April 01, 2004 | Jeff Wall

The Premier tells the Governor the way it must be

THE new Premier of Tasmania, Paul Lennon, has long been my kind of politician – no nonsense, tell it exactly how you see it, and reject political correctness with enthusiasm.
Yesterday, in a statement running to just three sentences, Paul Lennon confirmed why he is the kind of politician those of us fed up with political correctness and weak kneed politicians should give every possible encouragement.
The appointment of Richard Butler as Governor of Tasmania was always a risk. On Tuesday he made a speech proving just how big a risk he is. He said the US “reserved the right to beat the living daylights out of anyone who threatened it”.
This was the latest in a series of political speeches by His Excellency, and not surprisingly, the Liberal Party, and especially the rather curious Senator Eric Abetz, jumped all over him.
The Premier ignored the political grandstanding, spoke to the Governor, and then issued this very blunt statement:
“Premier Paul Lennon today said he had spoken to Governor Richard Butler, who had agreed that he would no longer comment on foreign or domestic policy.
Mr Lennon said this undertaking was in line with the Governor’s commitment to former Premier Jim Bacon, as stated to the House of Assembly on 20 August, 2003.
I expect this undertaking to be strictly adhered to.”
Cop that, Your Excellency!
Governor Butler is not the first to transgress the very clear conventions relating to vice regal statements. He probably won’t be the last.
But if he does so again I have not the slightest doubt his tenure as Her Majesty’s representative in Tasmania will unceremoniously end.
If he wants to know how tough Paul Lennon is, I suggest he have a quiet chat to the Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown.
When asked whether the incoming Premier would be “as bad a (ex-Liberal Premier) Robin Gray” (from the greenies point of view), Senator Brown said “he will be far worse than Robin Gray ever was!”
One suspects Paul Lennon wears this comment as a badge of honour!

Posted by Jeff Wall at 5:37 pm | Comments Off on The Premier tells the Governor the way it must be |
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