Kennett slams Tasmanian leaders - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kennett slams Tasmanian leaders

By Roger Vaughan 28/08/2010 04:11:05 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett accused senior Tasmanian Government figures of being "absolutely gutless" for not attending Saturday's AFL match against Collingwood.

But Kennett appears to have erred by including Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett in his spray.

It is understood the premier did not attend the game because of a family commitment and state tourism minister Michelle O'Byrne was there on his behalf.

Kennett said Mr Bartlett and Greens leader Nick McKim had pulled out of the trip after pressure from the Hobart Mercury newspaper.

He was speaking at a pre-game lunch at the MCG that featured Tasmanian produce.

The former Victorian Premier acknowledged Ms O'Byrne in his pre-game speech and then made a point of thanking Tasmanian opposition leader Will Hodgman for attending the game.

"Will, thank you for coming - the premier was coming, as was the leader of the greens, who together are in coalition and governing the state," Kennett said.

"They cancelled yesterday and I'm sorry about that, because I think they would have been proud of watching and seeing the way this room has been turned out by both Tasmanians and our staff members at Hawthorn.

"But there was an article in the Hobart Mercury yesterday, attacking all three leaders ... over going on a trip over to a 650-person party in Melbourne on football matters.

"The two leaders pulled out, I've got to say I think that is absolutely gutless."

Kennett then turned his attention to the Mercury, which had run articles this week about the pre-game function.

Hawthorn have an agreement with the Tasmanian Government to play matches in Launceston.

The successful relationship is currently being re-negotiated.

"I also think it's tragic that the Hobart Mercury, which is one of the two leading papers in Tasmania ... which has benefited so much from this relationship and partnership," said Kennett, "is so myopic and so jealous of the fact the game is played in Launceston, saw fit to attack this wonderful investment that Tasmanians have made."

"(The investment) returns them multiples of four and five times ... every year.

"You can't allow yourselves to be threatened and bought off by the media, you've got to be prepared to stand up for what you believe.

"This partnership has been wonderful for both sides."

Kennett also added, tongue in cheek: "I'm sure that won't get mentioned in the papers in the next couple of days and I'm sure the premier will continue to think highly of me."

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