Nsw Election 2011
Pauline Hanson today again pleaded: “They’re picking on me.”
She lost her bid for an eight-year sinecure in the NSW Upper House, the plushest retirement home in Australian politics, and has to blame someone.
The fact that the Labor Party, the Liberals, the Nationals, the Greens, Christian Democrats, Shooters and Fishers didn’t run dead for her was a sign of conspiracy.
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Every man and his dog – and there are plenty of dogs involved in this story – has a reason the NSW Government went down so spectacularly at the weekend. But really there is only one: NSW Labor is simply excellent at what it does.
The NSW Right is – or at least was – such a supreme political and campaigning machine that it wins not only more often than the Liberals but more often than it should for its own good.
In the last 35 years in NSW Labor allowed only a hiccup of Liberal rule before it broke the back of the Greiner Government in 1991 after a truncated three-year term and then sent it to Coventry for 16 years at the next election.
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The campaign tactics of all major parties in the NSW election proved we live in an atmosphere where truth is negotiable and lying is routinely accepted as a political necessity.
The result is widespread public cynicism that often masquerades as humour - but is, in fact, an excellent form of crowd control.
We do not expect our politicians to amount to much, so we are neither surprised nor particularly upset when they don’t. Rather than demand reform, we tell cynical jokes and are bemused by their brazen immorality.
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Queensland Premier Anna Bligh called it ``the New South Wales disease’’ where the leadership of the ALP, even in office, became a revolving door decided by faceless factional heavies.
Last Saturday, the NSW branch of the party, the source of that ``disease’’ and the biggest single brick in the Labor wall, crashed to the ground. The 16-year-old government, led defiantly by Kristina Keneally, was not merely defeated, it was humiliated. The backlash was unprecedented in its ferocity with voters dishing out the worst defeat of any government in Australian electoral history.
Facing a state election within a year, Anna Bligh, of course, is desperate to stop the rot at the Tweed River. But she may not be able to hold back the tide. Fear in Labor ranks is now giving way to panic just as conservatives are rubbing their hands. In a world of diminished party loyalty, instant information, social media, and a borderless 24-hour media cycle, Labor’s hardheads worry that the old boundaries between states, and even between levels of government are blurring.
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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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Public nudity is a funny old thing.
On one hand, letting it all hang out is the most natural thing in the world. Yet – like a small child who leaps suddenly from behind a door shouting “boo radley” – the sight of fully fledged human nudity can be arresting if unexpected.
New South Wales upper house candidate and gay activist Stuart Baanstra certainly disturbed the political equilibrium when he disrobed publically during his campaign for today’s state election.
Described variously as “a political nudist”, “a passionate nudist” and “a softly spoken former employee of Australia Post”, Baanstra used to be a member of the Greens and once went to court for refusing to fill out the Census.
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When NSW Labor is wiped off the map tomorrow, it will partly be because, as Joe Hildebrand pointed out, the Labor government has rather impressively committed every sin known to mankind. But mostly, it’ll be because the government is widely viewed as having reduced this state to tatters. The question is: Is NSW really in such bad nick?
I have lived in NSW for about 30 of my 41 years. The sun still shines, the trains still crawl and the water still runs, except of course for that time in 1998 when it was full of nasty parasites.
In most respects, this state is nowhere near the basket case some make it out to be. Obviously, NSW would have benefited from something approaching a competent government for much of the last 16 years, but it’s not all gloom and doom in Woolloomooloo, and beyond. Let’s take a closer look.
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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.
At the heart of the ALP’s election campaign advertising is a single, profound and powerful message: “You wouldn’t hit a girl would you?”
Indeed, it almost seems inhumane to use someone as sweet and appealing as Kristina Keneally as the poster girl for the truly horrible carnage that will be visited upon NSW Labor on March 26.
It’s a bit like lashing a fair maiden to a tree and then sitting around and waiting for the dragon.
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