Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Political Revolving Door

Editorial Tuesday 08.06.10.
Nobody expects the New South Wales Government to win the election next March. The list of policy failures, backflips, and disasters is just too long to be ignored. Since the last election there have been three different Premiers, and each time there is a new Premier there is a new plan, with previous commitments torn up, often at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Even when there is a plan, such as the Garling recommendations for hospital reform, the government appears to be incapable of actually carrying it out.

But it’s not just the policy failures which have led to growing disillusionment with the government. It’s the long list of embarrassing scandals ranging from the couch jumping former Police Minister Matt Brown, right through to the abrupt resignation of the minister dubbed “Sir Lunchalot” Ian McDonald amidst investigations by both the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet into allegations of travel rorts. It’s hard not to get the idea that for some of our politicians the $77 lunch vouchers are more important than delivering services to the people who elected them.

Mr. McDonald has not only resigned from the Ministry, but as of yesterday has also resigned from the Parliament. It has been widely observed that in doing so he has preserved his superannuation entitlement, estimated to be around $150 000 a year, indexed, for the rest of his life. Had he stayed on until the end of his term in the upper house his entitlement would have been reduced as it would have been based on his finishing salary as a backbencher. There would also have been the risk of losing his entitlement altogether if he was found guilty of any corruption. Mr. McDonald maintains his innocence and insists he will fight any and all allegations, but that won’t stop people making their own interpretation of his decision to quit.

Following on from the departure of Karen Paluzzano in disgrace, and Graham West apparently in disgust with his own colleagues, the government is appearing more and more to be in disarray. People must surely be wondering who will be next to be caught up in controversy, and whether there will be any more untimely exits through the political revolving door. After all, numbers are beginning to dwindle. If the exodus continues at this alarming rate, perhaps there won’t be anybody from the current government actually left in office next March for the people of New South Wales to boot out.

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