Social analyst David Chalke, from the Melbourne-based market and social research agency AustraliaScan, says Tasmania is in danger of becoming a “theme park” with lots of pretty things to look at but no real industry and few jobs. In relative terms, its population is declining and in the past decade, while the mainland’s population rose by 17 per cent, Tasmania’s rose by only 7 per cent. Technically, he says, it is in recession and its economy splutters on, propped up by federal money. “There is a hollowing out of the population,” Chalke says. Abbott didn’t need to urge young Tasmanians to leave; the ones who could afford to have already left. The bright young people, the innovators, the skilled workers and “the creators”, says Chalke, have departed en masse and “you are left with the unskilled, the unmotivated, the incapable and, at the other end, with the old and the sick”.