Earn your mandate Barry, or there’ll be no man date
A small tap of the space key can make a world of difference.
Case in point - mandate: “the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative”; as opposed to man date: “two men doing something that would be your standard date, eg going to a film, out for a meal.”
Now, Unions NSW has been working constructively with governments of all stripes for 130 years. But with all due respect, if Barry O’Farrell becomes premier after Saturday’s election, I won’t be lining up for a man date.
However I am asking him to earn his mandate.
So far – despite a six week campaign period and sixteen years in opposition to develop a cohesive plan for NSW – O’Farrell has said remarkably little about his plans for the state should he win Saturday.
I seriously doubt whether Barry O’Farrell would be able to claim the authority granted by NSW voters to represent their interests in a range of key areas, particularly if he tries to cut public services, sell off assets or undermine work rights.
An O’Farrell victory would be more Steven Bradbury than Cathy Freeman. He may glide through simply by not messing up. But he certainly hasn’t led from the front, created a vision and brought the crowd with him.
So he plans to cut the price of a monthly train ticket. That’s good. But what’s the future of public transport? We know Sydney Ferries are up for sale, but which other parts of our public transport networks in Sydney and major regional centres will be outsourced? There are question marks hanging over the future of Sydney Buses, Newcastle Buses and Ferries and the maintenance of the CityRail fleet.
How about public sector jobs? We know the Coalition plans to cut 1,000 workers from the Department of Community Services, but an analysis of the proposals put forward by various ‘consultants’ and lobbyists this election campaign shows a further 25,000 are under threat – front line workers across departments like education and training, ageing and disability and national parks and wildlife.
Business would certainly push a Coalition Government to erode work rights and entitlements in the state – how would they respond?
And for all his willingness to hit the Labor Government over power privatisation – what does O’Farrell plan for our power assets?
Despite repeated invitations from workers and community members across NSW to sign – or at least speak to – the Better Services charter already signed by over 200 candidates this election campaign; O’Farrell has refused to answer these and a host of other questions.
The absence of any real answers from the Coalition is creating a level of uncertainty in the community that it is neither fair nor necessary.
Unions are looking forward to working with the next government to improve our essential public services – but we also stand ready to hold the next government to account if it oversteps its popular mandate.
There may only be a day or so left, but it’s not too late for Barry O’Farrell to come clean.
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