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The Victorian Opposition, yes they do exist, reckon the Bracks Government has broken stacks of promises. This is their list.

When John Brumby and later Steve Bracks were leading the Victorian Labor Paty in Opposition, they would regularly complain about the lack of resources. But now that they are in government, they have done nothing to improve the condition for the new opposition and are therefore harming democracy. If Labor thought they should restore the independence of the Auditor General in the interests of democracy than they should also give the Opposition a few basic resources such as a computer server and email access for all staff. Until this happens, Crikey will give the Opposition an occasional hand where warranted in the interests of the public debate. The following opposition document on Labor’s broken promises in the first 100 days is useful if not a little hysterical. And it should be stressed that promises should be broken if they are stupid. If the department of state development says these various regional rail links are a massive waste of money, then Labor should break their promises and divert the money into more worthwhile causes.

The FollowinG Document Was Compiled By The Victorian Opposition

PROMISE #1.

‘Labor’s target is for an unemployment rate of 5% by the end of the first term of a Bracks Labor government ? Our realistic jobs target will reduce adult and youth unemployment rates to a level consistently below the national average within our first term of office.’ Employment and skills: Labor’s plan to skill Victoria

BROKEN Premier Bracks undermined his own policy when he stated that ‘the current settings are not enough to deliver a 5% unemployment rate in four years.’ Steve Bracks, The Weekend Australian, 8-9 January 2000, p10

PROMISE #2.
‘The unions won’t be running us.’ Steve Bracks, 3AW, 28/9/99

BROKEN Yes they will. The Labor Party requires every one of its members to employ only Union labour.

PROMISE #3.
Labor pledged to ‘Cut class sizes for prep, year 1 and year 2 to 21 or less.’ Labor’s ‘Building School Communities’ Policy ‘We will equip schools with the resources for school sizes to be at 21 or less in prep, grade 1 & grade 2,’ Steve Bracks. Parliamentary Hansard, 25 November 1999

BROKEN Labor has failed to stick by its promises. A departmental brief to the Minister for Education which was obtained by the Opposition revealed that Labor would only reduce class sizes to an average of 21 students in the younger years. Figures released on Friday 28 January 2000, reveal that there 42 per cent of classes from Prep to Grade 2 have over 24 students. At this stage the Government won’t release the percentage of classes with over 21 students in each class.

PROMISE #4.
‘Except where there are the most genuine cases of commercial in confidence we believe that these contracts ought to be public.’ John Brumby, 1/2/99

BROKEN Labor has backed down on this commitment. John Brumby, when discussing the secret deals between the Labor and Internet company E-Sign stated that ‘We’re not in the business of disclosing confidential agreements.’ ABC Radio News, 9/11/99

PROMISE #5.
‘A State Labor Government, if elected at the next poll, will build a genuine public hospital in Knox.’ Then Opposition health spokesman, John Thwaites, Knox News, 26/5/1998

BROKEN Labor has failed the people in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. In November 1999, Labor dumped its promise to build a new hospital at Knox.

PROMISE #6.
‘Adhere to the ideals of freedom of speech by removing restrictions on the freedom of speech of those employed under government contract or as public servants.’ Independents’ Charter, as agreed to in full by the Bracks Labor Government.

BROKEN The Office of the Premier has issued instructions forbidding Chief Executives of statutory authorities from speaking directly to Opposition Members.

PROMISE #7.
Labor agreed with the Independents’ Charter to hold an inquiry into ambulance contracts, which states: ‘The terms of reference to be agreed to by the Independents after consultation with Government, Opposition and other interest groups.’

BROKEN In a direct breach with its promise, Labor did not consult with the Opposition when establishing the terms of reference for the Royal Commission.

PROMISE #8.
‘In particular my (Steve Bracks’) legislative program for the coming session of Parliament (Spring Session 1999) will include a bill to restore common law rights for seriously injured workers.’ Labor’s response to the Independents’ Charter

BROKEN Labor has failed to introduce any legislation that would deliver this promise.

PROMISE #9.
‘Labor will extend the surf lifesaving season by an additional four weeks in recognition that many Victorians continue to need patrolled beaches during February each year.’ Building Victoria’s sporting life – Labor’s plan

BROKEN Labor has failed to take any action on this promise, despite February being only a few days away.

PROMISE #10.
‘One of the things we’ll change is this unbelievable notion of commercial in confidence.’ Steve Bracks, Press Club, 15 September 1999

BROKEN Labor has failed to deliver on one of its major promises to the Victorian public. Premier Bracks stated ‘I’m not able to discuss what sort of arrangements that we will discuss with the principals of Virgin, but we will have ongoing discussion…? Steve Bracks, 3AW 30/11/99

PROMISE #11.
‘We have developed a mature relationship with the union movement, and you’ll see from all our policies we want to make sure that we’re the honest broker in driving jobs and employment around the state and that means working with industry, business and unions in a co-operative way.’ Labor Leader Steve Bracks, Interview on 3BA Ballarat, 15/9/99

BROKEN Labor has failed its first major test. When it came time for Premier Bracks to act as an ‘honest broker’ in mediating industrial disputes at Yallourn Energy and Colonial Stadium, he refused to participate.

PROMISE #12.
‘A Bracks Labor Government will ensure that the checks and balances vital in protecting our democracy are maintained and enhanced by?introducing strict laws governing donations to political parties that will end the practice of wealthy mates of the government buying influence.’ Living Suburbs – Labor’s plan for the future of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. (P.9)

BROKEN Labor’s $1000 a head party fundraiser in December 1999 specifically targeted businesses which sought to influence government decision-making. In addition, Labor have established a ‘Progressive Business’ club which advertises: ‘Join Progressive Business and influence the decision-making process’.

PROMISE #13.
‘We would only go for drug safe injecting facilities on a trial basis where councils approved it and where there was wide community consultation and support for it. If there’s not, we wouldn’t go ahead.’ Steve Bracks, 3AW, 6 September 1999

BROKEN Labor has failed to stand by this promise. An article in the Herald-Sun of 8 November 1999 stated that in relation to heroin shooting galleries ‘Mr Thwaites (the Health Minister) confirmed the location would be decided by the Government and councils would have no power of veto.’

PROMISE #14.
‘I will build on the best work of the last five to seven years – such as, and I can concede this, Alan Stockdale’s pursuit of information technology and multimedia strategies. I support it, we will enhance it and develop it further. Steve Bracks, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, 11/10/99

BROKEN The Labor has failed the IT and Multimedia sectors by refusing to appoint a dedicated Information Technology or Multimedia Minister.

PROMISE #15.
Labor will provide $20 million for a fast rail link to Bendigo that will reduce travel times to eighty minutes. Rebuilding the Transport Network: Labor’s Election Policy

BROKEN Labor has backed down on this promise, and has committed to a feasibility study only.

PROMISE #16.
Labor will commit $25 million for a fast rail link to Ballarat that will reduce travel times to less than sixty minutes. Rebuilding the Transport Network: Labor’s Election Policy ‘I won’t throw in the towel as my opponent has, as the Premier has, of putting it off till (sic) after the election, of having a – what’s he talking about – a feasibility study.’ Bracks on 3BA Ballarat, 15/9/99

BROKEN Labor has backed down on this promise, and has committed to a feasibility study only.

PROMISE #17.
Labor will commit $15 million to upgrade the Traralgon line. Steve Bracks, Labor Campaign Launch Speech.

BROKEN Labor has backed down on this promise, and has committed to a feasibility study only.

PROMISE #18.
Labor will contribute $20 million for a rapid transit link to Geelong, cutting travel times to less than 45 minutes. Rebuilding the Transport Network: Labor’s Election Policy

BROKEN Labor has backed down on this promise, and has committed to a feasibility study only.

PROMISE #19.
‘Labor will, within 100 days of attaining Government, complete a full feasibility study in conjunction with private sector operators into the reopening of the Benalla-Yarrawonga-Cobram rail line.’ Labor and the North-East – A new partnership

BROKEN Labor has admitted this study will not be completed within this timeframe.

PROMISE #20.
‘Labor will, within 100 days of attaining Government, complete a full feasibility study in conjunction with private sector operators into the reopening of ‘ the Benalla-Rutherglen rail line.’ Labor and the North-East – A new partnership

BROKEN Labor has admitted this study will not be completed within this timeframe.

PROMISE #21.
‘Within 100 days of obtaining office, a Bracks Labor Government will complete a feasibility study into the upgrade of the Ballarat-Melbourne railway line with the objective of working with the private sector to achieve a one-hour journey from Ballarat to Melbourne.’ Labor and Ballarat: A New Partnership

BROKEN This promise contradicts their own policy commitment to build a fast rail-link (outlined above). In addition, Labor has admitted this study will not be completed within this timeframe.

PROMISE #22.
‘Within 100 days of attaining office, a Bracks Labor Government will complete a feasibility study into the upgrade of the Traralgon-Melbourne rail line with the objective of working with the private sector to achieve improved travel times, commuter access and freight opportunities.’ Labor and Gippsland: A new partnership

BROKEN This promise contradicts their own policy commitment to build a fast rail-link (outlined above). In addition, Labor has admitted this study will not be completed within this timeframe.

PROMISE #23.
‘Within 100 days of obtaining office, a Bracks Labor Government will complete a feasibility study into the upgrade of the Bendigo-Melbourne rail line with the objective of working with the private sector to achieve an eighty-minute service to Melbourne.’ Labor and Bendigo: A new partnership – Labor’s election policy

BROKEN This promise contradicts their own policy commitment to build a fast rail-link (outlined above). In addition, Labor has admitted this study will not be completed within this timeframe.

PROMISE #24.
‘In our first 100 days, I will establish an Infrastructure Planning Council which will have on it business, local government, planners from around Victoria, and will set the agenda for industry and infrastructure growth around the state.’ Labor Leader Steve Bracks, at the Australia-Israel Chamber of commerce business lunch 11/10/99

BROKEN Labor has failed to set up the Infrastructure Planning Council within 100 days of gaining office.

PROMISE #25.
‘I will restore the rights of injured workers – seriously injured workers – to sue at common law ‘ it’ll be in our first hundred days.’ Steve Bracks, 3GI, 28/9/99

BROKEN Labor has failed to deliver on this promise.

PROMISE #26.
‘Only Labor has a plan to save Waverley as a football venue.’ Living Suburbs: Labor’s plan for the future of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs (P.10)

BROKEN The Labor has failed to ‘save’ Waverley Park as a football venue, with not a single AFL game scheduled for the ground in the 2000 Premiership Season.

PROMISE #27.
‘Victorian Labor will soon be releasing details of how we can protect AFL footy in Victoria and produce a huge income stream for the AFL, meaning they can earn income and keep Waverley.’ Petition circulated by John Pandazopoulos prior to the election in his role as Shadow Minister for Sport.

BROKEN Labor’s promise to return funds to the AFL through their National Footy Tipping competition has failed, with the implication that the ‘huge income stream’ which was to be made available for the preservation of Waverley Park is no longer an option.

PROMISE #28.
‘I commit a Bracks Labor Government to’affirm the principles that debate and dissent are legitimate aspects of a democratic political system (and) … move a motion in the Victorian Parliament to express the Legislature’s support for these principles.’ Labor’s response to the Independents’ Charter

BROKEN Labor has failed to move such a motion.

PROMISE #29.
In his response to the Independents’ Charter, Labor Leader Steve Bracks announced that Labor would ‘establish a multi-party review into the contracting-out of services, to report within six months, as to whether the system should continue or be wound down as contracts expire.’ Labor’s Response to the Independents’ Charter

BROKEN Labor has failed to establish a multi-party review, and the probability of it reporting within six months is virtually non-existent.

PROMISE #30.
‘The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee’s report into commercial confidentiality should have been released prior to the State Election. Labor representatives of the committee will ensure that the report will be released promptly.’ Labor’s response to the Independents’ Charter

BROKEN Labor has failed, after 100 days, to release this report.

PROMISE #31.
A Labor Government will commission the CSIRO to report within 100 days on OJD (Ovines Johnes Disease) and in particular on whether current trading restrictions for farmers under surveillance can be justified on scientific grounds. Labor’s Agriculture policy, World Class and Green

BROKEN Labor has failed to deliver this report.

PROMISE #32.
Labor will govern through a new style of leadership that includes a commitment to partnership, consultation and a genuine concern for the real needs of people living in the region (Melbourne’s east). Labor’s Living Suburbs policy

BROKEN Labor failed to consult with any major interest groups or associations when it scrapped the building of the Knox Hospital.

PROMISE #33.
Labor promised that natural gas to Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards would be ‘turned on within the first year of a Labor Government.’ Geelong Advertiser, P.4, 16/9/99

BROKEN Labor has failed to act quickly on this promise. Regional Development Minister John Brumby confirmed that the gas pipeline would not be completed until July 2001. (Geelong Advertiser, 25/11/99, P.4)

PROMISE #34.
Labor will govern through a new style of leadership that includes a commitment to partnership, consultation and a genuine concern for the real needs of people living in the region (Melbourne’s east). Labor’s Living Suburbs election policy

BROKEN Labor failed to consult with any major interest groups or associations when it scrapped plans for the construction of the multi-million dollar Scoresby Freeway.

PROMISE #35.
‘Labor will, as a matter of priority ‘ review the operation and adequacy of the Retail Tenancies Act.’ Taking Care of Small Business: Labor’s Small Business Election Policy

BROKEN Labor has failed to undertake this review as a ‘matter of priority’.

PROMISE #36.
‘In particular my (Steve Bracks’) legislative program for the coming session of Parliament (Spring Session 1999) will include ‘ a bill to establish an Essential Services Commission.’ Labor’s response to the Independents’ Charter

BROKEN Labor has failed to introduce any legislation that would deliver this promise.

PROMISE #37.
Labor will give priority to the construction of link roads in Melbourne’s growth suburbs. Rebuilding the Transport Network: Labor’s Election Policy

BROKEN Labor has scrapped plans to build the Scoresby Freeway, which would have provided a new road link between Frankston and Ringwood.

PROMISE #38.
‘Labor demands the immediate release of the Halcrow Pacific report into tunnelling design and costings (of the Eastern Freeway extension project).’ Living suburbs – Labor’s plan for the future of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

BROKEN Labor has failed to release this report, and has stalled this project, for which the Kennett Government in the 1999-2000 State Budget allocated funds.

PROMISE #39.
‘Labor is committed to reducing the size of the Senior Executive Service by a minimum of 232 positions.’ Labor’s Budget Statement

BROKEN Labor has backed-down on this promise, announcing a reduced 116 positions to be cut. In addition, many positions that have been identified are already vacant, or staff have simply been redeployed.

PROMISE #40.
‘Funding of up to $1.662 million will be available for the Women in Sport initiative from revenue received from Labor’s National Footy Tipping Competition.’ Building Victoria’s sporting life policy ‘Funding of $1.2 million will be made available in 2000/01 from revenue received from Labor’s national footy tipping competition for sports medicine facilities.’ ‘Funding of $3.8 million will be made available in 2000/01 from revenue received from Labor’s national footy tipping competition for investment in health.’ ‘Funding of $432,000 will be made available in 2000/01 from revenue received from Labor’s national footy tipping competition for local sport.’ Labor’s Financial Statement

BROKEN No it won’t. Labor’s National Footy tipping competition is yet to get off the ground after Labor wasted time. They have now been guzumped by a brewery. The competition will not be operational in 2000. ‘Unless something happens in the next couple of weeks, it will be (starting) next season’. Gaming Minister John Pandazopoulos, Herald Sun, 9/1/2000, P.7

PROMISE #41.

‘Labor will increase fines for ground invasions and severe misbehaviour at sporting events.’ Labor’s Building Victoria’s sporting life’ Policy

BROKEN Labor has failed to act on this promise, despite ongoing crowd disruptions during the cricket at the MCG in the recent one-day International against India.

PROMISE #42.
‘To coincide with the commencement of the 2000 AFL football season, Labor will introduce a national footy tipping competition.’ Labor’s Election Financial Statement 1999

BROKEN Labor has failed to achieve this promise, with the Minister for Sport conceding that the competition will not start in 2000. (10/1/2000)

PROMISE #43.
‘Labor will also establish a power industry-planning unit, which will urgently review the need for future power station development and gas supplies in Victoria.’ Labor’s Industry Plan

BROKEN Labor has failed to take any action on this ‘urgent review’.

PROMISE #44.
‘As part of breaking the political nexus with gaming and casino operators, Labor believes that political donations by gaming and casino owners and operators should be limited and fully and publicly disclosed.’ Responsible Gaming – Labor’s balanced approach for the gaming industry

BROKEN Labor’s $1000-a-head dinner in December 1999 included the representatives of major casino and gaming owners and operators, yet they failed to fully or publicly disclose the details of the donations. In addition, Labor have failed to provide the Victorian public with any information regarding the Meeting between Graham Richardson and Premier Steve Bracks.

PROMISE #45.
‘I’ll end the secret state. I’ll end secrecy.’ Steve Bracks, 26 August 1999

BROKEN Labor has failed to stand by this promise. Ministers of the Labor have refused Liberal and National Members of Parliament access to public servants and employees of statutory authorities. In particular, the Minister for Health stepped-in, refusing the Shadow Minister for Health to meet the Coordinator of critical hospital care in Victoria.

PROMISE #46.
Labor is committed to providing ‘more apprenticeships, more traineeships, more training places in our TAFE colleges’. Launch ALP Industry & Employment Policy, 9/9/99

BROKEN Labor has failed on this promise. The freeze on new trainee/apprenticeship numbers has, in practice, actually put a stop to thousands of proposed traineeships.

PROMISE #47.
Steve Bracks promised at a rally in Narre Warren South on 14 July 1999 that the construction of the Narre Warren South School would be brought forward and completed by 2001 by a Labor Government.

BROKEN Labor has failed the local families who believed in Labor’s promises during the State Election. At a public meeting of the Narre Warren South Action Group held on 21 December 1999, John Pandazopoulos announced that Labor would not build the primary school by 2001.

PROMISE #48.
‘Victorian public servants are no longer required, as was the case under the previous government, to have Australian Workplace Agreements imposed on them. They will now have a choice.’ Minister for Industrial Relations Monica Gould, Hansard, 9/11/99

BROKEN Labor has failed in their commitment to employees. ‘Employees who are parties to AWAs will need to be transferred to collective agreements’Public sector employers will be required to enter into written agreement with individuals to terminate their AWAs.’ Secret memo to Public Sector Employees Relations Managers for the Director of the Public Sector Employee Relations Branch, 8 November 1999

PROMISE #49.
‘We’ll guarantee reliable supplies of gas, water and electricity’ Labor’s Regional Development spokesman, John Brumby, Radio 3BA Ballarat 3/9/99

BROKEN Labor has failed to honor their commitment. Labor has washed its hands of the power dispute at Yallourn Energy, refusing to intervene to protect their guarantee of no interruption to power generation and no power restrictions for Victorian householders and industry.

Peter Fray

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