Susan Davies: Statement In Support Of A Minority Labor Government

This is the text of a statement by Susan Davies, independent member for Gippsland West, offering her support to a minority Labor government led by Steve Bracks.

Davies was formerly an ALP member and ALP candidate for Gippsland West. She won the seat as an independent in a by-election in 1997, after the ALP decided not to contest the election.

Davies was joined by the other independent members, Russell Savage and Craig Ingram, in supporting a minority Labor government in preference to the Coalition government of Jeff Kennett.

Statement by Susan Davies, independent member for Gippsland West.

Final Results from the 1999 State Election

I remain an Independent. My main concern is with my own electorate. However we Independents have to make a choice on which party we will assist to form government.

I offer my support, to the limited extent outlined in the preamble to the Independent’s Charter Victoria 1999, to the Labor Party. Both Russell Savage and Craig Ingram have also made the same choice, which means the ALP has sufficient numbers to form government in Victoria.

The Labor Party, led by Steve Bracks, has without doubt shown the most consistent and open acceptance of the principles and practices outlined in the Charter, which aims to promote accountable government, improve the Parliament, and improve the situation in rural areas.

The decisive result in Frankston East on Saturday was significant. It was made clear to all concerned that this was going help us come to a decision. The 29,000 or so voters in Frankston East have shared some of the burden we three have felt over the last few weeks and I thank them for speaking so clearly.

I hope the Labor Party will adopt those parts of the previous Government’s program which have worked well, whilst rejecting those which caused inequity and strife.

I hope the two parties which currently form the Coalition will use this coming period productively, to look long and carefully for the core values which must in the end sustain them. Deliberately causing conflict will not assist in this essential renewal and can only damage our state.

I reject the “born to rule” mentality which has been too evident in an arrogant government for too long, and which even during this recent period Coalition leaders seemed unable to shake off.

No-one in this country is born with a right to rule. Government is and must always remain the servant of the people who elect it.

I reject government which seeks to control people through fear or through selective allocation of rewards, or which seeks to deny them an active involvement in their own society.

We need a very clear return to the “Rule of Law” in Victoria.

I reject any government which believes that the end justifies the means. Process is as important as outcome.

I am most disappointed in the National Party. I see no evidence that the new relationship between the National Party and the Liberal Party was more than a highly unstable, pragmatic arrangement made merely through the desperate urge to stay in power. This is not a recipe for good government.

I believe we will always need a rurally focussed political party, and unless the Nationals can reform themselves thoroughly, they will disappear, as one by one they retire and their greatest predator, the Liberal Party, takes over those seats.

This new Labor government will be inexperienced. But new governments are always inexperienced. It’s part of the nature of the democratic system.

The Labor Party will have to work within the constraints of a very evenly balanced Parliament and with three rurally based and rurally focussed Independents. I don’t think those constraints will do harm. It means all of us will have to be always on our toes, which is where we should be anyway.

It is in the interests of all Victorians to work together for the good of our State over the coming months and years.

With balance comes a real opportunity to move forward, together.

I believe we now have the opportunity to achieve that better balance.

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