Page 1715 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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And what about other parts of Canberra? What will they look like? Will they have light rail in 20 years from now? Presumably, if the Canberra Liberals are intent on killing light rail from Gungahlin to the city, people living in Tuggeranong, Weston Creek or Belconnen should not be expecting light rail under a Liberal government at any time in the future.

The inconvenient truth is that the Liberal Party do not have policies for a vision for this city in the future, and that is simply negligent. The approach is to construct an identity by opposing the visions or policies of others. Canberrans are smarter than that. They care about the future. They will see past the nebulous, oppositional smokescreen; they will see that there is nothing behind it.

One thing that continues to amaze me is that the Canberra Liberals—apparently the friend of the Canberra taxpayer—are promising to tear up light rail contracts and dismantle light rail if they are elected. Every Canberra taxpayer should know that the Liberal Party is committed to wasting their money in this fashion. Canberrans will pay millions of dollars and they will see nothing for that money if the Liberals have their way. That is how much the Liberals are committed to their blinkered political campaign to oppose light rail for our city. What a terrible, expensive and thoughtless piece of politics.

Light rail is a project with clear benefits for our city. And don’t forget that the majority of Canberrans actually support light rail. To throw away their money like this would not only be embarrassing for a Liberal government; it would be unconscionable.

Not surprisingly, the announcement of this approach has quickly attracted criticism. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia is obviously in strong opposition to the Liberals’ approach and is imploring them to stop debasing the infrastructure program. Tony Abbott, the self-styled “infrastructure Prime Minister”, despite the contents of last night’s budget, did not seem too happy with the approach of his local counterparts. As more and more Canberrans discover what the Liberals are promising, you can bet they will be unhappy at this backwards thinking approach.

This leads me to a couple of other points. I have to note the line thrown around that the government is apparently “choosing light rail” over some other policy. Mr Hanson said that the government is choosing light rail over hospital beds or that the government is choosing light rail over police. Mr Doszpot implies that the government is choosing light rail over some particular footpath or other, depending on which week it is. It is a constant refrain.

This is a completely spurious position. The government invests across the policy spectrum. I could just choose any election policy of the Liberals—like a third bin for tens of millions of dollars—and say, “The Liberals are choosing bins over hospital beds. Why are they so obsessed with bins when they could pay for more police?” Or there is their commitment to spending $700 million on roads. I could say, “The Canberra Liberals are choosing roads instead of hospital beds.” It is clearly a silly approach: obviously a government invests in a range of areas, and to pick one and pit it against another is cheap and misleading.

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