O’Farrell presents a small target, Keneally flounders
The basic thrust of the strategy for Labor to escape the March 26 NSW election with a respectable loss is to put the focus on the Opposition and away from the Government.
Well, that’s coming along nicely, isn’t it?
On the day that MLC Tony Catanzariti revealed he would be the 22nd Labor MP to quit at the coming poll, and news reports rehashed charges against a senior public servant and minister’s husband for allegedly buying an illegal drug, it remained an academic exercise.
Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell wanders around doing uncomplicated community visits, keeping in touch with important electoral sectors like a political tourist travelling light. He is certainly unencumbered by weighty policy baggage.
O’Farrell simply refuses to commit himself on some substantial policy matters, such as privatisation of utilities.
Premier Kristina Keneally, meanwhile, can be enveloped in controversy and demands for answers before she gets out of bed.
This is triggering memories of the 1988 battle between Labor Premier Barrie Unsworth and Liberal Nick Greiner. Greiner had a plan for ICAC but little else in the way of policy detail.
Unsworth had to defend a Labor government that had been around a long time, and associated, damaging issues. He couldn’t, and Greiner was elected to deliver what turned out to be a vigorous overhaul of state spending.
O’Farrell worked in the Greiner administration.
The alternative strategy for a demise with dignity is for is for the Government to stop being careful and to effectively acknowledge it is in for a thumping by outlining what it would do to recover from defeat.
It’s a type of aggressive fatalism—``We know we’re going down, but here’s why we’ll get back up again.’‘
And according to some sources it’s catching on within the NSW Labor Party.
The movie Gladiator has a wrenching scene in which slaves line up to make their first—and fatal for most—appearance in an arena.
They are terrified, and the chap in front of Russell ``Maximum’’ Crowe wets himself copiously, much to the disgust of Rusty who takes a step back to avoid the flow.
One could imagine that this sense of terror, and dampness, is being experienced by the Labor candidates lining up to fight the March 26 election in NSW. It is an arena in which more than half of them might not survive.
However, the sense of resignation, and a need to get the political gores over with, is also taking hold. Some Labor MPs just want the ordeal to end so they can get a fight-back underway—or get out of politics.
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