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What Tanya Said


This question was posed to Graham Richardson on Q&A on Monday night.

GREOGORY BLACK asked: Graham Richardson – you’ve been scathing about the recent performance of the Gillard government. Yet, in many respects, it represents the logical conclusion of your own political philosophy of “whatever it takes”. Midnight assassinations, broken promises, dubious political partnerships, and so on. Given the current make-up of the ALP, with its spivs, flacks, numbers men (faceless and otherwise), not to mention its role as a pension honey pot for ex union hacks, do you see any hope whatsoever for the redemption of Australian Labor?

Graham’s response was interesting, albeit predictable.

GRAHAM: I gotta say I’m extremely disappointed by the way the Labor party has performed over the last 3 or 4 years. If in 2007, Labor governed everywhere, by 2012 it will govern no where. And I think for me, that’s pretty sad. And to lose it all in 5 years would suggest that there has been a significant change from the way Labor does business. Rather than a continuation as you suggested, I think there has been a big change. And part of the problem is I just don’t think Labor anymore knows what it stands for. Its got to work out who it represents, and what its core values are. I don’t believe a Gough Whitlam or a Bob Hawke would have gone near the Malaysian solution as an example. Its a joke. They wouldn’t have gone near it with a barge pole. So I rather look at some of the visions that they had, some of the great things that they did, and see if you can get back to that rather than just, it seems to me, fall around on the whim of focus groups to much. We shouldnt have to do that. We never used to. We dont need to now. I can go on for a month on this but I wont. That will do.

What Tanya said.

TANYA: Well.. Look.. I hope when I retire, I never make a buck trashing the Labor party for a start.


GRAHAM: I hope you do a lot to rebuild it

TANYA: Yeah. I am and I will be engaged in that always in a positive way. I think the notion that we don’t know what we stand for is so far from the truth. Everything we are doing in government is about taking the benefits of our economic success, the mining boom, the fact that we lived through the Global Financial Crisis and spreading that to every corner of our nation. That’s what the minerals resources rent tax is about. Its about superannuation for every single worker in this country, and tax cuts for small business and eventually infrastructure and business investment. It’s about the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which means people wont have to wait around for rationed services if they got a disability, every Australian can look forward to having support if they have a disability themselves or they are a carer for someone with disabilities. Everything we do, the investment that we made in social housing when I was Housing minister and the homelessness work that we’ve done. The double of funding for public schools and for disadvantaged schools. The historic mental health funding that we have committed to in the last budget. All of this is about making sure that the benefits that we experience as a nation that is very wealthy by international standards, are shared by every Australian. That we have strong economic growth and that economic growth benefits us all.


I tweeted shortly after this that Tanya is why I still vote Labor. That there are people like her still who believe in the meaning of the Commonwealth of Australia.

I don’t think Labor has changed at all Mr Richardson. In fact, what has happened is Australia and its people has changed thanks to decades of reform bought about by Labor.

Most of us not only have a car now, but more then one. In a double garage. In a big home. We have gadgets for our gadgets that will help us save time using other gadgets. We have high life spans (unless you are Aboriginal *shame Australia*), you have great education, fantastic public health care. We have scientists as well as sport people and actors making it on the world stage with IT/Business gurus and guruettes.

The Australia in 2011 is far far different than the Australia of 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, or 2000. We have come a long way. And that means those gaps between ‘working class’ and the ‘capitalists’ have not only shortened, in some instances, they have merged with many now owning their own business. Australians have changed.

It bothers me. We all marched together for a pay rise for all or for equity for all. But now that we ourselves maybe happy with what we have, we tend to not stick around for those who still don’t have. It’s why, as I mentioned, the Aboriginal mortality rate in this country is a smear on us all.

The fact that Dr Hollows had to fly a plane to those communities and conduct a operation that costs less then $20 to restore the sight of people astonishes me. Why did this need to be thrown to the shoulders of one man?

We are all Australians. Yet there are many who are still on the fringes. We need to address this. The core belief in all Australians regardless of politics or ideology is  this: We are the Commonwealth of Australia.

All of this is about making sure that the benefits that we experience as a nation that is very wealthy by international standards, are shared by every Australian.

We need to make sure that common wealth is available to all. Maybe that’s the problem. Instead of seeing it as a Commonwealth, too many of us are seeing it as a Mywealth.


A.Ghebranious 2011 (All Rights Reserved etc etc)

  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    WOOOHOO Ash very wel said

  2. patriciawa permalink

    I am always surprised on panels like Q&A when the government and the Prime Minister, in particular, are accused of not getting their message across, that no-one points out how main stream media, including the ABC, does its best to starve them of publicity or praise.

    • The reporting of the facts seem always to be twisted EG the schools program. The program ha a tiny 2% of its projects complained about and even then half of those complaints were vexatious. The media reported it as a multi billion dollar bungle as if the entire program was not worthwhile. Likewise the insulation scheme which was a problem because of the installers but again the opposition and media portrayed the program as being badly administered by the government not badly installed by the contractors. the media is as bloody minded as the leader of the opposition.

  3. debbiep permalink

    WOW- good on you Ash

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