Well the Tasmanian election is finally over and the Liberal Party won- or was it the Federal Group who won?
Having been strongly in favour of poker machine reform legislation, obviously I’m not real happy about the result, but neither am I entirely surprised.
After an election of big promises from both major parties (although a notable lack of policy to tackle homelessness and the shortage rental property available), The Hodgman Government was re-elected with an outright majority. Having ridden the wave of Tasmania’s economic boom, largely as a result of factors outside their control, the Liberals managed to run a disingenuous but effective campaign narrative which, compared the positive aspects of Tasmania’s current circumstances (and conveniently ignore congestion, homelessness and a long period of energy uncertainty) with the situation under their predecessor.
I said after the 2016 federal election that we get the government we deserve (which made the one we voted in a damning indictment on Australian voters) so let's hope the benevolent macroeconomic conditions remain and we don't have to find out how good this re-elected Hodgman Government is during tough times.
The fight against poker machines will continue though and hopefully the Tasmanian Upper House takes more notice of the government’s own inquiry recommendations. For anyone who wants to support this issue further I suggest you follow the Rein in the Pokies facebook page at this link.
I’m not sure I fully support the narrative that the Hodgman Government is now more beholden to Federal Group through some new Faustian pact. Unless I missed something, it seems as though that pact was made many years ago by both major parties. Under Rebecca White, Labor tried to reject it and I would argue this was a sound political strategy. Even though it mobilised Federal and the Support your Local campaigns against them, it provided a real difference between the parties and gave people a better reason to vote against the incumbent government during a time of growth. I suspect Labor would have lost many seats if they hadn’t made this decision.
After all the inflated claims of the job losses that poker machine reform would cost, it will be interesting to see what impact this deliberate and obvious interference has. While I’m not sure it was the difference in the election, I still don’t appreciate large external companies interfering in Tasmanian politics. It grinds me in much the same way as when the mining lobby campaigned against the Super Profits Tax and the Carbon Tax (in both cases supported once again by- you guessed it- Liberal Party politicians).
I’m not suggesting any kind of aggressive boycott, but Tasmanians have long memories. Many people like myself will be a lot more conscious of their choice of venue in the future and try to actively avoid venues belonging to Federal, as well as any venues still running poker machines.