A former and popular Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Steve Bracks AC, has been making many guest appearances across the state, with a similar schedule that once saw the former Labor Member for Williamstown claim three election victories from 1999 to 2007.
The schedule has included events for Darren Cheeseman (South Barwon), Sarah De Santis (Ripon), Christine Couzens (Geelong), John Eren (Lara), Tim Pallas (Werribee), Sarah Connolly (Tarneit), Jill Hennessy (Altona), Ingrid State (Western Metro), Danny Pearson (Essendon), Ben Carroll (Niddrie), Michaela Settle (Buninyong) and Juliana Addison (Wendouree).
If it appears Labor is pulling out all stops with a seat warming exercise, then well-executed guest appearances on Sky News should not be overlooked, including one appearance where Steve Bracks provides plenty of ‘secrets’ about how to win a poll in Victoria.
“Well the secret is to stand for something and to believe in something, and I think that’s important for a start. You’ve got to be good at the things that State Government’s do,” Mr Bracks said.
“State Governments are there to deliver a quality and effective education system, high quality health system, good and effective transport around the state – not only in Melbourne but in the regions as well.”
“That’s very important, and to do it in a fiscally responsible way by ensuring that you have a strong budget position, but you also have a strong economy as a result of that, and you give back the proceeds of that strong economy into those services.”
“So… really… the secret is who’s better at delivering those issues, in the future as well, and I think that will be the test that’s coming up, the election coming up soon, and that will be the filter on which most people will be deciding.”
In another appearance on the subscriber TV news channel, Steve Bracks addressed suggestions that Labor has been on a spending spree in Victoria, also beating the drum for Premier Daniel Andrews in the same segment.
“It (Victoria) is the best performing economy in Australia, it surpassed New South Wales in terms of growth… growth in excess of three per cent… unemployment which is the second-lowest in New South Wales,” Mr Bracks said.
“Receipts in the state’s coffers are at a record high and that’s been ploughed into significant infrastructure spending for the future, and both parties are spending up big for the future because they can, and there’s a lot of capacity here.”
“It (Victoria) is a fast-growing state, population growth is providing real demand underneath the economy for goods and services, and that’s coming out in the state’s accounts. It is a strength for Daniel Andrews. He’s got a very good treasurer in Tim Pallas.”
“They’ve run a pretty tight fiscal position. Their net debt position is very, very good, and paying down that debt, and they’re putting their surplus into capital growth and capital expenditure which is a good thing to do.”
Asked about what issues he believes are important and which party’s campaign messaging has been more effective in terms of cutting-through to constituents, Steve Bracks suggested that a narrow campaign could deliver disappointment for the Liberal Party.
“The issues are really narrowing down in the last ten days. The Liberal Party have narrowed down to law and order which has been their mantra for the last year or so, and decentralisation for the regions,” Mr Bracks said.
“To Labor, it’s health, education, it is public safety as well, and it’s the economy. So, I think the narrow casting from the Liberals is going to leave them in a very difficult position because they’re really relying on one or two issues.”
“Really, bread and butter on the economy and jobs and what you do with the benefits of a strong economy and where you put it into services – health and education – I think that’s probably a better frame for Labor and that’s what’s coming up in the last couple of days.”
Since leaving politics, Steve Bracks has served in a number of roles including non-executive director at Bank of Sydney, adviser to the government of Timor-Leste, and former roles with Cycling Australia and AFL Sportsready.
A very busy post-politics career has also featured an approach to run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, an offer he declined, joining Maurice Blackburn’s board as a non-executive director before being appointed chairman.
More recently, Mr Bracks honoured his Ballarat up-bringing as an ambassador for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) – Australia’s largest regional photographic exhibition.