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Leaders stay guarded in balancing-act debate, but nothing is what it seems in opaque Tasmania

Leaders stay guarded in balancing-act debate, but nothing is what it seems in opaque Tasmania
The final two leadership debates reminded us of the ever-present contradictions at play in the state's politics. Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein and Opposition Leader Rebecca White during the leadership debate (Image: AAP/ Sarah Rhodes) The hosts of Monday's two final leadership debates in Tasmania’s state election are in keeping with the contradictions at play in…

The final two leadership debates reminded us of the ever-present contradictions at play in the state’s politics.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein and Opposition Leader Rebecca White during the leadership debate (Image: AAP/ Sarah Rhodes)

The hosts of Monday’s two final leadership debates in Tasmania’s state election are in keeping with the contradictions at play in its politics: one the Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS), the other Sky News.

TasCOSS doesn’t beat around the bush with its acknowledgment of country — acknowledging, among others, Tasmania’s original tribes wiped out by “brutal invasion” — before a distinctly 2021 sort of event. It’s conducted online, with Premier Peter Gutwein, Labor leader Rebecca White, Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone and a tireless AUSLAN interpreter all tiled on the screen like The Brady Bunch.

The audience has to mute and turn off their cameras, so of course we get a series of latecomers through the early questions, appearing and looming in the centre of the screen obliviously — I imagine the office manager who put this together screaming: “Turn off your fucking camera, Noeleen!” — sometimes for minutes before realising what’s happened.

Read more about the impending Tasmanian election…

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About the Author

Charlie Lewis

Tips and Murmurs Editor @theshufflediary

Charlie writes about industrial relations, politics and culture. Prior to Crikey he worked across government and unions and was a researcher on RN’s Daily Planet. He hosted The Alternative History on Triple R, and is an occasional host on Breakfasters.

Charlie Lewis — Tips and Murmurs Editor

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