Posts Tagged ‘Tasmania’

Abbott abandons Tasmania?

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
Facebook lights up over suggestion Tasmanians should leave to find work

35 Seats is not the answer!

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Greens renew push to increase size of State Parliament to 35 seats

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INCREASING the number of seats in parliament is the most appropriate way to deliver a strong, majority government, says Greens MP Kim Booth.

Mr Booth renewed the party's call to restore the parliament to 35 seats as debate about the future of the Labor- Green arrangement continued to rage yesterday.

"Most people want to see a return to the 35-seat House just to increase the diversity of opinion and intellectual capacity in the House," he said.

"It's not necessarily the only way to get a majority government, but it's the only way to get a functioning parliament." Asked whether the Greens would again enter a formal partnership with Labor after the next election, if the opportunity arose, Mr Booth was adamant no such deal had been made.

"It's actually a misnomer," he said.

"There was no formalised partnership.

I've not agreed to anything with Labor, nor has Tim Morris and neither has Paul O'Halloran.

"The only agreement was for Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor to be ministers to enable their ministry." Asked who would replace two Greens ministers if speculation the Premier would strip them of their portfolios proved to be accurate, Mr Booth said: "That's a question only Lara Giddings can answer, but I'm not sure who she intends to bring in as ministers instead – Brenton Best or Graeme Sturges? I mean you've got to be joking." Greens leader Nick McKim said Tasmanians were "bored" by debate about party deals.

"We believe that Tasmania is a better place when people work together and that's what we remain committed to," he said.

Liberal leader Will Hodgman again ruled out working with Greens.

"It leads to compromised government, it leads to decisions that have been made about political self-interest – that's what's happening with Labor and the Greens now," he said.

Deputy Premier Bryan Green yesterday hosed down talk of a leadership challenge in the Labor Party.

Sourced from The Mercury

So if the Greens seriously believe that this is the answer then they need to look at the reason why the lower house numbers were reduced.

In 1998 it was reduced to five, resulting in the current 25 member parliament. The reduction has been criticised by minor parties, particularly the Greens, as an attempt to reduce their influence…  Source from Wikipedia

Tasmania simply can't afford to increase parliament because it will only benefit the politician not the people!

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Return to Van Dieman's Land?

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

ASYLUM seeker advocate Julian Burnside QC says Tasmania should be declared a haven for asylum seekers in a move that would save the nation billions of dollars and boost the state's economy.

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Mr Burnside outlined his proposal of a "Tasmanian solution" to Australia's offshore asylum seeker processing crisis during a public lecture in Hobart.

Social welfare groups such as the Tasmanian Council of Social Service say Mr Burnside's "bold and sweeping plan" has serious merit and should be considered by the incoming Abbott Government.

Premier Lara Giddings said she would not be supportive of a series of permanent prison-like detention centres being set up around the state.

"We have been welcoming of the Pontville detainees but we need to be cautious about going down a pathway too far," Ms Giddings said from Asia yesterday.

Mr Burnside said the Pontville experience had shown Tasmanians were open to having asylum seekers in the community.

He said Tasmania was a logical place for the proposal to be trialled with its island status and historical link to being a place of detention.

"But I am not talking about these people being banged up in detention centres but allowed to live and spend in the community," he said.

"These new detainees would spend in the community and provide a population boost to struggling rural towns."

Mr Burnside proposed the Tasmanian Government be offered a $1 billion sweetener to embrace the idea.

"If we did this, and even if every asylum seeker was on Centrelink benefits, Australia would still be saving $2 billion a year," Mr Burnside said.

"That is a huge amount of money and the solution would be a huge benefit to Tasmania."

Mr Burnside said he would float the idea with the new Federal Government.

"I cannot believe the Australian people are comfortable with the nation spending $4 billion a year to damage people when we could spend half that and help not only the individual asylum seekers but the state of Tasmania and rural communities crying out for a population boost," he said.

TasCOSS chief executive Tony Reidy said the incoming Prime Minister should look seriously at the proposal.

"Tasmania is ideally situated to take this on," Mr Reidy said yesterday.

"Asylum seekers are typically coming from desperate situations and coming here while their applications are being assessed would be like arriving in paradise.

"This is a humane way of dealing with Australia's asylum seeker problem and it would provide a significant boost to Tasmania, especially if regional and rural settlements were accompanied by the provision of social security benefits and significant resourcing to the Tasmania Government to quadruple its affordable housing efforts.

"We need instant action to keep Tasmania's builders, shopkeepers and other small businesses gainfully employed and this bold idea could be just the thing."

Sourced from The Mercury

This has to be one of the most crazy ideas that has been suggested in recent times as a band aid fix to a global problem. Tasmania's European settlement was established as a penal settlement to rid England's so called thieves, murderers etc, but that was ceased in 1853 now Julian Burnside wants to essentially return the state to an island detention centre. So does that make the current Australian citizens (Tasmania's current population) in "detention" making us a 2nd class to those who live in the other states/territories? Clearly should this plan even get off the ground I can see a lot of people who will be forced out of their homes because they won't want to be in a state of detention!

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Return to Van Dieman's Land?

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

ASYLUM seeker advocate Julian Burnside QC says Tasmania should be declared a haven for asylum seekers in a move that would save the nation billions of dollars and boost the state's economy.

image

Mr Burnside outlined his proposal of a "Tasmanian solution" to Australia's offshore asylum seeker processing crisis during a public lecture in Hobart.

Social welfare groups such as the Tasmanian Council of Social Service say Mr Burnside's "bold and sweeping plan" has serious merit and should be considered by the incoming Abbott Government.

Premier Lara Giddings said she would not be supportive of a series of permanent prison-like detention centres being set up around the state.

"We have been welcoming of the Pontville detainees but we need to be cautious about going down a pathway too far," Ms Giddings said from Asia yesterday.

Mr Burnside said the Pontville experience had shown Tasmanians were open to having asylum seekers in the community.

He said Tasmania was a logical place for the proposal to be trialled with its island status and historical link to being a place of detention.

"But I am not talking about these people being banged up in detention centres but allowed to live and spend in the community," he said.

"These new detainees would spend in the community and provide a population boost to struggling rural towns."

Mr Burnside proposed the Tasmanian Government be offered a $1 billion sweetener to embrace the idea.

"If we did this, and even if every asylum seeker was on Centrelink benefits, Australia would still be saving $2 billion a year," Mr Burnside said.

"That is a huge amount of money and the solution would be a huge benefit to Tasmania."

Mr Burnside said he would float the idea with the new Federal Government.

"I cannot believe the Australian people are comfortable with the nation spending $4 billion a year to damage people when we could spend half that and help not only the individual asylum seekers but the state of Tasmania and rural communities crying out for a population boost," he said.

TasCOSS chief executive Tony Reidy said the incoming Prime Minister should look seriously at the proposal.

"Tasmania is ideally situated to take this on," Mr Reidy said yesterday.

"Asylum seekers are typically coming from desperate situations and coming here while their applications are being assessed would be like arriving in paradise.

"This is a humane way of dealing with Australia's asylum seeker problem and it would provide a significant boost to Tasmania, especially if regional and rural settlements were accompanied by the provision of social security benefits and significant resourcing to the Tasmania Government to quadruple its affordable housing efforts.

"We need instant action to keep Tasmania's builders, shopkeepers and other small businesses gainfully employed and this bold idea could be just the thing."

Sourced from The Mercury

This has to be one of the most crazy ideas that has been suggested in recent times as a band aid fix to a global problem. Tasmania's European settlement was established as a penal settlement to rid England's so called thieves, murderers etc, but that was ceased in 1853 now Julian Burnside wants to essentially return the state to an island detention centre. So does that make the current Australian citizens (Tasmania's current population) in "detention" making us a 2nd class to those who live in the other states/territories? Clearly should this plan even get off the ground I can see a lot of people who will be forced out of their homes because they won't want to be in a state of detention!

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The Expected Result (No Surprises)

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

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FORMER Gunns Ltd boss John Gay has avoided a jail term and been fined $50,000 for insider trading.

Justice David Porter handed down the penalty today in the Supreme Court in Launceston, with Gay later describing the past four years as "among the hardest" of his life.

Gay, 70, of Clarence St, Launceston, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of insider trading.

He sold 3.4 million Gunns shares from December 2 to 10, 2009, while possessing information from an October management report that he ought to have known would affect the stock price.

Gunns shares dropped from the average price he achieved of 90 cents to 68.5 cents in February 2010.

Justice David Porter said Gay's offence was less serious than many cases of inside trading.

This was because Gay had made a decision to sell before he received the price-sensitive information and the decision to sell was health related.

The judge said Gay also spoke to the company secretary Wayne Chapman before the sale and was told there was a window of opportunity under the company's trading policy.

Justice Porter said Gay ought have known, rather than did know, the information was price sensitive.

In passing sentence, he told the court Gay was of good character and the former CEO's ill health was relevant.

As a result of his conviction, Gay is disqualified from managing corporations.

He did not comment after leaving the court but later issued a statement saying he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and focusing on his health now court proceedings had ended.

He said the past four years had been among the hardest of his life.

"I'm looking forward to enjoying time with my wife, children and grandchildren, working on my farm and focusing on my health," Mr Gay said in a statement.

"My family and I would like to sincerely thank so many people who have offered their support and friendship during this time.

"I hope all people respect my privacy as I work though treatment for my ongoing battle with cancer."

Sourced from The Mercury

The direct actions of John Gay have essentially cost a lot of people their livelihood as the timber company Gunns collapsed as a direct result of his actions. The law in this case has failed the former workers and contractors by allowing John to walk free with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, considering the outright personal profit made by selling his shares. It would be good to see a class action taken against John Gay by the former workers of Gunns for loss of lifestyle (or similar) but I can't see this happening. 

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Kindergarten Politicians

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

IF Tasmanian politics is theatre, albeit played on a very small stage, Budget Estimates is a week of matinee performances.

It's a space where the elected representatives can liken each other to Robert Mugabe, accuse one another of "constipating the economy", claim the Spirit of Tasmania ferries are "a superhighway for drugs", thank one another for "another completely unsatisfactory answer", and misconstrue Budget papers to say just about anything they want.

The annual hearings crack open the door on Government spending and fiscal performance, giving an insight perhaps not so much into where Tasmania is going as where it has just been.

The hearings can be marathon affairs lasting 10 hours as members traverse portfolios in exacting detail, before committee chairs mercifully declare: "The time for examination has expired."

Otto von Bismark once said something to the effect that the business of government was like the manufacture of sausages, it is better not to see them being made. Estimates is Bismark's adage writ large.

This year's hearings were a chance for the Liberal Opposition to forensically extract the effects of the massive cuts in the 2010-11 Budget through the system.

So Tasmanians learned that in the past nine months 250 nurses had disappeared from the state's health system one a day as the Opposition delighted in calculating and hospital waiting lists had grown about 5 per cent.

We heard of 150 fewer teachers (or 373 depending on how you count) and 118 teachers aides too, along with 50 police, although one of those will return to the streets thanks to cuts to the PCYC.

Perhaps the most extraordinary revelation of the hearings was the Government's plan to table legislation to enact the forest peace deal with big gaps for the details to be filled in later.

Absent from the Intergovernmental Forestry Agreement bills will be the size of the reserves or of timber quotas, but at least the deadline will be met. The move will give parties to the peace deal a couple more months to sort out a lasting agreement.

By fulfilling the letter of its deal with the Federal Government, the Giddings Government will ensure $100 million in development funding continues to flow.

Among other revelations were the likelihood that Social Inclusion Commissioner David Adams will not be replaced when his contract expires in October, although the Education Department will find some work to keep the premier's dumped $200,000-a-year former chief of staff Mark Sayer busy.

A new Basslink connector isn't likely anytime soon, thanks to the troubled Budget, nor is a 35-seat Lower House, but the people of the Huon Valley will be getting a visit from entrepreneur whisperer Ernesto Sirolli.

And the state's Aboriginal people will have to wait another year for proper protection of their ancient heritage, although the 14-year delay has probably imparted a degree of patience.

Estimates is a fine forum for the political trivia buff and provides good fodder for Twitter.

Where else can you find out that vandals and arsonists are costing Housing Tasmania $5 million a year, Tourism Tasmania is spending $2 million on a website, 2 per cent of the suspensions from government schools were for sexual incidents and exactly no dead birds stuffed with drugs were thrown over the perimeter fences of Risdon Prison last year?

Hayes Prison Farm is no more sold than it was a year ago, although there's a lovely patch of bush up the back that might be worth looking after.

Oh, and there were 2.8 fewer spin doctors in the Government Media Unit last year, $699,208 less spent on travel and one less ministerial car, while compensation claims by educators numbered 501 and cost $9.28 million.

At their best, Budget estimates hearings offer an unprecedented opportunity to see the inner workings of government.

Into each hearing each morning trudges a platoon of senior public servants, each clutching a lever arch folder filled with data on the minutia of every section of every department.

What wondrous secrets must lie within those bulging folders for the person who asks just the right question the interesting tidbits governments keep from those they govern.

Premier Lara Giddings had a phalanx of about 30 minders and helpers who filled Parliament's Long Room and while the vast majority were never required they were diverted from their daily duties nonetheless.

As a spectacle, Estimates hearings attracts a limited public following – though there are moments of humour and conflict.

Like when Premier Lara Giddings patiently explained that detailing how the Government works out its likely GST share isn't in the public interest or when yet another minister tried to turn a question on an inquisitor, starting a reply with "Here we go again … ".

There is little love lost between Education Minister Nick McKim or his counterpart Michael Ferguson, nor between Opposition Treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein and the Premier. Even normally softly spoken Attorney-General Brian Wightman and Liberal Matthew Groom managed some sparks.

Ms Giddings' feigned indignation to Opposition questioning is coming along well, and even rubbing off on Greens leader Nick McKim – though he could possibly try harder to suppress his broad smile when deflecting Mr Ferguson's inquiries with political jabs of his own.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne displayed a hitherto unknown skill for reading out figures at a breakneck pace that unfortunately defied any attempt by reporters to write them down.

But with a power-sharing parliament, some of the sting is taken out of proceedings and the Liberals are left to do all the heavy lifting the Greens once shared.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Tasmania's Power Crisis Never Ends

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

A HYDRO Tasmania subsidiary, Momentum, is offering electricity to its interstate customers which was carbon tax-free and not available to Tasmanians, Budget Estimates hearings were told yesterday.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the offer to Momentum customers was not available to Tasmanians, despite the state's hydro- and wind-generated power being almost entirely carbon-free.

He said the Government was insisting on making Tasmanians pay the carbon tax.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green Green said the $10 million profit generated by Momentum would be returned through higher dividends.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Tasmania's Power Crisis Never Ends

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

A HYDRO Tasmania subsidiary, Momentum, is offering electricity to its interstate customers which was carbon tax-free and not available to Tasmanians, Budget Estimates hearings were told yesterday.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the offer to Momentum customers was not available to Tasmanians, despite the state's hydro- and wind-generated power being almost entirely carbon-free.

He said the Government was insisting on making Tasmanians pay the carbon tax.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green Green said the $10 million profit generated by Momentum would be returned through higher dividends.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Trailer Cam! (Revenue Cam)

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

POLICE have a brand new, theft-proof weapon against speeding and so far it is working a treat.

The white trailer housing a speed camera worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is already attracting considerable notoriety after being unleashed on the southern public just a couple of weeks ago.

"We're trialling the trailer to see if it provides a viable alternative to police manning speed camera sites themselves, and so far it is working," Tasmania Police traffic boss Mark Beech-Jones said.

Anyone thinking about stealing or damaging the trailer spotted everywhere from the Brooker Highway to Huonville lately should think again.

"It's fitted with a range of anti-theft and anti-vandalism devices so I'd suggest people leave it alone," Insp Beech-Jones said.

Civilian speed camera operators have been sacked across the state as the police department battles to meet its multi-million dollar budget cuts.

"If the trailer is successful we will roll out more of them in the coming months," Insp Beech-Jones said.

And complaining over its use and the use of speed cameras in general should stop to consider speeding proved the state's prime problem on the roads this Easter.

"Overall, Tasmanian motorists deserve a pat on the back we've recorded a fatality-free Easter and while we've conducted 5000 more breathalyser tests than last Easter, we've caught five less drink-drivers," Insp Beech-Jones said.

"But unfortunately speed continues to be a major issue with 818 people detected driving over the posted limit."

Sourced from The Mercury

Well certainly a trailer is far cheaper than the latest model SUV! But the better thing is to simply not to speed! although I thought that Tasmania Police would have put a total block on the use of speed cameras as a way to say to the state government that cutting frontline services is not the best way to combat issues such as speed along with many other issues.

Healthcare condition critical

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

PATIENTS with gallstones or hernias faced never having their necessary operations unless they suffered serious complications that required emergency surgery, an inquiry into Tasmania's health cuts was told yesterday.

Leading Tasmanian health professionals have called on the Federal Government to take over the state's public hospitals, calling the current health system a "dog's breakfast" at a parliamentary inquiry into the impact of $100 million in health cuts.

A lack of funding had caused avoidable deaths and there would be more if nothing was done, the Legislative Council committee heard yesterday.

And Dr John Davis, the Australian Medical Association's state president, called for a total redesign of Tasmania's ailing public health system.

"The system is broken, and it has been broken for a very long time," Dr Davis said.

"It's broken at a state level, it's broken at a federal level. There is no integration; no one talks to each other."

He said the solution to fix the sinking health budget was to make the Federal Government responsible for funding all Tasmanian healthcare.

"Tasmanians deserve the same level of healthcare as any other Australian and we are not getting it at the moment," he said. "We have to sit down and redesign the [state health system] with one funder."

Elective surgeries were identified as one of the biggest problem areas, with waiting lists set to escalate and would result in the number of emergency surgeries increasing, costing the health system financially and having a flow- on effect across the whole Tasmanian community.

Meanwhile, general practitioner Graeme Alexander told the committee the $100 million in cuts announced last year was the worst thing that could happen to the already ailing health system.

"How anyone could have come up with the idea this was somehow fiscally responsible is mind boggling," he said, likening the situation to the sinking Titanic and saying the state needed to jump on the nearest lifeboat.

He added: "The lifeboat in this case is a Federal Government takeover. We need a federal takeover with considerable local input into how our hospitals are run."

Before the recent cuts, Tasmania had already won the "wooden spoon" in nearly every category of health care.

However, he warned that already disastrous figures would now only get worse.

The summer period is usually the quietest for the Royal Hobart Hospital but AMA acting secretary and Hobart endocrinologist Tim Greenaway said the hospital had been full over recent weeks.

That situation had caused grave concern in regard to what would happen with the flu season expected to hit Tasmania in a few months.

The lack of integrated healthcare was identified as a fundamental problem by several health practitioners who made submissions into the Legislative Council inquiry at Parliament House yesterday.

Original article source The Mercury

 

Ever since the last election the Government has had more cabinet restructures than I've ever had Sunday roasts and the total incompetence has become all to obvious. There's been dramatic cutbacks in crucial services while the politicians have lined their pockets with a 2% pay rise (more than enough to keep essential services going) I am truly ashamed to be Tasmanian. I also belive the Tasmanian Governor has a lot to answer for by simply telling the Labor party to form a minority government as the election was a stalemate with no clear winner (blame the Hare-Clark system) The current opposition has no clear plan to remedy the current situation but to simply criticise all the current incompetence.

The question was raised that the Federal Government should intervene, but it too has its share of problems and really doesn't have much time for the state of Tasmania (except in marginal seats that are in the north of the state!)

So really what does this mean for fellow Tasmanians? Simple, don't get sick or expect to have that elective surgery (that you've been waiting for) done anytime soon (I'm on the public waiting list and have been for 2 1/2 years now) as the status of Category 1 has about as much meaning as take a number from this machine, Oh, is now out of paper… (due to cut backs!) 😐