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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Lennon push for Hinch in Devonport

examiner.com.au : Lennon push for Hinch in Devonport

Premier Paul Lennon has issued a challenge to shock jock Derryn Hinch: he will appear on Hinch's radio programme if the New Zealand-born presenter has the guts to do it live from Devonport.

Hinch caused a stir on Tuesday when he called the farmers leading a Buy Australian campaign on the mainland "selfish, blinkered, self- centred pointy-heads" from Tasmania.

Campaign leader Richard Bovill then labelled Hinch the "arch- enemy" of the Buy Australian fight.

Yesterday, Hinch challenged Mr Lennon to a live on-air debate.

Mr Lennon hit the ball back firmly into Hinch's court, saying he would oblige if the show was broadcast live from the Devonport Mall.

"This will ensure that you are able to eyeball those people that you describe as `selfish, self- centred pointy-heads'," Mr Lennon's letter to Hinch said.

Later, Mr Lennon said he was not interested in helping Hinch conduct a debate on the Buy Australian campaign - and the role of Tasmanian farmers in it - from the comfort of his Melbourne radio studio.

"Given Hinch's recent track record, one would have expected him to think better of attacking Australian farmers battling to stay on the land against competition from cheap imports," Mr Lennon said.

"But apparently not. His outburst can only be described as cowardly and un-Australian.

"I hope Hinch has the ticker to front the people he has caused such great offence to - maybe then he will gain a real understanding of the desperate plight our farmers face."

The Premier and Primary Industries Minister Steve Kons were in Mildura yesterday and Mr Lennon said he was proud to stand side by side with Tasmanian farmers at the fourth major protest rally of the rolling campaign.

Mr Lennon said the Tasmanian farmers had led a campaign that had awoken national pride, received saturation media coverage and would trigger attitudinal change among multi-national companies.

About 500 people converged on Mildura for the rally yesterday.

"The emotion is building rather than fading as the campaign rolls on," Mr Bovill said.

Tomorrow, the convoy heads to Balranald, NSW, where the farmers had planned to stop but not much else.

"It is a little place about the size of Sheffield, in the middle of nowhere," he said.

"We had to stop because we can't get to the next place on time. But now there is a civic reception and a community barbecue and the world whip-cracking champion is going to put on a display," he sad.


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