A sea of socialist red lanyards greeted every speaker to the podium at this year’s Tasmanian Labor conference. Yet again the Left used our more than two thirds majority to pursue progressive policy outcomes, strengthen our platform and even rebuke some decisions of the National Conference.
Tasmanian Labor adopted a new Chapter 1 to our platform. In it we affirmed our enduring values as synonymous with the core mission of the trade union movement, explicitly enshrining the rights we believe every person has – including the right to a decent home, access to publicly provided universal health and education services, the right to a good, secure, well-paying job and the guarantee of a living wage.
We declared unequivocally; “Labor has the objective of democratic socialism. We are committed to building an inclusive economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top, where we spread opportunity by transferring power and wealth from the few to the many.”
The Tasmanian conference emphatically rejected the policy of boat turnbacks and we demanded the immediate closure of the Nauru and Manus offshore detention centres.
We insisted on tax justice and declared that Labor must never support a reduction in the corporate tax rate. We urged Federal Labor to embark on a massive program of infrastructure development, funded through borrowing, while costs remain at record lows.
We called for a rollback of VET funding contestability and insisted on the re-establishment of TAFE as the leading and public provider of VET courses.
We went further than the National Conference, calling for paid domestic violence leave to be legislated in the NES.
The Conference ruled out the funding by a State Labor Government of for-profit providers in the social and community services sector.
Yet again we championed a fairer welfare system, supporting the ACOSS recommendations for a new singular welfare payment consistent with the principles of a liveable social wage and accordingly indexed to the Australian median wage.
The Conference called for the removal of all barriers to the registration of a change of sex and demanded changes to the Criminal Code to ensure that acts of sexual intercourse performed without consent, regardless of how they are committed, are considered rape.
We declared that Federal Labor’s support of the metadata collection laws were a regrettable deviation from our core beliefs and insisted the Act be amended to restore Australians’ civil liberties.
We insisted on changes to the Fair Work Act to allow free and open access to conduct union conversations in the workplace and to shift the concept of bargaining away from individual workplaces to allow cross-industry and supply chain bargaining.
We called for the introduction of an Equality Act to actively promote human rights and economic equality.
The Tasmanian Left can be proud of a platform and policy positions which adhere to the values we hold dear – values now enshrined in our platform; equality, dignity, fairness and respect for all people, regardless of background or origin.