Jul 14, 2012

Speech to NSW ALP State Conference

I don’t need anyone to tell me how to take on the Greens Political Party – I’ve been doing it pretty successfully in my electorate for some time.

Labor will defeat the Greens Political Party by the values of our ideas and our principles not by the value of our preferences.

We don’t just have different values from the Greens Political Party, we have better values.  We have a different base. We have a working class base in this party through the trade union movement. That base is reflected in all that we are and all that we do.

The Greens Political Party say they support action on climate change, but they voted against the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, not once, but twice.

Here in NSW, Bob Carr should be very proud. Bob Carr introduced the first capped scheme on greenhouse gas emissions in the world, led by NSW Labor.

They say they support refugees, but they oppose population growth.

They say they support public transport and better cities, but they oppose higher densities along public transport corridors.

They say they are against corporate donations, but who got the largest corporate donation in Australian political history? The Greens Political Party at the last federal election.

They even lecture us on transparency, but if this was the Greens Political Party conference there wouldn’t be media – it would all be done behind closed doors.

They don’t want to expose the division that is there between the genuine environmentalists, whom I have respect for, such as former Senator Bob Brown and people such as Lee Rhiannon, who see an opportunity in joining a political party with a “green” name attached to it when she does not stand for that agenda.

She stands for a very different political agenda.

Delegates, a huge gulf exists between the leadership of the Greens Political Party and those who vote for them. In the way we conduct ourselves strategically we should not make the mistake of alienating those people we need to win back. We should not underestimate the challenge that we face.

Many of the Greens Political Party policies are loopy. Lee Rhiannon, the Senator for NSW doesn’t just argue against a second airport for Sydney she argues we should also close the first one. Now, I understand how you can get in to Sydney through that policy – by parachute – but for the life of me I cannot understand how you can get out of Sydney as a global city.

Whilst some of the Greens Political Party policies are loopy, we must remember the main game because Christine Milne or Lee Rhiannon aren’t running for the Lodge. Tony Abbott is. I’ll be campaigning against Tony Abbott in my electorate. You don’t even have to tell people in a focus group who you are talking about, when you say “in your guts, you know he’s nuts,” everyone knows who you are talking about.

Campaigning against Tony Abbott is what I’ll be doing. We must remember that is the main game and we must also remember what happened the last time the Coalition had a majority in their own right in the Senate – we got Work Choices.

We have never given automatic preferences to the Greens Political Party and we never should in the future. We should negotiate on the basis of our strategic interests – on our strategic interests electorally, but also our strategic interests in terms of policy as well. We need to recognise the danger and the threat that Tony Abbott represents.

In the terms of the way this debate is conducted, I want offer a little bit of an insight to those on the stage. The term Sussex Street machine is not meant to be a compliment. A good machine is not a loud machine, it’s not a clunky machine, it’s not a machine that jars. It’s one that is smooth and silent. I say that in terms of the way that we conduct ourselves, because we will not win the political battle that we have with the Greens Political Party on the basis of a debate about preferences.

We will win the debate on the basis of the ideas and the values that we have.