Friday, December 4, 2009

The Puppet Premier

I am reminded of the scene at the end of the original version of "The Planet Of The Apes” when Charlton Heston stood on the beach staring at the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty, saying something like “We finally really did it…. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” That’s the moment when he realizes that mankind has caused its own destruction, and that there is no salvation at hand.

Now, instead of the Statue of Liberty, think of the state of New South Wales and in particular the Labor government. If there was any lingering doubt before, this is the moment when we should all be standing on the beach witnessing the wreckage, realizing that there is utterly no hope of salvation until this government is gone. This is the moment which proves beyond any doubt that the New South Wales Labor party has become so introspective that they have completely abandoned the people they are supposed to serve.

Time and again successive Premiers have promised to lift the game of the government. They have promised to deliver improvements to hospitals, public transport and infrastructure, announcing plans only to have them overturned by the next candidate to blow in through the revolving door of the Premier’s office. It has become so bad that they aren’t even in office long enough to keep the seat warm for the next sacrificial victim.

This is not a judgment of Kristina Keneally, nor of her abilities or otherwise, but a judgment of the party itself and its record in office. It may yet turn out that Ms Keneally is the best thing since sliced bread, but sadly I fear that even if she is she would only suffer the same fate as her predecessors. Nathan Rees had the audacity to attempt to assert his authority as leader and now serves as an example to all who follow. The lesson is that the real power resides elsewhere, starkly illustrating Mr. Rees claim that whoever succeeded him would be a puppet Premier.

Every time there has been leadership speculation over the past couple of years I have expressed the opinion that the only thing a change of leader would achieve would be the creation of yet another ex Premier. That is exactly what has just happened, and I see no reason to believe that the government’s chances of re-election have improved in any way at all. In fact, quite the opposite, as I believe that Nathan Rees was actually starting to win some admirers for standing up to the bully boys who have been hiding in the shadows pulling the strings.

The tragedy is that things such as the public transport blueprint are likely to be delayed yet again as a new Premier announces more new plans, even though the old ones have never been delivered. Public hospitals are still crying out for more money and resources, schools are still waiting for their maintenance and repairs to be done, and Rome is still burning while the fiddling goes on. It has been suggested that some members of the Labor government have given up all hope of being re-elected and instead have opted to extract revenge on Nathan Rees while they still can. That in itself is a damning indictment of both the government and the individuals who run it, illustrating just how little they care about actually doing the job they were supposed to be elected to do.

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