Invitation to Graham Richardson

On Monday Graham Richardson and Andrew Bolt appear as “the Big Guns” on Ben Fordham’s afternoon show on the Power Wireless. Last Monday I phoned up to talk to Graham and invite him to visit Tasmania to see how things are going, some decades on from the time he organized Green preferences for the ALP in return for adopting some Green policies in Tasmania. That turned out to the thin end of the wedge that ended up with the Gillard/Green alliance of recent memory.

I didn’t have a script in my hand because I wanted to generate a conversation and the idea was to build up the invitation in a dialogue that would look like two people talking to each other in a friendly and conversational manner, rather than a hostile and aggressive ambush or “gotcha”. In the event nothing happened because apparently people are supposed to phone up to talk to the host of the show, not to deliver questions to the Big Guns.

So I have recast the conversation in the form of an open invitation which I am thinking about sending as a letter to the editor of the three Tasmanian dailies and the major mainland metrop papers. Comments and criticism of the content and the plan are invited.

Graham, I have been listening to you on the Ben Fordham’s Big Guns segment lately and I found that I am in the same boat with you when you said last week that the NSW/Qld drought was not really on your radar until very recently.

The country is almost another country for city people.

My home state Tasmania is almost another country as well.

I don’t spend much time there these days and it is easy to ignore the way things have gone down there since the 1980s when the Greens became a significant force as a result of your successful efforts to pick up Green preferences for the ALP.

I invite you to spend some time in Tasmania with your feet on the ground, face to face with some of the human casualties of the Green agenda. Like the people who used to be timber workers in small communities that hardly exist any more, and the unemployed in Devonport and Burnie who could be working in the paper pulp factory that was planned for Wesley Vale.

This is not the time to make the journey, in the runup to the State election, it needs to be done quietly without fanfare and a media circus.

This invitation is not extended in an aggressive spirit. We need to look to a future of renewal and reconciliation, leaving behind the confrontation and division of the past.

The first step in that process is the full realization of the consequences of the ALP Green alliance.

I gather from your comments on the Ben Fordham program that you regard the Royal Commission into the trade unions as good politics but bad policy.

With the wisdom of hindsight, and a good look at the state of Tasmania, I wonder whether you will think that the harvest of Green preferences resulted in good policy?

I trust that you will do this tour of inspection. When you take on board the consequences of your past efforts with full integrity then you will find that you have got the capacity to make a bigger and better impact on the future politics of Australia than you achieved in the days when you did whatever it took to get the numbers at the time.

Anyway, I expect you will make the journey, when it fits into your busy program.

And don’t miss the tulips on Table Cape!

Rafe Champion
Lower Neutral Bay

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32 Responses to Invitation to Graham Richardson

  1. Driftforge

    The only thing that concerns me with that is what new way he may find of accumulating political advantage nationally to Tasmania’s disadvantage locally.

    He, as you note, has form.

  2. A Lurker

    Good luck with that, personally I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  3. Badjack

    I notice there was no offer of a ‘brown paperbag’ included in your invitation. Sadly I believe he will be unable to accept your invitation.

  4. gabrianga

    Perhaps a further visit to Ravenshoe, once timber country, now under the management of the U.N’s World Heritage mafia?

  5. candy

    Perhaps if you offer a “bunch of hookers” it might be helpful?

  6. Squirrel

    We might, at least, hope for a passing mea culpa sentence, or even just a phrase, in an opinion piece for The Australian after the Tasmanian election.

  7. .

    Some hypertension medication might have sealed the deal.

  8. Go Tiges

    He would see the devastation in Tasmanian communities as an inevitable consequence of pursuing higher goals, ie the election of Labor Governments imposing a socialist agenda on the whole country.

  9. Myrddin Seren

    candy !

    Zinger of the thread award – especially coming from you :-)

    Clearly you have read Richo well !

    And good luck with your letter Rafe. At least Richo’s contributions to Australian political life should continue to be well remembered.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle

    Mr Richardson has more skeletons in his past than Sandgate Cemetery, and Rafe wants to dig one up…

    Hmmm, don’t like your chances Mr Champion.

  11. gabrianga

    Perhaps Richo could show where the “one billion trees” are planted ?

  12. lem

    Perhaps Richo could show where the “one billion trees” are planted ?

    After all, it is said he knows “where the bodies are buried”.

  13. Baldrick

    You should also add to the list of failed Green agenda policies the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill, at Bell Bay, which was scuttled because of Green tape and which lead to the downfall of Gunns, Tasmania’s ex-biggest timber producer.

  14. I used to get into the bush as often as possible around the time of the Franklin-Gordon issue. It did not surprise me that the types of people getting around trails and rivers on weekends were against the dam scheme. I expected to be on my own in that social group.

    What amazed me were the ordinary conservative suburbanites who claimed to be “passionate” about stopping the development. When I asked why I never really got an answer. People at the time seemed to feel a need for “passion” and didn’t seem able to connect their free use of water and power with such ignoble things as dams and hydro schemes. Since Tasmania was a long way away it was a perfect poster child or whipping boy (depending on POV) for the rest of middle class Australia to feel a bit green and sexy at no cost to themselves. Still seems to be like that.

    I think we need new rules for political discourse in Oz: Don’t say the word “Tasmania” unless you follow it shortly with the words “make some money”. Don’t say “green jobs” when you mean “no jobs”. And if you are in NSW don’t say “National Park” or “wilderness” when you are referring to weedy, feral-infested, fire-prone regrowth scrub. (Just call it a Bob Carr and we’ll know what you mean.)

  15. gabrianga

    Perhaps ask Richardson how a mined out hill in Kakadu became a sacred site which, if disturbed, would unleash the spirit of Bula?.

  16. Driftforge

    Since Tasmania was a long way away it was a perfect poster child or whipping boy (depending on POV) for the rest of middle class Australia to feel a bit green and sexy at no cost to themselves. Still seems to be like that.

    We actually got away with the last federal election; first one in a while where neither of the major parties used Tasmania as a ‘poster child or whipping boy’.

  17. lem

    Or how the sacred site of the Sydney Harbour, if dredged, could release the spirit of……

  18. honesty

    Rafe, Richo and Jones had katter on last night who did a similar thing on behalf of his electorate. Richo said “I learnt a lot from this and I hope the listeners did too”. Therefore I would increase the focus on learning and also think of Tassie pollie going on to do what Katter did – talk about what the Greens have done. The big guns is not the forum but richo or Richo andcJones is. Good luck I hope this helps.

  19. john of dandenong

    Why do Tasmanians still keep voting for the alp/greens. Cut off a few mainland subsidies and they might change their minds.

  20. lem

    Why do Tasmanians still keep voting for the alp/greens

    Could it be the 40% illiteracy rates?

  21. duncanm

    what if we insure Tasmania for stacks of cash and it mysteriously goes up in a big fire?

  22. lem

    Good idea duncanm, know anybody with an insurance company we can use?

  23. Jessie

    john of dandenong at 1.14

    It would be interesting to source numbers of [now] Taswegians that moved there for cheap housing and lifestyle. The recently available internet and a few flying visits, they maintain control of various aspects of the far north Indigenous communities and their inhabitants degradation. Usually building/infrastructure, accounts, the art movement and where-else the indigenous$ are.
    Once

  24. Why do Tasmanians still keep voting for the alp/greens. Cut off a few mainland subsidies and they might change their minds.

    Looked at the polls lately?

    Stepping back, Labor actually had some exceptionally good, old school Labor leadership (Bacon, Lennon) for a solid period, and the Liberals were in a mess during that period (look up Bob Cheek).

  25. Tintarella di Luna

    What about setting Richo up with a “Love Boat” at Constitution Dock to go with the bunch of hookers

  26. Joe Goodacre

    Bob Tisdale has good form here – writing out open letters and blog posts to people who don’t care about his opinion.

    Don’t fall into the trap of evangelising – people are neither converted by door to door Mormons nor people of the Right telling them that what they believe is wrong.

  27. duncanm

    It would be interesting to source numbers of [now] Taswegians that moved there for cheap housing and lifestyle

    Tas. has the the lowest proportion of population of working age, and the highest proportion of people over 65 of all states.

  28. duncanm

    back to the topic.

    The most frustrating thing about Tas. is the potential being squandered by the green agenda.

    Forestry, agriculture, aquaculture — all are hindered by some abstract belief in savior by virgin-earth tourism.

  29. .

    Don’t forget mining and old fashioned fishing.

    They could be spectacularly wealthy.

  30. duncanm

    yes.. I knew I’d left quite a few out. Thanks dot.

  31. old bloke

    Duncanm said –

    what if we insure Tasmania for stacks of cash and it mysteriously goes up in a big fire?

    Was this a reference to Offset Alpine?

    The fire led to a massive insurance windfall, sending the share price of the company soaring.

    And two years ago, it was revealed that Mr Rivkin held a secret shareholding in the company via Swiss bank accounts, along with businessman Trevor Kennedy and the former Labor politician Graeme Richardson.

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