Saturday, March 28, 2009

Accident-prone Liberals

This pessimistic - though I think accurate - piece from conservative columnist/journalist Doug Conway appeared in today's Manly Daily:

ANNA Bligh's historic win in Queensland extends to 25 the number of consecutive state and territory elections where conservative parties have either lost to Labor or won fewer seats.

The only aberration came last year in WA, where Colin Barnett's Liberals managed to form a minority coalition government with the independents.

In NSW the Coalition has not won in its own right since 1988, when Nick Greiner defeated Barrie Unsworth in a landslide.

By the time Nathan Rees goes to the polls in 2011, Labor will have held power in NSW for 16 years.

Anna Bligh's feat in becoming Australia's first directly elected female premier has delivered a fifth straight term to Queensland Labor, which has ruled for 18 of the past 20 years.

Bligh has given hope to other long-standing state Labor governments which must face the polls in the next two years: Victoria, SA and Tasmania as well as NSW.

State Liberals around the nation have consistently failed to unseat Labor governments despite a string of scandals and some clear cases of ineptitude.

Labor was returned to power in NSW two years ago with just a loss of a couple of seats. Yet Morris Iemma's government had been running one of the most sluggish economies in the country, failing to deliver on health, education and transport.

Labor governments, which at times seem to do everything in their power to get beaten, have proved unbeatable, often thanks to Liberal blunders.

An inquiry into vote-rigging in 2001 forced the resignation of senior Labor figures in Queensland but even that made no difference.

John Brogden resigned as NSW Liberal leader in 2005 after making racist jokes at the expense of premier Bob Carr's wife, and later attempted suicide.

Former South Australian Liberal premier John Olsen quit in 2001 after an independent report found he acted dishonestly in trying to attract telecom company Motorola to Adelaide.

Victorian Liberals have never recovered from the unforeseen uprising that tossed the autocratic Jeff Kennett out of office in 1999.

Labor's extraordinary run at state level is not because voters have always been satisfied with ALP government.

As one commentator remarked, it's because they have had insufficient faith in any alternative.


conrad said...

I couldn't agree more. I remember Bob Carr's strategy was simply to say nothing at all, and the Liberals would simply embarrass themselves to the point where you would comtemplate voting for a stray dog on the street rather than them. Also, whilst the NSW Liberals seem full of wacky religious conservatives (including their younger members), I can't see why the Liberals can't offer some decent alternative in Victoria (although Labor is far better than the NSW equivalent) where they are not infested by such wackies. Lots of people liked Jeff Kennett, and Labor seems to be doing pretty poorly with things now (Myki card, public transport in general, financial crisis, ...) so it seems likely that if they got a decent leader they would have a good chance.

Krystian said...

I think it's a bit silly to draw these kinds of generalisations. Sure, the NSW Labor Government is basically in power because of a lack of a decent opposition, but in the case of Victoria, South Australia and even Queensland I think that people are quite satisfied with their State Governments. Sure, no government is perfect and there are problems and issues in all States and would be even if Liberals were in power -But the Howard Government had it's fair share of problems but you wouldn't say that it remained in power because of poor opposition, rather people were generally satisfied with it until it got carried away with industrial relations changes and became inwardly focused. The leadership and quality of opposition is important, but in most cases I don't think it is the dominant factor that keeps governments in power.

Sir Henry Casingbroke said...

The elephant in the room is the fact that lack of a credible alternative is what makes the Labor governments so increasingly inept. The issue is that the left/right labels no longer make logical sense for me. The ALP nationwide has taken the leaf out of Tony Blair's book and commandeered the right-wing agenda thus forcing conservatives into a more and more outlandishly rightist territory - an area the electors generally fear to tread.

jc said...

Oh, yeah, like which policies, Sir Henry?

Like the policy of raising Federal borrowings to $1 trillion in 5 years time. That one?

As for Blair's government, its remnants are now sending the UK to the IMF because the country is quite possibly broke.

Yep, they sure are forcing conservatives into a corner... the corner where they want to be.

Sir Henry Casingbroke said...

I'm not quite sure what you are jivin' on about there JC. Policies? What policies?

I'm generally in agreement with your comments. But I am fascinated how you came to ejaculate them.

I think you just fabricated a point of contention with me, didn't you JC? Come clean, make it easy on yourself son.