Labor could have won. Seriously, another term was achievable after its big 2007 victory. It has taken a lot of effort to produce a result this bad. A lot of effort – spread over four years.
First, the privatization conference where a government was mauled by its own people and the party looked like a convocation of madmen, shrieking at one another. Its poll standing never recovered.
Second, the pursuit of a metro from Sydney’s CBD to the northwestern suburbs enabled it to be fitted with the tag of incompetence, especially when the unaffordable plan had to be dropped. There was a perfectly sensible transport plan. It was the plan for a northwest and a southwest heavy rail link that I presented at my last party conference in June 2005 and which is the transport plan of the new Premier.
Third, three Premiers in three years. Speaks for itself. Fourth – and probably flowing from this diminution of the Premier’s standing – a cluster of ministerial scandals that made the public despair.
What should have been a swing-of-the-pendulum defeat became something else, a disaster.
All those seats gone, seats I and colleagues worked hard to win over seven years in Opposition and over another 10 in government, with good policies and good politics.
No, it took a lot of work to fling it all away. Four years of lamentable politics even while the state kept its Triple A through the Global Financial Crisis, kept its lead in school standards, achieved low crime figures with a reformed, corruption-resistant police force and good on-time running on the rail network which carries a bigger proportion of the population than that of any other Australian capital. It achieved wins for nature conservation which, as the Colong Foundation for Wilderness says, are unlikely to be repeated.
The cycle turns but it should have been nothing like this.
In the meantime Bob Ellis says that there’s a transitory quality about the people elected tonight -the seats will be reclaimed in four years. There will be some real cranks in the Liberal army. Maybe another Hanson.
One bit of good news : the opportunist Green Party has failed to take out lower house seats, again. As in the Victorian election. Carmel Tebutt and Verity Firth were too good for them. Bravo.