Looking back: Berejiklian’s Glad to be back
On Saturday the Coalition government of New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian was returned decisively.
Pundits, your columnist included, almost all predicted a very hung parliament in which government could go either way, and a count that might take days. Yet Labor’s Michael ‘Arfur’ Daley tapped the mat by 9.30 on Saturday night, a half-time distraction from the footy. On Sunday, as Berejiklian reasserted herself as Premier, Daley fended off vultures ready to pick over the carcass of his leadership.
Not since John Hewson’s birthday cake moment with the late Mike Willesee in 1993 has a party leader so decisively snatched decisive defeat from the jaws of victory. From the leaking of his anti-Asian rant that could have come from Arthur ‘two whites don’t make a Wong’ Calwell, to his abysmal ignorance of his own policies in the sole leaders’ debate, to imploding in a radio interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham, Daley single-handedly torpedoed the Labor ship while shooting himself in a foot which was already well and truly stuck in his mouth.
Nice work, Mike.
Besides the Liberal vote holding up – at publication time not conceding a seat to Labor, although Coogee looks very dicey – the Nats were holed below the waterline not by Labor but by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, who appear to have won three lower house seats. Federal incompetence, the rampant ego of Barnaby ‘I’m the elected deputy PM’ Joyce, and bushies being convinced state or federal Nats aren’t looking out for them have meant the NSW Nationals are living the old political joke:
‘I’m a country member!’
‘Yes, we remember!’
And who can forget ScoMo’s delight? First stop NSW, next stop a federal Coalition victory in May, he told anyone who would listen. Overoptimistic or not, at least he turned up. The same can’t be said of Bill Shorten, who like Macavity is never there when things go wrong.
Given Daley effectively did a dry run of Labor’s federal campaign, built on real and concocted grievances against the Coalition government; Shorten probably downed a few worried gins on Saturday night. Suddenly your lay-down misère doesn’t look so certain, does it Bill?
Looking forward: Spinning NSW
Watch the Prime Minister use Berejiklian’s win to insist the federal Coalition is back in the game. Perhaps, but NSW isn’t Victoria and Queensland, where Morrison’s election will be won or lost. But in May he will have a friendly NSW government, allowing him more flexibility to tackle the dragons of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. It helps.
Watch Shorten claim it was all decided on state issues, trying to dodge NSW Labor’s mud spattering his government-in-waiting. Oh no Bill, Daley’s mini-me can yet be you in May.
As for the returned government, the relative reduction of National numbers will affect the new ministry, and it will be such fun watching the Nats attempt to hold on to all their ministerial spots despite their abject performance. Whether or not they get away with it will be Berejiklian’s first test of post-election strength.
But Berejiklian herself needs to be careful. Saturday’s result was as much a rejection of incompetent Daley Labor as much as an endorsement of her government. She needs to get cracking on her ambitious infrastructure programme and showing voters some results for the inconvenience and seemingly empty promises about the completion of troublesome projects, notably the Sydney CBD and eastern suburbs tram lines.
She should also learn from Labor’s Daniel Andrews who, also having imposed huge disruptions for infrastructure work on Melbourne voters, last November got a massive electoral endorsement of his claims to be actually doing something. If they want a fourth term, Berejiklian and Co need to ask themselves why Andrews was so lavishly rewarded as a Can Do premier when her government was in mortal danger right up until Michael Daley let them off the hook.
Highlight of the week: Gladys feels the sisterhood’s love (not)
Given they haven’t hesitated to castigate the Liberal party for its under-representing women in it’s parliamentary ranks, as a public service we wanted to share the tweets of leading feminist Twitterati congratulating Gladys Berejiklian on her becoming NSW’s first elected woman Premier. Surely a great moment for the sisterhood worthy of at least some congratulations?
Well, as of publication, most of the usual suspects from Clementine Ford onwards had tweeted precisely…nothing.
The ever-garrulous talking head Jane Caro did, however, have something to say:
Only after some tweeps and twerps pointed out Gladys’s victory is itself a feminist moment, Caro tapped out a grudging:
Equating a decent, honourable leader of the Liberal party with Pauline Hanson. Unable to show grace to congratulate a widely-respected opponent who has achieved a historic milestone. Unable to rise above her narrow-minded, blinkered partisanship. Caro could not bring herself to go where even Liberal-hating Sarah-Hanson Young could and say something nice about Berejiklian.
And they say more women in politics will increase respect and courtesy in public life…
The only notable ‘progressive’ media maven who showed real-time public grace in Berejiklian’s actual moment of victory was the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas
Well said, PK. But it’s sad yours was almost a lone voice.
Yet again it seems the only women allowed to succeed in politics must come from the Left. That’s the most disappointing lesson of last Saturday.
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