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Country Labor Dialogue - March 2012

Country Labor Dialogue - March 2012

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Published by NSW Labor
You can view the March Country Labor Dialogue here.
You can view the March Country Labor Dialogue here.

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Published by: NSW Labor on Mar 05, 2012
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Country Labor diaLogue

C o n n e C t i n g C o u n t ry C o m m u n i t i e s – m a r C h 2 0 1 2

new format great success
ry, Professor Tim Flanne Climate Change ed the Commissioner provid egates. keynote address to del

Both the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the NSW Leader of the Opposition John Robertson gave Leaders’ Addresses to Country Conference.

thank you to all of the delegates and members who attended our Country Conference 2012 at Cessnock Performing arts Centre.
it was a huge weekend, with both the Prime minister of australia, Julia gillard and the nsW Leader of the opposition, John robertson, giving Leaders’ addresses to the Conference. they both energised delegates with their speeches, which focused on Labor values, and Labor’s proud record in country nsW. The Country Labor Policy Caucus Executive introduced a number of reforms to Country Conference, including expanding the Conference to three days, to include an additional full-day Country Campaign Insight program; introducing policy workshops with panels of policy experts, community and industry groups; and introducing a keynote address, which was provided by Professor Tim Flannery, Climate Change Commissioner. Country Conference endorsed a comprehensive reform program, which included electing three Country Members to the Administrative Committee, endorsing the changed format of Country Conference and a range of measures to rebuild Country Labor at a grassroots level. The Country Labor Policy Caucus Executive will also report back to Annual Conference on further Rules Changes, including the method of election of the Country Labor Policy Caucus Executive. The Annual Country Conference Dinner, held on the Saturday night of Conference, was well attended by delegates and members. Senator John Faulkner’s trivia quiz provided great entertainment for everyone. The 2012 Bluey Rodwell Award was presented to Jeff Condron, our coordinator of the Country Labor Information Office in Port Macquarie. Jeff was a key driver in the establishment of the Office in 1999 and has volunteered virtually full-time to keep the Office running since. The Bluey Rodwell Award is the highest honour within Country Labor and is presented at every Country Conference. Thank you again to all the delegates and members who attended to make the weekend such a success. Courtney roche

Bluey rodwell award

Congratulations Jeff Condron
the Bluey rodwell award is presented at each Country Conference to a member who has performed meritorious services to Country Labor. it recognises someone who has been dedicated to fighting for the Labor cause and someone who represents our Labor values.

y Rodwell Award John Robertson presents the Blue rie. to Jeff Condron from Port Macqua

This year’s Bluey Rodwell recipient was Jeff Condron from the Port Macquarie Branch of Country Labor. When presenting the award, Leader of the Opposition, John Robertson said he was surprised that Jeff doesn’t receive this award every year. Many of you will know Jeff as the coordinator at the Port Macquarie Country Labor Information office, a role that he has been wholeheartedly dedicated to since 1999. Volunteering from dawn to dusk for the last 13 years, Jeff was a key driver in the establishment of the Country Labor Office. Under his supervision the office was transformed from a place to provide information about Labor policy, into a centre of support for community members who need

advocacy and support. Jeff has also led a number of successful campaigns, including the campaign to buy back Port Macquarie Base Hospital 10 years after Coalition State Government sold it off. Apart from his work on behalf of the Port Macquarie Country Labor office, Jeff is a frequent contributor to the local newspapers, is Chairman of Kempsey Hospital, NSW Regional Radio Committee and the Kempsey Macley Tourist Committee and well as President of the Hastings Foundation. He has received the Westpac Award for Services to the Community on three separate occasions and despite his many commitments, has still made

time to actively participate in branch life since first joining the Cootamundra Branch in 1954. For the last 17 years Jeff has been a member of the Port Macquarie Branch, serving on the branch executive since 2004. Despite the difficult political circumstances of recent times, he has shown devotion to keeping the party alive in an area dominated by National Party voters. We appreciate Jeff’s unwavering support and dedication to Labor throughout his life. We thank him for his work in the Port Macquarie Country Labor Information Office, his role over countless state, federal and council campaigns and his persistence in keeping a strong Labor presence in Country NSW.

Policy workshops
the Country Labor Policy Caucus executive introduced a number of reforms to Country Conference 2012, including the introduction of policy workshops.
A key part of rebuilding our party is ensuring that we have developed the right policies to take to the electorate in 2015. Our first Country Conference in Opposition was a great opportunity to take a fresh approach to our contemporary policy challenges. The Country Labor Policy Caucus Executive decided that the five key policy challenges to address would be: Health – what should modern healthcare look like in country NSW? Regional development – identifying future growth opportunities for country NSW. Primary industries – why food security is a Labor issue. Transport & Infrastructure – what should the priorities be for country NSW? Education – meeting challenges in education across country NSW (including special needs). Panels of policy experts, and representatives from unions, industry and community groups consulted with delegates and members before having a detailed policy discussion on one specific topic. this is not a process that ended with Country Conference 2012. this will continue in our local branches, seCs and communities and continue to discuss and refine these policies towards the next nsW election in 2015. Below is a brief summary of the topics that were covered by the motions that were endorsed by each workshop. To read the motions in full, visit www.countrylabor.com.au/ countryconference. health – what should modern healthcare look like in country nsW? Provision of rural and regional school of medicine The sale of designer/synthetic drug substances in tobacconists Mental health Nursing regional development – identifying future growth opportunities for country nsW Infrastructure investment using super funds Logistic infrastructure investment National Broadband Network and education National Broadband Network and health Local manufacturing content rules Local content labels Software development incentives RDAs Tax incentives Transport security Regional Show Days Primary industries – why food security is a Labor issue Coal seam gas National Food Plan transport & infrastructure – what should the priorities be for country nsW? Concession fares Countrylink to remain in public hands Passenger safety Infrastructure funding backlog education – meeting challenges in education across country nsW (including special needs) Special needs Training School communities Making the most of the digital education revolution Barriers to early childhood education ‘Residual’ schools

Julia gillard Prime minister of australia
in september 2010, just a few days after i formed this Federal government, i came to country nsW. i went to Bathurst to a great institution of Labor in the regions, the dinner for the ‘Light on the hill’.
In the 18 months that have that have passed since, despite everything that’s been thrown at us since that day … we’ve got on with the job, we’ve pursued that Light on the Hill. We’ve not just talked about reform, we have delivered reform. We’ve made a real difference for millions of Australian lives. We’ve put a price on carbon and we’ve seized a clean energy future. We’re putting in place a minerals resource rent tax to better share the mineral wealth, to make sure that regions like this one get infrastructure, that working Australians get higher superannuation, and that there are lower taxes for Australian small businesses. We’ve secured an historic health agreement with every state and territory, up and running right now, delivering real benefits today. We’ve secured the structural separation of Telstra, and we’ve begun the roll-out of the National Broadband Network to bring jobs and opportunities and better services to the regions where you live, no matter where Australians live. Yesterday, I had the great delight of launching the most recent version of My School, part of our great suite of education reforms. More information than

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard spoke to the media after addres sing the Country Conference.

any of us has ever had before on the performance of Australian schools. We’ve ensured too that the lowest paid workers in this country see rising living standards and they will pay less tax. Yesterday, too, I was very proud to join some of the 150,000 social and community services workers who will see more recognition and reward for their incredible hard work, because of this Labor Government. We’ve achieved all of this whilst making the hard decisions, to get the budget back to surplus in 2012-13 and at a time when we have kept creating jobs so we can now proudly say to each other, there are more Australians in work today than ever before under this Labor Government. We are making sure that wherever you live in this vast

nation of ours, you are getting your fair share. That is how Labor governs this country, governs the country we love. It’s how we govern it now and it’s how we will campaign in country Australia in 2013. The Labor Government I am so proud to lead has secured great Labor reforms. But we didn’t do it alone. We couldn’t have done it without you – when we had to raise the flag of Labor during that toughest of election campaigns in 2010. Thank you for your faith then, keep that faith now, and I’ll see you on the campaign trail in 2013, when we defeat Tony Abbott. These are extracts from Julia Gillard’s speech. You can watch or read the full speech at www.countrylabor.com.au/ countryconference.aspx

John robertson Leader of the opposition
today is an important day in Labor’s fight back in country nsW. on march 26, the Coalition government was swept into office.
One year later, the results are in. Barry O’Farrell is making things worse. As he fails to invest in regional jobs; as he slashes the public sector; privatises electricity and very soon CountryLink. And makes life harder for foster carers, pensioners, preschool students and the disabled. Barry O’Farrell was entrusted with Government – and a big, bloated majority. It’s made his members think they can cut ethical corners. Within six months – the Nationals Member for Clarence was forced to resign in disgrace. In the November by-election that followed, Country Labor achieved a historic 17% swing – the largest ever recorded against the Nationals. Labor can recapture support if we run strong local candidates, draw sharp differences and give people a reason to believe. I want to pay a special tribute to Peter Ellem, Country Labor’s candidate in Clarence. In under 12 months, the Government has turned the $1.3 billion budget surplus left by Labor into a projected four-year string of deficits. But the O’Farrell Government has delivered a deficit with nothing to show for it … especially the Hunter – which is reeling from the loss of 250 aluminium smelter jobs with an axe hanging over the head of hundreds more. The Government’s 5000 public sector job cuts have seeped like slow-acting poison across rural and regional NSW. We’ve seen the closure of NSW Industrial Relations offices from Wagga Wagga to Coffs Harbour. Regional hospital funding stripped to the bone. The Coalition promised multi-million-dollar hospital upgrades at Tamworth, Parkes, Forbes, Maitland and Cessnock. Instead they were tossed an insulting bit of loose change. The Nationals claim to represent rural and regional NSW. But will they support Barry O’Farrell as he moves to privatise rail services? CountryLink carries two million people annually to 365 destinations across four states. Only Labor will vote to save regional rail. The Nationals are pushovers for privatisation who will fall into line behind the Liberals every time. There are two further issues on which country people are counting on Labor. The Government’s decision to overturn the 25year bipartisan ban on uranium exploration is a stunning betrayal. Labor will oppose any attempt to mine uranium. It’s also time to hit the pause button on coal seam gas mining in NSW. The plain truth is that governments of all persuasions have rushed too far ahead of the community on coal seam gas. Before the Government decides coal seam gas exploration can

The NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Robertson addressed Country Conference for the first time.

proceed, it needs to prove to the community that it is safe. In 2015, we must be ready – because time and again, it has fallen to Labor to make the big changes that carry this State forward. We are the architects of regional and rural NSW. We fight for the rights of workers, communities and the environment. We build this State for the prosperity of all. 2015 matters – and together we can do it. Let’s go out there and get to work. These are extracts from John Robertson’s speech. You can watch or read the full speech at www.countrylabor.com.au/ countryconference.aspx

Country Conference Campaign insight seminar
the Country Conference training Day on Friday 24 February 2012 in Cessnock, was a huge success with over 70 Party members participating in the seminar. the day kicked off with a welcome from Clayton Barr, member for Cessnock who, after acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, spoke about his experiences campaigning in his marginal seat of Cessnock.

delegates and Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr welcomed ng seminar. Party members to the Campaign Insight traini

Over 70 members and del egates participated in our first Frid ay training at Country Conference.

Sophie Cotsis MLC hosted a panel of guests about the opportunities available for candidates for Local Government to run grassroots campaigns. Mick Veitch MLC and Blue Mountains Councillor and WESROC President, Alison McLaren shared their unique perspectives about campaigning in rural and regional areas. Country Organiser, Courtney Roche and Organiser (Communications and Training) Kaila Murnain presented to participants seminars about the political environment, developing your strategy, theme and message and how to run a low cost campaign, and also introduced the new online Labor phoning module to prospective candidates. Graeme Kelly, Secretary of the United Services Union presented on the Union Campaign to get more progressive candidates into Local Government and how candidates can ensure they get

elected by making the most of the shortfalls of the O’Farrell Government. Participants then enjoyed a lunch hosted by the Country Labor Policy Caucus Executive at Pedens Hotel in Cessnock. After lunch, Party President, Michael Lee gave the keynote address of the day. Having served as a Federal Minister and Member in a marginal Federal seat as well as a Councillor on Sydney City Council, Michael stressed to candidates that campaigning needed to begin now. Owner of Jeffries Printing and long time Party Activist, Baden Kirgan, presented to participants on how to ensure candidates get the best out of their printers and our Party Senior Vice President and Secretary of United Voice (Liquor and Hospitality Division), Tara Moriarty outlined ways candidates can ensure their material communicates the right message to the broader community.

In the afternoon, Lucy Muirhead, Senior Media Advisor to Opposition Leader John Robertson and Sally Foley, NSW Labor’s Digital Campaigns Coordinator spoke to participants about the need to utilise free media and social media, and how to avoid common mistakes when dealing with such media outlets. During the day, participants were given kits to help them campaign on the ground, including the NSW Labor Photo Guide, the NSW Labor Material Guide and the NSW Labor Social Media Guide. We would like to thank the speakers who participated in the training day for their insight and frank advice for prospective candidates and their Campaign Directors. All participants will be receiving a certificate of participation for completing the seminar.

rebuilding Country Labor together
Country Labor will implement a 7 point plan to rebuild, renew and grow our Party.

1. aDministratiVe Committee rePresentation Country Labor Conference will elect 3 Administrative Committee representatives. This will give country members a greater voice in the administration and operation of our Party. 2. maKing ConFerenCe more engaging In 2012, we’ve made Country Conference more engaging for members than ever before by offering: Training opportunities: Expanding Country Conference to 3 days to add a new, dedicated Country Labor training session. This specialised training will ensure country members have access to the latest campaigning techniques to take back to their local communities. Policy workshops: A new, interactive policy workshop format was introduced at Country Conference, where members had the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of policy experts, as well as debate policy motions.

There was still plenty of time for the general Conference proceedings. 3. DeLiVering more resourCes Country members should have more resources to recruit and campaign in their local communities. That’s why we will: Expand the successful volunteer-based regional office model from Port Macquarie. Actively develop local recruitment plans to be funded under the Local Organiser program. 4. Creating neW Ways to PartiCiPate onLine To help bridge the tyranny of distance, we will develop new ways for country members to participate online. That’s why we’re: Starting an Online Policy Branch; and Expanding Country Labor’s website and Facebook group.

5. reBuiLDing our grass roots Country Labor should endorse tickets for the 2012 Local Government Elections. This will provide a platform for members to organise in their community and recruit new members. 6. reCLaiming LaBor Country Labor needs to reclaim Labor voters who are voting for independents. Although it’s important to work with other non-conservatives on councils and in government, this should not come at the expense of Labor voters. 7. Further ruLes reForm In the lead up to the next Annual Conference, the Country Labor Policy Caucus will explore opportunities to give country members a greater voice within NSW Labor, including electing the Country Labor Policy Caucus at Country Conference. This will be done with a view to making country members more engaged with the broader NSW Labor Party, not separated from the broader NSW Labor Party.

Country Conference survey tell us what you think
Did you attend Country Conference 2012 in Cessnock? Why / Why not?.......................................................................................................................................................... What was the best thing about Country Conference 2012?........................................................................................................................................................................................................ What was the worst thing about Country Conference 2012? ................................................................................................................................................................................................... PoLiCy WorKshoPs Which policy workshop did you attend? Health Regional Development Primary Industries Transport & Infrastructure Education

What was the best thing about the policy workshops?...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... What was the worst thing about the policy workshops? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................. What topics / speakers would you like for future workshops?
...........................................................................................................................................................................................

What would you do to improve the policy workshops? ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Who was the best speaker on the panel? (panellists listed below)
heaLth estrella Lowe – Manager of Rural Medical Services Initiatives, NSW Rural Doctors Network rita martin – NSW Nurses Association owen torpy – National E-Health Transition Authority regionaL DeVeLoPment shane o’Brien – Assistant Secretary, Public Service Association george houssos – Commercial Manager, Manufacturing Company – United Group
.......................................................................................................................................................................................

tim ayres – Secretary, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (NSW Branch) Primary inDustries – Why FooD seCurity is a LaBor issue richard Charman – Vice President, NSW Farmers Association Dr Craig emerson mP, Minister for Trade Ken Braye – local winegrower transPort & inFrastruCture Katie Brassil, Centennial Coal

Joel Fitzgibbon mP, Chair of the Prime Minister’s Country Taskforce, Federal Member for Hunter graeme Kelly, Secretary, United Services Union eDuCation Wayne Weather – NSW Teachers Federation mark northam – Independent Education Union Verity Firth – Chief Executive, Public Education Foundation sue Xenos – Principal, Francis Greenway High School.

ConFerenCe – Day By Day Which day of Country Conference was the best? (Friday / saturday / sunday) Why?
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Please indicate which sessions you attended and rate them on a scale of 1-5 Friday: Local Government Country Campaign Insight Training Saturday morning: Leaders’ Addressses Saturday afternoon: Conference Debate Friday Night: Welcome barbecue

Saturday morning: Policy Workshops Sunday: Conference Debate
.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Did you miss any of the sessions or activities? Why?

since 1998, at the Country Conference dinner we have invited John Faulkner to do a round of trivia, instead of a guest speaker. Do you prefer John Faulkner’s trivia or a guest speaker? ......................................................................................................................................................... oVeraLL summary have you attended a Country Conference before? .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... how did this Conference (including the new format) compare with past Conferences?
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Was there something at previous Conferences that you felt was missing from Country Conference 2012?
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

We haven’t held Conference in February for some time. Did this affect your ability to attend Conference? What is the best time of the year for you to hold Country Conference? ........................................................................................................................................................................................... Do you have any preferences for the location of the next Country Conference? ................................................................................................................................. Do you have any other suggestions for the future of Country Conference? ................................................................................................................................................. you can also complete this survey online at http://tinyurl.com/CountryConferencesurvey

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