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Queensland: can’t ignore consequences for treatment of community

AFTER a regime of austerity and arrogance Campbell Newman’s Queensland government toppled from power on the weekend after a massive groundswell against its approach. The rejection of the Liberals was unparalleled, even shocking pollsters.


Similarities between the Tasmanian and Queensland Governments

Under Newman Queenslanders endured the slashing of 24,000 public sector jobs that resulted in massive cuts to services. In Tasmania we’ve seen cuts blow out from a promised 500FTE to over 1200 FTE and services are suffering.

Arrogance, ignorance and aggression are words that fit both governments because they refuse to listen to anyone with a different view or who suggests a more strategic, inclusive or measured approach.

Like Campbell Newman, Will Hodgman promised much but once elected his clear agenda to slash was unveiled. The Newman government attacked freedom of association, the Hodgman government attacked the right to protest.

Like Newman, Premier Hodgman and Treasurer Gutwein have broken promises including:

• Reduce the public sector by a maximum of 500 FTEs over the first two years – BROKEN

• No plans to change our industrial relations system – BROKEN

• Negotiate in good faith with unions if a different approach was needed – BROKEN

• No cuts to so called “frontline” services – BROKEN


The fall of the Newman government is a warning to the Hodgman government. Tell the truth. Listen to the community. Work to grow the economy rather than simply cutting services. Most importantly, treat the community with respect, not contempt.

In Monday’s Mercury Will Hodgman said: “We will sit and reflect in due course as to what happened in Queensland, but not for too long because we’ve got to focus on what we are doing here in Tasmania”. Now is the time for Mr Hodgman to take stock of the Queensland result and turn back from his government’s similar steamroller approach to policy and austerity. It doesn’t work.

Hope: working together

As well as this warning, union members and the community should also be heartened by the overwhelming rejection of the Newman government’s approach.

Queenslanders felt the impact of austerity on their services. They were sick of a dictatorial approach with cuts inflicted, policies bludgeoned through and alternatives ignored. Public sector workers and the community stood together and rejected Mr Newman’s way, and the election result shows it was a failed method. Members campaigned against their government selling off essential services and outsourcing their jobs. Guess what? It worked.

So you should be heartened. Change can happen, standing together as union members and shining a light on the Tasmanian Government’s mean, adversarial approach can make a difference.

Talk to your family and friends about what budget cuts really mean. A good way to do this is follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share the many stories that are posted so the word can spread to save our public services. If work colleagues haven’t added their strength to the union they need to join with you and other Members. We must stand together in the face of this attack. They can join here.

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