The people of NSW are not wearing black, but they may as well.
You see, Opposition Leader Peter Debnam didn’t lose on Saturday. Neither did his Liberal Party. The people of New South Wales lost. And they lost big time.
The Labor Government is barren of talent and is bereft of managerial skills. It is led by a Premier whose greatest claim to fame is that he worked for the shyster Graham “whatever-it-takes” Richardson and has a deputy who was a school teacher. God help us. These two men showcased a party with the morals of alley cats with their negative advertisements dismembering Peter Debnam’s integrity and bludgeoning his character.
Not surprising really. After all, the socialists couldn’t dart about on their appalling 12-year record now could they? What with trains that don’t run; water issues that don’t get addressed and hospital problems galore. And let’s not forget the Carr/Iemma government’s negligent use of public private partnerships - Carl’s City Tunnel and the disaster-in-waiting, the Lane Cove Tunnel. And then there is Labor’s Carl Scully caught lying to Parliament. Twice. Milton Orkopolous with sex charges levelled against him and Labor hacks with domestic violence and driving offences tossed in their direction.
As a taxpayer I am still waiting for Bob Carr or Morris Iemma to refund the people of NSW for Bob Carr’s lavish overseas jaunt, taken as he exited the premiership, and taken at our expense! But I won’t hold my breath.
Those who say that had John Brogden led the Liberals, then the coalition would have won in a landslide clearly slept through the campaign. It’s odds on, that running as opposition leader, John Brogden would have had the ALP sleaze machine running advertisements reminding the voters of his suicide attempt and no doubt shamelessly linking that period of instability in his life to four years of instability at the helm of NSW, should he win the election.
While the Liberals took back only independent seats rather than Labor seats, Peter Debnam must stay in his job. There is nothing to be gained by replacing him.
The real lesson for the Liberal Party is realising it has a yawning gap in vacancies for numbers men/toe cutters/tacticians/strategists like ex Senator Graham Richardson and his NSW successor, General Secretary Mark Arbib. Comrades for whom politics is a calling and not merely an entry on a CV. Men who are ruthless about not letting anyone or anything impede the party from seizing victory. People who can transmit to the party faithful - like a mother who transmits milk to a newborn babe - that there is no depth too low to plumb, no mountain too high to scale and no untruth not worth sharing with the public, in the focused quest for victory. Victory at all costs.
Graham Richardson taught Morris Iemma well. He singed into Iemma’s soul that winning is paramount, and that the premier should do whatever it takes to achieve victory. And Mark Arbib as strategist together with his predecessor (and now minister) Eric Roozendaal, are worthy carriers of that legacy, unfortunately for the Liberal Party.
Those who voted against the Labor Party are praying that the Liberal Party learns from this election, learns well and learns quickly.
Twelve years of hard Labor is too much to bear. Sixteen years is truly cataclysmic.
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