One of Crikey’s favourite politicians, the larger-than-life Mouth from the South, true-blue Liberal Michael Hodgman, has been pre-selected for another tilt at the Tasmanian parliament – as reported here.
Hodgman is one of those politicians who will die with his boots on. His career stretches back 30 years and includes 12 years in the federal parliament as Member for Denison – including a short stint as a minister – and time in both houses of the Tasmanian parliament. It’s a family affair. His father, Bill, had a similarly long career, his brother, Peter, was a state parliamentarian for 20 years, and now his son, Will, has joined him in Tasmania’s lower house.
Hodgman is a straight talker – a little loud at times – but he also knows the value of loyalty and team work. There are now only seven state Liberals in Tasmania and Hodgman is the most effective at gaining media attention and staying on message. Publicly he always supports his leader, Rene Hidding, but privately he is known to despair at Hidding’s suitability for the task (he unsuccessfully stood against Hidding for the leader’s job after the 2002 election disaster).
Hodgman will turn 70 during his term in office. Given his enthusiasm for Andrew Peacock, it will be ironic if he inspires another former Fraser minister.
And the Mouth from the South will need all his legendary nerve of steel and optimistic outlook at the election, tipped for next year, if the Libs are going to do any better. Despite some recent improvement in the polls, Hidding continues to be more hindrance than help – this latest outburst against the local business community an illustration in point.