August 10, 2004


One of Australia’s weirdest vice-regal appointments has quickly flamed out:

The Tasmanian Governor, Richard Butler, resigned last night to end what he called a "malicious campaign" against him and his wife over their behaviour in the vice-regal role.

After three hours of crisis talks at Government House with the state's Premier, Paul Lennon, Mr Butler issued a statement saying the furore that had engulfed him in recent days would damage the "good name of Tasmania".

Who'll replace him? My wish: David Boon.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 10, 2004 10:24 AM

I, for one, would welcome the appointment of someone who holds a drinking record to a vice-regal position. It's quintessentially Australian.

Posted by: fidens at August 10, 2004 at 10:44 AM

20 dole bludgers should fill the job admirably including the hard drinking. The only job selection criteria should be that they should all look the same.This wouldn't be hard in Tasmania.

Posted by: Bill O'Slatter at August 10, 2004 at 10:50 AM

Good to see they've pissed off the galah. Maybe the UN will take him back and he can waste some more of their unearned money.

Seriously, Boon's a good choice.

But unseriously(?), my favourite would be Norman Gunston, who's diplomatic skills cannot be surpassed. Who else but he would go gitchy gitchy goo to the Jap Sumo wrestlers!

Posted by: Lofty at August 10, 2004 at 11:03 AM

Boony, even in full airborne drinking mode, would be cheaper on the Tassie purse than Butler. And Boonie wouldn't care if he flew economy class.

I, for one, am right behind the Boony for Governor campaign.

Posted by: Peter Hoysted at August 10, 2004 at 11:07 AM

As well as you, Tim, Channel 7's Sunrise program is also championing Boon. If only the rest of the Zionest controlled media would get behind him then he would be a shoo in. After all, being a cricketer would give him John Howard's nod. What would Margo think then?

Posted by: Dylan at August 10, 2004 at 11:20 AM

Dylan, what does Margo think at any other time? Or should I ask "When does..."

By the way, sorry to say it, but as a Yank (albeit one who has paid many visits to Oz), there's something risible about the "good name of Tasmania." Because, you know, the only thing most Americans know about the place is the Tasmanian Devil. And no, I don't mean the real one, I mean the cartoon. Most Americans would be astonished to hear that there really is such a critter.

But good luck salvaging the good name.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at August 10, 2004 at 11:45 AM


You mean you guys have never heard of David Foster?? There's a guy you don't want to disparage the good name of Tasmania in front of.

Posted by: Dylan at August 10, 2004 at 11:57 AM

Actually I think any cricketer would make a good Governor. With a few notable exceptions, they tend to be modest, well-mannered, amiable blokes who understand the importance of teamwork and being a role-model. Unlike ex-diplomats, they rarely tend to be sneering ratbags.

Boony for Governor!

Posted by: Andrew D. at August 10, 2004 at 12:19 PM

Is it too late to revive Errol Flynn?

Even the Yanks would have heard of this Tasmanian.

Posted by: Freddyboy at August 10, 2004 at 12:34 PM

Boonie's got a more important job as a Test selector at the moment!

The governorship can wait!

Maybe Max Walker can be a reasonable stop-gap.

Is Alastair Lynch available next year?

Posted by: DaveACT at August 10, 2004 at 12:48 PM

It's that vast right-wing conspiracy again.

Boonie's a local's local - I often see him at the shops.

Just saw Michael Field picking up his dry-cleaning - maybe he's got a function to attend.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at August 10, 2004 at 01:09 PM

If Richard Butler swanned around Iraq in the same manner as his Tasmanian sojourn, it's no wonder Saddam Hussein didn't co-operate.

The war in Iraq might all be Richard Butler's fault.

Posted by: Fool to Himself & Burden to Others at August 10, 2004 at 01:20 PM

I'm going to assume that's a typo and what you ment to say was Daniel Boon.

Posted by: Amos at August 10, 2004 at 02:12 PM

What about this bloke? A polished public speaker, accomplished author, successful entrepreneur and Tasmanian resident- what more could you want (besides sikkin' him on Bob Brown with a pair of secateurs)?

Posted by: Habib at August 10, 2004 at 02:23 PM

Talking of secateurs, Habib, how about Peter Cullen for Governor? Sure, nobody would be able to understand him, but at least the Government House gardens would look good.

Posted by: Freddyboy at August 10, 2004 at 02:46 PM

his nickname's Boonie or Boony (however you want to spell it).

Posted by: Lofty at August 10, 2004 at 03:07 PM


If Chopper is to be the new Guv'nor then, will Jacko be his Aide-de-Comp?

(Clarification - NOT Michael Jackson from the US, but Mark Jackson from the battery adds - OI!)

Posted by: DaveACT at August 10, 2004 at 03:18 PM

Richard Butler's sacked!
As one Tasweegen put it
etc etc etc.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 10, 2004 at 03:28 PM

Peter Cundel's a bigger commie than Butler- the silly old fart was poncing about at assorted anti-war demonstrations. How about we get Governor Chopper to feed him through a woodchipper and spread him around the grounds of Govt. house- same result garden-wise, and Tasmania retains some decorum in the vice-regal role. After all- if anyone plays up at a garden party at Govt. house, there's an awful big set of grounds to dispose of any remains.

Posted by: Habib at August 10, 2004 at 04:00 PM

I can hear Governor Chopper's words to the media right now. "The Butler did it!"

Posted by: Lofty at August 10, 2004 at 04:06 PM

I have nothing to add except that I support all those who support Boonie for Gov.

Posted by: mike a. at August 10, 2004 at 04:23 PM

Does Martin Bryant qualify as a world-famous Taswegian?

Posted by: Kaboom at August 10, 2004 at 04:28 PM

The Tasmanian Premier has announced that the Government will be making a $650K ex-gratia payment to that idiot Butler, to compensate him for losing his job as Governor! Can you believe the Labor Party? Not only do they appoint a useless nutjob as Head of State, they then compensate him when he makes a complete arse of himself!

Posted by: Toryhere at August 10, 2004 at 04:28 PM

Taspundit: I can still find something to disagree with Bob Brown over in that article - since when has a $600k payment for a dismissal after only 10 months work been known as a "back-payment"?

Posted by: Dylan at August 10, 2004 at 05:36 PM

How about just make the Danish Crown Prince vice-regal?

He married a Tasmanian, and he's royal to boot!

Everybody wins!

Posted by: Quentin George at August 10, 2004 at 05:37 PM

I'm not sure what he means by backpay.

But about the only thing I disagree with is this (not that Bob Brown would ever get a vote from me):

"Hopefully a woman to be the first female governor of the state or somebody from the indigenous community."

Let the best person for the job fill the job.

Here's the rest of the SMH article.

Lennon slated over Butler payout
August 10, 2004 - 3:06PM

A decision to pay former Tasmanian governor Richard Butler $650,000 could terminate Premier Paul Lennon's career, Greens Senator Bob Brown said.

Senator Brown said today Mr Lennon's decision to make an ex-gratia payment of $650,000 to Mr Butler, who resigned last night, was unjustified and would anger many Tasmanians.

"This termination payment may end up being a termination arrangement for the premier as well - he shouldn't have done it," Senator Brown told reporters.

"We're the poorest state in the Commonwealth in terms of average incomes and here we've got a governor which we backpay like this now."

Senator Brown said Mr Butler had a lot to contribute to Australia in the future but he had been a bad choice for governor.

"How dare the premier dip into the taxpayers' pockets to fix up a mistake of his own making and his predecessor's making," he said.

Senator Brown said Mr Lennon should select a Tasmanian from outside the political arena as the next governor.

"He would be well advised to make the next governor a Tasmanian," Senator Brown said.

"Hopefully a woman to be the first female governor of the state or somebody from the indigenous community."

Posted by: taspundit at August 10, 2004 at 06:44 PM

Boonie is a singularly INAPPROPRIATE choice.

It would cause more problems than Hollingsworth, as the man is not merely some middle manager flunky of a hundreds year old religion but the very burning bushy-face which millions of Australians worship.

The Church of Boonie cannot (must not!) be confined by paltry affairs of state. Although granted he would be great at openings - schools, hospitals, tinnies, stubbies, kegs, etc.

Now excuse me I must go face Launceston to pray.

Posted by: mister z at August 11, 2004 at 01:02 AM

Boonie for Governor??? Sounds interesting.
Dinner parties at the vice regal residence would never be the same again. Imagine! Black tied diplomats crowded around yelling "Scull! Scull!" as Boonie attempts to polish off the yard glass.
Personally I think the Tasmanian Governors job requires two people to fill it. Butlers micromanagement can be replaced with an open "two heads are better than one" approach. Appropriate for the Apple Aisle I thought!!

Posted by: Intellectual Gladiator at August 11, 2004 at 01:09 AM

whats that mansell bloke doing these days?

Posted by: cugel at August 11, 2004 at 09:31 AM

Or better yet, throw off these simply too absurd vestiges of Britannia. A plebiscite would consign all such offices to history.

Posted by: Paul Pottinger at August 11, 2004 at 02:10 PM

Plebiscites have no power to do anything of the sort, Paul. Only referenda do. You must know that.

If anything, Hollingworth and Butler have shown the punters are prepared to have the ER2+governor package deal, if they think it's the real deal, i.e. authentic. Neither office holder was, they lost public support and subsequently were awarded the Order of the Boot.

Michael Jeffrey, on the other hand, IS the real deal. If he can get a hack like Barrie Cassidy eating out of the palm of his hand on Insiders, then he's the real deal. Straight back, pinstripe suit, medals on straight and firm handshake. Hear hear!

Posted by: Alex at August 11, 2004 at 09:14 PM

Aye Alex

But a pleb' is a precursor to a ref'.

Why do the states need a governor? The office is a hangover from the colonial era, when the various colonies were fretful of their rights in the big, new, scary Federation.

As for Governor General, if the punters had been presented with the option of a popularly-elected president in the 1999 ref' instead of the model presented, John Howard would long since have run out of excuses to go to Buckingham Palace every other month to have his head patted by the Queen.

This particular island would be a republic by now and Howard knows it, even David Flynt and various other royalist weirdos cannot accept it.

So, roll on that next plebiscite.

Posted by: Paul Pottinger at August 12, 2004 at 11:40 AM