David Leyonhjelm: Tasmania – a province of Victoria

Published as an op ed in The Financial Review.

Having once lived there, I know Tasmania is a pleasant place to live. But so is Greece. And if Tasmania was an independent country, it would be in more trouble than Greece.

There was quite a lot of discussion about this in 2013. A good summary came in an article by Jonathan West, director of the Australian Innovation Research Centre and a resident of Tasmania, who described the state as follow: “Tasmania ranks at the bottom among Australian states on virtually every dimension of economic, social, and cultural performance: highest unemployment, lowest incomes, languishing investment, lowest home prices, least educated, lowest literacy, most chronic disease, poorest longevity, most likely to smoke, greatest obesity, highest teenage pregnancy, highest petty crime, worst domestic violence.”

Tasmania is also a mendicant state, highly reliant on the rest of the country. It generates about a third of its state budget, the rest being GST allocations and specific purpose payments from the commonwealth. GST and income tax originating within the state fall well short of what it receives, meaning the government effectively receives welfare from the rest of the country. When the NSW economy goes into recession, one of the consequences is less money for Tasmania.

This is on top of the higher proportions of welfare that Tasmanian individuals receive.

None of this is new. Tasmania has been a claimant state since the inception of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in 1933. Apart from brief spurts of growth due to mining, Tasmania’s income has rarely lived up to its aspirations since federation.

Every year, many of the state’s best and brightest move away. Between 1900 and 1935, Tasmania’s population grew at less than 0.7% per year, about the same as its current growth rate. It nonetheless has politicians in abundance. In addition to local government and an upper and lower house in the state parliament, it is constitutionally guaranteed five seats in the House of Representatives and twelve seats in the Senate. And while each federal electorate in NSW has about 95,000 voters, in Tasmania there are less than 70,000.

It also has a long history of anti-development policies. Indeed, rather than offering a low tax and less regulatory environment to attract investment and generate jobs, it has repeatedly done the opposite. Among many examples, utility charges since 1998 have increased on average 6.1% per annum, electricity 6.4% and property rates and charges 5.5% compared to the CPI in Hobart of 2.7%.

So what should be done about Tasmania? I have four suggestions.

First, the federal government should provide fewer transfers to state governments. There is no need for ‘special purpose payments’ that come with strings attached, as if Canberra knows how to run hospitals, schools and the like. With reduced commonwealth taxes, states should raise their own taxes to fund their spending, creating a far more effective discipline on it. If the federal government were to treat the states less like children, they might start behaving like grown-ups.

Second, to the extent that the federal government still transfers money to state governments, such as GST revenues, it should return the money to the state where the revenue was generated. This would immediately prompt states like Tasmania to introduce growth-promoting policies.

Third, subsidies for shipping to and from Tasmania should be abolished. If islands such as Hong Kong and Singapore can become wealthy without them, so can Tasmania. Bass Strait is not a cruel plot for which mainland Australians should compensate Tasmanians. The solution is cheaper shipping, such as by abolishing industrial relations laws introduced specifically for the shipping industry.

Finally, respect for the principles of equality before the law and one vote one value should be embedded in the constitution, giving Tasmania the same representation as other Australians. Such a reform would reflect the proud egalitarian spirit of Australians on both sides of the Strait.

Of course, if it ever chose to get really serious about its situation it could become an unincorporated territory as part of Victoria, like French Island. Eliminating all those state and local politicians along with thousands of bureaucrats would save a fortune.

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrats’ Senator-elect for NSW.

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178 Responses to David Leyonhjelm: Tasmania – a province of Victoria

  1. Cold-Hands

    That’s of course if the Victorians would have them. What can Tasmania bring to the table that would offset its ingrained culture of dependency and entitlement?

  2. I agree with all of Poor Old Rafe’s points if Tasmania is to remain a separate State and live/survive as a mature State in the Commonwealth of Australia. It’s time for Tassie to either grow up, or even better, become part of Victoria and get rid of its unnecessary, very expensive State overheads and the political imbalance it currently exerts on Australian politics.

  3. Ed

    *applause”
    Terrific article.

  4. Ed

    I agree with all of Poor Old Rafe’s points

    They’re not Rafe’s points, they’re Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm’s points.

  5. john of dandenong

    This is the state that sucks what it can from the mainland and then elects green/leftists to a national parliament to obstruct national progressive legislation. Yep, stop the free money flow.

  6. Jim Rose

    rafe, Victoria was first colonised from Tasmania. Giving it independence was a mistake.

  7. Ubique

    In the event that David Leyonhjelm’s most sensible remedies are not adopted, Tasmania should be declared a failed State and sold off to the highest bidder. I reckon the Israelis or Singaporeans could turn Tasmania into an economic powerhouse overnight.

  8. H B Bear

    How can I make jokes about Tasmania being Australia’s first failed State if it is part of Victoriastan?

    As was discussed this morning about the ACT, the place is barely the size of a jumped-up local council and about as dysfunctional. Tasmania’s main export is f***wit Senators, think the Arseless Chaps Man or Brian Harradine.

  9. egg_

    This is the state that sucks what it can from the mainland and then elects green/leftists to a national parliament to obstruct national progressive legislation. Yep, stop the free money flow.

    Same agenda with their ABC – starve it.

  10. Andrew of Randwick

    it is constitutionally guaranteed … twelve seats in the Senate

    – Senator Milne only has to get some 50,000 votes to get a quota.
    – A New South Welshmen has to get 500,000.
    Given, the days of her voting for her State and not a Party platform are long, long gone.
    Why she should continue to have such disproportionate power?

  11. Andrew of Randwick

    Source: Jonathan West, Griffith REVIEW Edition 39: TASMANIA – The Tipping Point? © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

    The result is that Tasmanians face little incentive or pressure to change. Unlike New Zealand, which has no rich big brother and must find ways to earn its own living, Tasmania enjoys a permanent and ongoing transfer from mainland cousins that reinforces failure.

  12. Baldrick

    Tasmania should succeed from the Australian Commonwealth and become New Zealand’s 3rd island.

  13. Ubique, my thoughts exactly. Sell it to the Israelis.
    You know you want to.

  14. I agree with Baldrick that Tasmania should succeed, and we could do that by seceding. However, as a federalist, I’d rather Tasmania stay in the federation for as long as we’re not ruled by an increasingly dictatorial and interfering federal government; unfortunately, until the other States determine to participate in the federation rather than allowing the federal government to continue its relentless stealing of powers, that won’t happen. Perhaps people have not noticed, but the political parties which have been governing us all these years are Tasmanian branches of national parties. The party in rule right now is the ALP not the TLP.
    Remember too that the federal government has long been closing industries and options for development whilst promising substantial compensations—whence the unequal subsidies and suchlike from the other States. To complain that Tasmania is a mendicant State is a tad like the common, modern practice of sending children to inferior universities whence they obtain worthless degrees, giving them unearned allowances, doing all the cooking and cleaning for them, and then complaining that they’re shiftless and unemployable.
    As for being ruled from Victoria, which would be even worse than being ruled from Canberra, I for one would take up arms* against such a silly move.

    * ADT.

  15. duncanm

    Here we go
    * $20M saved by getting rid of the ministry and assembly
    * $18M in services for above
    * $82M in various crap (department of premier and cabinet)
    * $12M making a fricken walking track – despite the fact all their other ones show no growth (ie: visitor #’s are static)
    * woops $10M hidden over ten years lost in a wind farm
    * legislative council + legislature general $12M

    it. goes. on.

    This, for just over 500 thousand people.

  16. H B Bear

    Ubique, my thoughts exactly. Sell it to the Israelis.

    You know the City of Port Phillip will let the Palestinians fire rockets across Bass Strait don’t you?

  17. johanna

    Don’t forget the 29 local councils for 500,000 people, each with its own chambers, bureaucracy and councillors.

    No wonder the place is broke.

  18. Population of the dependent State of Tasmania: 500,000+
    Population of the independent Republic of Iceland: 325,000+

  19. H B Bear

    Deadman, I’m not sure I’d be holding Iceland up as an example of economic anything. As bankers they made pretty good cod fishermen.

  20. rebel with cause

    No mention of the Franklin Dam Case I see? Didn’t just stop dead Tasmania’s capacity to use an abundant natural resource (water), but also gave Bob Brown and co. a national profile. Looks to me like the ‘medication’ works exactly as the Commonwealth intended.

  21. H B Bear, Iceland’s bankers weren’t any worse than those in many other countries, and it has remedied most of the factors which led to its financial collapse. Iceland’s inflation is around 3%, unemployment is about 5%, and the budget is almost a balanced one.

    Sometimes, when municipal councils have been poorly administered, councils are sacked and administrators are appointed. If I were appointed Administrator of Tasmania, it’d be back in the black in no time.

  22. Demosthenes

    Finally, respect for the principles of equality before the law and one vote one value should be embedded in the constitution, giving Tasmania the same representation as other Australians.

    It keeps coming up, and keeps getting defeated. The differences within states can be even bigger than between states, favouring certain rural areas, which is why the Nationals pushed so hard to stop any one-vote one-value laws in the past.

  23. john malpas

    Send all the asylum seekers there., A rich dose of diversity woulde liven them up no end.

  24. LABCR-TV

    Totally agree, David & Rafe. But Tassie is also the home of the (greenies) ecoloons, and your second paragraph points that out spectacularly. These factors are always the outcomes of the socialist state. The ecoloons have had far too much power for too long, constantly destroying any attempt to provide a decent business environment.

    Tassie should be able to support a couple of paper mills – one north, one south, as well as several added value timber mills. Could you image the value of a large forest of Australian Cedar trees in Tassie? Farmed fish also has great potential above existing levels. Light manufacturing could have potential too. But no, they oppose these ideas, or anything to do with business.

    A recent example of ecoloon stupidity is Milne’s proposal to build a rail line somewhere in Hobart, for $100m. She never bothered to propose a way of financing this project, merely expecting main land taxpayers to fund it. What a joke. We are all well aware that the ecoloons and leftists are incapable of balancing a budget, or running a business. That’s why you find so many ecoloons in the ABC, the public service, or on welfare. The leftist/ecoloons are very good at deception with terminology: welfare really means degradation, progressive means regression, politically correct really means diminution of truth, intellectual means absence of individual thought, and so on.

    Agreed, take away the welfare and force them to support themselves, they need a good dose of economic reality.

  25. Rabz

    Hang on – hasn’t Tasmania been busy shutting down or legislating out of existence pretty much every job creating economic activity conducted in that blighted isle?

    Farming – almost gone
    Wineries – struggling
    Wood products – gone
    Mining – gone
    Hydro – no more since the you know what
    Fishing – gone

    The place is a joke – and don’t expect them to be able to grow up, they’re like an illiterate, innumerate, alcohol and drug addicted welfare dependent serial single mother/father.

    Cut the free stuff off and they’ll probably all kill each other/starve to death.

    Although I am very unimpressed at how much that gillardesque harridan giddings has porked up of late – and totally unsurprisingly, on the public purse.

  26. rafiki

    Tasmania has 5 HRep seats and 12 Senators, and for the foreseeable future they will keep them. Rather than taking about reducing their political influence, thought might be given as to how conservative/libertarians might exploit it to beneficial ends – in particular about keeping Labor/Greens out of power – leading to labour reform, etc. This might be wishful thinking, but is Abbott’s talk about freeing up the forests designed to reduce the Labor/Greens support and thus to gain more of the 12 Senate seats? Does he have an eye to a double dissolution? Will this work?

  27. blogstrop

    Rafiki – you genius. Let’s branch stack TAS.

  28. rafiki

    I have now read the comments about ec-loons. Yes, they are there, but maybe the strategy is to reduce to the anti-conservative opposition to the loonies.

  29. Rabz

    Oh – and BTW, the more economically depressed the place becomes, the less likely it is that tourists will want to go there.

    Tourism would probably be that dump’s current biggest earner.

  30. Rafiki – you genius. Let’s branch stack TAS.

    Genius? The Greens for all their idiocy determined on that strategy—rather successfully (in their terms) so far—twenty years ago.

  31. blogstrop

    I’d be happy to live there. How many conservatives do we need to tip the balance – and I mean tip it big time?

  32. blogstrop

    Deadman – you may be right, or it might have been the atrophy/departure of those likely to vote the other way.

  33. Demosthenes

    Tourism would probably be that dump’s current biggest earner.

    http://www.tasmaniatopten.com/lists/economic_contributors.php

  34. LABCR-TV

    H B Bear, Deadman

    After the so-called GFC, Iceland was the ONLY country, as far as I know, that actually let it’s banks go under, as it should in a true capitalist economy. No bail outs or bail ins were adopted. Now, they are reaping the rewards of that policy and the economy, as you say, is progressing. Compare that to the debt of US and Europe.

  35. blogstrop, to game the system properly you’d need a few people to stack the ALP branches and The Greens as well. This, considering how few people here are party members these days, would require a few dozen people for each party in each electorate (but you’d all need quite a few union members because of the unions’ control over the ALP): with 300 or so committed people you could control all the major parties.

  36. Rabz

    Top 10 contributors to the Tasmanian economy:

    1. Processed metals

    Production of metals brings more than 1.3 billion Australian dollars into Tasmania every year. The largest processors of minerals are Nyrstar, the current owners of a zinc smelter on the Derwent River in Hobart, and aluminium producers on the Tamar River at Bell Bay in the north.

    2. Tourism

    Tourism brings around 1.3 billion Australian dollars into the Tasmanian economy every year. In recent times there has been an annual influx of more than 800,000 visitors. The winter months are a quiet period for tourism but in the summer there are nearly fifty cruise-ship arrivals in Hobart, daily arrivals on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry service into Devonport, and a huge boost provided by the availability of low-cost flight services.

    Well, the Greenfilth have been very remiss there. Although I notice the estimates of ‘contribution’ are about the same.

  37. Chris M

    Straight to the point and good suggestions!

    With reduced commonwealth taxes, states should raise their own taxes

    But in theory at least they are not permitted to do so right? or did you mean amend the constitution…. to allow for additional taxation?

  38. Joe Goodacre

    Don’t like the idea of giving up their governance and joining Victoria.

    The closer representation is to the people the better.

  39. struth

    Definitely getting my vote next time

  40. Rabz

    The closer representation is to the people the better.

    As Tasmania clearly demonstrates.

  41. rafiki

    I don’t claim to be a genius. I suggest that a possible strategy is to break down Labor support to the point that the Greens are pretty much left as the opposition. This might yield 7 or 8 of those Senate seats. Maybe this is what Abbott is up to. He is offering jobs through development of the forests. This might appeal – remember the bollocking Latham got from the timber workers.

  42. Mike of Marion

    Slightly OT, is the LDP going to mount a concerted effort in the WA By-Election in April?

    Mike

  43. Rabz

    29 local councils for 500,000 people, each with its own chambers, bureaucracy and councillors.

    Close representation – you bloody bewdy!

  44. dismissive

    Still better than the ACT.

  45. Rabz

    Farming – almost gone
    Wineries – struggling
    Wood products – gone
    Mining – gone
    Hydro – no more since the you know what
    Fishing – gone

    oops – also very remiss of me not to note that as a result of the pressures on the activities above, commercial transportation and manufacturing are also on the verge of extinction.

    The place is a veritable paradise on earth (I’ve been there twice in the last decade).

    If you weren’t a regressive and wanted to cite a rolled gold, locally located example of the evils of socialism, you simply couldn’t go past Tasmania.

    Well done, you lazy, pathetic, ignorant, provincial bumpkins.

  46. johanna

    dismissive
    #1215969, posted on March 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Still better than the ACT.

    Not by a country mile. While massively over-governed, we have 17 local MPs, no councils, 2 senators and 2 Federal MP for 300,000 people.

    Tasmania has 25 lower house MPs, 5 federal MPs, 12 Senators and 29 local councils for 500,000 people.

  47. dismissive

    Johanna

    I was actually thinking of industry and mendicant status. (And it will be 25 members soon!)

  48. Ellen of Tasmania

    Tasmanians voted for the Franklin River Dam, they voted for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill and they voted for continued mining in the Tarkine region.

  49. wreckage

    Completely abolish the council, etc. For an area and population that size, their parliament can handle it all.

  50. Boambee John

    “it is constitutionally guaranteed … twelve seats in the Senate”

    It’s a long time since I read the Constitution, but my recollection is that Tasmania is guaranteed six senators, the original number from each state at the time of Federation.

    Rearrange the nation to double the number of states, reduce the number of senators per state back to six, and we make at least a small amount of progress towards destroying this gerrymander.

    The revised states could be (from the northeast clockwise):

    Queensland north of about Rockhampton;
    The Brisbane conurbation (Sunshine Coast, Brisbane/Moreton Bay, Gold Coast, including Tweed Heads area);
    The remainder of Queensland;
    NSW north of Port Stephens;
    The Sydney conurbation (Port Stephens, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and south to Nowra);
    The rest of NSW, to about 100 kms north of the Murray;
    Victoria from Geelong through Melbourne and east to the sea;
    Rest of Victoria, including the Murray Valley area excised from NSW;
    Tasmania as is;
    South Australia as is;
    Southwest of Western Australia (up to just north of Geraldton;
    Rest of WA plus the Northern Territory.

    This gives 12 states, six senators each comes to the present 72 state senators (the two from the NT disappear, but they are not in the Constitution anyway), saving two.

  51. Lew Skannen

    I agree with all of that but one part needs to be clarified.
    Victoria was founded by Tasmanian graziers so actually we own Victoria.

  52. Ed

    Tasmanians voted for the Franklin River Dam, they voted for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill and they voted for continued mining in the Tarkine region.

    This is a very good point.
    Tasmanians have been poorly served by well-meaning mainlanders.

  53. entropy

    Boambee, you need to think of economic distribution between your states more carefully, or you could end up with a coalition of Tasmanias bludging off the rest.

  54. dismissive

    Boambee John

    Until the Parliament otherwise provides there shall be six senators for each Original State. The Parliament may make laws increasing or diminishing the number of senators for each State*, but so that equal representation of the several Original States shall be maintained and that no Original State shall have less than six senators.

    * 5. Section 7 – The number of senators for each State was increased to 12 by the Representation Act 1983, s. 3.

    From the constitution (as amended)

  55. johanna

    Good luck with getting the necessary referendum through to completely rearrange the Federation. Ain’t gonna happen.

    As for the number of Tasmanian Senators, under the Constitution they are entitled to the same number as every other State. Uniquely, though, they are entitled to at least 5 HoR MPs irrespective of the size of other electorates. The only way to counteract that would be to greatly increase the number of MPs (i.e.make electorates smaller) in the rest of Australia.

    dismissive, if you look at the table of GST redistribution I linked way above, the ACT is way below Tasmania, the NT, South Australia and Queensland in being subsidised by other jurisdictions. Our taxes are very high indeed.

    The vast majority of Federal employees are in other parts of the country, BTW, employed by agencies like Centrelink and, of course, Defence.

  56. Des Deskperson

    The ACT isn’t mendicant in quite the same was as Tasmania. Only about 39% of the ACT Government’s revenue comes from direct Commonwealth payments, about the same, IIRC, as the other Eastern States. Tassie, as David points out, gets over 60% of its revenue from the Commonwealth.

    Of course, the ACT economy itself is almost entirely dependent on taxpayers’ money, with sales of crown land being the only other major source of revenue.

  57. Rabz

    Joh is belting various ignoramuses – great stuff!

  58. dismissive

    Actually all states have a minimum;

    But notwithstanding anything in this section, five members at least shall be chosen in each Original State.

    From Part III – The House of Representatives Section; 24 of the Australian Constitution.

  59. Rob MW

    Tasmania is the perfect place for the ultimate Detention Centre and a one stop shop for boat claimants.

    It has the perfect escape proof fence, a populace very good and adept at giving and receiving…..other people’s money, it has no poker machines for detainees to waste tax dollars, it has Andrew Willkie, Bob Brown and the concentrated indemnity of the very popular Christine Milne, it has plenty of unemployed playmates in a theme park that only Andrew, Bob and Chrissie could create, it doesn’t recognise property or other private goods…….except Apples, it doesn’t have any competing live-exporting/importing trade to bitch and complain about, but best of all, it has a political class made up of complete fiscal and personal nincompoops, so any and all responsibility will always be the assumed fault of someone else.

    But here’s the best part, it will save mainland Australian taxpayers billions in the closure of current offshore processing centres/taxpayer funded manufacturing plants and besides…….it is already nearly a 100% mainland subsidised welfare State in any event, although, the State could charge a licence and registration fee on all arriving boats that meet all sea safety standards which under Chrissie and Bob’s economic model should raise, above forward estimates, about $5.00 less about a billion in administration costs giving an excellent costs to benefit ratio based solely on some yet to be informed social triple bottom line.

  60. dismissive

    I agree with you Johanna on the GST but as Des has kindly pointed out the ACT is a mendicant existence. No industries and fundamentally completely bought and paid for by Federal spending.

  61. dismissive

    However, I have derailed a thread about Tasmania and for that I apologise.

  62. Tel

    Surely New Zealand could find a use for another island?

  63. Tel

    Tasmania is the perfect place for the ultimate Detention Centre and a one stop shop for boat claimants.

    We could call that detention center “Port Arthur”. It’s a catchy name and I doubt anyone would have used it already.

  64. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I went over to Tassie quite a bit in the last two years with Da Hairy Ape on his business trips and for weekends away, and grew quite fond of the place. It should immediately be handed over to Deadman to administer. And there should be an immigrant movement of Cats there to stack all existing political party branches and grow the LDP. We could have our own paradise in the end; a tax-free haven of productivity and technology. A precious jewel, indeed, set in a silver sea. To quote someone.

    The food, wine and views are excellent, the university has some promise (it is well-situated anyway), and very many locals are looking for a change. Ardent greenie retirees are disliked and could fade into insignificance with a hefty input of Catallaxians, who in general are not particularly young ‘uns either. If you’ve got young ‘uns yourself, the private schools are relatively cheap and have excellent facilities. House prices are amazingly low for such great views and interesting architecture. A cold winter is fine for indoor blogging, guys, and everyone could write that one book that they harbour within them. Hey, I’m talking myself into it. It’s warmer than London so weather is not really an issue. :)

    Awww. Da Hairy Irish Ape says No. We move to Ireland before we do dat, he says to my brilliant idea.

  65. nerblnob

    Victoria taking on Tasmania would be like when West Germany absorbed East. No, wait, it would be like the EU taking on Ukraine, except with the Southern Ocean behind it instead of Russia. Or NYC taking on Detroit …

  66. Phillip from Bowral

    Good point in earlier comments – it was the Hawke Government that stopped the Franklin Dam – but otherwise Tasmania has brought economic doom upon itself. I was born in Tasmania and grew up there but from my teenage years realized that I would have to move to the mainland to get a real job. Every time I go back I am staggered by the air of unreality there, even among my so-called right-wing friends.

  67. nerblnob

    Or for Lizzie, like RoI taking on NI. Let’s face it, despite all the rhetoric and bombs, they don’t really want that shower o shite dumped on their doorstep to sort out …

  68. nerblnob

    And why oh why, whenever the media dutifully repeats some Greenie press release about the highly-encouraging percentage of energy from “renewables” in NZ or Norway or wherever, does nobody ever point out that the vast majority of this is from hydro, which the Greens got their political start and original fanbase from opposing (in Tassie, hence relevance)?.

  69. johanna

    It’s not derailing, dismissive, because the issues are quite similar.

    Look, I’m not defending the bloated public service (especially under the last couple of governments) but the fact is, the seat of government has to be somewhere. Nevertheless, in contrast to the early days, less than half of employees in the ACT are Commonwealth employees, and as long as Tony Abbott holds his nerve, that proportion will continue to shrink. However, Canberra is a huge service centre for a growing region, for things like health, education and various professional services. True, we don’t manufacture widgets or steel, but we do have some pretty good IT companies, offices of major international defence companies and so on. And let’s face it, widgets or steel are hardly the future.

    The trouble with Tasmania is that billions of dollars have been thrown at it for decades and flushed straight down the S-bend. During the Telstra sale negotiations, Harradine extracted millions of extra dollars to be spent on Tasmania. As one Telstra executive said – if we build any more infrastructure on Tasmania – it’ll sink. Same went for the NBN – priority to Tasmania, with pathetic results.

    As someone who has had several meetings with Tasmanian bureaucrats, I can report that the cargo cult is alive and well. However badly they perform, someone will bail them out come the next Federal election.

  70. dismissive

    Sorry Johanna but I can’t agree. The entity that is the greater Canberra (Canberra, Yass, Queanbeyan, Jerrabomberra etc) is a massive boil on the arse of Australia.

    As someone who has started and run companies in Canberra that had no government clientele, you are still dependent on the beast. The unreality and lunacy that is the average Canberra dweller is an appalling belief in their self importance and necessity to the running of Australia is horrifying to all outside of the tunnel vision.

    There are 66,000 APS staff in the ACT (approx), 20,000 ACTPS staff, then add on all the non-PS staff, Defence APH GBEs etc. Call it 100,000 in total. Add some dependent family, say 0.75 and now your at half the population; all paid for by all Australians. Then look at all the people who are employed one step off. Then the services like your local mechanic who exists because of these employees.

    Yes we need a seat of government, yes we need a public service but in these days of telecommunication, there is no need for the monster that is the ACT today.

  71. Steve Q

    This is not a serious policy discussion, and I note in David’s suggestions not a single citation of evidence to support his ideas (other than ‘Singapore did x’). It’s all very well pitching to an echo-chamber where furious fapping nodding occurs in place of debate, but to convince the pramatists among us you’ll need evidence-based, rather than ideology-based policy.

    Get to work on those references, David.

  72. johanna

    Your bitterness does not improve your arguments, dismissive. About 60% of non-Defence public servants are employed outside the ACT. If you add in Defence, the percentage increases dramatically. And many of them are not active service members, but support staff of various kinds.

    Nobody here has claimed that the ACT is well administered by the bunch of fops and nincompoops that currently run it. That’s not the point.

    The point is that unlike Tasmania, the ACT is steadily moving towards an economy which does not rise and fall with public service expenditure. Unlike Tasmania, it started from a base of 100% public funding, and is moving in the other direction. Tasmania started out as self-supporting, and has been moving steadily in the opposite direction.

    An important reason for that is a quirk of history which makes their Senators worth nearly 15 times as much in terms of votes as Senators from NSW. So the bribes keep flowing.

  73. dismissive

    Johanna

    June 2012 APS – 167,257
    Employed in ACT 39.1%
    Total ~ 66,000

  74. dismissive

    I suppose I over focus on the constitution but that is what federation is supposed to be. I will admit that the feds and states between them have destroyed most of the good ideas and models developed for federation in the 1890s.

    I also agree that the 12 senators and 5 members is a travesty but it ain’t going to change so let it go. At least the ACT senators and members (and the ACT government) can be abolished by the government of the day.

  75. a quirk of history which makes [Tasmania’s] Senators worth nearly 15 times as much in terms of votes as Senators from NSW.

    That’s a federal system for you. Compare, say, Wyoming’s two senators with California’s two. Wyoming has one sixty-fifth of California’s population. The twenty-five least populous States of the USA have less than one-sixth of the country’s total population, yet they provide half the senators.

    So the bribes keep flowing.

    Remove the metastasising power of the federal government—and the concomitantly cancerous bureaucracy, which has far too much power with no responsibility—, and you take away its capacity for bribery.

  76. johanna

    Thanks for confirming my figures. Now what about the ADF? Are they not on the Commonwealth payroll? And the vast majority of the 60,000 odd active duty personnel, plus their cooks, cleaners, quartermasters, paymasters and all the rest are outside Canberra. I bet that the ratio of active personnel to support staff is more than 1:1.

    That means that the ADF alone employ more people outside Canberra than in it by a ratio of 2:1.

    Why do you think that closing a Defence operation anywhere is such a huge political issue? It seems that outrage about spending on Commonwealth employees is rather selective.

    Anyway, you are missing the point. The ACT economy is diversifying, while the shrinking Tasmanian economy largely consists of government employees and welfare recipients.

  77. dismissive

    To re-federalise, there needs to be a major reversal of powers. Such as;
    . Return income tax power to states
    . Return corporate tax power to states
    . GST funds the Feds (should be able to be cut in half)
    . Feds get their noses the hell out of health and education
    . etc

  78. dismissive

    I confirmed my figures. 1/2 of the ACT is directly dependent on the Feds and most of the rest is at the secondary level. The beast must be culled.

  79. Vasily

    Thank you Rafe.
    I understand perfectly now; Tasmania is to Australia as Ukraine is to Russia.
    Thank you for enlightening!

  80. johanna

    I will repeat it again, in case you didn’t get it the previous three times.

    The Parliament has to be somewhere. All you seem to be griping about is that it is not somewhere else.

  81. dismissive

    No Johanna. I understand that it needs to be somewhere and I don’t even mind it being where it is. I mind it being twice the size it should be driving a monstrous ACT government. I mind the ACT being a massive entity instead of the 100 sq miles constitutionally required. I mind all the revenue raising powers being moved to the feds thereby making all states mendicants and destroying the concept of a competitive federation.

    Back on topic, if Tasmania could offer 20% corporate tax and a flat rate income tax would it change their economy? Sure, and it would make it Tasmania’s problem not yours or mine. All the tools are in the wrong hands to let a state change direction rather than continue it’s spiral. Forget government close to the people, get government funding close to the people. Make the feds mendicant and drive them back to the responsibilities of the federal entity originally envisaged.

  82. Tasmania is to Australia as Ukraine is to Russia.

    That’s what you took from David Leyonhjelm piece?
    Tasmania is an integral component of the Commonwealth of Australia; it is not a separate country (though I support secession if we can’t have a proper federation); Tasmania has the same language, and the same declining standards of nearly everything, and there is complete freedom of movement between Tasmania and the other States (for instance, all my siblings and their children moved to mainland States long ago).
    A better analogy would be that Tasmania is to Australia as the Tomsk Oblast is to Russia—if Tomsk were prohibited from exploiting its natural resources.

  83. johanna

    Deadman, sad as I am to say it, I think that the East and West Germany analogy raised above is more apt.

  84. johanna

    Deadman, the trouble with your analogy is that it ignores the way that US Presidential candidates are selected. California has a lot more delegates to the Conventions than Wyoming has. And, given the increasingly monarchical power of the Presidency, that matters a lot.

    I wouldn’t mind so much about Tasmania’s favoured constitutional arrangements if they hadn’t led to a constant pattern of downfall. It’s like having a child who is a junkie and habitual criminal, and just bailing them out all the time. Good money goes after bad, and nothing ever gets better. South Australia is similar. Most of the young people with talent go elsewhere, but they just keep doubling down with the same failed policies.

    Funnily enough, I care about the Federation, and want to keep it strong. As long as other parts of Australia are doing well, we can keep bailing them out and paying their drug debts. But it doesn’t mean that we should resign ourselves to that forever.

  85. wreckage

    All the tools are in the wrong hands to let a state change direction rather than continue it’s spiral.

    That seems about right to me. But if I were Tasmania and I had a solid majority I could still undertake some serious work on making the joint more lively.

    For example, make the State approval system for pretty much anything a same-day turnaround; eliminate Council- level approval altogether (see below).

    Absorb the local councils. Promote them into the State apparatus first, then cull the new amalgam down.

    Completely remove stamp duty and state-level fuel taxes; in fact, remove all State-based charges for everything, vow to live on GST alone.

    Start a scheme where greenies can lease a section of forest under a forestry lien.

    Last, find something relatively harmless and enjoyable but illegal, and fully legalise it. Not just decriminalise; totally legitimise it from stem to stern.

  86. Rabz

    Tasmania is an integral component of the Commonwealth of Australia

    It’s certainly an integral component of Commonwealth tax transfers.

    FFS – if we ditched you smelly communist hippies tomorrow, no one would notice the difference except those fixated on the national accounts.

    And if you can’t cope on your own, there’s always those ship livers acruss the dutch.

  87. Steve Q

    Last, find something relatively harmless and enjoyable but illegal, and fully legalise it. Not just decriminalise; totally legitimise it from stem to stern.

    Oh, like weed?

    I’m surprised this doesn’t get brought up more often by you libertea types actually, the social freedom and consumption tax bonus aspects dovetail nicely. Can we expect to see it in the next IPA propaganda bulletin? Probably not. Freedom’s great and all, but big alcohol/pharma lobby dough is even nicer when you can get it.

  88. Gab

    Tasmania is an integral component of the Commonwealth of Australia

    The only thing wrong with Tassie is the Greens. Get rid of them and most of the Labor bunnies who are in fact Greens anyway and watch the state flourish.

  89. johanna

    Lame, Steve Q.

    What have we done to deserve such D-grade trolls?

  90. Steve Q

    The only thing wrong with Tassie is the Greens. Get rid of them and most of the Labor bunnies who are in fact Greens anyway and watch the state flourish.

    Yeah, people enjoy saying that, though they’re a lot quieter on exactly what the Libs would do to achieve that. Flogging the forestry horse doesn’t cut it either, it never was more than a tiny proportion of the economy.

    A tax incentive/NBN build/state weed legalisation/tourism development plan seems like a good direction to me.

  91. Rabz

    Last, find something relatively harmless and enjoyable but illegal, and fully legalise it. Not just decriminalise; totally legitimise it from stem to stern.

    Opium.

    So, that’s why you’re such an obstinate, cantankerous, utterly illogical and abusive deadshit.

    Figures.

  92. Steve Q

    Call me your saviour and circlejerk denier. You deserve more than furious echoic masturbatory agreement and angry NIMBYism, and I aim to intermittently please (’til I get bored).

  93. Rabz

    Flogging the forestry horse doesn’t cut it either, it never was more than a tiny proportion of the economy.

    Another greenfilth neanderthal displaying its ignorance.

    BTW, have you ever even attempted to figure out where your dole payments come from?

  94. wreckage

    Freedom’s great and all, but big alcohol/pharma lobby dough is even nicer when you can get it.

    Totally. I just pocketed a million billion dollars from pfizer. That’s why I have never argued for the decriminalization of drug possession and use, except for all the times I have done, publicly, in person, on facebook and more recently, here.

    Try harder, you’re not even making it to “annoying”. Here’s a hint: to get under your targets’ skin, you have to understand them. As it stands you’re shouting at imaginary people that only you can see.

  95. wreckage

    I am spending my pfizer cash on hookers and cocaine. It being illegal makes it better because I know no poor people are using it. Poor people using my drugs just makes them less fun.

  96. wreckage

    angry NIMBYism

    Oh, I get it. You think we’re the Greens! That explains a lot!

  97. wreckage

    A tax incentive/NBN build/state weed legalisation/tourism development plan seems like a good direction to me.

    We agree on three out of four. Are you SURE you’re not here to shout at the Greens? Because you really seem to be very disoriented.

  98. if you can’t cope on your own…

    We could, if we weren’t blocked from using our own resources.

    Oh, like weed?

    When I stood for Parliament one of my policies was decriminalisation of cannabis and promoting industrial hemp products. In 1992, I said: “I won’t just decriminalise marijuana, I’ll make it compulsory.” I had people coming up to me in pubs saying, “I like your policy on grass, man, but isn’t making it compulsory going a little too far?” I tried to explain: “That,” I’d say, “was what we literary types call a joke.”
    One reason for the disproportionate power of the unrepresentative Greens (who, remember, keep getting a minority of the vote) is the treasonous ABC, funded by the federal government, mind you, keeps propagandising for them. Bob Brown, by the way, is currently airing an electoral advertisement mischievously suggesting that, unless people vote for his party, the entire “Tarkine”—a region invented by The Greens—will become a vast open-cut mine.

  99. wreckage

    I’m surprised this doesn’t get brought up more often by you libertea types actually, the social freedom and consumption tax bonus aspects dovetail nicely.

    It gets brought up here daily. Fuck. You really do think this is the Greens website.

  100. Steve Q

    Totally. I just pocketed a million billion dollars from pfizer. That’s why I have never argued for the decriminalization of drug possession and use, except for all the times I have done, publicly, in person, on facebook and more recently, here.

    Lol. Is it that hard to follow context from the previous sentence. The IPA, dear chap, is the subject of my reference. We know no-one would try to wield influence through such a stout-headed fellow as yourself – that’d be tantamount to employing the lobbying services of a homeless schizophrenic town cryer.

  101. wreckage

    that’d be tantamount to employing the lobbying services of a homeless schizophrenic town cryer.

    I KEEP TELLING YOU WE ARE NOT THE GREENS

  102. Steve Q

    Wreckage by name and by his life’s deeds, it seems.

  103. wreckage

    What you think I was joking about my hot, hot Pfizer cash? I wasn’t. I am snorting cocaine out of the bellybutton of a prostitute right now.

  104. wreckage

    I actually pay another prostitute to type my replies for me since I get a bit jittery after a long night on the white pony.

  105. wreckage

    No sweetie I wasn’t calling you a white pony. No don’t type that.

  106. Rabz

    I am snorting cocaine out of the bellybutton of a prostitute right now.

    It works better if you snort it out of their rude bits, angry stupid one.

  107. wreckage

    Rabz, when did I ever shout at you? Do you have me confused with someone else? Can you check, please?

    Steve Q: an accident with a lawnmower prematurely ended my modelling career.

  108. wreckage

    So, that’s why you’re such an obstinate, cantankerous, utterly illogical and abusive deadshit.

    Again, what exactly are you talking about? I’m rarely illogical.

  109. Squirrel

    Shame that a big, sexy, mega-profitable Tasmania-based pharmaceutical industry hasn’t developed around this:

    http://www.launc.tased.edu.au/online/sciences/agsci/alkalo/popindus.htm

  110. JamesK

    F-ck off Leyonhjelm.

    Make it a province of NSW.

    Even The Victorian Soviet know that Victorians would swallow that particular poison.

  111. Steve Q

    Steve Q: an accident with a lawnmower prematurely ended my modelling career.

    Haha, fair enough mate. Maybe some libertarians aren’t simplistic angry idiots. Nah just kidding. you’re all huge steaming bags of defected dildos.

  112. wreckage

    Nah just kidding. you’re all huge steaming bags of defected dildos.

    Again with the confusion! http://www.greens.org.au/

  113. johanna

    Classy (not).

    I’ve seen toilet walls with more wit. And to think that you were trawling for women on another thread.

    If you are not related to SfB, you ought to be.

  114. wreckage

    He’s not angry enough to counter my utterly disarming wit, so he’s descended to profanity. SIGH So sad. Such a promising youth.

    I tried to tell him we weren’t the Greens, but he was very, very angry with Catallaxy over some Greens policies and he just kept shouting something about my Pfizer money.

  115. Steve Q

    Me, angry? Surely not. I think maybe we can all be fwiends?

    I love freedom and cashmoney too!

  116. wreckage

    Well you’re welcome to the freedom but as you astutely observed, I require vast quantities of cashmoney in order to keep up a steady stream of sexhookers and cocainedrugs.

    As such, I’d really not want to dilute my Pfizer earnings by letting you in on the scam. However, you were very sympathetic about my lawnmower accident, so I’ll think about it.

  117. johanna

    You’re too polite, wreckage.

    Piss off, troll!

  118. Steve Q

    Lol, appreciated wreckage, I’d sure love to get in on some of that viagra fundage… and maybe a little on the side to fuel my own romps – not that I need it of course!

    And Johanna – angry!

  119. johanna

    Mate, you haven’t seen me angry. Annoyed, perhaps, (as when a fly buzzes around one’s face) but not angry. If you ever do, it would be like either of the CLs on an island holiday in comparison. Or Fisky lolling in a spa bath. Or Lizzie in a really bad mood. Or Mick giving his his dying views on the Greens. Or Rabz giving us his first views on same. These would be milk-and-water in comparison.

  120. Anne

    Gab
    #1216276, posted on March 8, 2014 at 12:55 am

    The only thing wrong with Tassie is the Greens. Get rid of them and most of the Labor bunnies who are in fact Greens anyway and watch the state flourish.

    I’d like to see that on billboards all over Tasmania!!!

  121. GP

    Perhaps a remake of Escape from New York.
    Tasmania could play the role of New York.
    I’m not sure who would play Snake Plissken.

  122. Ed

    I’m surprised this doesn’t get brought up more often by you libertea types actually, the social freedom and consumption tax bonus aspects dovetail nicely. Can we expect to see it in the next IPA propaganda bulletin? Probably not.

    This took me 30 seconds to find on the IPA site:
    The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs.
    Rather than just repeating what you’ve heard about the IPA on twitter and the SMH, how about you go and educate yourself.

  123. Ed

    `I should have said “twitter and the ABC”… the ABC I think are more anti-IPA. Most of their viewers don’t know anything about it except that Gina Rinehart is a member.

  124. Ellen of Tasmania

    I’ve been questioned by ReachTEL every week for the last four weeks. They always ask whether I expect that Labor would form a coalition with the Greens, if needed. Labor are denying it as fast as their lying lips can lisp out the words. Libs are playing it for all they can. It’s obviously a big issue in voter’s minds.

    Tasmania is a microcosm of western civilisation; there is a growing divide between big and little government supporters. Both are heading to what C S Lewis describes in ‘That Hideous Strength’ as the ‘pointy ends’ in their theories. The left are feeling pretty confident. They have the courts and the media on their side and they aren’t afraid to lie, cheat or threaten to get their own way.

    We all share the same country and one or other side will win. The illusion of a ‘middle ground’ is really just the transition.

  125. Rabz

    Ellen, there is no way on this earth that labor won’t form a coalition with the greenfilth if it will keep the Liberals out of govnment.

    It happened after the last election, despite all the lies protesting the contrary.

  126. Ellen of Tasmania

    In regards to regional councils; it’s worth remembering that ICLEI (and thus the UN) lerve local councils.

  127. Ellen of Tasmania

    Ellen, there is no way on this earth that labor won’t form a coalition with the greenfilth if it will keep the Liberals out of govnment.

    Absolutely agree, Rabz, and so I answer accordingly to the ReachTEL machine. As the question is being asked every week, and Labor seem to be getting screechier in their denials, I’m guessing their success is small – please God.

    But we still have way too many green voters.

  128. hammy

    Tasmania should succeed from the Australian Commonwealth and become New Zealand’s 3rd island.

    Stewart Island is NZ’s third island. Australia is its fourth.

  129. Aynsley Kellow

    I have come late to this thread, but let me point add a couple of things.

    To look at the revenue and transfer payment situation is a little unfair without looking (as some have pointed out) at the restrictions on development imposed by Canberra – representing the views of citizens of other states who wish to preserve Tasmania. They have imposed various limits – they can pay the consequences.

    The shift out of forestry (an industry I criticised 30 years ago for levels of subsidy and declining success) and other resource industries has changed the composition of the population. One figure I saw a a decade ago was that the churn in the population over the previous decade was around 150,000 – around a third of the population. Largely resource industry workers replaced by tree-changers from the mainland whose votes (amplified by Hare-Clark) make the opening of an envelope a near impossibility. The forest industry needed reform, but the ‘Peace Deal’ has also locked up specialty timbers that should have formed part of a higher value-added, higher skilled industry.

    There are signs of hope, but even areas of comparative advantage are being eroded by rather silly environmental policies that do nothing to protect what we have here. Example: poppies. Bans on GMOs based on highly limited risks are causing trials to be conducted in Victoria. Sensible environmental policy is hard to find. Think the worst of the green agenda and write it into law. There seems to be a view that we can’t have industry and tourism, but Mona ( private success story) overlooks the Nyrstar and Incat without any problems. Yet a pulp mill at Bell Bay (aluminium smelter, power station, etc) using plantation wood would apparently kill tourism. That’s the quality of the debate.

    The Premier opened her campaign for re-election basically presenting herself as being better able to secure benefits from Canberra. We need more independence to confront our own issues – growing a private economy (more David Walshes), improving education – and fewer Jeff Cousins/Graeme Woods/Jan Camerons using their wealth to try to come in to keep the state as their theme park. Hare-Clark doesn’t help this

  130. JamesK

    That was actually a pretty smart quip from Da Hamsta

  131. mundi

    Why is everyone blabbing about the sentate? The upper house is the states’ house. It is meant to be equal for each state, that was part of the whole point of federation. It is the lower house 5 person minimum that is the real problem.

  132. TassieRooster

    I know everyone loves to bash Tasmania, but let’s bring a few facts into the “debate”. Less than 15% of us vote Green, yet this noisy minority manage to stop virtually every job/growth project down here.

    The simple fact is that the vast majority of Green supporters here are mainland-state retirees who have moved here & want things kept just as they are. These retirees have no kids or grandkids here looking for work – they have no skin in the game – and are nothing but NIMBY’s. The drugo hippie protester may be the “face” of the Anti-Everythings, but the Grey NIMBY is the real Green mainstay.

    Beside our “local” loony lefties we also have to contend with the Canberra ideologues who also want to dictate what we can & can’t do. Many in the mainland states give silent tacit support to anti-development restrictions placed upon Tassie, mostly on the off-chance they may want to holiday down here one day.

    I fail to see the justice in punishing all Tasmanians for the selfish stupidity of a few. We deserve the sympathy of our fellow Australians, not ill directed malice. The vast majority of people here are good decent folk who just want to get ahead like anyone else, if only we could have the opportunity.

    BTW; even Bob Brown came from NSW to inflict his Green Totalitarianism upon us.

  133. Rafe

    Re Jim at 6.56 last night, we had a teacher at Launceston Grammar who liked to remind us that Melbourne was an outer suburb of Launceston.

    And stop knocking the little state that I used to call home! In your face.

    This is going to be one of the most exciting writers’ festivals in Australia this year, uniquely set in one of Tasmania’s prime winegrowing areas.

  134. Rafe

    All your favourite people will be there!

    chairs include Louise Adler, Russell Eldridge, Gretel Killeen, Professor Peter Stanley, Irina Dunn, Richard Fidler and Wendy Harmer. And there will be a keynote from Julian Burnside QC.

  135. Some of us raised in Beaconsfield, however, haven’t been invited, Rafe.

  136. Aynsley Kellow

    Deadman,
    They are experts – defined by Mark Twain as someone from out of town. You clearly don’t qualify!

  137. johninoxley

    We may be” defected dildos”, but you’re getting off on the stimulation. Probably the only way as well.

  138. johanna

    Rafe – you poor sods, having that lot all together in your neighbourhood. The odour of sanctity will be asphyxiating.

  139. Every year, many of the state’s best and brightest move away.

    True. When I lived and worked there from 1995-2000, we shamelessly sold the bachelor degree I was teaching in to potential students as their ticket out of Tasmania. They accepted it in droves, and left in droves as well, once they graduated.

    But I don’t think Tasmania should secede. I think we should instead auction it to the highest bidder, but give the Kiwis a discount and the inside running.

    I like Kiwis, even though they do come here and steal our jobs, and seduce our womenfolk, and stink the place out with their spicy food, and talk to each other in their strange foreign language, like they can’t speak English or something. I especially like the fact that every second product I seem to buy these days is made there. They actually have a manufacturing industry, and I can see great potential for this in a newly Kiwi-fied Tasmania.

    Plus it would do the Tasmanian gene pool no end of good.

  140. Some of us raised in Beaconsfield, however, haven’t been invited, Rafe.

    Ahhh, but when the Kiwis take over, it will be come ‘Buccunsfld’.

    Like ‘Wulluntun’.

    Hobart will, appropriately, be renamed ‘Hobbit’, and Peter Jackson will be appointed Governor for life of the entire island, wherein to shoot endless Tolkein epics.

  141. johanna

    @ Philippa:

    Peter Jackson will be appointed Governor for life of the entire island, wherein to shoot endless Tolkein epics.

    That’s the most viable economic plan I’ve seen so far for Tasmania, Philippa.

  142. Thank you Johanna. I know that of which I speak.

  143. Aynsley Kellow

    Phillippa,
    Some of us invaded from Aoteoroa some time back, but we don’t all have the accent (which always seemed a North Island affectation to me).

    Many of us have left, and then come back. It’s a great place to live if you have a good job. Walk to work or drive in 5 mins. Drive to a national park in an hour. Good food and wine. Lots of Kultur (not all of it state subsidised sludge – see Mona). Cheaper housing, fill my diesel tank once a month. Problem is, unions refuse to accept that parity with mainland capital city pay rates means we are much better off. Problem is not all enjoy such a lifestyle.

  144. johanna

    Aynsley, I agree, but the disclaimer about having a decent job says it all.

    People would be flocking to Tassie (which is very beautiful) if only there were reasonable prospects for themselves and their children.

  145. LABCR-TV

    I know!
    Sell off Tassie to the highest bidder. With inflated asset prices due to QE at the moment, we may get enough cash to cancel the national Labor/Ecoloon inspired debt. It would also rid us of that entitled state and the ecoloons at the same time. Hello, China….?

  146. Anne

    hammy
    #1216544, posted on March 8, 2014 at 9:13 am
    Tasmania should succeed from the Australian Commonwealth and become New Zealand’s 3rd island.

    Stewart Island is NZ’s third island. Australia is its fourth.

    “succeed”???
    Maybe ‘secede’ is better.

  147. Aynsley Kellow

    LABCR-TV,
    You won’t get much for us if it includes all those old hippie women in the drawstring made-in-Bali trousers and the onion string bags, voting green and growing macrobiotic comfrey!

  148. .

    Steve Q
    #1216115, posted on March 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm
    This is not a serious policy discussion, and I note in David’s suggestions not a single citation of evidence to support his ideas (other than ‘Singapore did x’). It’s all very well pitching to an echo-chamber where furious fapping nodding occurs in place of debate, but to convince the pramatists among us you’ll need evidence-based, rather than ideology-based policy.

    Get to work on those references, David.

    Steve Q is a fucking deadshit.

  149. johanna

    Steve Q (why are so many of them called “Steve” – grossly unfair to the good ones) has departed after being repeatedly thumped with the baseball bat of reason by yours truly last night. While you were sleeping, I was keeping watch – not just here, but on other threads as well. :)

    Just a passing troll – I hope. But Steve, if you are reading, I have polished the bat just in case.

  150. Aynsley Kellow

    I have to agree that David Leyonhjelm’s piece is too rich on assertion and too light on reason and evidence.

    In particular, the examples of Singapore and Hong Kong are particularly inappropriate. Hobart does not provide trade access to China, and does not sit conveniently located for all the trade going through the Straits of Malacca. It once sat on the Grand Circle Route back from India, and was a whaling hub, but the end of the age of sail put paid to the first and now it is the home port for Sea Shepherd, which is doesn’t quite generate they same amount of wealth!

    So let’s at least have an informed discussion – even if it is humorous.

  151. Pirate Of Poverty Rock

    Some tough love is what is called for on both sides of the ledger. Tasmania needs to live within it’s means or get another job to get the income rolling to fund the lifestyle we love to enjoy. The bat crap crazy watermelons will soon disappear when they have over peoples money to spend.

    Similarly the whining utopians giving aid and comfort to the watermelons need to back the hell off and allow the productive population the freedom to make the best use of their resources rather than condemning them to attendants at a wilderness utopia so everyone else can feel good about themselves. Hydro, agricultural, forestry and mining – I enjoy a good coffee and a pastry as much as anyone, but an island covered in nice coffee shops is hardly the wealth generator that those of use who wish to live in the 21st century strive towards.

  152. dismissive

    The features, facilities and environment of Tasmania are similar to much of New Zealand. New Zealand, much to everyone’s surprise, is one of the most robust economies going at the moment. Perhaps a game would be to look at the differences in the ability of these two entities to change and manage their way forward.

    How much of the issue is the political system of Tasmania? I find it fascinating that in all of the places where multi-seat electorates predominate, the green/anti development groups gain sufficient power to cripple economies without ever receiving enough votes to have control.

    How much of the problem is the warped federalism that stops Tasmania competing with the mainland and enforces all states to beg at the federal trough?

  153. Boambee John

    The Senate was originally supposed to be a states’ house, but I doubt that anyone believes that anymore, is is another party political house.

    That said, (and noting that my previous thought bubble of more states didn’t even match a lead balloon for performance), perhaps a constitutional amendment to make the Senate numbers “as close as practicable to half of the number of members in thee House of Representatives in that state”, but elected on the current basis of a state-wide electorate. This would give Tasmania its five members of the Reps and (generously) three senators.

    This change would reduce the power of the mendicants (Tasmania and South Aus notably) to hold a government to ransom in the Senate, while retaining the single electorate model, which would still allow smaller parties to get a look in.

  154. wreckage

    I made some suggestions upthread that I reckon are bloody tops. DL should adopt them as LDP policy forthwith.

  155. dismissive

    wreckage (your items numbered for my convenience)

    1. For example, make the State approval system for pretty much anything a same-day turnaround; eliminate Council- level approval altogether (see below).

    2. Absorb the local councils. Promote them into the State apparatus first, then cull the new amalgam down.

    3. Completely remove stamp duty and state-level fuel taxes; in fact, remove all State-based charges for everything, vow to live on GST alone.

    4. Start a scheme where greenies can lease a section of forest under a forestry lien.

    5. Last, find something relatively harmless and enjoyable but illegal, and fully legalise it. Not just decriminalise; totally legitimise it from stem to stern.

    1. Fine but I suspect you have about a metre of Tas legislation and a metre and a half of federal legislation to repeal first.
    2. Always happy with the destruction of councils and councillors (NaDT)
    3. I prefer to reverse the taxation so the States own income and corporate and the feds get GST but I’m OK with this as an easier step. I think I would still like to see an unimproved Land Tax and mining royalty.
    4.Why? Make them cry.
    5. This is another step in the Tourism meme – don’t care.

  156. Many of us have left, and then come back. It’s a great place to live if you have a good job. Walk to work or drive in 5 mins. Drive to a national park in an hour. Good food and wine. Lots of Kultur

    You see, up till this point I thought you were talking about New Zullund. And then you had to go and mention MONA.

    I think I can live without watching a machine manufacture excrement. I can sit at home and watch ABC television do that for free.

  157. wreckage

    4. Is to make the people who want Tassie to be nothing but a national park pony up and fund same if they really actually want it.
    5. Intended to boost tourism, I freely admit.

  158. Rabz

    Wow – just as I suspected – this thread is now full of hippie deadshits, desperately trying to divide the non existent spoils.

    Go for it, greenfilth!

    :)

  159. sdfc

    Why should the states having their funding cut? The commonwealth is a parasite.

  160. Rabz

    Why shoulda the states having their funding cut? Teh commonwealth is a parasite, I tells ya!1!1!!

    Wow. They really have lost it.

  161. sdfc

    Is there a point you are trying to make?

  162. Rabz

    sdfc – it was a joke, Squire!

  163. sdfc

    Fair enough Rabz, my mistake. Defensive bastard apparently.

  164. Ed

    In particular, the examples of Singapore and Hong Kong are particularly inappropriate.

    The point – which seems to have gone over many heads – is that subsidies are unnecessary.
    These states illustrate.

  165. Aynsley Kellow

    Ed,
    It’s a lot easier to become an economic hub, sans subsidies, when you are located on a vital and vibrant trade route. Tasmania is not. The examples have next to nothing to offer Tasmania. Geography provides it with few advantages other than scenery and a good climate for growing pinot noir. It has some other advantages, but poor government has been eroding many of those — helped by a mendicant state attitude. The trick is to find somethings that work.

  166. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I think I can live without watching a machine manufacture excrement. I can sit at home and watch ABC television do that for free.

    Yes, that’s a part of MONA I avoid, Philippa, due to the smell alone (the chemistry is actually interesting). But there is some really varied and innovative stuff elsewhere in the place, and the whole concept is an excellent one. Art for the masses, form your own opinions, and get startled and enthused as you do. Kids love it too (there is one confronting ‘no kids go’ area). We’ve stayed at the Pavilion apartments there (with iconic paintings by Nolan, Whitely to gaze at), I’ve enjoyed my birthday degustation meal (and cake!) at the excellent restaurant, tried the wines from their vineyard and their own beer, and wandered freely through what is a great art space. Cruise ships go to Hobart especially to take people to MONA and it is not just on the national map, but the international one too.

    PLUS – all Cats should know there is not a cent of public money in it. All privately funded; and profitable.
    There should be more of this in Tassie. MONA is a trail blazer.

  167. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    all those old hippie women in the drawstring made-in-Bali trousers and the onion string bags, voting green and growing macrobiotic comfrey!

    Oh dear, Ainsley. And what a lot of them one comes across in Tassie.
    Personally, I blame these market things that have arisen everywhere, not just in Tassie.
    They pander to these truly dreadful fashion choices and imagined peasant lifestyles.

  168. boy on a bike

    It was at the Salamanca markets in Hobart that I first encountered the concept of a reusable sanitary pad. It was a bit of wool fleece that women were supposed to wash after use.

    Tasmania is clearly a hotbed of innovation. I’m sure there is a lively export markets for products such as this.

  169. Ellen of Tasmania

    tried the wines from their vineyard and their own beer,

    In really cute bottles. That’s gotta count.

    My son reckons a trip out to Mona is worth it just to see the building. A work of art in itself.

  170. Ellen of Tasmania

    Sixth survey call today. Are other Tassie’s so blessed?

  171. Aynsley Kellow

    boy on a bike:
    Yes – they have to be believed! Along with the menstrual cup and other wonderful innovations. These are more returns to the pre-industrial past, when things were simpler and therefore superior. Ah! Romanticism! There’s lot’s or romanticism here. Organic fruit (the spots and scars are proof somehow of superiority) and biodynamic and macrobiotic nonsense. A Steiner school of course. They now even have a rowing program – I presume (following Steiner principles) kids aren’t allowed to row until their wisdom teeth have come through.

    It’s entertainment, I guess. And there are joys – just been down to the Taste of the Huon and bought the season’s first bag of Cox’s Orange Pippin! Yum!

    Agree on Mona, Lizzie. Some are not good taste (David Walshe’s taste runs bit to the pudendal – but they all make one think). And no government committee could have done it. Bravo David Walshe!

  172. johanna

    OMG, Aynsley, the menstrual cup! TMI for many readers, but radical feminists promoted this abomination, which was where you collected menstrual liquids and solids in an inserted cup, then washed it out and re-inserted it. Apparently it was better for The Environment, plus it put you more in touch with your bodily fluids. Yuk!

    As well as being yuk, it is a health hazard. Given the choice between putting something soft and absorbent, or something hard and scratchy, into a place where breaks in the lining just invite infection – well, the answer is pretty clear.

    Meanwhile, back in Tasmania, one of the many poison pills that Labor left behind was the changes to coastal shipping arrangements which made Tasmania even more uncompetitive. Bowing (surprise, surprise) to the unions, in 2012 they decreed that any ship docking in Australia had to pay local rates to crew while they were in Australian waters. The result is that Tassie, which is heavily reliant on stuff brought in by sea, has yet another few kilos of lead put in the saddlebags, as international ships just dump everything in Melbourne and get the hell out of there. Freight then has to be re-handled and put on another ship to Tasmania, with crew being paid at astronomical rates. It is estimated that this adds about $1,000 to the cost of each container when it arrives in Hobart.

  173. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Aynsley, MONA is a thought-out integrated experience if you do the Pavilions too (see Reviews). I think it is better than Saffire on Freycinet (in a similar pricepoint) because it offers much more than a five-or-more-star bed, food and views: it offers an immersion into something quite different. It shows how much some clever thinking at the right time can have a massive economic impact (just like the Beatles did).

    Pavilions though did strike me as needing an upgrade in some elements (blinds, for instance, were crap).

  174. Robert Crew

    Yawn… and this is why we have a Federal system of government… If Sydney politicians had their way, no hospital or school would ever be built West of Penrith. These lame Sydneycrats are so insular they don’t even recognise that the rest of Australia has a right to exist, just as they suspect the rest of NSW does not really exist. Just because a candidate claims to be Libertarian, and gets an accidental Senate spot by stealing name recognition from an established Party, doesn’t mean they recognise State’s rights to self-determination. Eight years ago, WA was the “mendicant state” – always “mooching” off the GST revenue from the other states – and five years from now, they will be again.

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