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State must unite for greater good

By CPSU General Secretary Tom Lynch

I REALISE that a vision is normally about looking forward, however my vision for Tasmania is about going back to a time when Tasmanians were more confident, more united and more compassionate.

In 1998 Jim Bacon was elected premier, and his government was given a strong mandate for change.

At that time our economy was in the doldrums, our society was divided, our best and brightest were moving interstate in search of opportunities and we lacked the confidence needed to believe our ideas and creativity were a match for those on the mainland or around the world.

Through strong leadership, an inclusive attitude and openness to innovation the Bacon government turned these things around.

It gave a voice to the silent majority, it encouraged new economy businesses while maintaining its respect and support for the existing industries that had fed Tasmanians for decades, it was socially progressive without losing the support of the majority and, for the most part, it was open and honest about how government operated.

As a result of these changes Tasmanians were again proud of their state and confident we could be successful in the 21st century and beyond.

Our population began to grow as those who had fled the state in the 1980s and ’90s returned and brought with them new ideas and great energy.

We began to care for one another again because we understood we were building a society not just an economy.

Gradually people began to recognise a Tasmanian brand – a brand built around the values of fairness, cleverness, high quality, health and happiness.

An island of people emerged harnessed together by a single vision and a set of values we were proud of.

Somehow we lost our way, so my vision for the future of our state is to return again to that fleeting moment when we were Tasmania together.

I see a Tasmania united around a plan we all understand and support. A Tasmania that draws strength from a diversity of ideas and attitudes and is friendly and welcoming.

A Tasmania where the jobs of workers are considered as being too important to be sacrificed at the altar of political ideology or opportunism.

A Tasmania where the needs of the least privileged and most vulnerable are foremost in budget planning and where we all take satisfaction from knowing that no one is being left behind.

A Tasmania that people around the world look to as the example of what a cohesive, island community can achieve and a place they want to visit or live in.

We can return to those better times but it will require genuine leadership and a singularity of purpose.

We need to break through the mentality of parochialism and individualism and we need politicians willing to make decisions because they are right, not because they are popular or might disadvantage their opponents.

We need to convince all Tasmanians they are part of something that will deliver better outcomes for all if they are all willing to consider the greater good instead of self-interest.

We must develop a clear plan that details the jobs Tasmanian workers will be performing in 10 years time and then put in place the conditions that will build the industries we need to provide those jobs.

We need tri-partisan support for the plan and our politicians must be open and honest with the people about progress with the plan.

Tasmania has an enviable history and we can return to that time where we were united around a common purpose and proud of who we are.

We are an island community that can survive as Tasmania together but one I believe is doomed as Tasmania apart.

Source: The Examiner, 3 November 2012

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