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Election Night Interviews

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Tasmanian Times conducted some election night interviews at the ‘Tally Room’, Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart, 1 May 2021. We spoke to independent candidate for Clark Mike Dutta (start), journalist Bob Burton of Tasmanian Inquirer (01:58), Labor MLC and Shadow Health Minister Bastian Seidel (06:43), and Clarence City Council Alderman (and former Liberal and independent candidate) […]

Tasmanian Times conducted some election night interviews at the ‘Tally Room’, Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart, 1 May 2021.

We spoke to independent candidate for Clark Mike Dutta (start), journalist Bob Burton of Tasmanian Inquirer (01:58), Labor MLC and Shadow Health Minister Bastian Seidel (06:43), and Clarence City Council Alderman (and former Liberal and independent candidate) Tony Mulder (09:16) . We also approached a Liberal Party staffer to talk about life on the campaign trail but she declined to be interviewed.

Transcript

Tasmanian Times

Okay, I’m here with Mike Dutta at the tally room, Mike was an independent candidate for the seat of Clark in this state election. How’s it been going for you?

Mike Dutta

Well, it’s been pretty good, you know, I’m not disappointed at all. The whole reason was to make sure that we are supporting the independents and the to independents are doing pretty well. So we are quite happy about that. And it’s a long way to go. And as long as if you win one seat in Clark for the independents, that will be quite an achievement.

Tasmanian Times

So you’ve been out campaigning for about five weeks, this campaign What have you learned during that time about politics and maybe about campaigning or even about yourself as a candidate?

Mike Dutta

Well, there are a number of things. Firstly I came into this late, it was about the last three weeks that I’ve been doing that. Now what I’ve learned is that you are very limited when it comes to financially doing things because I didn’t take any donations from anyone. It really straps you down with regards to advertising, putting your name out there. And I think that is a very important aspect of name recognition. So that’s one particular aspect. Number two, is that I think what I’ve learned is that we can work together, you know, as a group, so we’re working together with independents, you know, we have been supporting each other. And so that has been quite a quite a good thing that it can happen.

Tasmanian Times

So what’s the political future for Mike Dutta?

Mike Dutta

Well, the political future for me, I will continue as the Councillor at the Hobart City Council, I’ve got another year and a half to go. And then all depends at that particular stage, if I am still fit, and I feel that I want to go for another term. I will then stand for the Hobart City Council election. And then I suppose you know, age is catching up with me, the state election may not be the way to go then.

Tasmanian Times

So you’re over 21 now?

Mike Dutta

I am over 21, yes!

Tasmanian Times

Thanks very much.

Mike Dutta

Okay. My pleasure. Always. Thank you so much.

* * * * *

Tasmanian Times

Alright, we’re flirting with the enemy here. I have Bob Burton who’s one of the team involved in Tasmanian Enquirer another independent media outlet. How do you view the results as they’re coming in?

Journalist – Bob Burton

Well, the critical question is what happens with Liberals in Clark and whether they get the second quota? If they do, then they’ve got government. And then it’s just a matter of which of the two independents gets up. And also within the Liberal Party, whether it’s, if there’s a second liberal, it’s a very close contest between Simon Behrakis and Madeleine Ogilvie at the moment.

Tasmanian Times

So what have been your experiences trying to cover this campaign as an independent journalist?

Journalist – Bob Burton

Well our constraint really is time? But there’s ample access to the major parties’ announcements. I mean, there’s a lot more opportunities in a way because they’re, they’re trying to put forward as much as possible. But also Gutwein spends…he’s very disciplined about having very short press conferences, whereas Labor and Liberals tend to be less structured and constrained, the Greens tend to be a bit more open ended. Sometimes Labor will curtail their media conferences when they think the questions are going in the direction they don’t want. And I mean, certainly Gutwein uses that, you know, tightly-capping the media conference to stop it being open ended and having to answer lots and lots of questions. You know, whereas we’ve seen, say in COVID, with Dan Andrews, where he’d do hour long media conferences. That doesn’t happen here. So that means that there tends to be a narrow range of questions that are asked, and we’ve got a reasonably small press press pack here. So there’s a lot of topics that don’t get pushed.

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Tasmanian Times

So after this election, coming up later in this year what do you think the major stories will be in Tasmanian politics?

Journalist – Bob Burton

Well I think the government will be disappointed with the result even if they get back with a one seat majority. I think the only reason for going to an early election was to get a commanding result based on the COVID response. And what they’re going to end up with is being exactly where they were at on the first day of the election campaign with 13 seats. When they went to the governor, they said we’ve only got 12, even though because Sue Hickey had said that she would leave the Liberal Party and run as an independent, but then they got Madeleine Ogilvie so they had 13. And it looks like the best case scenario now is they’ll have 13 again. So it was a pointless exercise. I think it does damage to Gutwein’s standing. There’ll be lingering questions over what happens, it depends what happens in Braddon with whether Adam Brooks gets up or not. So, you know, there’s the same old governance questions, same old issues of secrecy. And no doubt, the government will start rolling out more of their controversial policies that they weren’t going to talk about in the election, whether it be allocation of new salmon licenses, whether it’s logging operations, anti-protest bills, the privatisation of national parks, all of those issues are more likely to come to the fore after the government.

Tasmanian Times

I was going through the policies on the Liberals website today. There’s actually an incredibly large number of them. So it appears to me they’ve made a lot of relatively small promises, rather than sort of one or two sort of big signature policies. Is that kind of how you’ve seen the election

Journalist – Bob Burton

And very targeted at particular niches? Yeah, they’ve had policies for the west coast. They’ve had a policy for Flinders Island, they’ve had a policy for King Ireland. So they’ve targeted very specific niches. And then there’s been a lot of stuff, you know the whole thing about allocations for sporting clubs, sporting associations, lots of sport announcements, you know, refurbishment of ovals and stadium announcements. And so there’s been lots of that, less on some of the more substantive issues. Nothing from the government that I saw on basic governance reforms. Political donations disclosure was an issue that they were on the back foot about all the time. They’ve said nothing about reform or improvement of their handling of right to information. That doesn’t need reform so much of the legislation, it’s the implementation of it by the government, and that’s totally under their control.

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Tasmanian Times

All right. Thanks very much Bob.

* * * * *

Tasmanian Times

Okay, I’m here with Dr. Bastian Seidel in the tally room, What’s your impression of the results as they stand?

Dr Bastian Seidel

Look, I’ve just come in, so I haven’t checked the results for an hour now. So, look, you know, so far so good. It’s gonna be a long night in particular with regards to the seats in Clark. So look, let’s see what happens.

Tasmanian Times

This was your first election as a member of parliament. What have been your experiences during the campaign?

Dr Bastian Seidel

Look, it was quite a challenging campaign for Labor, as you as you can imagine, certainly in the first couple of weeks, but you know, certainly was very clear that health was the number one issue in the electorate, no matter where we went. And in the last two and a half weeks, we it became really apparent that health was resonating extremely well with the electorate. And and people sort of, you know, were asking for, for answers really. And the government couldn’t give them any answers about, you know, the $1.6 billion cuts to health in the last seven years, having no no solution whatsoever about the over 50,000 people who are waiting on outpatient waiting lists, 12,000 patients who are waiting for necessary surgery. And, you know, we could offer solutions with our health action plans that actually work really well.

Tasmanian Times

You’re still relatively young and still relatively new to politics. So what do you think you’ve learned about yourself during this time?

Dr Bastian Seidel

It’s actually a privilege to work with a great team and the Labor team has been absolutely superb, you know, in developing policies that do make sense and are evidence-based. It was indeed a privilege to work with each and every one of them. Rebecca White was outstanding, she was out and about each and every day, no matter what she was on top of the brief, and she’s been a true inspiration for me. So there are lots of learnings for us, you know, how to how to move forward now. Look, but, you know, again, it’s been it’s been a good campaign. After all, we could talk about the issues, talking to people on the ground and that is number one health. It is about housing, it’s about jobs.

Tasmanian Times

You’ve probably been all over Tasmania and done a lot of kilometres in the last month so perhaps you can have a long sleep tonight. What do you what are you most looking forward to in the post-election?

Dr Bastian Seidel

We had to change tires of the car once because they were just run down! Look, there will be a couple of days off to spend with the family because I haven’t seen my boys for quite some time now. They’re always in bed when I come home. And often I left early in the morning before they were up and it’s just nice to spend a few days with them, and let’s see what happens after.

Tasmanian Times

Right. Thanks very much.

* * * * *

Tasmanian Times

Elections come elections go. How do you think this one will in the end be remembered?

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Tony Mulder

I think this will be remembered as Gutwein’s folly for going too early. My read on it at the moment is that Clark will be the interesting seat and I can see that going 2 Liberal one Labor, one Green and either Johnston or Hickey, probably Johnston to pick up the fifth seat. And there you’ll be, 12-12, and the only thing that will change is the surname of the person with the balance of power.

Tasmanian Times

Who do you think might end up being speaker in this Parliament?

Tony Mulder

It would be an interesting call. I haven’t discussed it with anyone but I I wouldn’t mind, they might go for Kristie Johnston as the independent.

Unknown Speaker

The campaign was about five weeks and in some ways it was a little bit more off the cuff as a campaign because people were less prepared. Do you think that was a good thing or a bad thing?

Tony Mulder

I think there might be a bit of disquiet out there in voter land about running off to an election the year before you had to when you haven’t finished the job you set up to do. As they found out in England, as Theresa May found out, some people out there actually don’t like going to elections more than they have to. Yeah, and there’s a bit of a backlash for that. And I think if you have a look, the independents would have got probably the best vote of non party aligned people in many elections that I can remember. And have a look particularly at Craig Garland, 3200 votes in the heartland; his vote alone I reckon has cost the party their fourth Braddon seat.

Tasmanian Times

I was having a look at the Liberals’ website tonight. There’s an enormous amount of promises on there, but most of them are fairly small. And there’s like health for the northwest, health for the northeast, something for Sorell, something for Queenstown. Do you think that was a good strategy, to try to distribute the largesse very evenly across Tasmania?

Tony Mulder

Across the northern seaboard would be a good way of putting it. But if you look at those policies, there’s a lot of Tweedledee and Tweedledum in here with marginal things at the edges. The big issue really, I think, for me becomes, you know, let’s get some more of those central moderates in there. You know, like the Dean Winters. It’s a pity Bec Enders hasn’t made it. But if we get more of those moderate independents rather than the extreme right or the extreme left, then you start to get a parliament that’s full of people who are attuned to what we want, rather than what their faction or bosses and their internal powerplays want.

Tasmanian Times

And you’re at Clarence, man. So how do you think this parliament is going to work out for the kinds of things that you want to do in Clarence?

Tony Mulder

As always, I think the parties are Tweedledum and Tweedledee. I think if you look at their strategy, you’ll see very much the things that I’ve been banging on in the media about. The Flagstaff Gully Link Road. Neither of them have grappled with the fact that clearing all the backlogs at airport roundabouts or the Southern Outlet just kicks the can down the road and every time they solve one of these backlogs they are adding to the risk of gridlock.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/05/election-night-interviews/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=election-night-interviews

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