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The possible aftermath of the NSW election

By Don Allan - posted Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Looking at the coming New South Wales election with an unjaundiced eye, I came to the conclusion that the result could have the same effect on Australia as the American and French revolutions had on their respective polities and no less than the effect of the various revolutions that have taken place in countries under the hegemony of the former USSR.

I recall the Hungarian, Polish and Balkans revolutions in which the people took control of their countries and permanently despatched members of the royal or political regimes to meet their maker. Fortunately, if NSW voters revolt and inflict the humiliating defeat that even their staunchest supporters think likely, their despatch will be conducted in a more orderly fashion although many people will think their punishment light.

And if the defeat is as humiliating as is being suggested and Labor is left with minimal political representation the effect might not be confined to NSW; there is every chance it will affect Labor nationally. In fact it could well lead to the delaboring of Australia.


However, the Liberal – National Coalition has an important question to answer if they win: will they attract young people as members? The question needs to be asked because the young people attending university today in increasing numbers will not be put off with party hacks or people who treat them like children in kindergarten.

They will be attracted to people with both vision and talent who also have a green view that many younger people now think necessary for a politician. However, having a green view does not mean them becoming hair shirt martyrs, or Green evangelists who say the best way to salvation is to halt progress yet, like many other well-known green evangelists, accept the benefits conferred on them by progress.

In political terms the Greens are Luddites who despite high-flown rhetoric to the contrary, have stayed firmly anchored in the past. As to whether or not they have the staying power necessary in politics remains to be seen. I suspect not, because, over time the more sensible of their beliefs will be adopted by other parties as a matter of political necessity.

However, perhaps a huge success will be the biggest problem facing a new Liberal - National Coalition government in NSW. The problem: keeping a unified Coalition. This will not be easy because new members will, like many first termers at school face a difficult time. Some will rise to the occasion some won't, while others will fail, not from want of trying, but because they tried too hard or lacked the necessary ability. Nevertheless, all will feel when the next election comes that they deserve a second bite of the parliamentary cherry.

This desire will put Barry O'Farrell's leadership of the Liberal-National Coalition to the test. Will he recognise the failures and if so what will he do about it? Will he try to bluff it out like Labor's Kristina Keneally and her two failed predecessors Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees, or will he stick to his promise of delivering honest and competent government? If he does the former, he will risk the wrath of voters who believed his promises and also risk being a one-term Premier.

The risk of being a one-term Premier is real. And Barry O'Farrell knows it. He also knows that, in part, his success is due to the long list of Members in the last Labor Government whom Premier Keneally forced to resign for breaching the code of parliamentary conduct that MP's are expected to observe, or resigned before she could force their resignation. The fact also, is that many of the offences committed by MPs were in the serious category: corruption, fraud, sexual, paedophilia et al. Indeed a cynic remarked to me that on a per capita basis the NSW Labor had more criminals than even the criminal profession.


Indeed had Kristina Keneally and the woeful parade of Premiers before her the guts to take action when needed instead of allowing Labor Party factions and the party executive to dictate which of these criminals should stay or go, the slim possibility (very slim) existed that Labor would have been returned to Government for another four years.

By following the orders of the party executive, Premiers Iemma, Rees and Keneally reigned over a succession of motley Governments and Cabinets that voters came to believe made decisions for the benefit of mates and ultimately their own benefit. (Unsurprisingly many of them found good jobs in both the public and private sector after leaving Government). Little wonder then that NSW voters seem decided that Labor lacked the integrity needed for good governance.

But it wasn't only the blatantly corrupt behaviour of colleagues that put the final nail in the coffin for Labor. Another word that begins with 'C' played a large part. That word is Complacency. When corruption and complacency go hand in had disaster follows.

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About the Author

Don Allan, politically unaligned, is a teenager in the youth of old age but young in spirit and mind. A disabled age pensioner, he writes a weekly column for The Chronicle, a free community newspaper in Canberra. Don blogs at:

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