When I first came to live in Melbourne there was something strange about the ambulances. Vandals had managed to graffiti nearly all of them.
I soon realised the police weren't searching for the culprits because they were most likely uniformed and sitting in the defaced vehicles' driver and passenger seats.
The paramedics were in a pay dispute with the state Liberal government. They had covered their emergency vehicles with slogans about how badly they were paid and how the Liberals were destroying public health.
Few Melburnians seemed to object. Also the supine government seemed to be doing nothing about it.
Of course, I understand the ambos, along with all health workers, are now considered to be angels sent to us in human vestments and no amount of money can ever be enough for the job they do … etc, etc/
Even so, I regarded their vehicles as public property improperly turned into partisan political billboards.
It was a lesson about who runs Victoria.
The Liberals were sitting on the government benches, following a surprise narrow win over the long-serving Bracks/Brumby administration, but I began to realise this was an aberration or blip, a passing annoyance to Victoria's well-entrenched power establishment.
Following an innocuous and largely ineffective three years, the Baillieu/Napthine government duly sunk meekly, almost gratefully, with barely a ripple beneath the incoming tide of a new Labor government.
Since Jeff Kennett's two-term government ended in 1999, Labor has been continuously in power, save for that three-year intermission.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has not been shy about how much his government owes to the unions, who waged incessant war against the Liberal usurpers.
"The Labor Party is strong," he said after re-election in 2018.
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