One Term Tasmanian Government

  • 29 August 2014
Bust The Budget Rally, Tasmania, August 2014

At election time political parties not only make commitments to the people of the state they seek to govern but they also make commitments as the employer of public sector workers.  Commitments to honour employment agreements, commitments to bargain in good faith, commitments to protect jobs are commitments that should not be broken.   Recent examples of the behaviours of Liberal/National Governments across Australia show that these commitments are honoured more in the breach.

Let's look at few examples of political lies that damage peoples livelihoods:

  • In my home state of Victoria Liberal leaders in 2010 made the commitment that no public sector job would be cut if they were elected but they have overseen the cutting over 6,000 jobs through redundancy and the freeze on recruitment.
  • In NSW the government lied about accepting court rulings in industrial matters then tied the contentious issues that they had lost in court to the appropriation bills so they couldn't be defeated by the upper house without damaging supply.
  • In QLD the Newman LNP government promised they would protect jobs and services and not sell public assets then, once elected, sacking thousands in some cases notifying workers they had been made redundant by text message.

These and other examples show that a party that is prepared to treat its own workforce with such contempt and be so disingenuous with the truth is not a party that is fit to govern. How they treat their employees is a clear indication of how they will treat the citizens of the state they govern.

A political party that claims breaching a commercial contract places the state at sovereign risk but is willing to walk away from legally binding workplace agreements shows it places the interests of big business ahead of the people it should be serving. A deal is a deal.

The power of state governments as an employer should not be underestimated. No other employer has the power to legislate and governments should not use this power as part of their industrial strategy against their own workforce. It is a sad day for democracy when a government uses the power and privilege vested in it by the people to use that power to tear up legally made contracts of employment for its staff.

What makes it more odious is the underpinning lies that they use to justify the attack. This is ideology for some, not governing for all.

Why do they hate their employees and the Tasmanian public so much that they would remove modest wage increases, employment protections, long held terms and conditions and real jobs that deliver real services? Why do they seek to undermine Tasmania's economic position by ripping the heart out of the economy by removing jobs and wages growth that would allow Tasmanian families to put money back into the economy?

These attacks have not proven successful in other states, they have seen economies contract, jobs disappear, and services collapse and voters turn on the government who oversee them. In Victoria in November the lies that were told to Public Sector workers in 2010 will be remembered and the Napthine government will be consigned to the dustbin of political history as the first one term government in Victoria for more than half a century.

My commitment to you is that we will stand up to the bullies and liars in Government. Let's make the Hodgman government a one term Government and consign it to the dustbin of Tasmanian political history.

Karen Batt – Bust the Budget Rally - 28 August 2014