Image for $35m: Ms Giddings this is a disgrace ... will you act? The Giddy carousel

In today’s Mercury Nick Clark ( Mercury HERE, TT HERE ) states that Gunns Ltd owes Forestry Tasmania “about 35 million dollars”.


Miss Giddings this is a public disgrace.


Wearing your Treasurer’s hat you must immediately call your bankrupt GBE to account.


The people of Tasmania have had their forests wood chipped and shipped by Australia’s most disreputable listed company without payment.


I ask when will you call in the Liquidators to Gunns on behalf of this rogue GBE and force it to call in its debts?


If Gunns cannot pay this debt its Directors will be in breach of their duties and risk prosecution.


Gunns with an unpaid debt of this size must be considered bankrupt.


This move will put Tasmania out of its misery force out the deadwood in FT and promote a new and prosperous vision for our badly done by forest industry.


This situation requires leadership will you act?


• Sue Neales, Mercury: Labor’s joyless carousel

That’s why it was not good enough for Giddings to wash her hands of Bartlett’s ludicrous plan to stay on in Parliament as a backbencher earning $140,000 a year.

“I do think that if someone believes it is time for them to go, then it is,” Giddings said this week when asked why she hadn’t forced the ex-premier to quit Parliament altogether.

“But [it’s not up to me] I respect his right to determine his own exit [date].”

Unfortunately any understanding by Bartlett that he has a duty to voters appears to have been lost along with his “passion and commitment”.

So too, apparently, does any sense that the $281,700 annual salary he was paid as premier from the public purse for 2½ years, and the $218,000 salary he has earned as a minister since 2006, comes with some strings of obligation attached to the Tasmanian taxpayer.

Instead the Tasmanian public was treated yet again to the sickeningly sweet sound of the political carousel turning.

This time it was Thorp and Attorney-General Bartlett getting off.

In December, it was the turn of former treasurer Michael Aird to dismount.

They only added to the extraordinary throng of Labor MPs who have either been ejected, thrown off or meekly departed the Tasmanian political merry-go-round since April 2008.

Remember deputy premier Steve Kons, who in April 2008 was caught red-handed lying to Parliament about his role in the “Shreddergate” affair?

And premier Paul Lennon, who had become so unpopular over his push-through pulp mill stance that his own Labor Party told him it was time to go from the top job?

Then there was the unfortunate Paula Wriedt, whose sacking after a suicide attempt still haunts Bartlett – as it should – we learnt this week.

Remember, too, planning minister Allison Ritchie, who was so attached to her family that she employed most of them in her office.

Terry Martin has ignominiously gone too, currently facing child sex charges (though he had switched from Labor benches to being an independent MLC before he left).

Add to that list the vanishing class of Labor’s dismal 2010 state election: ministers Jim Cox, David Llewellyn, Graeme Sturges and Lisa Singh, as well as backbenchers Heather Butler, Ross Butler and Daniel Hulme.

More significantly, not one of these 15 politicians elected to Parliament as Labor MPs and gone in the past three years has exactly left in a blaze of glory and glowing testimonials.

All have been ineffectual, scandal-plagued, bungle-prone or victims of their own misjudgment.

In a Parliament of just 40 MPs, it’s an extraordinary turnover and loss rate for any government to survive.

Liberal Opposition Leader Will Hodgman claimed this week that the look and make-up of the Labor Government’s ministerial ranks was now so different from when it faced the voters last year that it was doubtful it still had a mandate to govern.

“Losing two ministers in a week is not business as usual, it is a sign that the Green-Labor Government has lost its way and is incapable of effectively governing the state,” Hodgman said.

But calls for an early election from the Opposition – and 86 per cent of the public who responded to an online Mercury survey – however meritorious are wishful thinking.

Giddings is clearly not going to take her Labor-Greens Government, however fragile and unstable, to an election that Labor has no chance of winning in its own right.

The result would either be a Liberal government, or another hung parliament in which the Greens would be likely to have more MPs than now, allowing them to command more power and more ministerial sway than in any alliance with a minority Labor government. Neither outcome result would benefit Labor more – and indeed suit the party a great deal less – than the current situation.

There can also be no constitutional trigger for an early election while the balance-of-power Tasmanian Greens support the Giddings Government.

And the Greens do – unreservedly so, going by the meek comments of Greens leader Nick McKim to this week’s tumultuous events.

With a straight face, McKim denied there was anything amiss or unusual in losing two senior Labor ministers in three days, and played down any suggestions of instability and a political vacuum in government ranks.

“Things like [the loss of two Ministers] happen from time to time in politics,” he said.

It was impossible not to reflect how different this reply was from the howls of instability, chaos and government crisis emanating from the Greens when they were in opposition in 2008 after the loss of Kons and Lennon.

Read the full Sue Neales article HERE

First published: 2011-05-14 06:10 PM

• Forestry’s needs come first, Karl: HERE

Gunns Ltd Share Price HERE