Here is my speech to the NSW Labor State Conference. I tried, with the 4 minutes that I had, to be as faithful as possible to the hundreds of conversations that I have had with ALP members and supporters since I first put my hand up to be a rank and file representative on the NSW Labor Policy Forum. I would love to hear your thoughts in response.
Here’s a video of the speech shot by my partner Victoria Brookman, at the end you can meet our new edition Delina! Speech to NSW Labor Conference 2014: http://youtu.be/ueRyqvGU_bg
“When you ask ALP members what they want from a State Labor govt, here’s what they say:
And attack inequality
Set targets to reduce inequality, reverse the 30 year trend towards a more and more unequal society, and report on these targets at every State Budget.
Pay for it with increased taxation -taxation that’s progressive – and increased debt.
Since I was elected a rank and file member of the Policy Forum, I have addressed over 50 Branches and Party units to talk about what members want Labor to stand for, to put pride back in the Labor jersey after the disasters of the Obeid, Tripodi era.
Over 700 Party members responded to our Jobs and Economy Policy Survey…and I can say with certainty that they want a different Labor government to the last one.
The style of government typified by Bob Carr and Mike Rann was appropriate for its time and did many good things.
But times change.
The global recession of 2008 marked the end of the neoliberal era.
Two weeks ago, this Town Hall was packed with people listening to Professor Joseph Stiglitz talking about the price of inequality. A man who advocates a 70% top marginal tax rate.
We’ve woken up from a thirty year neoliberal slumber and we won’t fall for it anymore!
No more privatisations!
No more tax cuts for the 1%!
We, as a government, will build!
We, Labor in government, will grow education and health services, not cut them!
We’ll build transport and environmental infrastructure, to pass on to future generations a more sustainable, more liveable state!
That’s what Labor Party members want.
And we are willing to fight for it.
To make up for the deficit in infrastructure and services, we are willing to go to our neighbours and friends and convince them that we can only fill those holes if those that can afford to pay, pay a little extra.
Because comrades and friends, our tax system is broken. It is regressive and inefficient. There are two ways to fix it. Tax consumption, or tax property. With income and company tax unavailable to the states, and shrinking as a proportion of revenue anyway, Labor faces a choice. Tax consumption, hitting the poorest hardest, or tax property. Taxing the unimproved value of land is the fairest way, and it has the support of Treasury pointy heads, and may even help fix our housing crisis.
Friends, the way to win elections has changed. We now need to inspire an army of activists to directly contact our neighbours and show them, convince them, that we stand for democratic equality. That despite what they saw with Obeid, we are against elites enriching themselves.
And the big picture on economic policy has changed. Neoliberalism, with its privatisations and constant tax cuts, is a zombie ideology, dead but still stalking us.
It’s time to put a bullet through its brain!
Now we can enter a new age where democratic equality is pursued through fair taxation, high quality services, especially in education and health, and a clean, sustainable environment with good public infrastructure, especially in public transport.
That’s what Labor members want, and that’s what we will create!
I look forward to creating it with you!”