Monday, September 8, 2008

Meet The New Boss

It’s probably a cheap shot to write off the new Premier and his new Cabinet line-up on the basis that this is not a new Government, just another episode of musical chairs. It’s still the same party with many of the same people who have failed to deliver on a long series of promises for the people of New South Wales. Even if we might be tempted to believe that new blood at the top, an entirely new leadership team, provides the opportunity for a fresh start, nobody is going to forget that we have heard it all before.

Only a couple of years ago, Morris Iemma stepped into the Premier’s job with a promise of a new direction and a change of style. It was a promise which was convincing enough to see them re-elected eighteen months ago. But instead of a fresh new start it turned out to be the same old serving of spin over substance. The people of New South Wales are entitled to be skeptical that anything might be different this time.

Of course it is true that there is an entirely new leadership team, and it would be wrong to discount them out of hand. New Premier Nathan Rees has the opportunity to stop the rot, and prove that he is his own man. Carmel Tebbutt as Deputy has the opportunity to live up to her reputation as a capable performer. Eric Roozendaal, the new Treasurer, has the opportunity to repair the damaged New South Wales Budget, along with the States reputation.

But none of it will be easy, and the question remains whether such a turnaround is even possible in the two and a half years left until the next election. Even if the new team actually is true to its word and works hard to turn the fortunes of the state around, there might simply be not enough time to show a result convincing enough to win them another term. At this point, the people of New South Wales can’t wait to get rid of them, and they are likely to still feel that way for some time to come.

The words of the old song by The Who seem to be appropriate: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Even if the new boss really is different his biggest challenge will be getting anyone to believe it.

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