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Liberal Motion - Labor Party Plans for Future

11 September 2019

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Deputy Speaker, this is a highly political and silly motion in the way it is drafted. We would have to agree with a number of things in it, however. It is pretty clear that Labor has failed to develop a long-term plan for Tasmania and we have seen that time and again. There is never an alternative budget. There is no visionary work on climate change or the climate emergency. The level of petty politics that has been played by the Labor Party in the name of doing everything possible to avoid being in a vote with the Greens is depressing. It is shameful and it is reckless. They failed to support our motion today to require the fire and emergency services minister to provide information to parliament about resourcing for bushfire fighters and remote area teams for the upcoming summer firefighting season. They failed to support our call for the minister to respond on the recommendations that have been adopted and acted upon following the AFAC Review. This speaks volumes to the fact that Labor has lost itself in the wilderness.

In the Mercury today, David Killick has written a comment column to note that -

Labor's declaration of war on the Greens means the dynamic has changed. Gone is any prospect of reforms like pill testing, voluntary assisted dying, increasing the size of parliament or a Human Rights Act.

We hope he is wrong but all the signs are there that Labor would do anything, throw any good policy, any commitment to progressive values, any commitment even to its party's longstanding voting position on bills or issues is junked in the name of being a small target, saying nothing and standing for nothing. Even the long-time social justice campaigner, Rodney Croom, said today that -

Labor has been scared into veering right by the federal election result.

"When Labor MPs say 'if you want progressive law reform you have to vote us in', I remind them that voters will not respect a party that is so easily spooked,"

This is the party whose leader went to their state conference a couple of weekends ago wanting to reconnect with those Tasmanians who like to go fishing, camp with a swag, and, 'go spotlighting for wallabies'. This is the party that is silent on native animal protection. It is not putting up any resistance to the Government on any single issue. Why are they here at all? Why do they turn up to work every day? It is essential for a democratic system to have a government that is scrutinised. Every single person sitting on the other side of the Chamber from the Government ought to be doing that job. The Greens are doing that job. It is the role of the Labor Party along with the Greens to be an opposition.