Bob n Beattie BBQ: @stephaniedale22 reports


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By Stephanie Dale

1 September 2013

There’s been a curious absence of fight in Peter Beattie during the last couple of weeks on the 2013 campaign trail – but today that changed, with the former Queensland Premier charging out of the corner into the Forde ring, following Labor’s campaign launch in Brisbane.

Fiiiiiinally, Beattie had something he could stick his teeth into – jobs’ initiatives announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd an hour earlier.

And he had Australian political royalty to escort to a barbecue organised by the party faithful in Beenleigh – the nation’s most popular living former prime minister, Bob Hawke.

Two hundred people in red t-shirts crushed in tight beneath the gum trees to hear Hawkie speak.

Their mate was in form.

He gave them an itemised list for how they could help Labor to victory on September 7.

“You all know 20 people,” he said. “Here’s what you need to tell them if you’re going to win Forde for this land.”

The Bob Hawke ‘list of arguments’ went a lot like this:

1. Education – ‘When I joined the trade union movement it was full of good men – and they were all men at that time – good men who could have been lawyers and doctors except they were born to low income families. Labor (under Whitlam) gave all Australians a chance to go to university.’

2. Health – ‘the conservatives fought tooth and nail against Medicare . . . Australia has the finest health insurance system in the world.’

3. Economic management – ‘the conservatives are the mythmakers of Australian politics – they claim to be the better economic managers, well let’s have some facts: at the time I took over as prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore had said Australia was in danger of becoming ‘the poor white trash of Asia’. Labor turned that around and made Australia competitive again after the disaster of 21 years of conservative values. And the GFC – when the rest of the world went into recession, Labor created a million jobs, the lowest interest rates in history and a AAA credit rating.’

4. Security –  ‘another myth (peddled by the conservatives, that they are better on security). The only other time in history there was a hung parliament was at the outbreak of the Second World War.  The conservatives depended on two independents to govern and our very sovereign existence was under threat. They were so incompetent that the independents crossed the floor and bought in a great Labor government under a great Labor leader, Curtin, and saved the country. The buggers never learn . . . (and so on about Vietnam and Iraq). They make the wrong decision every bloody time.’


Fair shake of the sauce bottle Bob.

While Bob sunk his teeth into a sausage sanger, Beattie took up the fight for jobs in Forde, which has higher than state or national average unemployment.

“I wish we’d announced these policies a week ago,” he said, referring to the Prime Minister’s jobs’ initiatives announced at the campaign launch, and adding that he understood the pragmatics of why the policies’ release had been saved until today.

He said Mr Rudd had thrown down the gauntlet to the states on funding cuts to TAFE, threatening to withdraw funds from the states and pay them directly to TAFE institutions, and that the Labor government would create a new agency – Jobs and Training Australia.

Finally, there’s fire in Peter Beattie’s belly – and fight in his campaign to take Forde from sitting member Bert van Manen, who until now has been sitting surprisingly pretty for a man on a 1.6% margin.

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