We don’t have that sort of thing in Tasmania. Labor in the Apple Isle is clearing the decks of unpleasant issues. Just last week the government caved in to striking health workers, and now the legalisation of brothels has come off the agenda. Legalising brothels has been one of the Left faction’s most dearly held social campaigns, but it has now been unceremoniously dumped. Attorney-General Judy Jackson, the Left’s leading light in cabinet, is known to be furious despite putting up a brave face for the press. The word from Hobart is that Premier Lennon wants to eliminate anything likely to cloud a campaign and insisted on the back down. It will be interesting to see now if Jackson, widely tipped to retire at the next election, will recontest to complete the Left’s unfinished business.

Praise the Lord and pass the ballot box. “Under voluntary voting, those groups who gain influence are the groups who can mobilise a large voting block to turn up and vote in a particular way. In the US this includes Trades Union, African-American and Hispanic community leaders and… the Religious Right,” the Poor Impulse Control blog writes. “The influence of the Religious Right in Australia has been recently constrained, not by Australia’s relaxed attitude to religion, but by the requirement of every citizen to attend a polling booth at State and National Elections.”

All or nothing at all. “The question of majority government will always be a key issue in Tasmanian elections because the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation makes the possibility of a hung parliament much more likely than in other states.” So, with a state election due in the next 12 months, why have the Tassie Liberals declared that they are not interested in minority government? Why, for them, is it apparently majority rule or nothing? Former staffer Peter Tucker looks at the issue at Online Opinion.