As Albanese backs an AFL stadium for Hobart, Tasmanians are living in tents

Richard Flanagan is an Australian writer. He won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in a move reminiscent of his predecessor Scott Morrison in its tone-deaf hubris, is reportedly flying to Tasmania the weekend to announce critical federal funding of $240 million towards a new $715 million state government-funded football stadium in Hobart, a populist call that is wildly unpopular among many Tasmanians.

The stadium proposal is now opposed by everyone from the RSL to the Greens, Jacqui Lambie, Andrew Wilkie, almost the entirety of the state’s Liberal federal MPs and the Tasmanian ALP. In a state where footy was once part of the sweetness of community life, the sport is dying, with only 20 clubs left in the south. Much of the blame is laid at the feet of an arrogant AFL, whose demand for a stadium is eroding what passion remains for a Tasmanian team.

An artist’s impression of the new sporting stadium to be built in Hobart.