It’s so hard to get good help these days – and even more impossible for the Tasmanian Liberal Party to get anything right.
Yes, the Tasmanian Liberal Party have had a gift with what they’ve idiotically called
“Butlergate” – but have they made the most of it? Word is local
Libs are disappointed with the hapless Liberal Leader Rene Hidding’s
handling of the whole affair, saying he has again completely missed the
mark and failed to capitalise on a rare opportunity to hurt the Lennon

The Hodgman boys are apparently fuming that they, as lawyers, have not
been consulted at all by Hidding on the legal intricacies of the Butler
affair. Hodgman senior is an eminently qualified QC and
constitutional expert, and Junior is well regarded by the local wigs as
having a sharp legal mind, but both seemed to have been shunned by the
autocratic Liberal leader.

Would-be leader Peter Gutwein – biding his time before taking another
shot at Hidding – was recently heard to say to a group of faithful
Liberals that Hidding is scared of Lennon, and has sucked up to the
Labor Government on the Butler appointment from day one.

Don’t say that even in the wake of Butler disaster, in the wake of
porkies and pomposity all round, the Libs under Hidding are struggling
to make inroads?

Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Bryan Green really put the boot in with a media release on Friday.

“Rene Hidding’s performance in Parliament next week on the
resignation of the former Governor was shaping up as a vital test of
his leadership, Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Minister Bryan
Green said today,” it said.

” ‘Mr Hidding has talked a big game about how he is going to prosecute his arguments against the Premier,’ Mr Green said.

” ‘The State Government is confident that the Auditor-General will find
that the Premier has followed due process and acted appropriately at
all times.

” ‘Next week is not about putting the Premier on trial; it is about putting Mr Hidding’s leadership on trial.

” ‘By the end of Tuesday, Mr Hidding’s colleagues will be examining his
performance and asking themselves whether his achievements have lived
up to his rhetoric.

” ‘The answer will be an overwhelming ‘No’. Peter Gutwein must be licking his lips in anticipation.

” ‘Mr Hidding has set himself up to fail. He will be unable to deliver
the knock-out punch he keeps promising because his claims have no basis
in fact.’

” ‘Mr Green said he had heard rumblings from Mr Hidding’s colleagues in
the North that his shifting logic on the Governor issue had baffled
even those who still supported him.

” ‘First, Mr Hidding threatened a constitutional crisis by saying he
was set to withdraw Opposition support for Mr Butler,” he said.

” ‘Then, after the Premier took decisive action to protect Tasmania’s
reputation, Mr Hidding somehow became a defender of Mr Butler’s.

” ‘He refused to say what he would have done if placed in the same
position as the Premier was, apart from weakly suggesting he would have
a word with the Governor to ‘see how we can work through this’ (ABC 13
August 2004).

” ‘Clearly Mr Hidding would not have acted decisively and this issue would not have been resolved.

” ‘He would have been happy to let the controversy continue.

” ‘This was from the same person who threatened a constitutional crisis by withdrawing support for the Governor.

” ‘Mr Hidding has been all over the place. This has been the worst type of political opportunism.

” ‘Even this morning on radio Mr Hidding seemed to be casting
aspersions on Solicitor General Mr Bill Bale. He said… “but I do
point out that in this case he is the lawyer for the defence and also
the lawyer for the prosecution. He’s advised Mr McCreadie that there
are no problems, but of course he was the one who constructed the deal
and no doubt was providing key advice.” (ABC radio 20 August).

” ‘At the end of this whole debate, Mr Hidding will have achieved
nothing but to have tarnished the Office of Governor and weakened his
own position in the eyes of his frustrated colleagues,’ he said.”

A Cecil B DeMille spectacular of a spin stoush in little old Tassie! Bring on the Parliament.