Hodgman hits back at federal budget barb

Anthony Albanese

Anthony Albanese

PREMIER Will Hodgman has hit back at claims he ‘‘rolled over and had his tummy tickled’’ after the federal budget was handed down in May.

The barb was fired by federal opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese yesterday.

Mr Albanese said Mr Hodgman failed to stand up to his federal colleagues in response to ‘‘a shocker of a budget for Tasmania’’.

‘‘If Premier Will Hodgman had an ounce of ticker he’d be out there screaming from the rafters,’’ Mr Albanese said.

‘‘Other premiers, like Colin Barnett, certainly have been from time to time, but Mr Hodgman seems to be quite happy to get less from this government.’’

Mr Albanese was in Hobart to oppose the federal government’s advocacy of privatisating Hydro Tasmania.

The state government has consistently dismissed selling off Hydro’s assets.

But Mr Albanese said recent comments by Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson and a visit from federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, who offered Tasmania $600million to offload the assets, showed pressure was mounting on the Liberal state government to take up the offer.

Mr Albanese said selling off the state’s energy assets would be a disaster for Tasmania.

He warned the move would lead to devastating job losses and deprive the state’s coffers of valuable annual dividends, which totalled about $200 million last year.

He offered Mr Hodgman some advice on the issue before the August 28 state budget.

‘‘Don’t be bribed into doing something by the federal government that you have no mandate to do,’’ Mr Albanese said.

But Mr Hodgman was quick to quash the advice, labelling Mr Albanese’s comments ‘‘clear hypocrisy’’.

‘‘This is a bloke who was one of the ringleaders for wrecking the nation’s budget,’’ Mr Hodgman said.

‘‘I will not be lectured to by someone with such an appalling track record for budget management.’’

Mr Hodgman said his government had clearly ruled out selling Hydro’s assets, and any suggestion otherwise was ridiculous.

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