One person’s take on what March in March was all about

Over the last weekend (15-17 March) hundreds of thousands of people across Australia got together and marched against the Tony Abbott-leg government, under the banner of March in March.

There were many questions about who organised March in March and what were its motives and supposed outcomes. There was some quite good discussion about these questions in the lead up to March in March. But across the weekend hundreds of thousands of Australians marched.

They marched for various reasons.

I was fortunate enough to attend Melbourne’s March in March which started out at the State Library before heading off to Treasury Gardens. As it turned out there were tens of thousands of Australians packed into the gardens out the front of the State Library and around Melbourne Central. Some estimates suggest there were between 40,000 and 50,000 people.

It was a fantastic gathering of people from all walks of life and political persuasions.

I soon realised it didn’t really matter what March in March was all about but rather that this collective expression needed to happen.

People that had never met each other were discussing why they were there. And it turns out people had a variety of reasons but the theme was definitely overwhelming; the Abbott government is unsatisfactory and hurting people. It seemed that the people I was surrounded by were mostly there because of our treatment of refugees; our country going backwards on climate change; the expansion of CSG and opening up heritage forests to logging; and the attacks on single parents, students, aged and disability pensions.

There were others that I knew were there for those reasons and the attacks on workers’ rights and unions; and the education.

Personally I was there because:

  • Our country is going backwards in tackling climate change and isn’t moving towards an economy powered by clean energy and driven by innovation;
  • Our government has abandoned science;
  • Our government’s reckless austerity measures in the face of all evidence saying austerity is not necessary – ensuring the most vulnerable are put further at risk;
  • The policies of Labor and LNP towards refugees now sees some of the cruelest policies being implemented;
  • Of the attacks on workers’ rights and unions;
  • Our government doesn’t value the investment that education is in our population;
  • Of the increasing attacks on our digital rights and the implementation of a second-rate broadband network;
  • Of a government that panders to mining magnates and media moguls;
  • Our government seems to regularly embarrass us on the international stage;
  • A seeming lack of detail in articulating any kind of plan or vision for Australia without resorting to three word slogans.

There are definitely more but then this post would be very long and probably quite boring to read.

However I’m also confident that you can add your own reasons to this list for going to a March in March event held near you.

In the end it didn’t really matter why people were there; just that they did turn out to make this massive collective expression. I know it made me feel extremely positive and that the issues I work on and campaign for do matter and do make a difference. It was something that everyone there could enjoy – that they weren’t alone in feeling that something was very wrong with our federal and state governments.

The challenge, as noted by others, is for people working on progressive issues to turn this collective expression into further action.

For what it’s worth:

Here’s some video I took from the rally – this was well after the march had started but it was so massive it took some time before we got moving. Fortunately some street performers kept us entertained and revved up.

NOTE: This is a slightly altered version of the original post published here.

Places to see before they’re gone

With the conservative agenda being to unwind environmental protections and regulations, it saddens me to have to create a list of “Places to see before they’re gone”. Instead of protecting Australia’s precious places and species we have governments demolishing environmental protections and regulations.

Soon Australia’s precious places and species will be gone. There are pressures from increased expansion in mining; the frightening growth in fracking for coal seam gas; increased development and expanding urban fringes; continued use of unsustainable agricultural practices; and of course climate change. And this is on top of the fact that Australia has the highest rate of species extinction in the world.

The problem though is that once they’re gone they can’t be replaced. They can’t be rehabilitated to their original glory or restored. They can’t be magically brought back. It looks like it won’t be long before we’re actually visiting museums that hold holographic displays of different flora and fauna, or even landscapes.

It deeply saddens and disturbs me that my country seems to have too little regard and appreciation for our environment.

Here’s my list of places to see before they’re gone and they aren’t arranged in any particular order.

1. Great Barrier Reef

2. The Tarkine

3. Kakadu National Park

4. James Price Point

5. Kangaroo Island

6. Franklin River

7. Cape York

8. Victorian Alpine region

9. The Kimberley

10. Cape Barren

This is not an exhaustive list of “Places to see before they’re gone” and I’d love to know what additional places you’d add to the list.

NOTE: This was originally published at Alex Schlotzer’s blog on 18 January 2014

One opinion of the 2013 political landscape

If you haven’t noticed by now, this year heralds a federal election year. For the next few months we will see the first rounds of the election shadow boxing before the election date is finally announced. There are some screaming for the government to go to an early election while others want the government to go the full distance. Given the most recent polling results it seems the government is on its way back from total oblivion. However politics is a strange beast and anything can change between now and whenever the election is called. Under our federal electoral system, only the Prime Minister truly knows the dates for issuing the writs for an election to be held (after the Governor-General has given their consent).

However after the last couple of years of significant negativity in our national politics, the political landscape in 2013 looks very interesting, to say the least. The often repeated statements by the Coalition that the minority government has failed Australia are at odds with reality. The Coalition’s commentary has been the usual negative critique of the government that had, until more recently, been repeated by the mainstream media is likely to continue this year. There are many successes this government has had with the support of the Australian Greens. And at the same time some of the worst this government has come up with has been done in concert with the Coalition, like the return to the worst policies for assisting asylum seekers.

However, while the government is in some serious trouble, it seems to me that the Opposition is in even bigger trouble in reality.

In Queensland, the Liberal National Party (LNP) went from exacting a huge electoral win to now being highly unpopular. Queensland’s conservative premier is suffering from delusions of grandeur as he continues to slash and burn essential services, attacking hospitals, schools and emergency services. The Premier continues to ignore the massive contribution that tourism makes to the state, preferring to rely on mining revenue. The conservative government is very keen to destroy sensitive environs, including the Great Barrier Reef. It has gotten so bad for the LNP in Queensland that the conservative government launched a desperate distraction about compulsory voting over the festive season.

In Victoria, the Liberal National coalition is also deeply unpopular. Since pledging to do so much for the state, the Baillieu conservative government have spent the last couple of years sitting on their hands. There has been little development of the state’s economy and in fact there have been active efforts to damage the economy and undermine industries associated with renewable energy production and distribution. The government continues to back a Member of Parliament caught using public funds for his private business with a new round of allegations of a Liberal MP meddling in local government matters. And then there have been the changes to Melbourne’s green wedge to enable further development and expansion of the city, despite the lack of controls on such developments. However the Planning Minister is to give himself more powers to allow him to fast track developments, enabling the Minister to work around environmental protections and planning laws. For the most part this conservative government has been busy doing very little; they’re certainly not rolling out its so-called election agenda.

In Western Australia the conservative government is facing its first real challenge at the polls with the election happening in March this year. The conservatives have done little to improve their position. Despite the efforts of the loose coalition of conservative parties there is little harmony. The state government continues to pour money into the metropolitan regions, neglecting regional centres. There continues the acquiescence to the mining and gas lobby as the state government threatens local communities of forced, compulsory acquisition of land; and removes environmental protection standards. There continue to be problems for senior members of Colin Barnet’s front bench, especially for Troy Buswell, the state’s Treasurer and then there is the souring relationship between the major conservative parties.

In New South Wales, the conservative Premier, Barry O’Farrell, started out swinging but found it hard going not having out-right majorities like his colleagues to the north, south and west. While he hasn’t been as out-rightly vicious as Queensland’s conservative government, he has steadily and systematically been attacking the public service, and especially essential public services like public hospitals, schools and the fire-fighters. There has been little development of the state’s economy and there remains little being done about the pressing infrastructure needs of New South Wales, especially existing and future growth areas.

The Northern Territory conservatives are still busy dealing with being in government after a long time in opposition. It’s clear that there are some internal issues given the website still notes the conservatives being in opposition. While in South Australia the conservatives are completely incapable of making any inroads electorally with regular public spats about whether or not the current leadership is capable of winning an election. However despite the apparent problems, leadership spills have returned the existing leadership; though you have to wonder how well things are going for the conservatives when the leader that is regularly and openly bagged is continually returned as leader after each spill.

At a national level there are even more problems for the conservatives.

The popularity of the leader is perhaps the biggest problem for the conservatives at a national level. For two years the conservatives have maintained a relentless war of negativity against policy proposals before properly considering them, something the greater public has woken up to. However it seems to be very hard for the Leader of the Opposition to back away from his negativity and attacks. Every attempt by Tony Abbott to present a more positive front fails and he quickly resorts to being negative. There are, as already mentioned, problems with the policy platform.

There has been an endless stream of thought bubbles presented as policy and numerous contradictions between Tony Abbott and his shadow cabinet about what is or isn’t Coalition policy. For the last two years we’ve often heard the Coalition talk about their policies yet claim they’ll only be released before the election; it’s surely evident to most observers that the Coalition is extremely light on policy details to be continuing to use this tired line.

More recently they have run into trouble over the Slipper-Ashby case. The calls for a proper investigation have become louder, though the conservatives were probably hoping the festive season would make people forget this affair. There are many, many elements about this case that warrant further investigation, especially given the implications of who may be involved from the leadership of the conservatives.

Unfortunately if the summer is anything to go by, we still have a media environment that spends more time copying and pasting media releases than doing some real work to file stories. You only need to think of the ANZ hoax earlier this year to see that our media is cutting and pasting rather than doing some real work – simply put – such a hoax would not have happened if journalists did their jobs and media companies stopped sacking journalists. We have a media environment that insists on covering the trivial and fluff while ignoring the more substantive issues facing the nation.

Our media will likely fail to cover the important issues leaving most Australian voters poorly informed about the policies and positions of the various political parties and independent candidates.

Let us make the effort to maintain the pressure on all politicians and political parties to be up-front about their policies and positions on the key issues and not accept attacks as legitimate electioneering. And let us keep the pressure on our mainstream media outlets to provide us with information not fluff.

NOTE: This was first published on Alex Schlotzer’s personal blog

Commentary on Technology in 2013 Federal Election

The New Year is upon us and it heralds the start of a year in which a federal election will be called. Many are calling for an early election while many others are calling for the 43rd Parliament to go the full distance. There is no doubt that I am one of those that prefers to see the Parliament go the full distance and run its course before the Australian people head to the polls.

One of the exciting aspects for this year’s federal election, whenever it is called, will be the part that technology plays in federal election campaign; both the build-up and the campaign proper.

The shift in how people are accessing the internet and using social media will see a similar shift in how content is delivered in the federal election. Of course the shift I’m talking about is the increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet and social media; including to text and call friends.

Political parties might seem like archaic and antiquated organisations but they are sophisticated and look for anyway of gaining an electoral advantage. Given the explosion in the use of mobile devices to access social networking sites, watch videos, catch up on news and stay connected, political parties will definitely be delivering content designed for mobile devices. It will be interesting to see if political parties will ensure they have accessible mobile sites rather than solely concentrate on ‘apps’.
This is important as apps can be limiting and more likely to only be used by the ‘true-believers’ in respective parties. Mobile sites offer in many ways more flexibility for content to be delivered without creating a ridiculously large app to download. Though there are some very real advantages to using apps.

However in my opinion the more important thing to watch will be the consolidation of the various technologies to take advantage of data-driven voter engagement.

This might be a bit of pipe-dream at the moment as most organisations are constantly looking for the latest & greatest new social media tool. Rather it would be excellent to see organisations campaigning in the year’s federal election using the plethora of amazing online and social media tools that already exist to boost their campaigns and improve engagement with supporters and voters.

2013′s federal election campaign will see the most sophisticated use of voter data ever. It might not be done very well or produce the results Australian Obama fans are looking for but this year’s federal election will see the most sophisticated use of voter data to engage and connect with voters on more personal levels rather than the usual robotic method used.

Unfortunately I doubt that these things will be fully realised. While there is evidence to suggest that political parties and strategy-driven NGOs are moving to improved mobile sites and apps; using existing technology in a more coordinated fashion and using more data to connect with supporters and members, given the experience of 2012 I see there will be little change in how technology will be used.

Rather than using it to reach out in intelligent ways to voters, the technology will be largely used to promote television and radio commercials with little integration with the rest of the campaign. No doubt there will be the usual Flash-games and make-your-own banner/poster options and a range of ‘viral’ videos that will only be seen by the most dedicated members and supporters. And there will be the usual attacks and counter-attacks.

Of course there will be the usual rise in fake social media accounts to troll others and relentlessly repeat campaign messages, stupidly watering down the willingness of interested people to get more involved.

However, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Australia, no Australia here mate

The title of this post essentially sums up the federal government’s approach to irregular immigration and the so-called people smuggler problem.

If you haven’t heard by now, the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, announced the federal government would seek to excise Australia’s mainland from being part of Australia’s migration zone. Yes you read that correctly.

Australia’s mainland will no longer be part of the nation’s migration zone.

It beggars belief that a federal government would stoop to these kinds of measures to tackle a non-issue. It would seem this is an attempt to appear tougher than Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the Coalition’s Scott Morrison. It must bring into question now what we will consider to be Australia and what we don’t.

Does it now mean the only part of Australia in the migration zone is Tasmania?

It feels like a modern return to Van Diemen’s Land for people seeking refuge in our country; an act that is not a crime.

Of course the Australian Greens were very quick to condemn this move by the federal government. One would expect them to do so, and rightfully so given their constituency and that it’s the right thing to do. However, it is more interesting how Tony Abbott has responded.

His usual flair for saying ‘No’ at the drop of a hat, changed to ‘We haven’t seen the legislation blah blah’. This is far more interesting politically. But with the legislation in the Parliament the government has signalled an aggressive approach towards the Opposition.

So far the Opposition has been resisting agreeing to the legislation but can they continue to maintain this position?

In Chris Bowen’s most recent appearance on Lateline he struggled to justify a bad decision however he did make sure to wedge Tony Abbott on this decision. Since it was a policy measure pursued by former Prime Minister John Howard it will be hard for the Opposition to filibuster in the same way they did on the so-called Malaysian Solution.

It will be an interesting few weeks in Australian politics as the issues of immigration, border control and refugees are thrust spectacularly back onto the national agenda.

Celebrate progress to revive First Nations’ languages

NOTE: This was originally published on my personal blog on 20 October as “Progress to revive First Nations’ languages

The other day I was reading through my RSS feeds and stumbled across an excellent article about the revival of a nearly-dead Australian First Nation’s language. The article, Aboriginal language back from the dead, highlighted how a language that was nearly dead was revived through the dedication of a handful of people.

This is important news.

It’s important because it means that it is possible to revive languages that are on the brink of dying out. It’s also important because such revival of languages means that the cultures they speak to will be revived. The beautiful thing about languages is that through knowing them you learn about the cultures; you learn about the life and times of culture; and you learn about the intricate nuances of the cultures.

Sure not much fanfare will be paid to such news but we should be celebrating it. We should be celebrating the fact that in a country with such a terrible record of injustices towards its indigenous peoples’, a language nearly lost has been revived.

I think we should also be celebrating the fact that we can revive these ancient languages. It would be a great loss to the world to lose the culture, history and art of ancient languages but unfortunately Australia seems to ignore the alarming rate at which indigenous languages are being lost.

Yet this piece of news, while hardly celebrated, was celebrated hardly by at least me.

Jones and Macquarie Radio Network discover the power of consumers

The continuing Alan Jones saga is proving to be far more interesting than most commentators could have ever hoped to have predicted. It’s only been a little over a week and Alan Jones and his team are clearly feeling the pressure.

What started out as an awful apology that wasn’t even really an apology has morphed into a social media behemoth aimed at Alan Jones and his corporate sponsors. It was certainly telling that Macquarie Radio Network decided to issue a press release declaring that it was the sponsors of Alan Jones’ breakfast program who were being bullied. MRN thought it highly inappropriate that advertisers on their 2GB radio station were being ‘cyber bullied’ into withdrawing advertising from Alan Jones’ breakfast show.

Quickly the cries of cyber bullying were being made by commentators on Sunday’s politics and current affairs programming like Insiders and The Bolt Report.

The statement from also Macquarie Radio Network exposes their failure to understand modern public relations. Plenty of others have commented about these media and PR related perspectives, and a lot better than I.

However one of the less highlighted angles is the social media campaign targeting businesses that advertise on John Laws’ breakfast program is consumer power at work.

We’re constantly told about the power of our decisions as consumers and if we don’t like something we can vote with our feet. Well Australian consumers are voting with their feet and their keyboards. Consumers are taking the power back from the one-way PR machine of corporate advertisers and telling them loud and clear what they like and don’t like.

Though one has to wonder how clever the people at MRN are as they’ve spent a couple of days deriding and criticising consumers for using the power of their wallets to effect change. Consumers voicing their opinions through social media is proving to be quite powerful and if the likes of Macquarie Radio Network don’t begin to come to terms with it, then they’ll continually be on the receiving end of such campaigns.

It is not consumers caught behaving badly, rather Alan Jones and MRN. It’s time such personalities and their associated entities quit their complaining when social media turns on them because we all know how much they love social media when it’s working in their favour.

Some Truths about Trolls

Note: This was originally published on my blog on 31 August 2012

There’s regular talk of late about the ills of the dreaded trolls. It foments notions and apparently legitimate discussion about forcibly removing the cloak of anonymity. There’s the usual laments about the quality of debate and the taking over by the trolls.

Sadly the recurring ‘troll’ debate could be trolling itself.

Sadder still is the ludicrous notion that the so-called rise of the trolls (like some sort of zombie plague) is new.

The current debate and how repetitive it has become as different social and political commentators try to come up with new ways of legitimising online censorship and forced disclosure to justify mowing down the troll plague.

I’m a little sick of it to be honest. So I decided to add my two cents worth on the troll plague.

Here’s some truths about trolls from someone who has been online for 20 years. And that’s not even a dinosaur’s time online.

Truth One: Trolls have always existed

The truth is trolls have always existed.

Many, many years when I joined my first discussion board and began really participating in different threads, I was harassed for being a n00b and that I had a small d!ck or was fat or that my mum was a street walker etc. At first I took it to heart and furiously bashed away at the keyboard but then one day I realised another thread. The thread was about what to do with the trolls. It was quite a long thread with a lot of commentary about the evils of trolls and how much worse they had become.

This obsession about the trolls seems to come up from time to time; particularly as changes to technologies and new online applications allow easier access to mass broadcast platforms eg Twitter and Facebook.

The bottom line is there’s nothing new about trolls. Get over it.

Truth Two: Don’t feed the trolls

Seriously don’t feed the trolls. This is a fundamental truth for dealing with trolls.

If the trolling isn’t from a drone account, then all you are doing is validating the trolls comments, statements, attacks, slurs, abuse and harassment. If you ignore them they very quickly give up.

There’s nothing worse for a troll than to be ignored. They may carry on for a little while but they do give up.

You’ll have to exercise some discipline with this truth. It means you don’t retweet or repost what trolls say. It means not making snide remarks about your trolls. It means carrying on as if they don’t exist.

Online it is much easier to live by the well worn mantra told to kids being called names – sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

Truth Three: See Truth Two

By this stage you might think there’s a new thing called trolls rising like zombie hordes. So remember to see Truth One.

Truth Four: Block and Report

There are reasons that every reputable social network, discussion board, online forum, blogs etc have flag, report and block options for users being harassed. These aren’t new options either.

If you don’t like what the trolls are saying to you then block them and report them.

Truth Five: Trolls = Trolls

Trolls are trolls. They are not interested in a meaningful debate and an exchange of ideas. They are not interested in understanding your point of view or the reasons why you hold a particular point of view or opinion.

They are only interested in one thing; saying and behaving in ways that maliciously distract, disrupt and distort.

It would be great if commentators gained a bit of perspective about trolls instead of mindlessly declaring that anonymity on the Internet is evil. It’s time to mount the mantra – Don’t Feed The Trolls.

When will the Liberal Party come clean about their IR policy?

NOTE: This was first published on my personal blog on Thursday 16 August

There has been a lot of talk this year about productivity, calls for more ‘flexibility’ and strong words about the balance of the Fair Work Act.

If you only read the major daily newspapers in Australia you’d be forgiven for thinking that workers were endlessly taking industrial action and deliberately sabotaging productivity.  That is certainly the view that big business lobby groups like the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to have you think, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Indeed the recent review into the operations of the Fair Work Act showed that the legislation was working as it should be working.  ACTU assistant secretary, Tim Lyons, noted in his piece on R@W News last week:

“It’s important however that we separate myth from reality on IR and productivity.  While Australia has issues with productivity it is for reasons almost entirely unconnected with labour law.”

And this

“Australia’s relatively low productivity growth is a matter for concern. However, this is a long term problem. WorkChoices didn’t fix it, and Fair Work hasn’t made it worse. Labour laws are not the cause of our productivity problems, and they’re not the solution.”

In all of the commentary around the Fair Work review and productivity, we are still yet to hear from the Liberal Party about the details of their industrial relations policy. At the 2010 election voters were told that we would be given the full details of their industrial relations policy. Instead the Coalition went into hiding on IR with Tony Abbott meekly declaring that WorkChoices was “dead, buried, cremated”.

In more recent times, a lot of things have been said about industrial relations by Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and the Liberal Party’s IR spokesperson Eric Abetz, yet we can’t necessarily take what has been said to be policy because we’re regularly told that details will be released before the next election. It certainly reminds me of Tony Abbott’s now infamous line about not believing him unless it’s written down.

However we can start to build a pretty good idea of what the Liberal Party’s industrial relations policy may look like. The most recent commentary comes from Eric Abetz and according to reports the Liberal Party is considering changes to unfair dismissal rules that would force a worker to pay court costs if they lose the case.

But this is only one such example. There are plenty more.

Back in February Tony Abbott was telling Victorian members of the Master Builders Association that a Coalition government would return to the Australian Building and Construction Commission regime. And in July this year, Mr Abbott was busy telling the Tourism & Transport Forum that he understood their needs; their needs for more flexibility with individual flexibility agreements to be more flexible.

Not only did Mr Abbott tell employers he’d deliver more flexibility he then, a week later, declared that if the Coalition were elected at the next election, workers would find he would be their best friend. Remarkable given it was only a few years ago that John Howard was declaring he was workers’ best friend before introducing WorkChoices.

With all the talk about productivity and the Coalition’s constant reference to flexibility, it’s about time the Coalition comes clean about their IR policy.

Victorian TAFE cuts will suffocate state’s productivity

The Ted Baillieu Victorian government appears hell bent on dragging the state down in the short term and in the long term.

By attacking the technical and further education (TAFE) institutions in Victoria, the state government has illustrated scant regard for the state’s economy or future capacity to meet the growing need for technical and trades people. While there might be a mining boom happening in some states and plenty of opportunities for people with technical and trades training, the state government of Victoria is failing to see how it can respond when the boom comes to an end.

It would seem that for all the supposed ability to manage an economy, the Baillieu government is failing abysmally. Yet the breathtaking stupidity of attacking TAFE is there for all to see.

Within days of the state government announcing wide-ranging cuts to the TAFE budget because of private sector blow-outs and largesse, various universities that provide TAFE courses announced the closure of courses. It didn’t take long for established TAFE institutes announced they would have to dramatically scale back their offerings and ability to meet student demands on future course offerings. Not content were the current conservatives with the hikes in TAFE fees from the previous Labor state government, it was determined that slashing technical and further education would help the budget.

Unfortunately, the Liberal National coalition are simply running on ideology not on any practical policies supported by research and discussion. Like their federal counterparts, the state conservatives sense that they have a mandate to attack the institutions that make sure there is the ability to meet the growing demands for skilled labour.

Unemployment has gone up and is continuing to rise as more jobs are lost in manufacturing and Qantas’ plans to continue to off-shore maintenance work. And this is on top of the job losses in the public sector. The faux austerity measures are not improving the conditions of the state and are certainly not prompting an increase in business investment and growth. There definitely hasn’t been a cut in the cost of living; a key election promise of Baillieu’s campaign in 2010.

By limiting and restricting the growth of wind and solar energy, the state is losing out on growing a manufacturing base for renewable energy projects. This base can be developed relatively quickly given the potential of the existing manufacturing base. It can even spur some manufacturers to re-open plants and operations. However, because the state government is refusing to grow the economy, the state is losing skilled workers to other states or overseas.

As unemployment rises, people will seek to re-train or update their skills through institutions like TAFE. But with the state government’s slash and burn approach, courses are being dumped and fees are sky-rocketing. There are dwindling options available for re-training or career development while pricing more people out of the ability to pursue further education options; options like TAFE which used to be affordable. The ability to access affordable vocational and technical education has ensured people have employment options and to make available to the labour market skilled, educated workers. TAFE used to help produce the very workers being sought after in the mining boom; and the subsequent growth of regional areas.

The Baillieu government’s own employment and procurement practices have to be more closely scrutinised. Rumours abound that the government will continue to gut the public sector but then re-employ some of the same people through short-term contracts and labour hire firms. These kinds of practices lead to a shrinking corporate knowledge and stagnation in policy development; and more importantly stagnation in policy execution and follow-through.

Attacking our TAFEs is another example of the Baillieu Liberal government’s failure to develop a long-term vision for the state. The inability to meet Victoria’s need for skilled labour means that more businesses may end up leaving the state, costing more jobs. It’s clear there are no plans to improve the level of productivity through education and development and help improve the conditions for local businesses to innovate and continue to compete in the global economy. By attacking TAFEs the state government is effectively suffocating productivity.

The Baillieu government tinkers at the edges without a thought for the ramifications and calls it reform; after telling Victorians it’ll cost more to the taxpayer.

Victorians should think long and hard before giving the Baillieu government another term. It’s clear they are incapable of taking care of the state’s economy; or ensuring the state is capable of taking full advantage of the growing renewable energy industries.