Saul Eslake Talk to a luncheon hosted by the Tasmanian Liberals, Launceston

In my case, however, I was for my sins described by the then Liberal Leader and Premier as an ‘amateur … ’ (I won’t repeat the word he used here, but it rhymes with ‘thick’)2. I was referred to at a meeting of the Denison Electorate Committee as a ‘traitor to Tasmania’ who ought not to be allowed to re-enter the State if I left it again (as I had done temporarily between 1979 and 1981). And when at the August 1982 State Council of the Liberal Party I sought election as Vice-President for Franklin, I was defeated by someone who just four months earlier had ran against endorsed Liberal candidates in the State election of that year.

Tasmania should not be staking its economic future on its ability to attract one or two mega-projects, in what would be a mistaken belief that success in doing so can provide secure jobs and rising incomes for the majority of Tasmanians or a stable source of revenues for the State government. Rather, Tasmania’s future — if it is to be one in which Tasmanians are to enjoy relatively high standards of living (as measured not only by their incomes, but by the quality of the environment in which they live, and by the opportunities available to enjoy the non-material and hard-to-measure things which make life worth living) — instead depends on Tasmania’s ability to produce and market goods and services embodying a relatively high intellectual content and for which buyers are willing to pay a premium price. This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff. There are Tasmanian producers — in the “four w’s” — wool, wine, wasabi and wagyu beef — as well as in cheese, onion and salmon — and that’s only in the agricultural sector — whose success attests to the practical truth of this assertion.

Download speech, pdf: Tas_Libs_Lunch_Feb_2007.pdf

Download slides, pdf: Tas_Libs_Lunch_Feb_2007_(slides).pdf