collar constituency).

    It is insane that this election, like so many before it, comes down to being all about the forests when there are so many more important issues down here: the sorry state of the education system, the resulting large group of unemployed young people with poor skills and even poorer motivation sitting around on park benches while businesses have to seek imported labour to work in mines, hospitality and agriculture, etc, etc

    Labor has had a chance to focus on “new economy” issues. Bartlett tried to, but was eased out. Giddings is an impressive lady but closely aligned to the old guard. She’s chosen to go for the tried and tested strategy of working effectively with the Greens until a few months before the election and then turning on them and calling them Satan’s spawn.

    But this time, nobody believes it. In particular, Labor has lost almost all of the educated middle class down here: I mix with these people and don’t know any such who won’t be voting Liberal or, in most cases, Green.

    This is a disturbing trend for Labor in the longer term. The pivotal group are the Labor Left: a strange melange of inner city trendies and blue collar unionists from the CFMEU and the AMWU. The problem for the Left is that green-tinged trendies and blue collar workers (especially forestry workers) don’t really go together. The Left has typically kept out of the environment debate other then maintain a lingering attachment to the old chestnut of “keep uranium in the ground”. But a pro-forestry stance won’t wash any more in the inner city heartlands of the Left factions: which is why you get the likes of Adam Bandt coming along.

    Labor in Tassie urgently needs to reinvent itself. Assuming they lose (which looks certain to my untrained eye ) then I would nominate David O’Byrne – aka “Mighty Mouse” – to take them in the direction that they need to head. As long as he is returned in Franklin: or comes close (and can step into Lara’s seat when she inevitably resigns in defeat).

    O’Byrne largely gets it in terms of the need to de-emphasize forestry and modernize the economy.

    If he can revitalize Labor they might bounce back quickly when (as is inevitable) the illusory promises of the Libs crumble into dust. Hodgman doesn’t look to me like the man ready to handle the pressure when global media descend on Tassie to cover screaming protestors dragged away from in front of bulldozers. Robin Gray he ain’t. It’s all going to be a but cringeworthy. But never a dull moment down here in Tassie.

  6. meher baba

    PS: in case my post above makes me sound like a Bartlett fan, I’m certainly not that. He was rather inept in government. But at least he said the right sorts of things.

    There are people on the Liberal side who also understand what needs to happen down here: Matthew Groom, Jeremy Rockliff, even Hodgman. But, under the guidance of Uncle Eric, the Libs down here have become the political handmaidens of the most diehard and nostalgic elements of the forestry sector. It’s a big worry.

  7. james dayton

    @ Meher baba

    Somewhat confused about with your post, you say “the sorry state of the education system, the resulting large group of unemployed young people with poor skills and even poorer motivation sitting around on park benches while businesses have to seek imported labour to work in mines, hospitality and agriculture, etc, etc”

    But then apparently its all about the forests??? Really?

    Here’s some comments from an educated middle class person from Launceston.

    There are 52 leases available in the immediate area of the Launceston CBD. There are kids out there begging for extra shifts. I have businesses where the employees are making more money now than the owners. My own income (business) has had the 3rd consecutive year of decline at both the gross and net.

    I dont know if the Libs can do a better job, I truly think that moment has come and gone, its too late, not much leaves this state anymore, but oh my how we have to beg for Federal funds.

    Were Labor and the Greens inept? Yes, mostly, does it matter? Not anymore. If you like, you can call the Libs inept, probably, does it matter anymore? Not really.

    Not much goes out of this state anymore, little businesses and consumers trying to survive on with monetary velocity declining.

    $30,000 first home owners grant, stuff of genius there, lets keep inflating that property bubble for another 6 months, thats okay, will we just borrow that money, the taxpayers can take care of that later.

    Meanwhile our RBF system in now circa 8.5 billion…unfunded, speeding tickets monetary fines to be determined by income level, rent fixing..all been considered.

    And you think its about the forests?? Really?


  8. james dayton

    @ MEHER

    “PS: in case my post above makes me sound like a Bartlett fan, I’m certainly not that. He was rather inept in government. But at least he said the right sorts of things. ”

    Its not what they say that matters, its what they do, good grief.

  9. james dayton

    @ Meher

    “O’Byrne largely gets it in terms of the need to de-emphasize forestry and modernize the economy.”

    Look thats just great, sooo, what have the last 10+ years been about? Passing time? Thats great, we have to give Labor another chance, in conjunction with the Greens of course, as that are now joined at the hip. And they can pass another 10 years, doing nothing.

    “modernize the economy”, really, what economy would that be? Why would anyone want to invest in this place after the last 10+ years of compliance hell?

    Do you talk to a lot of teachers and public servants? Just wondering.

  10. Kevin Bonham

    A broad hint: it’s worse for Labor than the raw figures indicate. Breakdowns and discussion on my site 8:30 am.

  11. Kevin Bonham

    I make it 14 Lib 5-7 ALP 4-6 Green 0-1 PUP

    Lyons, Bass, Franklin 3-1-1
    Denison 2-2-1 or 2-1-2
    Braddon 3-1-0 and 1 between PUP, Green and Labor. (Labor could get 2 if evenly split between candidates.)

  12. meher baba

    James Dayton: you seem to have completely misunderstood me. I didn’t say I thought it should be “all about the forests”! I so wish it wasn’t. But most politically-minded people down here – Lib, Lab or Green – are all in their own way obsessed with the forests. The Lab-Green coalition are seen by a majority of the population as having “locked up ” the forests and – if they could just be unlocked – we’d all have jobs and investment again and it would all be hunky dory.

    But the forests – whether they are locked up or all chopped down – are not anything like the main economic issue down here in the medium to longer term.

    I talk to lots of business people all the time. Like you, many of them are incredibly pissed-off and are desperate for the Liberals to win. But they can’t really explain why: like you, they are consumed with anger at Labor and the Greens. Fair enough in some ways: the Tassie economy is in a terrible condition for a whole range of reasons: including poor governance over many years.

    But where are we going to find the answers?

    Some people I talk to – especially those in the north of the state – still seem to see the pulp mill as the answer. But, as far as I can see, that will only ever get built if it is publicly subsidized to within an inch of its life. Which is an unsustainable approach in the long term (look at the car industry). The construction phase of the mill will definitely create some jobs but, once operational, it will be low employment and low value add. Tasmania is not going to become rich on the back of a pulp mill. And the national and global TV coverage of screaming protestors trying to stop it from being built will deter tourists, especially to the Tamar.

    Tourism, high value agriculture and pre-prepared food, whisky, wine, cider, high value timber, knowledge workers and industries attracted by the lifestyle, science and Antarctic stuff: these are the key economic areas for Tassie to focus on. Not more plantations and clear-felling of older forests for pulp and the resulting pictures of screaming protestors beamed around the world. But when I listen to the Libs at the moment, that’s the main future they seem to be promising.

    It would great if we could find a political leader down here with some real vision. There are some people on all three sides of politics who have some good ideas, but they won’t get heard in all the shouting we are going to hear about the forests for at least the next four years.

  13. meher baba

    Interesting table posted by GWV. For mine, the polling in Franklin looks a bit out of whack: I find it hard to believe that the Libs have as much as 48 per cent there.

    Otherwise, seems about right to me.

  14. ruawake

    Saturday Comedy Relief

    [ ReachTel/Murdoch Figures False, As Always
    by Bob Ellis

    Cheating as always, ReachTel finds 47.4 percent of Tasmanians voting Liberal, 23.6 percent Labor, 18.2 percent Greens and 6.7 PUP. Machines rang landlines on Thursday, late shopping night, while the Debate was proceeding, and got those uninterested in it, and not on a mobile, and not preparing dinner, or still at work, or driving home, and, sure enough, these underoccupied nonagenarians favoured the Liberals.

    Similar machine-Thursday-landline polling in August had Rudd, Swan, Clare, Burke, Bowen and Albo losing their seats.

    Adjusting accordingly therefore, along lines of their past error, and noting how well Gidding did in the Debate, and her support last night for a reopened asylum seeker ‘facility’ in Tasmania, I predict the result next week will be Liberals 35.2, Labor 33.4, Greens 20.5 and PUP 10.9 and a Giddings-McKim party formed by April.

    That the poll would be taken DURING the Debate is a measure of Skynews’ mendacity.

    It is time, surely, time these criminals were charged with fraud, and sent to Port Arthur for the term of their natural lives.]

  15. Kevin Bonham

    What Ellis doesn’t realise (apart from everything as usual) is that virtually no-one was watching the Debate.

    My comments: http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/reachtel-campaign-has-changed-nothing.html

  16. james dayton

    @ Meher

    If I have misunderstood you I offer you my apology.

    However, your first paragraph again focuses on forests.

    “I talk to lots of business people all the time. Like you, many of them are incredibly pissed-off and are desperate for the Liberals to win. But they can’t really explain why: like you, they are consumed with anger at Labor and the Greens.”

    Oh we can explain why. You seem to think we are confused, walking around in a daze. We are quite aware of the outcomes of living with the Labor and the Labor/Green accord. There is no confusion. “Pissed-off”? , no, more acceptance that we have idoits running the state. Pulp mill? Who cares. Cider? Who cares. How about jams? Who cares.

    If you had read carefully, perhaps you may have noted my query as to whether the libs could do better, yes? You may have noted my suggestion that such a time has passed, yes. There is no anger, sadness perhaps.

    Politically minded? Is that a badge of honor? Are these people supposed to be smarter and more aware than the rest if us? Are these not the people who have been governing the state..oh my, what a job they have done, we are blessed to have these smart, politically minded people leading us. Again, will the other side do better, who knows?

    You need to start hearing people, all people, not just farkin public servants, or the damn Mercury, jams, ciders, whisky, god farkin help us.

  17. MagicPudding

    I was phoned by Reachtel for this poll. I am not a nonagenarian. It happens that I do not have a mobile phone at the moment,but when I do, I still answer calls on my landline. I was not watching the debate; I don’t think it was available on free-to-air. If I had been though, I would still have answered the phone.

    I did note that the poll did not allow an “undecided” option for the question on voting preference. The later questions about “Which party is best to handle…” did have an “undecided” option, and the one published shows quite a high undecided response, around 20%.

    I also note that there were 5 or 6 questions put, not 3. “The Mercury” has for whatever reason chosen to omit some from its “full poll results”.

  18. meher baba

    James Dayton. I appreciate that you see a future of tourism and jams and ciders as pretty Mickey Mouse. And I don’t entirely disagree.

    But what else is there for Tassie? What are our areas of potential competitive advantage? I can see tourism, some forms of food production, Antarctica (because we are relatively close), fisheries and aquaculture (but rising sea temperatures are a threat) and lifestyle (online knowledge workers who can live anywhere choosing to live here because it’s nice).

    What else? Not apple-growing anymore. Forestry a little bit, but it isn’t the total answer and has negative side-effects in terms of our image. And certainly not the quality of the Tasmanian workforce: the mines down here use increasing numbers of FIFO workers and some of the local factories which have closed or wound back production (Caterpillar for example) have cited poor quality workmanship from sub-contractors and suppliers as a contributing factor.

    It’s sad, but it’s all because of stuff called globalisation and market forces. Even in its current parlous state, the Tasmanian economy is massively subsidized by the rest of Australia. If they choose not to do so, we’re totally stuffed. Thank goodness we have 12 out of 76 senators.

    Tasmanians need to face up to what’s really going on. But, thanks to the combined efforts of our pollies, the majority are going to choose to vote themselves into a nice happy dream of becoming rich again through forestry. It won’t work, but it’s perhaps better than the sort of massive cultural change required to really fix things down here. Better to drift off into the long night dreaming of past glories: we do living in the past really well down here.

    I suspect we are both equally sad about the state of things, and for the same reasons. You seem to be more bitter than me. I actually still feel optimistic about this place, but worried about the large numbers of people I see who will clearly be left behind when the wave of economic and cultural change sweeps through in probably about a decade’s time.

  19. meher baba

    PS. One thing you said that I don’t agree with is that we have been governed by idiots. Gray, Field, Bacon, Lennon, Bartlett and Giddings are/were all reasonably savvy people. On the strength of my dealings with him, so’s Will Hodgman. And so have been many people who have held ministries down here. I don’t think, on average, they are much worse than pollies in the rest of Australia: indeed, I would back your average Tassie pollie to win a talent contest against those of Qld or WA.

    What they can all be criticized for – except Bartlett to a certain extent – is the sin of failing to look Tasmanians in the face and tell them how things really are: in particular

    1. If you don’t want your kids and grand kids to have a lower standard of living than you, you will need to make sure that they get properly educated.
    2. The public education system down here is never going to be totally up to scratch so you can’t rely on that.
    3. Once they are educated/skilled, most of your children are going to want to leave the state, at least for a while. But it’s better than a lifetime spent filling out forms at a Centrelink office.

    But they’re pollies who have to win our votes. Let’s not judge them too harshly.

  20. james dayton

    potential competitive advantage? Forestry? After that spill you ignore the obvious one, its there, its in plain view, why ignore it?

    Tourism? Ciders? Whiskey? How about a specialty of Gay Marriages? Fisheries, already over regulated, turning people away.

    Yet you ignore forestry? That’s pretty amazing. It may not be the total answer, but its there, in plain view, yes?

    I think Tasmanians are facing up to it, see the polls? Yet I agree with you, too late, the majority have voted these fools in for the last 10+ years, the buck stops with those people, and thats just fine, democracy in action.

    ” But, thanks to the combined efforts of our pollies, the majority are going to choose to vote themselves into a nice happy dream of becoming rich again through forestry.”

    As distinct from what, become as migrant center? Jams? Whiskey? Tourism? Thats just worked oh so well the last 10+ years.

    You keep saying “bitter”, this is all in plain view, we have a premier who was a speach writer, McKim a teacher? Keep going, both sides, does not matter, we could have fun 🙂

    You are a Green supporter, yes? Keep listening to those teachers, who feast of taxpayers and have never produced a thing in there life. They talk, and you like words, and we must be wary of our image, right. I just laugh, what else are fools good for.

  21. james dayton

    “Gray, Field, Bacon, Lennon, Bartlett and Giddings are/were all reasonably savvy people.”

    Really, yet here we are. spare us from more of these Savvy people.

    Get educated, what for? So they can have degrees and not get jobs? Thats coming, and not just to Tassie 🙂

    You listen to words, I watch actions, what they actually do, we are a world apart, and thats okay, I respect your views.

  22. meher baba

    OK James: it took a while, but you’ve shown your true colours at last. For you, at least, it truly is all about forestry. Good luck with that.

    And I’m certainly not a Green. I am far from convinced of the “high conservation value ” of the forests that have been recently listed. But I’m also far from convinced that they have much in the way of commercial value: certainly not as pulp. I worry that any attempt to log them now will blacken the image of Tasmania to investors and potential visitors around the world.

    If you could be sure that we could really make a buck out of it all – a real buck, not one riddled with hidden public subsidies – then it might be worth it. But I’m unconvinced and more inclined towards Mark Latham’s depiction of much of the forestry industry down here as “the world’s largest work for the dole scheme.

    All those taxpayer subsidies and still Gunn’s went belly up: well in advance of agreement being reached on the TFA. You don’t seem to think much of our pollies. How about our business leaders: John Gay, for instance?

  23. Kevin Bonham

    There’s some funny stuff going on with The Examiner reporting very slightly (<1%) different results off a smaller sample size, same company, same night. Pretty busy this week so will be a while before I get to the bottom of it.

  24. Kevin Bonham

    There were seven poll questions. Mercury usually holds some back for Sunday.

  25. MagicPudding

    James @ 21
    [Keep listening to those teachers, who feast of taxpayers and have never produced a thing in there life.]
    Teachers do produce something; they produce educated people. Without them, society here or anywhere would quickly revert to subsistence farming at best, and there would be no “economy”. Forestry and other resource extraction industries depend on the extensive use of machinery which was designed by educated people, not axemen.

    Education also helps people to get their ideas across to others. The short sentence I quoted above contains two errors. I think I know what you meant, but I can’t be completely certain; perhaps you really do want to say that teachers eat taxpayers. I am not trying to put you down, you are clearly a thoughtful person and education certainly does not equal intelligence. I am just making my point that teachers are productive. Incidentally I am not a teacher, and I do not know any to speak to.

    I have followed your conversation with Meher with interest. What I am still not getting is what you actually think should be done. If we made you King, what would you do to improve Tasmania? I am genuinely interested in what you think.

    I do not think Tasmania can maintain a competitive advantage in bulk forestry. It is small, has difficult terrain and is far from markets. Maybe a pulp mill would help, but the difficulty Gunns had in attracting enough finance suggests that the business case did not stack up. While there were protests. the pulp mill has had the backing of the government the whole time; it is not the government’s fault it has not been built.

    If I were King, I would go for an export education industry, both face-to face and online. Tasmania is English-speaking, has a pleasant environment and is exceptionally safe and secure. These are competitive advantages for hosting foreign students. I would have more student residences built, and would fund some new faculties. The first would be a Faculty of On-line Education or similar. This is a new and rapidly growing field, and developing expertise in it would be another competitive advantage. I would be prepared to spend millions to hire as lecturers people famous enough in their fields to draw students to meet them, and whose lectures sold on the internet would be a valuable commodity. Splashing out on a couple of Nobel Prize winners would in itself gain useful publicity.

  26. Patrick Bateman

    Can someone briefly enlighten me as to what this projected outcome actually does mean for forestry in Tasmania?

    As for the debate above –

    1. At what point will Labor grow up and recognise that emphasising the need to protect the environment is not an extreme position? As with so many debates in the last decade or so, Labor has been sucked in to the far right wing framing of this issue (“Jobs versus Hippies”) instead of the real issue (sustainable development versus raping and pillaging rapidly depleting resources).

    2. People act like it is impossible to have an economy heavily based on tourism and associated industries. Look around the world and there are many places which thrive on this type of economy.

  27. Patrick Bateman

    What I mean about 1. above is – Labor should get on the right side of history when it comes to the environment.

    The pace of environmental degradation is picking up, the impact on ordinary people is increasing, and even in 5-10 years I expect that we will be looking back in bewilderment and anger at the people who kept assuring us that a finite sized planet could sustain infinite population growth, exploitation and pollution.

  28. Tom the first and best


    Anyone who complains that Australian fisheries are over regulated should be sent to fish for cod off the coast of Atlantic Canada and New England, where the cod have been fished to local extinction.

  29. james dayton

    @ Meher

    @ Mehar (23)

    “OK James: it took a while, but you’ve shown your true colours at last. For you, at least, it truly is all about forestry. Good luck with that. ”

    Now, thats unfair, as I recall you were the one dancing around forestry, then you started to consider comparitive advantage. If you are going that way, then in fairness you must look at all alternatives where we have an advantage.

    ” I worry that any attempt to log them now will blacken the image of Tasmania to investors and potential visitors around the world. ”

    Are you serious, how do we usually treat investors in this state, we regulate the hell out of them and then change our mind. As to tourists, they can come or not, you are aware that there are people trying to actually live in this state?

    Our state is third rate, our pollies are mostly that as well, our business leaders are varied, we are done, put a fork in us, a welfare state that survives from taxpayer hand outs.

  30. Patrick Bateman

    Tom @ 29

    It’s happening here. In SA we have widespread reports that there are basically no mature fish around (so of course we are now taking the immature ones, not letting them recover).

  31. MagicPudding

    I have just been polled again. Only one question – who are you going top vote for. Poll conducted on behalf of the ALP.

  32. Patrick Bateman

    [If you are going that way, then in fairness you must look at all alternatives where we have an advantage.]
    You have an advantage in that you have unique wilderness and a unique climate. Plenty of places in the world have cheaper, more abundant wood than Tassie. Cutting down your forests is essentially destroying your advantage, not exploiting it.

  33. Psephos

    Speaking of Canada, these same debates have been raging – well, flickering – for decades in Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick, the poor cousins of the confederation, dependent on fishing, farming and timber, with stagnant and poorly educated populations. (Newfoundland has much the same demographics, but it has oil so its per capita GDP is higher). They are kept afloat by transfers from the booming western provinces. There doesn’t seem to be any real solution to this. Some places are just doomed to be backwaters, with pretty scenery and nice cheese, but not much else to attract young and well-educated people.

  34. james dayton

    @ MP

    “Teachers do produce something; they produce educated people.”

    Education standards are declining, how bright are the teachers :). I suspect most of them have not much idea how best to create wealth, growth, employment etc.
    They do their best work in committees, as a general rule they are progressives who value social ethics and Cafe problem solving over direct action. They moan, and cant ind their own business, they think they know best, they are used to control, ask them to build something and mostly they are clueless, they speak of capitalism yet have no understanding of it. They like to spend and solve things quickly, critical thinking and consequences, over rated.

    Please dont worry about being delicate, I type on the fly and am better with numbers. I dont have much time for teachers or academics for that matter.

    If I were king for a day, oh my, I dont even know if I could trust you with that authority 🙂

    Pudding, you either have something to sell to the world or you dont, if you are not selling, then you are buying more often than not. See a problem?

    So, we live in waste based economies, we use our most valuable resource, oil, to create waste based products which we sell both domestically and overseas. The winners of this paradigm have a balance of payments surplus which allows them to buy more oil and continue to create waste products, in short, growth.

    We need cheap energy, energy and labor costs determine our production levels of waste, or simply, growth. Do you see losers, those being deficit nations, its almost a zero sum game, someone must win, someone must lose. The loser gets to buy less oil, growth declines. You may substitute energy for oil if you prefer. Alternatively you may need to lay waste to wage levels, have a look around the world, do you see losers?

    Are you starting to see issues with Australian manufacturing and export industries? Just saying, follow the USA, where they have gone we follow, follow Europe..follow Japan.

    If I were a king for a day, cheap energy, electricity, build the Franklin damn, I am typing on the fly, not looking at numbers, cheap energy becomes our advantage, use our resources to give us an advantage. Use that which we have, and many others do not. There is much more to this arguement, how many pages do you want? 🙂

    Perhaps we lead more sedate lives, give up on the growth paradigm, grow our own food, not work so hard, spend more time with our families…there are consequences to that as well though.

  35. james dayton

    @ Patrick

    “you have an advantage in that you have unique wilderness and a unique climate. Plenty of places in the world have cheaper, more abundant wood than Tassie. Cutting down your forests is essentially destroying your advantage, not exploiting it.”

    N0 Patrick, thats a dream, it has no financial substance. We are broke.

  36. meher baba

    Dam the Franklin, James? Even the Libs don’t want to do that any more. It would put the final
    nail in the coffin of the West Coast.

    There’s no doubt Tassie’s broke. But I cannot see a commercial proposition in ramping back forestry production. Yes, there are lots of people down here longing to be employed in the forestry industry. But that doesn’t matter if it can’t turn an honest buck (not just a pretend tax write off profit like the MIS plantations).

    And in order to turn an honest buck, it’s got to get a market. A return to television pictures of screaming protestors being dragged away will poison markets on the mainland and across the developed world: not just for pulp, but for quality renewable timber products, and tourism, and agriculture, and education.

    The Liberals have promised to tear up the TFA. This won’t lead to wealth, but to war. Politically good for them for a while – the Franklin dispute worked a dream for Robin Gray – but bad news for Tassie as a whole. C’est la vie. Change will come eventually: wait and see.

  37. Psephos

    James, typical IPA-Liberal-Murdoch anti-teacher tripe. Overall educational standards are declining because for half a century now governments have starved state schools of funds and underpaid teachers so they can afford to bribe affluent voters and Catholics by preferentially funding their schools. That was the gross imbalance that Gonski identified and that Gillard was trying to fix, although sadly political reality required that she go on funding non-government schools as well. That will now be put into reverse by Abbott, ensuring another decade of decline. The underfunding of state schools hits poorer areas the hardest, and since Tasmania is the poorest state it has hit there harder than elsewhere.

  38. james dayton

    @ Meher

    “Dam the Franklin, James? Even the Libs don’t want to do that any more. It would put the final
    nail in the coffin of the West Coast. ”

    I clearly indicated I was typing on the fly, yes?

    Cheap energy Meher, thats what we need, cheap energy.

    I am not concerned all that much with forestry, however, neither do I ignore it.

    Protesters? If they peacefully protest in accordance with the law, thats fine, thats their right. If they dont, arrest them and fine them. Productive people dont get told what they can and cannot do by those breaking the law.

    Yes we are broke, its time to do something about it, it may be too late, thats to find out. The majority do not get held back by the screaming minority however, fine them, fine them thousands of dollars.

    If the are peaceful, then there is no problem.

  39. james dayton

    @ PS

    I can think for myself thanks, I really dont need to be told what to think by the IPA or Murdoch press.

    To be clear, I have my own views on the decline of our education results, and I start at the coalface, your comments are welcome, lets leave the dogma out of it however.

  40. Psephos

    You think you think for yourself, but in fact all your cliches come directly from the tit of the Murdoch press whereat you suckle.

  41. james dayton

    No PS, I live in a state that is dying. People who live in despair, these people have children and they so want them to have a future.

    Is this with regard to my comment on teachers? I trust you have read all of these posts so that you are aware of the context of my comments.

    I dont have much time for teachers or academics, I hardly think the world cares about my personal views though.

  42. Psephos

    If you want Tasmanian children to have a future, you should vote for whoever promises to put more money (a lot more money) into state schools including better pay for teachers. The key to the widening gap between the affluent 20% and everybody else in Australia is the widening gap in educational opportunities, which flows mainly from the massive diversion of public money to private schools. It’s politically impossible to defund private schools, but it’s quite possible to spend a lot more on state schools. If you want higher quality teachers, you have to pay what the market demands for skills of that kind, not what was adequate in 1950 when we had a totally different workforce.

  43. Paul Austin

    Psephos: Patrick Bateman is no better. Spouting the “we can politically all go back to the seventies!” bullcrap of those old Marxists Adam Bandt and Lee Brown (Rhiannon).

  44. deblonay

    300 US mercenaries from notorious “Blackwater” fly into Kiev…may be used to supress the Russian-speaking regions in the East of the Ukraine…now in revolt


  45. lefty e

    My Mum, a former teacher, lives in Tas.

    She informs me that thre’s 50% illiteracy rate among adults (no, really – its the friggin 3rd world) and school formals are generally still at the end of year 10, when most people leave school.

    Seriously folks, the wood you cant see for the trees is some major underinvestmet in education.

    Once people’s ambitions rise above the economically near-dead forest industry, and include the ability to read, the rest will take care of itself.

  46. MagicPudding

    Lefty, I think the illiteracy problem is overstated.
    I worked as a collector in the last census, in a rural area. I did not encounter anyone who was unable to read the census material or understand notes I left them. There might have been a few who were assisted by friends or relatives, but certainly nothing like half. I think the bar for “functional literacy” has been set a bit high. I note that by the same measure, 44.4% of Australians are functionally illiterate. Tasmania is the worst state, but not by a huge margin – Tasmania 48.5%, SA 47.2% (Figures from ABS 4228.0 – Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012).

    The definition of “functional literacy” used by the ABS is more than the simple ability to read. The point about kids leaving school too early is true, but doesn’t affect basic literacy, which they should have before Year 10.

  47. Paul Austin

    Psephos: Karl Marx’s beard looks like he just glued his own pubes to his face…

  48. Socrates

    Interested in the comments on the collective failure of Labor, Green and Liberal economic policy in Tassie. Certainly a lot of blame to go around.

    A few comments:
    1 The Tassie government and bureaucracy both need a cleanout. Clearly nobody is giving good advice to the idiots in charge. A bit like SA education and health 🙁
    2 You can forget Tassie being economic for any large scale manufacturing production or smelting or pulp mill. Pie in the sky. Too remote, too expensive, too few economies of scale.
    3 There is nothing wrong with sustainable forestry or fishing, but that means quotas and transparent tracking of the resource stock to make sure yields are realistic. Turning high value native hardwoods into wood pulp is nuts. Also, permits to log public forests should be auctioned, to reduce corruption and not give a financial free kick to timber millionaires.
    4 Education is critical, but it is not just a pork barrel to the teachers union. Teacher quality needs to be improved, not just teacher pay. Also consider motivation for education. So should competition for local public sector jobs based on merit. Why do a lot of bright people leave Tassie? Obviously they see little prospect of a good career there, with the incumbents firmly entrenched in the cosier positions. They need to be less cosy.
    5 Tassie should focus on education exports, high value add products like premium food and niche wine, and perhaps scientific research, though that would take a huge effort from where Tassie is now. Tourism will flow organically from these things being done well, but it does not provide many high wage jobs and there is no point promoting tourism unless there is something to see. Also tourism to Tassie is shockingly expensive, and it is not just the travel cost.

    Yes it is a basket case, I resent subsidising it, and it will stay a basket case unless it changes a lot.

  49. Coast

    I feel Tasmania of late is being used as a punching bag by mainland economic rationalists and desperate conservative politicians looking to cling on to a story to promote their own agendas.

    Any reading of economic indices of late shows Tasmania in a strong position and one of recovery. We also not too long ago came out of a decade long run of economic “prosperity” which included budget surpluses and a period of economic growth which bettered the national average with the lowest unemployment rate in the country plus the highest rates of investment and property price rises, amongst other economically advantageous categories. I mean, it wasn’t so long ago – the collective forgetfulness of all this is ridiculous.

    The widely talked about social indicator of adult illiteracy just released has been debunked as a sensationalist piece of garbage which in fact showed that the gap between Tasmania and other states on that measure wasn’t great at all. Yet commentators focused on Tasmania as the centerpiece of the story, because it topped the table (narrowly!).

    We are certainly not a basket case, this is just a silly story that is currently in vogue.

  50. Coast

    I notice William Bowe’s montage of ‘Tasmania state election’ contains no photo of the Greens leader, despite the Greens representing a quarter of the seats in parliament and being a recognised political party in parliament in terms of seat representation for 12 years now?

    If the election result determines the Greens as the second largest party will your 2018 montage reflect that by excluding the Labor leader?

    This election to me will go down in history as the one where media organisations have not too subtlety tried to whitewash the Greens from existence or importance, especially via mischievous reporting and crafty writing style.

  51. William Bowe

    The two photos I use in 2018 will, as always, be of the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.

  52. MagicPudding

    Socrates @51
    A few comments on your comments.
    1. I agree with Meher’s comments @ 20; I don’t think the quality of our politicians and bureaucrats is unusually bad. We have never had a government as viciously stupid as certain Queensland governments, or as openly corrupt as various NSW administrations. Our governments are simply faced with difficult problems, some of them, such as lack of economies of scale and the transport problems of being an island, unique to Tasmania. The present Premier, Lara Giddings, is a good example. She strikes me as both intelligent and dedicated. She speaks well and passionately, she flogged the worthy but dull Hodgman in debate, and her government has I think performed fairly well given the unhelpful economic circumstances. She is about to suffer a record defeat at the polls for reasons entirely beyond her control.

    2. and 3. Agreed.

    4. “Education is critical” I can certainly agree with, but I have not noticed that the teachers union here has contributed to any shortcoming. They have not been militant, and disputes they have had with government seem to have been more about education issues than their pay and conditions. My own kids went through the public education system here and I was impressed with the quality and dedication of the teachers I encountered. Why do a lot of bright people leave Tassie? A bright young person is aware that they come from a place that is small and culturally on the edge of things. They want to get out and see the world, and measure themselves against it. I think this would still be true even if Tasmania were as prosperous as Switzerland. It is also true that people who want to pursue a career to the top, and have the ability to do it, will find they have to leave the state at some point. This is not because of entrenched incumbents, it is because we have a national economy. For example, a person engaged in a banking career could rise to be the head of their Tasmanian branch, but that is not the top of their profession. To go higher, they will want a promotion to head a larger branch, or to a head office position. Really, the same applies to the State public service. An ambitious person who is pursuing a career in public administration will probably want to move on from Tasmania to a larger jurisdiction.

    5. Mostly agree. Tourism does not provide high wage jobs, but it has the advantage of providing jobs in regional areas. Tourism here can be very expensive, but it can also be very cheap (outside travel costs). It depends a lot what you want to do. Heavily promoted attractions are usually expensive. If you want to walk through the iconic Overland Track they sting you a bit these days, but there are plenty of walks just as good which still cost nothing.

  53. Socrates

    Coast, Magic Pudding

    I travelled to Tassie for work a few years ago (starting over ten years ago) and in the time from Bacon as premier to mid last decade I would agree good things were happening in the Tassie economy and policy. But I think things have gone downhill since then. The whole Gunns debacle casts Labor and the bureaucracy in a poor light. Gay wasn’t even jailed for blatant insider traading.

    You have to appreciate that back then Tassie was propped up by Federal tax dollars a lot, now even more so. Virtually no major project was built with state funds. The focus seems to be on building things to keep people busy, rather than things that might improve productivity in the long term.

    Regarding education, if I am wrong my apology, but on most indicators I understood it is lagging. It is not the only state going backwards in skill tests. Admittedly, this may be tied to misguided federal funding formulas.

  54. Tom the first and best


    While all criminal trials in Australia happen in criminal courts, insider trading is a Commonwealth offence that is prosecuted by Commonwealth authorities (the Commonwealth DPP/ASIC) and so it is not a wholly Tasmanian issue.

  55. Socrates


    Fair enough re Gay. But the way Labor obsessively pursued the pulp mill like it was some jobs savior, which it never was, throwing good process out the window, was aweful.

  56. Edi_Mahin

    It seems Kevin Bonham has not only been analyzing polls very well but he has analyzing chess positions very well, well enough to be the 2014 Tasmanian Chess Champion. Congratulations Kevin.

  57. Kevin Bonham


    It seems Kevin Bonham has not only been analyzing polls very well but he has analyzing chess positions very well, well enough to be the 2014 Tasmanian Chess Champion. Congratulations Kevin.

    Thankyou! I’m quite amazed to find a mention of that here.

    Braddon in election-sign terms is a sea of blue with a few notable enclaves of yellow. Not a lot of red and green in sight.

  58. Edi_Mahin

    I am not a fan of gambling hence I am an former chess player.

  59. FarQU

    Blaming teachers unions for the state of education is bollocks. The single biggest factor in a child’s educational outcome is their home situation. That’s not the fault of the AEU. Most teachers teach regardless of whatever nonsense is peddled by politicians, parents, bureaucrats or unions.

  60. Kevin Bonham

    William Bowe@54

    The two photos I use in 2018 will, as always, be of the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.

    We could even get plural leaders of the opposition after this election! (I personally think it’s unlikely).

  61. ifonly

    I wonder if the education imperative happens where there is greater income disparity. When I think of many country towns, NT and Tasmania, many communities don’t have the competitive drive that you would see in many communities in Sydney and Melbourne.

  62. Kevin Bonham

    Half-time score from Newspoll of 53% for Liberals removes the last plausible hope – that the other polls are too Liberal-friendly.


  63. Psephos

    There now seems to be a drift away from the Coalition in every state, at state and federal level, as a result (one must assume) of Abbott’s unpopularity, EXCEPT in Tasmania. I assume this is because Labor has been in for SO long and their record has been SO mediocre for so long that nothing will persuade the voters to give them another gallop.

    I blame Bartlett for this. He swore before the last election he would not go into coalition with the Greens, then after the election he immediately did just that. Now no-one believes anything Labor says. He should have stuck to his pledge and gone into opposition then, leaving Hodgman to form a minority government.