Tasmania is facing a series of big, interlinked problems. These include:
• a health system in crisis,
• job losses in other public services causing big service inadequacies and unacceptable workloads and stress on frontline staff,
• bleeding of skilled professionals and new graduates to other states,
• the highest unemployment rate in the nation,
• an economic recession, and
• a rising cost of living.
Premier Lara Giddings’ Labor Party, with full support of its coalition partners the Greens, has stubbornly continued to slash money from public services as part of its neoliberal budget.
The Liberals have stood against frontline service cuts in opposition. But they cannot be trusted to deliver an alternative if they get into government. In NSW, Queensland and Victoria, the Liberals started making cuts as soon as they took over.
People are suffering in Tasmania now. Delaying health care by cutting services and increasing waiting lists only increases the suffering and the long-term costs.
Socialist Alliance calls for an alternative approach to managing the budget, one that puts people’s needs before corporate profits and budget surpluses.
Many economists will say, especially in times of economic crisis, governments need to stimulate the economy by maintaining a strong public sector and investing in jobs.
The government could reverse the land, payroll and betting exchange tax cuts that led to a reduction of $185 million in state income. It could increase mining royalties, reduce hand-outs and special deals to big companies, reign in spending on racetracks and other unnecessary projects, reduce politician, top-public sector and governor salaries to stimulate jobs and the economy and look after people’s most basic needs.
It could also invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives to reduce the cost of electricity for ordinary people.
Socialist Alliance, as the only registered political party in Tasmania that campaigns for these ideas, asks for your support at the next elections. But more importantly, it asks for your involvement in the community-based fightback that needs to happen.
We will join with any groups who want to campaign to protect our services. We call for a union-and-community campaign that uses mass action, escalating industrial action and community involvement to resist and reverse attacks on basic services.
We look to the successful campaign against school closures in Tasmania last year and the recent victorious nurses campaign in Victoria as evidence of what can be gained when people join together to fight for what is right.