Anything is on the table under a federal Labor-Greens alliance

"There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead."

The infamous declaration, just days before the 2010 election, by then Labor prime minister Julia Gillard. A short time later, a hung parliament and a deal signed with Bob Brown, and this promise went straight out the window.

As we approach the 2022 election, it feels a little like déjà vu. Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party fervently dismiss any push from the Greens about the policy direction of the next Labor-Greens alliance, but you can bet your bottom dollar that when government is on the line, Labor will do whatever it needs to do to get the Greens to sign on the dotted line.

Shane Rattenbury points out that any statement from Anthony Albanese which tries to explicitly rule out the possibility of working with the Greens is "potentially dishonest, in that they may have no choice if they want to form government, and voters deserve to know that".

So, if we are looking down the barrel into a close election where the Greens could hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, what does that look like? It isn't the pretty picture that Rattenbury tries to paint.

The one thing that Shane Rattenbury has right is that the local ACT Labor-Greens government is an example of how these two parties run a government together. It is not an example I want our country to be following.

The Labor-Greens government have been working in coalition since 2008, and Canberra families are literally paying the price through skyrocketing fees and charges and deteriorating services, with extreme Greens ideological policy tacked on for good measure.

While the federal Liberal-National government has more than doubled healthcare investment in Canberra since coming to office, from just $200 million a year in 2012 to over $500 million this year, the Labor-Greens government has not prioritised healthcare, and has failed in delivering outcomes in every aspect of the health system.

The most concerning symptom of this neglect is our emergency wait times. Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said Canberrans presenting as "severely ill, bleeding heavily from cuts, having a major fracture or severe hypertension" have just a one-in-three chance of being seen within 30 minutes.

The former Labor chief minister, Jon Stanhope, has argued on many occasions that the poor health outcomes we are seeing in the ACT are a direct result of the dreadful policy decisions being made by this ACT government. He says: "Can anyone really deny the government the right to say that surely we all knew, when we voted for the tram, that the billions of dollars it is going to cost had to come from somewhere, and where else if not from the health budget?"

Our police are also a casualty of ACT Labor-Greens policymaking decisions, with years of underfunding meaning ACT Policing are under-resourced and unable to perform at their best, through no fault of their own.

Officers are missing targets to attend priority requests for help; response times are now at the worst in seven years. And if your house is broken into, can you expect the support of a police officer? Forget it - you'll be sent a link to an online report.

A spokesperson from the Australian Federal Police Association says "it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that response times are going to suffer from having fewer police officers on the road. Canberra's growing, the population's growing, the geographical footprint is growing, but police numbers aren't growing."

The police in Canberra are under-resourced and the security of Canberrans is not a priority of this Labor-Greens government.

Housing affordability and cost of living are not spared either - rates have tripled, land taxes continue to climb, Canberrans are still paying millions each year in stamp duty, and we now have the most expensive rental market in the country - and we are the only jurisdiction to see our electricity prices increase in 2021.

The failings are everywhere you look, but instead of spending their time working to address these issues, the members of the Labor-Greens government are focused on delivering an extreme drugs policy that would decriminalise hard drugs like ice, heroin and MDMA, against the advice of our top police officer.

Is this the kind of Labor-Greens government Australians want to see federally?

Because the federal Greens are no better. In a move that will cut 13,000 defence sector jobs from Canberra, the Greens will push Mr Albanese and Labor to cut our national security and defence budget in half should they hold the balance of power after the next election. They will pressure Labor to scrap the AUKUS security alliance with the United States and United Kingdom, and demand our nuclear subs deal be torn up.

At a time when the government is strengthening our national security settings in response to an increasingly complex strategic environment, the Greens pursue reckless extreme policies that demonstrate just how dangerous they are when given the chance, and the threat they pose to the safety and security of our country.

The question is what other wacky Greens policies will be on their priority list after they undermine our national security and defence - tax increases? Decriminalising hard drugs, including ice, nationally? Removing criminal penalties for the sale of drugs? Slashing funding to non-government schools?

Make no mistake that in a Labor-Greens alliance, any of the extremist federal Greens policies could be on the table.

A Labor-Greens federal government will have devastating consequences for the country, and is without a doubt truly bad for the future of Canberra.

 

Opinion - Canberra Times 24 December 2021