Monday, April 03, 2006

A Tasmanian iPod

If Tasmanian voters were an iPod, Status Quo would top the most played list. Due to the intricacies of the Hare Clark system, definitive (but not finalised) results came in a week and a half after the 18 March poll, with the Lennon government returned and the split of seats remaining exactly the same (ALP 14 — Liberal 7 — Greens 4). There was no slap on the wrist for Premier Paul Lennon, the bloke nicknamed by some as “the Big Chipper” and by novelist Richard Flanagan (with startling accuracy and brevity) as “a burst sav”.

A television blog is not the ideal vehicle in which to dissect the election campaign (‘grubby’ according to the Greens, ‘robust’ if you listen to the ALP and the Libs), what the result might mean for Tasmania (same old same old with extra cash thrown at the rickety health and education systems?) or speculate on the lighthouse project Lennon will use to stamp his mark on the ALP’s third successive term (hint: it's bigger than a bread box, reputedly has no environmental impact, will sit on huge chunk of land overlooking the Tamar River and should make Gunns shareholders very happy). Instead Little Mr Square Eyes will focus on the speeches each party leader made from the floor of the tally room on election night that were broadcast by the ABC.

The word schoolyard (or possibly even barnyard) comes to mind.

Rene Hidding (Lib), Peg Putt (Greens) and Paul Lennon (ALP) were all heckled to varying degrees, presumably by rival party supporters. This was particularly the case during Peg Putt’s now famous dummy spit over the “smear and fear” campaign waged by the Exclusive Brethren (a religious sect) and Tasmanians for a Better Future (a shill group for Tasmanian big business interests).

It gets better – media reports suggest one of the ringleaders of the hecklers was Michael Field, an ex-Premier of Tasmania. Nor were the Greens exactly house-trained with some forming a scrambling clot behind whoever was speaking so as to brandish bright, triangular “Greens” signs for the benefit of the cameras.

It made for good (if somewhat appalling) television. Little Mr Square Eyes hasn’t seen anything like it since a wine tasting session in Stanthorpe, Queensland some years ago.

Tags: Tasmania, Tasmanian election