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John Hawkins

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Greg Hall

Elusive:Difficult to find or catch – the definition of the word according to the Collins English Dictionary.

I must state at the outset that I am using the term objectively as an adjective of the verb to elude – the verb that means to avoid, to shirk, to frustrate and even flee.

For that is what Mr Hall has done. When faced with my request, as the alternative candidate in the Legislative Council seat of Western Tiers, to debate publicly the role of an elected MLC in the Tasmanian parliament, he simply fled.

“I need to think about that; I’ll come back to you,” was his initial response to the request by telephone from my assistant.

The deafening silence for almost a week, called for a follow-up call.

The call went through to Parliament House in Hobart, where a woman gave us Mr Hall’s mobile phone number. But that telephone rang and rang into oblivion. Why would a politician not even have voicemail on his mobile phone during an election?

Change of tack. We tried to visit Mr Hall’s Deloraine office, paid for by the taxpayer; a sign on the door said the office was not attended, “temporarily”. We slipped a letter under the locked door, putting our debate request in writing.

More calls to the mobile with no luck - but one of them had a surprising outcome. On this occasion Mr Hall answered the call and hearing my election assistant introduce herself, promptly hung up.

She instantly telephoned him back, but unanswered, Greg Hall’s mobile phone ranginto oblivion, as before.

Backtrack. We called in on Mr Hall’s office another day at mid-morning, to find a different notice on the door; still to the effect that the office was closed. Calling the office phone, we heard from the lady in Hobart that Greg and his assistant were working together at Mr Hall’s Dunorlan home.

So we rang the Dunorlan home a couple of times, but no answer.

Four days before the planned public forum came Mr Hall’s reply, in writing: The ABC has arranged an election debate forum for the candidates for Western Tiers, to be conducted at 0930 hours on Thursday 3rd May at the Agfest site in Carrick. I look forward to debating Mr Hawkins in that forum.

Ducking, dodging?  will Mr Hall attend the public forum I am holding tonight at the Deloraine Community Complex proposed more than a fortnight ago?

I still await a reply to my invitation.

I shall attend Agfest.

But when my election assistant called into Mr Hall’s office to ask again whether Mr Hall would attend my forum finally finding his Government-paid-for Secretary in residence – Mr Hall’s secretary had no time for such trifles.

“I am busy organising Agfest,” she stated.

Is it the job of a MLC’s Government-paid-for PA or Secretary to organise Agfest during an election; so the office is shut. If so what is the Quid Pro Quo?

Meanwhile, Mr Hall is still nowhere to be seen or heard.

Elusive: Difficult to find or catch.

Responsibility for election comment is taken by S. Webb, 59A West Parade, Deloraine

First published: 2012-05-01 02:25 PM

• Leon Compton, ABC Radio, Hawkins v. Hall: Updated link, HERE