TASMANIAN LABOR ELECTION CAMPAIGN LAUNCH
SUNDAY, 2 MARCH 2014
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How good it is to be here in Bridgewater, and in Tasmania again.
A truly special place, whose architecture and landscape and skies and green fields are like a retrieved memory of an Australia at its best, before traffic jams and pollution.
A truly special place, the dream of every aspiring artist, and every early retiree contemplating a third age in a sandstone house among blue remembered hills.
A destination for a million tourists, trout fishing, bush walking, sketching on a mountaintop, honeymooning, second honeymooning.
How good it is, how rare it is, a special place with a past that is not just a museum, but a thriving, building engine of the future, and the technologies of the future.
I know that in the last decade, Tasmania has undergone a massive economic change.
I know that some parts of the state, some of you, are doing it tough.
Lara Giddings and Labor know that in hard times, governments have a moral obligation to keep people in work.
That’s why Labor has protected more than 2000 jobs in Tasmania’s major industries, places like Norske Skog, Pacific Aluminium at Bell Bay and BHP Temco.
But this is also a government focused on creating new jobs, leading the way with a $25 million jobs plan – the biggest in Tasmania’s history.
This plan is already delivering results.
3300 new full-time jobs have been created in the past six months.
This is a plan that puts innovation at the forefront.
670 new jobs in small business have been created by Labor’s innovation grants.
A plan that will set Tasmania up for a new wave of prosperity from record levels of mineral exploration and export, a growing dairy industry and nation-leading aquaculture.
Jobs have been the priority – but that’s not all that Tasmanian Labor has achieved for this state.
Lara Giddings and Labor know that governing isn’t about choosing between a strong economy and a fair society.
It’s about building a strong economy so you can create a fair society.
A society that benefits everyone.
Tasmanian Labor has invested in social housing and helping the disadvantaged.
Tasmanian Labor has led the nation on protecting women and children from family violence.
Tasmanian hospitals have been redeveloped and remade with a $1 billion investment – the biggest in Tasmania’s history.
Tasmanian community workers – 9000 of them – have received a long overdue wage increase.
Tasmanian farmers are reaping the benefits of a massive investment in irrigation.
Tasmanian consumers are enjoying lower power bills because of Labor reforms driving down the cost of electricity.
Tasmanian children are going to new Child and Family centres and learning to be active, healthy and ready for school.
Under Labor, the launch site for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, is already empowering the lives of a 1000 Tasmanians aged between 15 and 24.
Under Labor, the National Broadband Network has reached more than 33,000 premises – connecting Tasmanian schools, businesses and homes to the classrooms and markets of the world.
There is much more you can be proud of.
But we all know that election campaigns aren’t about celebrating achievements.
They’re about defending them – and extending them.
Tasmania’s next four years depend on the next thirteen days.
At this election there may be some people who think it’s time to give the other side a go.
Well I have two words for them – think again.
There may be some voters at this election who think that no matter who is in power, there’s no difference.
There will be those who think that Will Hodgman is a different kind of Liberal to Tony Abbott or Campbell Newman.
Make no mistake – what you see in Canberra and Queensland is what you’ll get in Tasmania.
The service cutting, quality of life reducing tactics that shrinks communities.
Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are listening closely to proposals from the big Liberal States to gut Tasmania’s share of GST revenue and rip $700 million a year out of the State budget.
They’re talking about fundamentally re-writing the rules on GST funding for Tasmania.
This is idea is at the top of Tony Abbott’s list.
A mainland smash-and-grab raid on funding for Tasmanian jobs and vital services.
Lara Giddings has already shown she will fight the Liberals all the way on this.
But what have we heard from Will Hodgman?
Not a murmur. Not a peep.
Will Hodgman has been silent on the Abbott Government’s plans to abandon meaningful Renewable Energy policies.
A target that has already delivered $1 billion of investment to Tasmania – with another $2 billion in the pipeline.
If Renewable Energy plans are scrapped, this investment leaves with it.
Lara Giddings has stood up to fight for this – Will Hodgman hasn’t lifted a finger.
Six months of the Abbott Government has taught us that it’s not what the Liberals say that will hurt Tasmanians- it’s what they will do.
After all Tony Abbott says he’s the best friend Medicare ever had.
Well, with friends like him, Medicare doesn’t need enemies.
He's more like his idol John Howard, who for a decade said in a similar whingeing tone that Medicare was unaffordable.
A real friend of Medicare wouldn’t spend their time as Health Minister ripping more than $1 billion out of the public health system.
A real friend of Medicare would know that Medicare is an Australian icon because it is free and universal. Free and Universal.
A real friend of Medicare wouldn’t try and slug Australian families with a GP tax every time they need to take their sick child or their elderly parent to the doctor.
A GP tax that will hit Australian families, without adding a single dollar to the health budget.
A GP tax that will in fact place a $2 billion burden on our public health system and put more pressure on emergency department waiting times.
Before the election, Tony Abbott said he was on a ‘unity ticket’ when I came to the Gonski reforms to school funding.
Reforms that would have delivered an extra $380 million to Tasmanian schools by 2019.
I use the word ‘would’ because after the election, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne ripped the unity ticket to pieces.
They decided to try for a cut-price deal.
A shabby, shoddy knock-off school funding arrangement that robs Tasmania of a much-needed funding boost, and gives no-strings-attached cash to their Liberal mates.
Before the election, Tony Abbott said that his party was committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Now, every day you open the paper and there’s another Minister talking down the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
They’re using weasel words about moving to a ‘cost-effective’ scheme that is ‘value for money’.
They can’t see that empowering people with impairment, giving them a chance to shape their own future, is the value for money.
Because whether it’s up in Canberra or here in Hobart, the Liberal party has the same problem - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
That’s why they’re trying to soften Australians up for a promise breaking budget this May.
It’s why they’ve primed their unelected, unaccountable Commission of Audit to recommend the some of the harshest cuts in Australian history.
It’s why they’ve got their sights set on penalty rates, education, infrastructure and health.
And if you want a sneak preview for how things will go for Tasmania with an Abbott-Hodgman double act, their press conference last weekend was a perfect template.
It started with a broken promise.
Before the election, Tony Abbott had said he would complete the roll-out of the NBN in Tasmania as it was intended, fibre to the premises.
Last week he walked away from that commitment.
That’s not a figure of speech.
He literally walked away from the press conference – and from poor old Will Hodgman.
Did Mr Hodgman stand up to Tony Abbott?
Did he criticise him for a broken promise that will leave hundreds of Tasmanians depending on 19th Century copper technology?
Did he at least pop out and ask to come back?
No, he just smiled and carried on.
Tasmania deserves better than this kind of spineless indifference to the broken promises of the Abbott Government.
So I say to all the Tasmanians thinking about voting Liberal: look at the Abbott Government as a warning.
A message in a bottle that has arrived just in time.
Don’t let Will Hodgman do to Tasmania what Tony Abbott is doing to unemployment queues throughout mainland Australia.
On March 15 the voters of Tasmania have a clear choice.
A choice between a party that fights for jobs and one that cuts them.
A choice between a party that believes in free and universal healthcare and one that believes in a new GP tax.
A choice between a Labor Government focused on building the future, and a Liberal party that only has two ideas: slash and burn.
And a third, perhaps, turn off the lights on the lost manufacturing jobs in Australia.
A choice between a strong voice to fight Tony Abbott’s cuts – and a rubber stamp for his heartless attacks.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce the right choice.
The Leader of this Labor Government.
The Premier of Tasmania.
The person who can lead Labor to victory on March 15.
Please welcome Lara Giddings.
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