·    Bartlett’s Hawthorn backdown is welcome

·    Premier’s claim regarding extra game is treating Tasmanians like fools

·    This is yet another example of the poor management from the Premier who just makes things up as he goes along

David Bartlett’s dramatic backdown on putting the Hawthorn sponsorship deal out to tender is the right decision, and a welcome one.

But as we have almost come to expect now after 11 long years of Labor, the process by which the Premier got there was a mess.

Yet again, the Premier made things up as he went along – one day his government was declaring the Hawthorn deal a great success in Parliament; the next the Premier was blurting out to a newspaper that the entire deal would be opened up to all AFL clubs to tender for, without apparently even discussing this with his Cabinet, his Sport and Recreation Minister, Michelle O’Byrne, or even the Hawthorn Football Club itself.

Mr Bartlett simply made it up as he went along to try to get a headline, and because he didn’t do his homework and think things through, he failed to grasp the concern his actions would cause.

For the Premier to now claim to have secured a commitment from Hawthorn to seek five games of AFL at Aurora is to treat Tasmanians like fools.

Firstly, before the Premier even flagged his now aborted tender idea, the Opposition had called in the Parliament on him to take a tough negotiating stand with Hawthorn to try to secure more AFL games, or other benefits in a new deal, rather than just signing up for the same deal for the same period again.

Secondly, Hawthorn’s Jeff Kennett confirms in the Examiner today he’d previously indicated the team would like to play another home game in Launceston anyway.

How can Tasmanians rely on the Premier to make the right decisions in difficult economic times, when time and time again we see him making basic mistakes and being forced into one humiliating back down after another?

Mr Bartlett is running Tasmania like a chook with its head chopped off and the state is heading in the wrong direction as a result.

WILL HODGMAN Leader of the State Opposition Wednesday June 3, 2009

Hawks backdown welcome