Water Week

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“A plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel”: Howard’s support for Tamar pulp mill in Tas

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley was at the forefront of John Howard’s mind because it represented one part of his last-ditch plan to turn the polls around and snatch electoral victory, wrote Dennis Shanahan in The Australian (15/9/2007, p.19).

Fiendish plan: “Howard’s plan – a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel – is to go back to basics. The Liberals have recognised, perhaps too late, mistakes they have made and are setting about trying to rectify then. The Coalition has to reclaim its electoral base, the blue-collar workers who have voted for Howard, families, rural people, small business and, most significantly, older voters. The Howard Liberal heartland in marginal seats has to be revived if the Coalition is to have any chance of winning, regardless of whether the electorate warms to the idea of a new leadership tag-team of Howard and Costello, two Prime Ministers for the price of one.

Heavy symbolism: “Hence the importance of the substance and symbol­ism of the Tamar pulp mill: there are at least two Tasmanian seats directly affected by the proposed mill and several regional seats on the mainland in rural Victoria, NSW and Western Australia. Like the forestry policy at the 2004 election, when Howard outsmarted Mark Latham and went for the workers’ vote instead of Greens preferences, the pulp mill represents prospects for jobs in regional areas, where they are needed most, and beyond Tasmania. There is another parallel where the Federal Government is attempting to ensure jobs are created and protected, and at the same time finding an environmentally acceptable solution even if it means committing more dollars,” Shanahan conluded.

The Australian, 15/9/2007, p. 19

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