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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 16 January 2009
NSW on cusp of unprecedented era of honest governance as Rees spreads the ratsak around?
Topic: nsw govt

Main points:

- Sage advice from Michael Costa ex Treasurer in his slot in The Oz today regarding 'honest good policy' is the only way forward not personnel/leadership changes. Appears to be reaping the benefits of a decent holiday and rest resulting in resonating and moderate analysis. (No one ever thought Michael Costa was dumb just seriously manic, lacking balance.) This kind of policy hard work will be a shock to the bone lazy ALP tribe of nepotistic slobs and liars on $100K plus wages infesting our public institutions in NSW. But if Rees can get them to work hard and maybe grind out a deal of dead wood in the process - like Rudd has been doing - then it might just work. Cannon fodder if you like in the public interest.

- The current dynamic is a rerun of summer of 1994 but different too. Same like with Carr v Anderson ructions, bushfires (Fitzsimons safe hands, Koperberg back then), environment a strong theme in the electorate (then forests, today climate), Rees like Carr is bookish but less so and has embraced the internet with ministers forced to post media releases. Instructive from that time that natural heritage land use was Carr's point of differential and wedge on the Lib Nat rivals. Rees is in Government now not Opposition as Carr was in 1994 but in a real sense he is in opposition to the Opposition in the polls and with voters.

Picture: It's bushfire season proper just like the grim January 1994 season but management and equipment have improved radically since then. Still NSW Premier Rees must feel a bit "trapped" by the firey crucible of hostile press today. As the saying goes if it's too hot in the kitchen champ shove off otherwise get on with it.

- Rees like Carpenter - who lost in WA - has a clean persona. He may yet lose but the way forward remains self respect, honourable endeavour, best of a bad job and play for time, even for future inspirations.

- In this new era of mass communications and transparency the influence and power of Boomers like Obeid , and Bourke in WA, will crumble just as Carr's did. Obama and the web changed politics forever in the USA and Rees is part of that next wave and will need to leverage the net 2.0 to have any chance as well. Both newspapers are themselves desperate to be seen to wield the power that can make and break governments because that sells more press, keeps state political reporters in a job, and appeals to their traditional privilege and ego. But that influential stature in society is changing as their balance sheets detect severed internal arteries yet to bleed out.

- the press coverage today is riddled with journo rhetoric and wishful beat ups leavened with equivocal context, some loose speculation (Benson - various meetings meaning what?), some wrong (Clennell - Rees does have cabinet solidarity of Tebbutt and Roozendaal at a fair guess). The most mature comment is from Imre Salusinszky that the situation is prone to 'spark'. Benson concedes as much in his last paragraph about a 'huge political void' allowing for the hyperbole.

- the wretched and illegal slaughter by our "allies" Israel of innocent Palestinian children and a feeling of betrayal - given Israel cares nought for western sensibilities on human rights - is leaving everyone including politicians quite pissed off and grumpy and wanting a displacement, including the political journos. The fact is the biggest LOCAL political story is Gaza 10,000 kilometres away because we are so multicultural and it affects the world too. No wonder Sartor was dismissive on camera yesterday. Obeid too will be watching Al Jazeera and caring nothing for Rees or his ALP Govt today.

- Rees will have some advantages in a poor polling environment where his job is both to deliver good decisions on policy, and be popular. The two are related but only loosely. He has emotional security with his now wife. That will help his focus and energy levels. He's a toughie already, and young, and won't expect any easy rides therefore unlikely to collapse with dashed expectations, or throw tantrums, like 'frank' Frank Sartor (who is probably running out of time career wise). As for Robbo as potential leader, his charm as straight shooting working man will win blue collar voters in droves, but that won't win the ALP an election, and he surely knows it. And he doesn't look like the kind of guy to change his image to suit the vagaries of the infotainment industry. His best contribution would be ... you guessed it .....good policy development.

- The Opposition have structural advantages of superior polling against a too old nepotistic and dishonest party of government such that they can stalk traditional centre left ALP ground - like tackling the causes of recidivism in Law N Order area, which could well make for good policy. Remember that? The real purpose of public office? This will quieten the nascent energetic Green Party usually feeding into the ALP count. Stay tuned for more shift in emphasis on the environment too from the NSW Coalition (?).

- Rees ought to study 1994 and the sound policy development (by Carr from Opposition). He knows he has to present the ALP as a greener future as well as economically competent. But how is he going to actually do it? Closure of the Eden Chipmill was hugely popular with light green voters and economically responsible given the pathetic cross subsidy in public forest for plantation development. He could also privatise the plantation estate with strict environmental controls for a cool $1B income. Narrow sectoral union interests would hate it which would be another big vote winner on the conservative and green side of politics. And Carr never did deliver on that election promise made in 1995.

- Rees will have to think up some other innovative ideas of his own. And failing that sleep on it for another day.

Posted by editor at 10:39 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 12:13 PM EADT

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