It’s not often that Tasmania’s state elections garner much attention. After all, as I often say, Tasmanian politics is a blend of local council and Special Needs school. But, as the documentary Rats in the Ranks showed, local council politics can be every bit as vicious as Washington or Beijing.

So it is that the Tasmanian election campaign underway is providing just as much red-in-tooth-and-claw politics as anywhere else.

More noticeably, things just keep going from bad to worse for the opposition Labor party.

Not only is Labor up against the “COVID factor” that has rewarded incumbents from Wellington to WA, but it’s embarrassingly obvious that the party has no real platform to run on. Its economic and healthcare pitch can’t go beyond vague platitudes and its scare campaign on alleged TAFE privatisation just looks silly.

Then there are the scandals. Labor has already had to try and beat down the furore over a popular candidate shafted in favour of a union hack. But new fires are flaring up everywhere.

Tasmania’s volatile election campaign has been rocked by shocking new revelations, with police investigating an apparently false statutory declaration accusing a minister of pedophilia, and a Labor candidate being accused of ­offensive social media posts.

The Weekend Australian understands Tasmania Police are investigating a detailed statutory declaration, purportedly made by a woman alleging she was abused as a child by a senior Liberal minister. It has been circulated to Labor politicians, one or more of whom it appears forwarded it to the police, who suspect it is a fake.

It appears, firstly, that the accuser named in the document doesn’t even exist. The JP whose name appears as a witness on the document states that he is “not at all satisfied” that it was genuine.

Other smears have been made against the minister, who is understood to have taken civil action to restrain a person from making false accusations.

It is not yet clear whether police will have grounds to charge anyone over the document.

While it doesn’t appear that the allegation is at all linked to Labor, the whiff of sleazy politics isn’t going to help their campaign. But then, Labor aren’t even doing much to help their own campaign.

Meanwhile, a Labor candidate, chosen to replace another Labor candidate dumped for sending “vulgar” text messages, is now under pressure to quit over alleged lewd social media posts.

Samuel Mitchell was on Thursday announced as Labor’s replacement candidate in the seat of Clark for party president Ben McGregor, who quit on Wednesday after confirming he sent “inappropriate” texts to a woman.

The Weekend Australian has received past Facebook posts that appear to have been made by Mr Mitchell, including one from January 2020 featuring an Australian-themed dildo and an image of the Black Summer bushfires, with the comment: “Australia: it’s time to get f..ked.”

Another from March 2020 exclaims “F..k Easter anyway”. One made in June 2020, relating to the black lives matter campaign, appears to advocate violence: “In ­circumstances such as this, anger and violence may be the only thing that brings about change”.

While most of these posts are crass, to be sure, who really cares? On the other hand, advocating violence should be completely unacceptable.

But apparently what is unacceptable is for a candidate to stand up for our civil rights.

The Liberals have also been rocked by the loss of a candidate who attended anti-lockdown rallies, as well as police action against a former minister for alleged firearm storage offences.

The Australian

This is pathetic stuff – and it will almost certainly barely stop the Liberals from cleaning up on May 1.

The only real question is whether or not the Libs will haul in enough primary votes to defeat Tasmania’s Byzantine Hare-Clarke electoral system.

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Tasmania’s Election Lurches from Farce to Facepalm
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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...