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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3671 ..


Alan Wood in the Australian today says, “This is simply not so. To imagine anything else is to be totally deluded.” A former Labor PM—the same one who took us into the recession that we had to have—said, “When you change the government, you change the country.” I am extremely worried about the future of the ACT under a federal Labor government, if indeed that transpires on Saturday.

Our Chief Minister is wont to boast about the ACT economy. Indeed, the difficulty for the Howard-Costello government is that Labor governments have been made to look better than they actually are because the coalition government’s economic management has been so strong. Coalition reforms of the industrial relations and tax systems have actually promoted business. They have made employers much more confident about employing people, and we are certainly seeing a magnificent spin-off of that in Canberra.

When you examine any portfolio for which the state and territory governments have responsibility, they have actually made a real dog’s breakfast of it. For example, we have just been talking about health in the ACT. Of course, the same applies to New South Wales and Queensland. Yet federally Labor is promising to fix health, so confusing voters about whose responsibility it actually is.

What we have seen is not a smear campaign by the coalition government against Mr Rudd, as he repeatedly told us would happen—will his dirty linen from his time in the backrooms of the Goss government be aired at some later date, I wonder—but a concerted talking down over the years of what has been a very effective federal government by many in the media, obviously the left leaning ones, many of whom have actually worked for Labor in office, as well as an orchestrated campaign by the trade union movement.

The marriage of the Labor state and territory governments and the union movement has been quite diabolical in the way it has skewed public debate and promoted total fictions. I would like to point out, for example, that the Your Rights at Work campaign postulates something which does not exist at all—your right to work. Our right to work is actually dependent on whether there are willing employers. If you make those employers unconfident about employing or about the state of the economy, they simply will not employ. That is something that we have seen with previous Labor governments, especially, I recall, the Keating and Hawke governments. Employers simply were not confident employing employees and we ended up with very significant unemployment as a result. The only right you then have is the right to unemployment relief, and surely that is not something a lot of people want.

Labor is also noticeably not me-too-ing John Howard’s pledge to drive unemployment down to three per cent because here in the ACT we actually have historically low unemployment. We have levels of unemployment that have not been seen since the early seventies—indeed, the late sixties. What has been the reason for that? I will tell you. It is what Labor does not want you to know or understand.

A report by Econtech, run by the respected independent economist, Chris Murphy, concluded in August this year that Labor’s winding back of the coalition’s Work Choices and the reintroduction of a more centralised approach to industrial


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