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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1799

Mr WHITELEY (Braddon) (19:49): Tonight, I want to speak about something that is extremely important—that is, the decision that will be made by the Tasmanian electors on 15 March. Let me describe the state Tasmania is in after 16 years of Labor government, aided and abetted over the last four years by the Tasmanian Greens. We have the highest unemployment rate of any state in the nation—made even worse, I suspect, by the somewhat hidden and growing number of fly in, fly out workers. We have the lowest workforce participation rate in the nation. We have the lowest proportion of private sector employment compared to public sector employment. We have, unfortunately, the lowest gross state product per capita in the country. We have the lowest proportion of adults in Australia who have attained a year 12 qualification and the lowest retention rates to year 12 of any state. We have the highest proportion of population with a low-income card or receiving an age pension, a disability support pension, a Newstart allowance, a parenting payment and so on.

In short, over the last four years alone, Labor, in the political bed with the Tasmanian Greens, have overseen a reduction in employment to the tune of 10,000 jobs. That is an extraordinary number in a population of only half a million people. I cannot stress enough how this election will probably be the most important election in the history of Tasmania. This election is going to be about restoring confidence. It is going to be about providing certainty. It should be about being trustworthy. It should be about embracing the character of good people not manipulative people and it should be about delivering hope. We need confidence. We need businesses around the nation to see certainty restored to the great state of Tasmania, where they will revisit their plans to invest, where they will revisit their plans to take even an interest in what is a great state with great potential. This is also about trust.

As many in this chamber would know, I spent eight years as a member of the Tasmanian parliament and, unfortunately, lost my seat in the 2010 election. Let me tell you about the days and weeks leading up to the fateful election where the previous Labor Premier looked straight into the camera, looked thousands of people in the eye and said that under no circumstances would he do a deal with the Tasmanian Greens, that he would either rule alone or not at all. But what did we see when the result came in—10 seats, 10 seats, five seats? We saw a Labor Premier blatantly lie.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! I would ask you to withdraw the word 'lie'.

Mr WHITELEY: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am not referring to anyone in this chamber but I will withdraw the word 'lie' and say that a Labor Premier blatantly told a mistruth. The reality is: a deal was done, and the Tasmanian people do not need me to tell them the disastrous results which have come about as a direct result of the uncertainty of that minority government. Make no mistake: despite recent so-called assurances by current Premier Lara Giddings that she would not do any deals with the Greens, I can assure the Tasmanian people that, on past performance and given the desperation they now face, Lara Giddings and Labor will, given half a chance, govern with the support of the Greens. My cry to the people of Tasmania tonight is to elect a majority government. Do not play around with minority parties, Independents, Labor or the Greens. Give Will Hodgman the opportunity to provide a brighter hope for the future.