MICHAEL
O’BRIEN

Leader of the Victorian Liberal Party

As the leader of the alternative government, Michael
is on a mission to restore the fortunes of small
business in a state, he believes, is being strangled by
debilitating taxes and nanny regulations.

An invigorated Liberal Party led by its affable and
down-to-earth leader warmly embraces the local
Chinese community and openly welcomes its
outstanding leaders to seek opportunities within the
party process to serve the public in Parliament House.

In an exclusive interview at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne, Michael O’Brien makes his case for the Chinese Australian vote.

TAE: Victoria’s population is growing at leaps and bounds with our infrastructure is under chronic stress. How would a government under your leadership tackle this almost intractable issue? Would you contemplate reversing out the work currently committed by this government towards alleviating infrastructure overload?

MOB: We need to have better infrastructure and better planning to ensure that our population growth is more evenly spread right across Victoria. We need to make sure that there are job opportunities, services, and the infrastructure to support a growing population. It should not be all focussed on just one area. It needs to be balanced, and that’s what a Liberal government will seek to do.

TAE: What are the core challenges facing businesses operating in Victoria today? What policies would a liberal government introduce to encourage and support small business?

MOB: Unlike the Labor Party, the Liberal Party will always respect contracts that a government been validly entered. The question is, what else will we build? I want the next election to be a contest of ideas for what is the next wave of infrastructure to take this state forward. I’m not interested in undoing Labor contracts. I’m interested in building Liberal projects.

When small business succeeds, Victoria succeeds. We need to make sure that our small businesses have the opportunity to compete fairly, that the State Government does not overtax them and that red tape doesn’t force them to spend more time on regulation than on actually running the business.

TAE: Those within the property sector see the Victorian stamp duty system as draconian and punitive. Would you agree with that premise and if so, what alternative approach would be fairer to Victorians?

MOB: Victoria has a significant reliance on property taxes in terms of its budget. This situation has got much, much worse over the last five years under Labor. The system is currently not very fair or balanced. We need to make sure that Victoria’s tax system doesn’t unfairly penalise people who work hard, save and invest.

The Liberal Party will always be the party of lower taxes compared to Labor

TAE: Victoria has historically enjoyed good diplomatic relations (under both political parties) with its largest trading partner, China. In the context of broader

geopolitical tensions, how would a state government led by you uphold and enhance that stable working relationship?

MOB: China and Australia come from two different political traditions. That has to be acknowledged, but there’s no reason why there can’t be a lot of mutual benefit and respect between the two countries.

MOB: Victoria has had a long-standing relationship with China. It was the Hamer Liberal Government of the seventies that entered into the first sister-state relationship between Victoria and the Chinese Province of Jiangsu. We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of that sisterstate relationship.

TAE: Some would contend that there is a disproportionately insufficient representation by people of Chinese descent within the Australian political system. What is your view on this, and how would you encourage more people with this background to get involved with politics?

MOB: Chinese Australians have been great contributors to this country and great contributors to Victoria. It’s impossible to think of Victoria today without acknowledging and welcoming the positive influence of Chinese migration to Victoria.

I said, the day I was elected Leader that I would like to see more people joining the Liberal Party, more people standing for the Liberal Party and more people voting for the Liberal Party.

I want my party to be representative of the Victoria that we seek to lead. We have gone out of our way to try and encourage engagement with Victoria’s multicultural communities.

MICHAEL O’BRIEN

维多利亚州自由党领袖

TAE: 作为替代性政府的领导人,Michael肩负着改变维 多利亚州众多小型企业命运的政治使命,他认为税 收政策和过度管理性法规正在扼杀这些小型企业。

在平易近人、脚踏实地的领导人的带领下,充满活 力的自由党积极联络当地华人社团,并公开欢迎其 优秀领导人参与党建过程,从中寻找机会跻身议会 大厦并为公众服务。

墨尔本国库花园(Treasury Gardens)举行的独家 专访中,Michael O’Brien就澳大利亚华裔选民 为何投票支持自由党阐明了他的理由。

MOB: 我们需要更好的基础设施和更好的规划,以确保我 们维多利亚州的人口增长能够更均匀地分布。我们需要保 障足够多的就业机会、服务和基础设施来支撑不断增长的 人口。它应该保持均衡发展而不是集中在某一个领域上,而 这正是自由党政府力争的工作方向。

TAE:时下,在维多利亚州营业的企业面临哪些核心挑战? 自由党政府将出台什么政策来鼓励和支持小型企业?

MOB:与工党不同,自由党将继续遵守政府已签订的有效 合同。问题是,我们将要建造什么?我希望下次选举变成 一场围绕下一轮基础设施建设来推动整个州发展的思想竞 赛。相对于撤销工党所签订的合约,我的兴趣更加侧重于自 由党正在开展的项目。

只有小型企业蒸蒸日上,维多利亚州才会物阜民丰。我们需 要确保我们的小型企业有参与公平竞争的机会,确保州政府 不会加重他们的税务负担,确保他们的时间将更多的用于企 业的经营上,而非被繁文缛节的法规所占用。

TAE: 一些房地产行业的人士人为维多利亚州政府的印花 税制度十分苛刻并极具惩罚性。您是否赞同他们观点?如 果您持支持态度,那么对维多利亚州的大众而言,有没有更 加公平的替代性方案?

MOB: 维多利亚州的政府预算对房产税有很强的依赖性。 在工党执政的过去五年里,这种情况每况愈下。当前的印花 税制度有失公平或者已经失去平衡。我们需要确保维多利 亚州的税收制度不会显失公平地惩罚那些努力工作、积极 进行储蓄和投资的纳税人。

同工党相比,自由党将永远施行更低的税率。

TAE::维多利亚州与其最大的贸易伙伴中国(在双方政党的 领导下)保持着良好的长久外交关系。在地缘政治紧张局势 不断扩大的背景下,您所领导的州政府将如何维护并巩固双 方的稳定合作关系?

MOB::中国和澳大利亚秉承各自不同的政治传统。我们需 要承认这种事实,但这并不能成为中澳两国摒弃双边合作及 相互尊重的借口。

维多利亚州与中国的双边关系源远流长。在上世纪70年代, 自由党领袖Hamer所领导的维多利亚州政府同中国江苏省 政府建立首个友好伙伴关系。我们近期还参加了庆祝友好 伙伴关系建立40周年的庆祝活动。

TAE: 有人会争论到,华裔在澳大利亚政治体系中的代表性 明显不足。您对此有何看法?您又将如何鼓励更多华裔参 与政治活动?

MOB:澳大利亚华裔一直是这个国家的伟大贡献者,也是 维多利亚州的伟大贡献者。如果否认或排斥中国移民对维 多利亚州的积极影响,我们很难想象现在的维多利亚州将会 是什么样子。

我曾表示我当选领导人的那天,我希望看到更多的人加入自 由党,更多的人支持自由党,更多的人投票给自由党。

我希望自由党能够成为维多利亚州的代表,并力争以我们的 执政方式领导维多利亚州。我们一直在竭力尝试并鼓励同 维多利亚当地的多元文化社团展开互动。