Ex-pollies throw hats in ring to bring back good ol' days

IT was back to the future this week as yet another former politician announced a comeback and the Liberals announced a policy that suggested we could expect a return to the decades-old forestry wars.

State Opposition Leader Will Hodgman's uncle Peter wants to reclaim his old seat in the upper house of Huon.

The brother of the late Michael Hodgman was first elected there 40 years ago.

He is the third former politician who has put their hands up for a seat in State Parliament in March.

Labor veteran David Llewellyn is 71 and will be second-oldest Tasmanian politician ever if successful and former Labor minister Julian Amos is running in Denison after his first stint began in the '70s.

If you believe the rumours, they're not the only former Labor politicians to have contemplated or been urged to resurrect their political careers.

Former Labor minister Allison Ritchie is another former politician back in the game this election, but this time she's heading up the relaunched Nationals.

These experienced hands no doubt have a lot to offer and a few more wrinkles and grey hairs than during their first stint shouldn't count against them.

What is of concern is if they intend to rehash old ideas in a dangerous attempt to drag Tasmania back to what were the good old days in their eyes.

There's a common trait among the comeback (not-so-young) kids on both sides.

Both these Labor and Liberal recycled politicians are vehemently opposed to the forest peace deal and forming a similar power-sharing deal with the Greens.

In the good ol' days as they see it, chainsaws whirred in the forests and the greenies were the number one enemies.

That's exactly the scene the Liberal Party seems intent on recreating. The party announced this week a plan to slug illegal protesters with huge fines and reverse changes to defamation laws made in 2005.

The announcement comes at the end of what has been a relatively quiet year on the forestry battle lines.

While critical of the forest peace deal, the prime culprit, Huon Valley Environment Centre, has staged just five demonstrations this year with only two disrupting mills.

Markets for Change, which successfully in convinced customers to ditch Ta Ann Tasmania's products, kept in communication with the market, but stopped urging customers not to buy from the timber producer.

Leaving aside the obvious alarming implications for free speech, the Liberals' policy is a clear indication they expect that to change once they gain power and attempt to unwind the forestry peace legislation.

They're arming themselves for a revival of the nasty battle with environmentalists.

Given the problems the state faces, particularly its high unemployment rate, it's understandable that people are yearning for the past when things were seemingly better.

The Liberals and these former politicians on the comeback trail are successfully tapping into that sentiment, promising to return the state to these more prosperous times.

So far we know about their plans to unwind the changes that they blame for the downturn, namely the forestry legislation and the influence of the Greens in government.

As tempting as it might be for many people, we can't simply go back in time, so, I wonder, have they got fresh ideas too for the state's future or are they relying on old strategies that once worked?

They might be tried but are they true anymore?

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