Friday, October 29, 2010

More Than A Miracle

It seems like it’s been about three years now that I have been saying that the Labor government in New South Wales is dead, it just hasn’t fallen over yet. Quite simply, the fixed four year election time table means that it is virtually impossible to get rid of an unpopular government until there term finally expires. No matter how desperately the people of New South Wales might want to vent their fury at the ballot box, there is no choice but to wait until March 26 next year. Nevertheless, it has been evident for a substantial period of time that voters have already made up their minds, and it would take nothing short of a miracle to change them back again. It would seem that the latest Newspoll results only confirm that view.

With an approval rating of just 23%, the Kristina Keneally government is now officially the most unpopular Labor government ever in Australian history. The only other government of any political persuasion ever to be less popular was the scandal ravaged National Party government in Queensland in the wake of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police and political corruption at the end of the 1980s. At the same time, Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell now has a convincing lead over Kristina Keneally as preferred Premier, so on first glance it would appear that not even a miracle would be enough to save the Labor government in New South Wales.

But wait a minute. Don’t count your chickens before the eggs are cracked. The same Newspoll which shows Labor to be in so much difficulty also shows that support for the Greens continues to grow and is now at 17%. There is also considerable evidence that support for independent candidates is also growing, and the prospect that a significant number of independents might choose to put themselves forward next March. The implication is that there is a growing possibility of a hung parliament in New South Wales, just as there is in the federal parliament. Given the alliance forged between Labor and the Greens at the federal level, there is no reason why a similar alliance could not be negotiated at the state level. If that’s the case, then there is still a slim chance that the Labor government might just cobble together the miracle that it is looking for.

Nevertheless, I still have difficulty summoning up sufficient faith to believe that such a thing might actually happen.

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