Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Iceberg Has Already Struck

The reports of a plot to overthrow New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees may or may not be true, but either way they are yet another indication of the desperation of the Labor Government. If true, such a plan is nothing more than the irrational death-throws of a government that is so far past its use-by date that it has become rancid. Even if it is not true, the fact that the story has had such an impact merely illustrates just how little credibility this government has.

Of course, it would be blatant act of desperation to unseat the Premier after such a short period of time. Nathan Rees was offered the job in the hope that he could undo the damage done under the leadership of Morris Iemma, and to some extent, Bob Carr. In the 132 day since then there has been no sign that anything has improved. More promises have been revoked, more health and hospital scandals have emerged, and more Ministers have been caught out misbehaving. The fact is that blaming Nathan Rees doesn’t address the real problem. The truth is that Nathan Rees could be the Messiah and he would still need more than two short years to turn the ship around.

The speculation has been that Frank Sartor would step in to take over, although other names have also been put forward, including Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, Planning Minister Kristina Keneally, and recently appointed MLC John Robertson. Mr. Sartor has been put forward because although many people do not like him, he is seen as a good manager, more than competent, and as tough as nails, all good qualities in a leader. The others also have positive qualities that they might offer, and may well be candidates as future leaders. But the real risk for any of them, and for the party, is that those qualities will go to waste when they lose the election in 2011.

It’s always dangerous to suggest that any election is unwinnable, or unloseable. But it is very hard to see any hope for this government whatsoever. After the endless litany of broken promises and empty rhetoric, nobody believes a word that they say. Nobody believes that they are capable of clearing up the mess, even if we give them the benefit of the doubt on whether or not they want to. As I said last year, it is already too late for this government. The iceberg has already struck and the ship is already going down.

For that reason it really doesn’t matter who is Premier, and appointing a new Captain now won’t stop the ship from sinking. All it is likely to achieve is to create yet another ex-Premier to be pensioned off into retirement.

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