Credibility gap weighs against Labor

It’s election time in NSW, less than a month away. But there is no excitement, as if the election has already been won and lost ”“ Liberals winning by default and the Labor losing, ridden by scandals and wont for change. The pity is that the Liberals are able to form a government in the most populous state in Australia just riding the wave of discontent against Labor without their own significant vision for the people of NSW.

Premier Keneally has put a brave face responding to the inevitable question put to her persistently ”“ what is it like leading a side set to lose. She is popular with people, charming and always listening to them. But that’s not enough to win an election.

It has been 16 long years for NSW Labor to be in power. There has been paucity in Liberal charismatic leadership since in Opposition from the time of Labor’s Bob Carr which is continuing even today. No new ideas, no fightback potential. But fortunate for them that Labor has dug its own grave with factional politics, series of sex scandals, series of bribery allegations, and even serial failure in privatization of power sector.

The first time selling of power assets cost Morris Iemma-Michael Costa team its ouster. Recently, the rather erratic (beyond belief!)   power assets sale by Keneally-Roozendaal team at the brink of elections and leading to early closure of parliament to avoid scrutiny has confounded even Labor’s closest supporters.  The sale involved privatizing three energy retail businesses and trading rights of two power generators, Delta Electricity and Eraring Energy, which led to resignation of eight directors who had objected to the sale.   A parliamentary inquiry into the transaction, besides being highly critical of the decision to prorogue Parliament in December, has recommended that if the power asset sale is not stopped before the election, the incoming government should tear up the contracts.

NSW Labor has been losing its A-list of ministers at regular intervals, powerbrokers Michael Costa and   Joe Tripody, and many others infamously, allegedly involved in various scandals ”“Milton Orkopulous (procuring young men for sex and plying them with heroin in his parliamentary office), Matt Brown (unparliamentary behavior), Phil Koperburg (domestic violence), David Campbell (visiting gay sex clubs), John Della Bosca (Iguanagate and ex-marital affair with a woman more than 20 years his junior). Without them Labor and Liberals are at par with each other.

The Liberal’s election promises include cutting taxes to reduce cost of living and business growth; invest $3 billion in hospitals and employ 900 extra teachers and build South West and North West Rail links.

Premier Keneally has built bridges with the Indian community by improving on law and order situation, specially during Harris Park student crisis, targeting improved community relations by creating Parramasala and other positive steps like instituting state awards for the community.

But it will be difficult for her inexorable drive alone to ride over the perversity so wide spread in the Labor team.

– Vijay Badhwar

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