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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
28 August 2005
Federal Labor has demonstrated today that in yet another area it is happy to walk both sides of the street, offering completely inconsistent positions on serious national issues.
Kim Beazley’s finance spokesperson Lindsay Tanner last week attacked the Regional Partnerships programme – which has delivered around $57 million for important projects in communities all over Australia – as ‘rubbish’.
"We need to clear away rubbish like the regional partnerships program…" "Funding these things federally is a scandal..." (Financial Review, Monday 22 August 2005)
As a Western Australian Senator, I have written to Kim Beazley demanding he confirm that this is Labor Party policy or if not, to pull his finance spokesperson into line.
I pointed out to Mr Beazley that his own electorate of Brand has benefited to the tune of $1 million under Regional Partnerships, for several important community-building projects.
I also reminded Mr Beazley that he had claimed that he had supported such projects.
Today on Network Ten’s Meet The Press programme, Mr Tanner was asked by the Daily Telegraph’s Malcolm Farr to explain Labor’s apparently inconsistent position on Regional Partnerships.
Mr Tanner did not today call Regional Partnerships rubbish. Far from it!
"Sure Kim Beazley’s got a responsibility, as do I as a representative of an electorate, if there’s a programme that’s in existence – if possibilities are there for people to get money for projects he’s got a responsibility to support that no matter who the government as the local member of parliament." (Lindsay Tanner, Meet the Press, Sunday 28 August 2005)
Kim Beazley is prepared to support Regional Partnerships in his home electorate and rubbish them through his spokesperson at a national level. This latest flip flop is the sign of a weak leader.
It is hardly surprising that Mr Beazley seeks any way possible to ingratiate himself with his local electors, as he has abandoned them to live in Sydney.
As Labor’s treasury spokesperson Wayne Swan told The Australian newspaper yesterday:
"Kim Beazley is determined to commute up and down the east coast." (Wayne Swan, The Australian, Saturday 27 August 2005)
Mr Beazley was elected by the people of Mandurah, Rockingham and Kwinana. He should not turn his back on them.
Perhaps on one of his rare visits to his electorate he could visit one of the Regional Partnerships projects – such as those underway at the Rockingham Waterfront Village, West Coast Drive Park, wetlands management at the Lark Hill equine complex development in Port Kennedy, the Cape Peron Marina Precinct plan or the Mandurah Foreshore Focus plan – and explain to this community that his party calls them ‘rubbish’ when he is safely on the other side of the country.
Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434