Tasmanian Liberals the only party that can lead Tasmania

(Published in The Examiner 20th April February 2021, publication available here)

Security. We all want it.

We don’t only want it; we actively pursue security.

Be it in our relationships, jobs, health, housing, plans, or our nation’s defence; we instinctively seek a secure future. 

We accordingly plan, hope and often worry for that secure future.

It applies to politics as well.

Particularly in uncertain times, we rightly seek security, leadership and a plan we can believe in.

We need a stable majority government to deliver that security.

For those with good memories, Labor’s Eric Reece and Jim Bacon delivered on that score, as did the Liberals’ Robin Gray, Ray Groom and Will Hodgman.

Our economy benefited as did our futures.

On the other hand, from the mire of the recession-induced by Green-Labor minority governments in Hobart and Canberra, we suffered the corrosive impacts of sacked nurses, the prison in chaos, schools closed, a burgeoning debt, and the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In opposition, the Liberals both state and federal under Hodgman and Tony Abbott saw the obvious imperative to turbocharge the Tasmanian economy and help it become self-reliant and sustainable.

In the years since the elections, federally in 2013 and state in 2014, Tasmania has gone from recession to the turnaround state to the standout state.

This hasn’t happened by accident.

Laser-focused policy and targeted expenditure have delivered what we have now – the best economic credentials in Australia of all the states and territories.

Indeed, we have an economy growing faster than the Chinese economy.

Impressive by anyone’s standards.

These objective assessments are facts that cannot be sidestepped by political spin or empty rhetoric. CommSec’s eight indicators paint the picture – Tasmania is the standout.

The constant throughout Tasmania’s transformation has been the state Treasurer Peter Gutwein, who of course is now our Premier.

From shadow treasurer, providing believable, doable and achievable outcomes, Tasmania has again blossomed, seeing our children return home – the best indicator of confidence.

They rightly sense a secure future.

Their decision will be bolstered by the positive forward-looking plan offered by the Premier who rightly seeks a mandate in what we all hope and pray is now the post-COVID era.

Even if fate would have it otherwise, the aggressive infrastructure program and forward plan, including the Launceston City Deal, indicates confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) in our future.

Minister Michael Ferguson’s stewardship of this area is exemplary, as is Minister Sarah Courtney in Health.

When it comes to Energy and Agriculture, two significant potentials for Tasmania, Minister Guy Barnett presents another example of vision, enthusiasm and drive.

And if recourse is needed to the backbench, John Tucker (Lyons) and Felix Ellis (Braddon) are two standouts, highlighting the vast depth of the Liberals’ talent pool

The Liberal plan sensibly has as its priority a continuing commitment to keeping us safe and secure from COVID.

The plan includes a determination to diversify our economy, to future proof it for sustainable jobs.

A strong economy in turn will provide the necessary resources to provide the essential services on which we all rely.

And, what is a plan without ensuring our young get the best education, training, apprenticeships and jobs to secure their futures?

So good is the Liberal plan that Labor has had to descend to the dishonest scare campaign that the Liberals intend to privatise TAFE.

Simply false. Simply wrong. Simply desperate.

All done because Labor doesn’t have a viable alternative plan for TAFE.

The success we’ve built thus far and the positive future-proofing plan is all potentially losable given the vagaries of the Hare-Clark system, which at the last election saw the Liberals gain 51 per cent of the primary vote (not two-party preferred!) and end up with a meagre one-seat majority.

In previous elections when the Liberals were struggling, many a traditional Liberal voter switched to Labor simply to secure majority government and the benefit it brings.

One cannot help but wonder at Labor’s disarray (eg the state president publicly threatening to sue the state leader – really! Couldn’t it at least have waited until after the election?).

The raw enmity and division are on full display for all to see, showing how unworthy Labor is for government.

As Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke so cogently put it, “If you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country” or, in this case, the state.

Those who consider themselves to be traditional Labor voters need to do the right thing by our state and lock in the security of a stable majority government by voting Liberal – the party with the record, the team and the plan.

Let’s lock it in, Tasmania.