Playing the Tasmanian game. Andrew Wilkie might not have got his way with poker machines but he is following in the grand tradition of Brian Harradine in winning for his state a few hundred million dollars here and another couple of hundred there. Just have a look at these two stories from this morning’s dailies:
- From The Sydney Morning Herald: The Gillard government is actively considering Andrew Wilkie’s request for a special $400 million rescue package for the Tasmanian health system, with Labor’s attitude towards the independent ”warming markedly” since the Thomson and Slipper scandals threatened its knife-edge majority.
- From The Australian: Labor has rejected the advice of its own infrastructure advisory body to scrap federal funding for a subsidy to cut shipping costs for Tasmanian industry … In a scathing assessment of the scheme that subsidised shipping between the mainland and Tasmania at a cost to the federal government more than $100 million a year, Infrastructure Australia’s Michael Deegan warned it “acts as a barrier to Tasmania understanding the virtues of economic self-sufficiency” … But Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday told the ABC in Tasmania — where Labor holds four of five federal seats — it would not withdraw funding from the so-called Tasmanian freight equalisation scheme.
How nice it is to hold the balance of power.