Tensions in the Tasmanian Liberal Party are increasing, with opposition leader Rene Hidding declaring war on Tasmania’s top business and industry group, the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

It’s a pointless battle he can’t win – and now his deputy, Will Hodgman, has entered the debate, proudly declaring that he has a perfectly good relationship with the TCCI, and its CEO Damon Thomas.

The government is naturally rejoicing in the split. Government leader in the Legislative Council, Michael Aird, issued a media release on Wednesday stating the bleeding obvious: “It’s pretty obvious that Will Hodgman doesn’t think much of Rene Hidding’s leadership… He openly admitted in The Mercury today that he had spoken to TCCI chief executive Damon Thomas, seeking to distance himself from Mr Hidding’s letter attacking the state’s peak business body.”

To keep the fun going, Aird added: “Michael Hodgman is already pushing the credentials of his son as leader and he’s made it pretty clear that’s the only reason he’s running at the next election.

“The question for Rene Hidding now is this: what can he do to save his job and restore some respect from the business community for the state Opposition?”

Hidding has never had much credibility with the business community for a variety of reasons, and now his comments have agitated both wannabes, Hodgman and Peter Gutwein.

Perhaps he wants to just sit back and let them bash each other up.

Peter Fray

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