Premier Will Hodgman owes the community a public apology for his apparent deliberate misleading statements on local commercial radio station, Heart 107.3 FM, regarding the government’s position on the Geelong Star super trawler.
“Will Hodgman has been caught out deliberately misleading the public over where he stands on the Geelong Star super trawler,” Mr Booth said.
“This is not about whether we are misunderstanding or misrepresenting the Premier’s comments on local radio last month regarding the Geelong Star, the crux of the issue is what the caller and the listeners understood the Premier’s response to mean.”
“It is clear that the caller’s question of the Premier specifically sought his position on the Geelong Star, and in fact one of the radio presenters also interjected drawing the Premier’s attention back to ‘the trawler itself’.”
“It is also clear from the caller’s response, reiterated twice, that ‘it is hard to argue with the Premier when he agrees with us’ that the Premier’s answer to his specific question about the Geelong Star was in accordance with the Stop the Trawler Alliance’s concerns.”
“The radio interview transcript makes it clear there were at last two opportunities for the Premier to pull up the caller and clarify that in fact he does not agree with his concerns over the Geelong Star. But the Premier failed to do so, and instead indulged in the caller’s positive reaction.”
“The Premier’s behaviour on radio was deliberately sneaky misleading, and worryingly deceitful.”
“Either he knew full well his government supports the Geelong Star when he responded to this caller last month but deliberately wanted listeners to believe the opposite, or the Premier has been rolled by Liberal powerbrokers since, when put to the test by the Greens’ motion this week.”
“Whether Will Hodgman has the fortitude to front up publicly, come clean and apologise for the obviously deliberate, misleading and dishonest statements, is a crucial test of his leadership,” Mr Booth said.
Reference: Excerpt of the Heart 107.3 FM Transcript – 19 March 2015
Heart 107.3 FM Power to the People – Will Hodgman
19 March 2015
(Transcript excerpt: check against audio file)
[...] Are you supportive of the introduction of the Geelong Star given [...] the Stop the Trawler Alliance still has strong views over local depletion concerns, and things like that?
Response: Premier Hodgman
[joking about being excited to hear a geelong star was coming, being a Geelong football fan...]
Presenter (Kylie): “But what about the trawler itself?”
Premier: “No, we’ve supported a ban, I’ve spoken to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott about our opposition...[slightly inaudible]... This is a different vessel, um there are matters for the federal government here, its beyond state waters ... but our position is we are not supportive...”
Presenter (Dave): “What do you think, Todd?”
Todd: “yeah, its hard to argue with the Premier when he agrees with us, which is good to hear. [...] But it is very hard to argue with a man who agrees with you.”