The complete and utter failure of the Tasmanian political class to articulate and discuss policy options for the State has never been more apparent than with the State budget in May and the ensuing parliamentary Estimates hearings.
After two weeks of tribal conflict the combatants appeared together, in a mock tri-partisan display of support for a Tassie based AFL side. Their sheepish demeanour was tacit acknowledgement that the public is tiring of their inability to solve problems.
The Labor Party’s budget response was predictably tightly scripted. Every wearisome contribution focused on the State’s impending debt position. ‘At least we didn’t go into net debt’ was the gist of Labor’s position. But that’s a red herring, a complete furphy. Former Labor Treasurer Michael Aird when asked why the State’s unfunded superannuation liability, now $8 billion, wasn’t included in the net debt calculation, used to respond by saying “it’s a liability, not a debt”. The current Labor leadership is continuing with the same convenient hair-splitting approach.