Monday, November 29, 2010

Time’s Up!

At the risk of sounding like a cracked record, absolutely nothing can save the New South Wales Labor government from copping a massive hiding at the state election next March. I have been saying the same thing for years and the evidence only continues to grow to support this view. In the wake of the Victorian state election over the weekend there have been even more logs thrown onto the fire. Now, Victoria is not the same as New South Wales, and the issues are not all the same, but even so the outcome in Victoria remains a very clear message for the New South Wales government. That message is, “Time’s up!”

To some, the result in Victoria has been seen as a surprise because the Labor government in that state was not in anywhere near as much trouble as the one in New South Wales. It was largely seen as a competent and stable government which might have become a bit stale, but nobody expected it to be tossed out of office. And yet, when the votes are all counted over the next day or so that will be the end result. By contrast, here in New South Wales, the Labor government is seen as anything but competent, riddled with scandal, and unable to command the support of even their own Party President, Bernie Riordan.

Over the weekend, it emerged that the union which Mr. Riordan leads published a statement in its newsletter that it would support candidates from any political party, including the Liberals and Nationals, based on where they stood on workers’ rights. Now, Mr. Riordan claims not to have seen the comments before they were published, but to say that it leaves him in an embarrassing situation is an understatement. While the Premier is rightly calling for his resignation as Party President, it should also be seen as an indication of just how much support the government has lost among some of the unions.

But it goes even deeper than that. Across the nation, the Labor Brand has become severely tarnished. The federal election result in August was a reflection of that, and it has been a combination of state and federal factors which has seen the reputation of Labor, not only trashed, but shredded in a matter of months. A little over two years ago, Kevin Rudd was the most popular Prime Minister ever, presiding over a nation with Labor governments in every state and territory. Even after Labor lost government in Western Australia in 2008, the federal government was still in good shape.

While it has been obvious for some time that the New South Wales government was in trouble, they at least had the benefit of time on their side with the state locked in to the four year electoral cycle. There was at least time for things to be turned around, and for the party to get itself back into a position where it might have a chance to survive in 2011. Instead, the phenomenon described by some as the “New South Wales” disease spread to Canberra and Kevin Rudd has become history. Now, in every state, at every level, Labor is seen as both incompetent, and as incapable of seeing past its own internal workings to the real issues affecting real people.

Kristina Keneally hasn’t got a snowflake’s chance… well, you know the rest.

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