Dean Cocker is at it again, one day before Tasmania’s state election,
with full page newspaper ads warning voters about the perils of
minority government with the Greens hovering in the wings. Cocker
has authorised the ads, which state in huge letters: “Tasmania Just
Can’t Afford Another Minority Government with the Greens!” It goes on:
‘Make the right choice for Tasmania …. DON’T VOTE GREEN.”

Crikey can reveal that Cocker works for The JAC Group, from 13 Elphin
Rd, Launceston – the address he gives in the ads. The JAC Group is
owned by Joe and Alida Chromy. Mr Chromy is a well known businessman in
northern Tasmania, who has invested heavily in many enterprises,
including the wine industry.

Along with another prominent northern Tasmanian business figure, Errol
Stewart, he bought the old Devil Cat terminal at George Town on
picturesque York Bay from the Lennon Government. The secret sale
was revealed in a Government Business Scrutiny Committee hearing in
March last year, but under a confidentiality clause, how much
money changed hands for the prime site wasn’t disclosed.

Mr Stewart is a director of the Jackson Motor Company in Tasmania, and
has the dealership for Ford, Volkswagon and Suzuki. Like Chromy,
he has been involved in many enterprises, among them, the hugely
successful development of the Old Seaport complex on the Tamar River in
Launceston.

Crikey was unable to speak to Cocker this morning, who was out of the
office and hadn’t taken a mobile with him. So we have been unable to
ask him if he paid for the costly ads, or whether he was the front man
for others. If so, he is in good company with Hobart PR man Tony
Harrison, who has been the front for Michael Kent and other southern
business identities, in an ad campaign against minority government and
the Greens.

Peter Fray

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