Tasmanian government’s donations disclosure laws set for bumpy ride in upper house

The Tasmanian government’s proposed political donation laws appear likely to be strengthened in the upper house, with opposition and independent members saying they support greater disclosure of who gives money to political parties and candidates.
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Tasmanian government abandons promised donations transparency reform for local government before elections

The Tasmanian government will not legislate to require all candidates contesting local government elections in September and October to disclose political donations despite agreeing to the change more than two years ago. The government has also baulked at introducing legislation on 46 other local government reforms it previously agreed to. The Minister for Local Government, […]
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Explainer: Will Tasmania finally get a political donations disclosure law?

The Tasmanian government’s proposed donations reform would mean Tasmania would still have Australia’s weakest state-based disclosure regime.
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transmission tower, power line, TasNetworks,

TasNetworks asked to explain why it hired Liberal-linked lobbying firm

A Tasmanian government-owned energy utility has been asked to explain why it hired a Liberal-linked public relations and lobbying firm and what work it has asked the agency to do.
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Tasmanian seal deaths mount as Huon Aquaculture increases use of underwater explosives

Huon Aquaculture – now owned by the controversial Brazilian meat company JBS – has accounted for more than three-quarters of the seals killed at Tasmanian salmon farms since the start of last year.
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Comment: Labor’s South Australian election win blows a hole in Tasmanian Liberals political donations plan

The resounding election win for the South Australian Labor Party creates a big problem for Premier Peter Gutwein’s pitch that critical elements of his political donations bill should emulate South Australia’s legislation.
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Alarm over potential use of explosives, bean bag bullets on seals during offshore salmon farming trial

Environment groups have called on the Morrison government to rule out allowing salmon farming companies to use explosives and guns loaded with “bean bag” rounds to scare seals at a proposed trial in Commonwealth waters off the north-west coast of Tasmania.
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Gutwein promised the Tasmanian Liberals would disclose all donations over $5000. They didn’t.

The Tasmanian Liberal party did not disclose at least $69,600 in donations received before last year’s state election despite a promise by Premier Peter Gutwein that all contributions over $5000 would be made public. A further $24,000 received after the election was also not disclosed, according to Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) data. The AEC’s annual […]
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Tasmanian Labor’s $550-a-head fundraiser prompts call for a ban on cash-for-access forums

A Tasmanian Labor promise that people who paid $550-a-head to attend a dinner with senior MPs could have input into its policies has reignited calls for a ban on “cash for access” political forums. Labor hosted what was touted as an “exclusive end of year dinner” with the state leader, Rebecca White, and the shadow […]
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Tasmania, bus, Redline, Kinetic, donations,

All aboard: private bus operator revealed as Tasmanian Liberals major campaign donor

The new owner of Tasmanian Redline, the state’s largest government-contracted private bus company, was one of the largest donors to the state Liberal party and a contributor to the Labor party. Tag Management Services Pty Ltd donated $20,000 to the Liberal party near the May 1 state election, making it the second-largest disclosed contributor to […]
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As global investors eye land-based salmon farms, the Tasmanian government pushes offshore development

The Tasmanian government is pushing ahead with legal changes to open the door for offshore salmon farms in Commonwealth waters as investors increasingly say they are only interested in land-based fish farming projects. A senior executive from DNV Maritime, a Norwegian-headquartered multinational that advises the global salmon farming industry, told a recent Australian event that […]
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Tasmanian government plans donations disclosure threshold for MPs 100 times greater than for councillors

A Tasmanian Government proposal to limit mandatory public disclosure of donations to state political parties and candidates to sums greater than $5000 has alarmed advocates for reform. The disclosure threshold in draft legislation released by the government is 100 times greater than applies to local government councillors and five times higher than recommended by the […]
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Tasmanian salmon company confirms political donations as Tassal remains silent

Australia’s largest salmon producer, Tassal, has refused to say whether it donates to Tasmania’s political parties, but one of its competitors - Petuna - has confirmed it paid $12,000 to attend Liberal Party events last year.
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Most Tasmanian councils in breach of rules for disclosure of gifts and donations

Most Tasmanian councils are in breach of state government regulations that require monthly updates on their websites of all donations and gifts to councillors of more than $50.
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Explainer: Tasmania’s new laws for council candidates to disclose their donations

Will Tasmania set the standard with Australia’s best donations disclosure regime for local government candidates? The indications from the government are not promising. Here is what you need to know.
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Comment: The $22,000 ‘Aird loophole’ lives on as Tasmania baulks at donations transparency

The eleven guests who ponied up for a $2000-per-head dinner at the up-market Henry Jones Art Hotel on Hobart’s waterfront were there for a cause: to raise funds for the 2009 Legislative Council re-election campaign of then state treasurer Mike Aird. It was a fundraising dinner that illustrated how loopholes in Tasmania’s electoral law could […]
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Unexplained: government business blocks release of information about mining debt write-off

A Tasmanian government-owned business has blocked the release of documents detailing why it wrote off a debt of almost $2.5 million owed to it by a mining company chaired by former Labor premier Paul Lennon.
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Gutwein defends exclusion of Tasmanian Legislative Council from donations disclosure laws

Premier Peter Gutwein has defended his government’s plan to exempt candidates for the Tasmanian upper house from having to disclose campaign donations, prompting criticism from a public integrity advocate and opposition parties.
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Pokies losses hit $180 million since Gutwein became Tasmanian Premier

More than $180 million has been lost on Tasmanian poker machines since Peter Gutwein became Premier in January 2020, according to data from the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission.
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Tasmanian Labor and Liberal parties refuse to reveal agreements with industry groups

The Tasmanian Labor and Liberal parties have refused to reveal or discuss which vested interests they have signed agreements with other than the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, the lobby group for pubs and clubs. It has prompted calls for both major parties to disclose to voters before the May 1 state election all deals they have […]
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Comment: Gutwein’s election rationale evaporates with Ogilvie’s move to Liberals

The Liberal Party’s preselection of former Labor and independent MP Madeleine Ogilvie will undermine Premier Peter Gutwein’s sole rationale for calling an early Tasmanian election.
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Gutwein government refuses to release PR advice on energy agreement with Morrison

The Gutwein Government has refused to release documents showing the internal public relations advice it received before the December 2020 signing of an agreement with the federal government on major energy projects including the Marinus Link. At issue are four documents requested by Tasmanian Inquirer under Right to Information laws, including emails between ministerial advisers […]
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Ombudsman rejects Gutwein Government secrecy bid over departmental briefs

Tasmania’s Ombudsman has rejected a bid by the Tasmanian Government to hide briefing notes for a newly appointed minister from public view.
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Gutwein directed Hydro Tasmania to enter into a loss-making deal, utility says

Two of Tasmania’s publicly-owned power utilities have revealed they could lose tens of millions of dollars on power purchase agreements with wind farm owners.
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Gutwein Government delays legislation requiring donations disclosure

The Gutwein Government has again delayed the timetable for introducing legislation requiring local government candidates to disclose campaign donations, dismaying electoral reform advocates.
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MPs demand greater transparency on Tasmania’s COVID-19 recovery taskforce

Opposition parties and an independent member of the Legislative Council have called for greater transparency of the Tasmanian Government’s COVID-19 recovery council after the chair of the group ruled out publishing conflict of interest declarations and committee minutes.
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Tasmanian poker machine losses surge to almost $600,000 per day

New Tasmanian Government data has revealed losses on Tasmanian poker machines were almost $600,000 per day in August, significantly higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Buyer of troubled Temco smelter wants lower power price

The company seeking to buy the loss-making Temco manganese smelter in northern Tasmania wants to negotiate a lower electricity price from Hydro Tasmania even though its current power contract runs until 2024.
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Call for new Legislative Council MPs to disclose campaign donations

An electoral reform group has called on newly elected members of the Legislative Council to voluntarily disclose all campaign donations over $1000. 
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'Fantastic offer for one client': questions raised about The Mercury’s advertorial series

The University of Tasmania paid $80,000 to be the lead sponsor of a “Future Tasmania” series of advertorial articles in The Mercury and in return was guaranteed a minimum of six “editorial mentions”, a practice queried by a leading journalism academic. Rodney Tiffen, emeritus professor in government and international relations at the University of Sydney […]
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Secrecy concerns over Gutwein’s COVID-recovery taskforce

A legal academic has raised concerns about excessive secrecy surrounding a taskforce advising the Tasmanian Premier on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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University of Tasmania repeatedly breached electoral law with promotional video

Internal documents and other records show the University of Tasmania repeatedly breached electoral laws by publishing an unauthorised promotional video featuring a Liberal candidate as he contested three elections.
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After the closure of Tasmanian Country a secretive group plots a replacement

Privacy concerns have been raised about a secretive group promoting a new rural newspaper to replace the shuttered Tasmanian Country after it asked potential supporters to provide personal details but refused to disclose who is gathering the information.
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Will Tasmanian Country dodge News Corp’s axe?

Public relations and lobbying firm Font PR has expressed interest in buying rural newspaper Tasmanian Country despite News Corporation Australia announcing it would cease publication after its final edition later this week. Two sources told Tasmanian Inquirer that Font PR, a Liberal-aligned firm that has already bought several regional newspapers, has made a play for […]
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Tasmanian government backs political donations disclosure for council candidates

The Gutwein government has bowed to public support for political donations reform and agreed that a bill on local government elections will include a requirement that gifts and donations to council candidates be disclosed.
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Tasmania’s bauxite mining bubble bursts

When Australian Bauxite, a company chaired by former Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon, sought approval for the $16 million Bald Hill bauxite mine just outside Campbell Town in northern Tasmania, it claimed there would be up to 180 jobs created and hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties could be paid into government coffers.
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No bond and secret rehab plan raise doubts about Temco smelter clean-up

The Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (Temco) has not had to post a financial bond to cover potential rehabilitation costs at its Bell Bay manganese smelter site despite having discharged thousands of tonnes of heavy-metal laced waste into on-site tailings dams over the last decade alone.
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Council rejected subsidy pitch from mining company chaired by ex-premier

Northern Midlands Council rejected lobbying by a mining company chaired by former Premier Paul Lennon that wanted it to pay $100,000 towards a road upgrade required as a condition of developing the Bald Hill bauxite mine.
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Madeleine Ogilvie.

Key Tasmanian MP silent on Federal Group election campaign support

Madeleine Ogilvie, a former Labor MP turned independent, is facing calls to explain whether she has changed her position on poker machines after Federal Group displayed her campaign poster on its property in her most recent election campaign. Roland Browne, a director of Tasmanian Election Inquiry, a group pushing for greater political donations transparency, said […]
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Bob Burton

Bob Burton

is a Hobart-based author, researcher, editor and freelance journalist. He is the Editor of CoalWire, a weekly bulletin on global coal industry developments for the US-based non-profit group Global Energy Monitor. His freelance journalism has been published a wide range of news outlets from the British Medical Journal to the US-based PR Watch. He is also the author of Inside Spin: the dark underbelly of the PR industry (2007) and co-author of two other books: Secrets and Lies: the anatomy of an anti-environmental PR campaign with Nicky Hager and Big Coal: Australia’s Dirtiest Habit with Guy Pearse and David McKnight. In 2015 he won a Tasmanian Media Award for articles on the proposed Kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car and political donations in Tasmania.
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