Life on the land in Australia


Voters put ALP out of its misery,

pressure now on Coalition

27 Mar, 2011 01:00 AM

IT WAS almost an act of mercy by the people of NSW yesterday to put Labor out of its misery.

Barry O’Farrell has a huge mandate and plenty of good will to make change.

However, the result also puts the pressure on the Coalition. While it will not be hard to perform better than Labor in recent years, the size of the win brings with it equally big expectations.

Things will need to improve, and it will be interesting to see how long the people of NSW’s patience lasts.

NSW problems will not be fixed quickly and they will take some tough decisions. Those decisions will cause pain and O’Farrell will need to use up much of the political capital he has developed if he wants to make a lasting difference.

The big challenge for Labor will be to form a workable opposition from so few MPs.

While things can only improve at the next election, it will be some time before Labor has enough numbers to be in any realistic position to even think about forming government again.

The size of the swing against NSW Labor should not be taken as a sign of things to come for the federal party. While political parties will always try to blur the lines, voters recognise the difference between state and federal governments.

It won’t stop Opposition Leader Tony Abbott enjoying some reflected sunlight off O’Farrell, in particular after the Coalition attempted to make the proposed carbon tax an issue as if the people of NSW had not decided on their votes a long time ago.

If anything, the result could be a good thing for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Voters have had a chance to take out their anger, so the simmering resentment at the Labor brand should begin to fade.

And some of those tough decisions O’Farrell faces will be starting to bite by the time of the next federal election.

Questions must be raised about whether there was any message for the country Independents. Rob Oakeshott’s successor, Peter Besseling, lost the seat of Port Macquarie on a big swing, as did Peter Draper in Tamworth, which sits near Tony Windsor’s New England electorate, and the Nationals are already lining up both federal seats.

Once again, the Greens have not polled as well as they hoped. Expectations were high they would win their first lower house seat, but so far it looks like that won’t come to pass.

March 27th, 2011
Topic: POLITICS PARLIAMENT Tags: , , , ,

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