That’s the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and radio host Jackie O. They were playing spin the bottle.
Apparently Barry was lucky the bottle pointed to Jackie and not Kyle Sandilands. If only the rest of us were lucky enough to have a premier who didn’t take part in stunts like this with the duo that brought you 14-year-old-strapped-to-a-lie-detector-and-quizzed-about-her-sex-life and other such classy contributions to broadcasting.
Queensland’s looking pretty good right now and not just because it’s raining in Sydney.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was meeting with Hugh Jackman. No smooching pics yet…
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Over the past few years, the rivers of private donations to political parties have grown into a flood of Queensland proportions. In the the past five years, including the 2007 and 2010 elections, the two major parties have enjoyed donations of over $700 million.
Under the Electoral Act, large donors, and the parties they supported, have to be publicly reported through the Electoral Commission. But there are too many loopholes which seriously erode the transparency. The Rudd/Gillard governments have admitted reform is necessary, but it has apparently been put on the back burner.
However, NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell has come to the party. His proposed reforms will pass the parliament, as the Greens have promised to support them. When the legislation comes into force, the NSW law on private donations to political parties will be the toughest in Australia.
How can you tell the difference between a newly-elected government and a party that’s been in power for nearly a decade?
A newly-elected government is happy to admit that things could be done better.
A classic case in point this week was the new Liberal Government in NSW switching off 38 speed cameras deemed to have no real safety benefit.
Given we don’t have an official national dance, I would like to nominate one. Let’s call it ‘the Election Day Waltz’. It has a few tricky steps, then a big finale that always ends up the same way.
New NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell was doing the dance this week. First the light steps through the campaign: ‘there will be no public sector job cuts, there will be no cuts to services’, up there on his tippy toes all grace and poise.
Then he lands with a thud. The day after the election he ‘discovers’ a ‘budget black hole’ and he starts stomping around on the very workers and services he was reassuring just days ago.
Arriving at the Randwick Labor Club for Saturday night’s ALP election function, the staff at the desk were joking about having voted Liberal. This was obviously going to be a bad night for the Labor Party.
Like residents waiting for a massive cyclone, the Labor faithful knew when it was coming and where from; the only thing for it now was to buckle down together and wait. Needless to say, it was weird.
One benefit of this particular bunker was the open bar, which was probably the most useful bit of campaign spending the NSW ALP had made in the last six weeks.
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Tomorrow Barry O’Farrell assumes the mantle of the Premier of NSW. That’s not a prediction from a well-informed insider, by the way. It’s a stone-cold fact, hewn from the knowledge that there hasn’t been a conclusion this foregone since Ricky Martin turned out to be a bit light in the loafers.
Which leads us to the question - what could Fatty possibly do to balls up this one horse race? With one day left on the campaign trail shot clock, what catastrophic cock-ups could the man cook up to fall short of the biggest sure thing since hipster douchebags queuing up for Apple products? You know it, I know it, and you can be sure as shit old Barry knows it.
So with that, Barry, we dare ya. We double dare you to take The Punch Policy Pepsi Challenge, and pepper a few of these zingers into the ears of your electorates. We honestly doubt it’ll make one iota of difference…
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When voters hit the polling booths in NSW on March 26, many will have no memory of a time before Labor. Such has been the party’s success in the Premier state, that it had come to regard government as its birthright. It’s a conceit that comes from ruling for the last 16 years straight and for all but 18 of the last 70 years.
But now the jig is up.
In fact, it has been up for quite a while but the state’s fixed four-year term has delayed the day of reckoning. Labor fell over the line in 2007, thanks mostly to a hopeless Opposition, but the diseases of hubris, of fatigue, of abuse of trust, had already begun.
There was significant attention given to Barry O’Farrell when he spoke at the National Press Club yesterday. There will be a whole lot more when Premier Kristina Keneally has her turn on Friday.
Keneally is a political item of particular fascination, and not just because she gets out of bed every morning knowing she is another day closer to getting the tripe kicked out of her government by voters.
O’Farrell is the man who will become the next Premier of the largest state in the Commonwealth. Keneally is the voluntary sacrifice needed to cleanse the Labor name of the grime collected over 16 years of government.
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