Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Tasmania: Turnbull Government
Last weekend, we had Malcolm Turnbull in Tasmania, and I mention it because it is rare for him to come to our state. I can count on one hand the number of times he has been to our state since the election of the Abbott and Turnbull governments. In three-plus years, he has been to our state no more than five times. But it was interesting because he came to Hobart, and he very rarely comes south. Of course, a lot of our people were there to greet the Prime Minister, and they were talking to him about a whole range of issues. Then he went up to the Liberal conference, where he basically said that they have learnt from the election campaign—in fact, that they have learnt plenty from the election campaign and they are going to focus on issues that matter to the people of Tasmania and to the people of Australia.
An honourable member: What did Richard Colbeck say?
Yes, the self-styled three Amigos were there, and Richard Colbeck was there. And they did not seem to quite agree with the Prime Minister; nor did they seem to agree with Eric Abetz.
At their conference, instead of discussing important issues like health and waiting lists and access to Medicare, and education funding and Gonski, and instead of talking about the 5,000 jobs that have been lost in Tasmania since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister and job opportunities for Tasmania, they discussed a whole range of things: things like removing fluoride from the water supply, getting rid of Hare-Clark, getting rid of 18C, getting rid of the 5c piece, and—this is my favourite—changing the colour of the House of Reps ballot paper because it subliminally favours the Greens. So they were talking about really important issues at their conference! Eric Abetz went out and did his media stunt afterwards, saying that he was delighted that the Tasmanian Liberal state council unanimously called for section 18C to be amended, and I notice that Eric Abetz has put out a statement today about the review into 18C and the parliamentary review. So no doubt he is thrilled.
But I think what it shows is: clearly, the Liberal Party has not listened to the message in Tasmania. Clearly they still are not talking to Tasmanians about issues of importance to Tasmania. I mean, to come down to Hobart and talk about a cities deal—when Malcolm hardly ever comes to Hobart, and when Labor had a better plan for Tasmania that was very clear—and talk about a business case for light rail when we actually talked about doing a proper business case for light rail and his government cancelled it; when he talked about leaving Tasmania off the map for the Smart Cities consultations and only gave us a hearing after we had it on the front page of the local media; to reject projects in southern Tasmania that were actually put forward for funding for the stronger regions fund; to announce a $25 million regional growth package about jobs during the campaign, which, finally, they have got around to actually talking to us about; to leave Hobart, Clarence, Brighton and all of the area in southern Tasmania or greater Hobart out of eligibility for funding for this package shows that they are clearly not listening to Tasmanians.