FOR A PARTY whose offering is largely predicated on the destruction of the ordered decency of contemporary society, it is ironic the
Communist Party Greens should emerge to masquerade as anti-corruption agents; yet such a posture to some extent underpins their lunatic arrangement with NSW Labor as it favours the ALP in Liberal seats touched by ICAC in return for upper house preferences. NSW voters can — and should — just vote “1.”
It is true that we have not spent as much time examining the impending NSW state election — now 10 days away — as I would have liked; between the leadership travails of the federal government and a fairly tight squeeze on the time I have had available to post articles of late, the third election in the eastern states in the space of 15 weeks has inadvertently been “a little neglected.”
And the perception (incorrectly held, in my view) that Premier Mike Baird is coasting toward an easy and thumping win has meant this particular state election has not resonated around the country in the way the bitterly contested contest in Victoria did, or the bated-breath observation directed toward Campbell Newman in Queensland to see how far, and how hard, the LNP was hit by angry, resentful voters.
Yet the NSW Liberals — even more securely ensconced in government than the LNP was in Queensland if measured on its share of the two-party vote, even if this equates to a smaller parliamentary majority — remains vulnerable on 28 March; there are a number of factors that could contrive a narrow Labor win in the Premier State, and these appear to be aligning to what anyone other than a sycophant of the Left ought regard as an alarming degree.
Critical to this equation is the share of the statewide two-party vote required to push Baird’s Coalition government into minority, which past experience (and the NSW electoral boundaries, which lock a huge portion of the Liberal vote into a clutch of seats north of Sydney Harbour) suggests is anything more than 47% for the parties of the Left.
For readers’ interest, the latest electoral pendulum from the ABC’s Antony Green can be viewed here: and note that the ten safest Liberal electorates all sit on or above Sydney’s North Shore.
I make the further observation that the two-party swing to the Coalition four years ago of 16.5% will be reversed to some degree on Saturday week, and whilst the extent of the correction obviously remains an unknown until the votes are counted, the fact opinion polling (to date) suggests an outcome in the vicinity of 53-54% for the Coalition should add some perspective to the huge margins currently buffering the safest government seats on that pendulum, and bearing in mind the Coalition was sent into minority in 1991 with 52.5% of the two-party vote and lost office altogether four years later with 51.8%, the fact this election is going to be close despite the 2011 result should already be accepted as a given.
Much has been made, in mainstream media and elsewhere, of the influence the unpopularity of the Abbott government might exert on the NSW result, and in an echo of the recent state elections in Victoria and Queensland, it seems inescapable that whilst the federal Liberals and the Abbott factor will by no means prove decisive on 28 March, they will nonetheless be “a factor.”
In a mirror image of Queensland Labor’s cynically dishonest anti-privatisation campaign, NSW Labor is running hard against the Baird government’s plan to lease 49% of the state’s electricity assets — the so-called poles and wires — to generate funds to pay for badly needed investment in infrastructure in Sydney; pandering to prejudices that the divestiture of state assets is “bad” and misleading voters with breathtakingly contemptuous talk of higher power prices in a privatised electricity system that is quickly disproven by even a cursory glance south of the Murray, the ALP’s fight against Baird’s asset leasing program is biting hard — just as the equivalent campaign did for Labor in Queensland.
And in this campaign — in a contrast to 2011 — it is the Liberal Party fighting off the corruption tag rather than Labor, with 10 of its MPs being forced to step aside or leave Parliament altogether after being adversely dealt with in ICAC’s relentless crusade against public wrongdoing, especially where laws around the acceptance and disclosure of election donations from property developers are concerned.
Yet whilst all of this might appear to make for rich and fertile soil for Labor to till, it must first be pulled together: and not least in view of the fact that primary support for the ALP sits in the mid-30% range (albeit roughly 10 percentage points higher than the abominable result it recorded in 2011).
Enter — to the surprise of nobody — the Greens.
The evidence of the Greens’ destructive influence, both over the ALP and over governance generally, is well-known and evidenced, with the most recent example being the notorious “Coalition” between the hard-Left party and the Gillard government, which contributed to the destruction of the last federal Labor government as Labor was forced to do the Greens’ bidding as the price for “control” of the Senate: an arrangement that heavily damaged the ALP, but from which the Greens emerged in comparatively robust shape despite the loss of a couple of percentage points of its support.
This time (and a selection of articles from today’s Sydney press can be accessed here, here and here) the Greens have struck a deal with Labor aimed at securing themselves control of the NSW upper house, for like any party mostly disinclined toward assembling a majority of voter support in single-member lower house electorates, the Greens in NSW are happy with the prospect of playing the wrecker in yet another ghastly, proportionally elected upper house on a comparative sliver of the statewide vote.
Telling, however, is what the Labor Party gets in return: a binding agreement to exchange preferences that is skewed toward the NSW Central Coast — and thus toward Liberal-held seats at the epicentre of ICAC findings against sitting MPs that might seem ripe for the taking — and toward a handful of marginal seats lost by the ALP four years ago that constitute the sort of low-hanging fruit the ALP must harvest first if it is to stand any prospect at all of regaining significant ground in NSW next weekend.
The benefits to the ALP are obvious: provided Greens voters follow the card, the prospect of winning an increased number of seats from the Coalition is enhanced by the deal between the two parties.
But what the Greens stand to receive amounts to yet another eye-popping itinerary of wasteful excess and indulgence: a million dollars for Koalas in Campbelltown. A “koala summit.” The declaration of new national parks that would decimate the fishing and coal seam gas industries, the latter being particularly cynical given it was the last NSW Labor government that granted most of the coal seam gas licences in the north of the state in the first place.
And of course, the retention, in state hands, of NSW’s electricity assets: infrastructure that will decline in value in coming decades as new technologies progressively render it obsolete. The value of the land and the proceeds from asset leasing are arguably worth more to the state than the poles and wires are in the longer term. And of course, NSW consumers would be denied the savings from cheaper electricity, but Labor and the Greens — beholden to unions and incapable of telling the truth — don’t care about that.
It is no coincidence that for the first time in its history, the leadership of the state divisions of the ALP up the eastern seaboard (and elsewhere) is held by the party’s Left faction; in turn, this equates in practical terms to excessive influence and control by the union movement, and especially where militant unions such as the CFMEU are concerned.
An object lesson in the destructive course such a government would likely chart in NSW can be found south of the border in Victoria, where the new-ish Labor government of neophyte Premier and imbecile Daniel Andrews is scuttling infrastructure projects at a ten-figure cost to the state whilst deferring or abandoning other election commitments ostensibly built around the safeguarding of Melbourne’s prized and renowned status as the most liveable city in the world.
Ominously, Andrews has flagged funding future projects in Victoria by ramping up state sector debt: a misadventure tried by Labor in the 1980s, that resulted in the near-bankruptcy of the state.
And the little excursion by unions through Melbourne a couple of weeks ago — supposedly in the name of workers’ rights — was contrived purely for political purposes and aimed squarely at a conservative federal government, and was explicitly sanctioned and tolerated by the new Labor state government.
This is a mere glimpse of what awaits NSW voters if Labor triumphs on 28 March. It is what awaits already in Queensland, as that state’s new Labor regime — also elected on the back of Greens’ preferences in an optional preferential voting system — finds its feet, and flexes its muscles.
NSW voters still have the opportunity to avoid all of this, and those soon to vote who do not wish to see their state held to ransom by the ridiculous whims of the Greens or NSW’s militant and thuggish trade unions have a choice.
“Just Vote ‘1’,” as another Labor figure from the north implored Queenslanders 15 years ago: if there are no preferences distributed there can be no Labor win in NSW, and even those voters angry with the Abbott government and disinclined for whatever reason to see their state’s electricity assets leased to private interests would fare better under a re-elected Baird government than any alternative cobbled together by Labor and the Greens.