There is a lot happening in the island state.
Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon reshuffled his Cabinet yesterday in the wake
of the retirement of Treasurer David Crean for health reasons.

Deputy Premier Paul Lennon has kept Economic Development, lost forestry
to Bryan Green but won the Treasurer’s job; Judy Jackson – amazingly –
has kept the Attorney-General’s and gained Environment and Planning from
Green; Jim Cox keeps Infrastructure and gained Finance and Employment
from Crean; Green loses Primary Industry to new boy Steve Kons, loses
Environment and Planning and gains Forestry.

It’s quick and simple in that only one new minister has been bought in.
However, the choice of farm owner Steve Kons has surprised many.

Golden girls Lara Giddings or Kathryn Hay were not promoted – but Bacon
will need more ministers with the pending retirement at the next
election of Llewellyn and Jackson, so they may be on a promise.

Bacon has stripped primary industry from the north west’s Bryan Green so
was probably keen to keep the farmers happy with Green’s colleague Steve
Kons keeping the portfolio in rural Braddon.

Kons, however, could be a particularly unpopular choice amongst the
rural voters – particularly with his abrasive, urban businessman style.

He does, however, have some oblique rural experience. His supermarket
and department store in Burnie, which he handed back to Mum and Dad
after getting into Parliament, was called “Farmers”.

Jackson keeping the AG’s job is a surprise – she has recently been
caught sitting on a dynamite prison report for over a year – but even
more of a surprise is that she has been given extra work to do. Just how
PC will Environment and Planning now become?

New forestry minister Bryan Green has not been a stellar performer, so
giving him the sensitive Forestry portfolio has surprised many. Could be
that Bacon and Lennon are placing it under a subservient minister who
needs their help? Look out for a softer stance on forestry as the
election gets closer although the Greens condemned the appointment of
another pro-Forestry Minister yesterday.

The two pretty girls – former Miss Australia Kathryn Hay and Lara
Giddings – feel unloved. It’s the Premier’s lads who have got the
promotions.

However, in an almost backhanded afterthought, the Premier’s press
release says, “Lara Giddings remains as Parliamentary Secretary to the
Deputy Premier. Kathryn Hay is to continue her role as Parliamentary
Secretary to the Premier.

“Both Parliamentary Secretaries will be invited to sit in on Cabinet
meetings to prepare them for greater responsibility in the future.”

So they have new titles, too. Ladies in waiting.

POLLIE DONATIONS PAYING OFF IN TASSIE

Who says political donations don’t work. A quick comparison of the
Tasmanian Labor Party’s donations list throws up a number of matches
between donors and beneficiaries of the Crispy Labor Government’s dodgy
policies and secret deals.

Federal Hotels, for example, who last year secretly negotiated a 20-year
monopoly on pokies in pubs and clubs in the island state, handed $20 000
to the Labor lads.

Crispy’s obsession with woodchipping and burning old growth forest to
generate electricity has led him to plough tens of millions of taxpayer
dollars into making the Southwood site “investment ready”. This was
undertaken by the John Holland Group, and the only investor announced to
date is Neville Smith Timbers. They are both also substantial donors to
Tassie Labor.

Speaking of wood chipping, Gunns Ltd, which continues to profit while
trashing a state-owned resource, stumped up Labor’s largest donation of
$50,000.

The Australian Hotels Association gave $13,500. They were beneficiaries
of the delay in implementing full smoking bans in pubs, and the soft
phase in which is predicated on cigarette smoke being somehow expected
to stop once it gets within one metre of a bar, thus supposedly
protecting worker’s lungs.

And best of all, Giameos Constructions and Developers donated a measly
$5000 and managed to acquire from government one of Hobart’s prime
parcels of CBD real estate, No 1 Collins St, for an even more measly
$100 000.

What a pity that Tasmania has no donations disclosure requirements, and
that Tasmanians must continue to wait for the Federal disclosures to
find out who is purchasing influence in the island state.

Peter Fray

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