As a resident of the Marrickville Local Government Area for just over a decade, I am proud of my council's track record, under both the Labor Party and the Greens, of its committment to social justice and its displays of solidarity on human rights issues - examples, Burma, West Papua, and the handling of refugees seeking asylum in Australia. I am especially pleased with the attitude they have displayed on human rights in Palestine, particularly in the context of their sister city relationship with Bethlehem.
Only fifty-six weeks till the New South Wales state election on March 26, 2011 and the inevitable removal of a rancid Labor government for whom acting in accordance with the wishes of its voters is far less important than scheming its own self-preservation.
The latest (and hopefully last for a while) product of the Sussex Street Sausage Machine to be thrown to the lions as State premier is Kristina Kerscher Keneally. (Please do not dwell on those initials - that's actually her maiden name in the middle.)
"The Hon. TONY KELLY (Minister for Police, Minister for Lands, and Minister for Rural Affairs) [12.36 a.m.]: I move:
That the House at its rising this day do adjourn until Tuesday 1 September 2009 at 2.30 p.m.
The Hon. DON HARWIN [12.36 a.m.]: Mr President, I move:
That the question be amended by deleting the words—
The PRESIDENT: Order! In accordance with precedent, as there is no Minister or Parliamentary Secretary in the House, I will now leave the chair until the ringing of the long bell.
The New South Wales government is a walking, talking, collective schemozzle. A government that refuses to listen to, or at times even acknowledge, the voters who put them there. A government that is happy to coast incompetently knowing they they have the security blanket of a fixed four-year term of office that it is nigh on impossible to cut short. And the brashness of mind to think they they can be re-elected in 2011 because the Libs would be even worse.
"KERRY O'BRIEN: Given the mood in this State you could do what the Liberal Government in Tasmania did in 1998 and what the German Government has done twice post war and have an early election.
You could circumvent the four year fixed term by organising a vote of no confidence in your own government and going to the Governor for dissolution; put yourselves out of your misery.
NATHAN REES: Is that a serious suggestion?
KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, It is. It would be against your own self interest though, wouldn’t it?"
The New South Wales Government, nominally led by Nathan Rees, is arrogant, incompetent, out of touch and willing to totally disregard the wishes of the electorate. Nothing matters so much as retaining a AAA-credit rating, even when there is little or no credit to take.
The caucus, little more than a shop-front for the Sussex Street office of the ALP state branch, took its contempt for democracy to a new level today, when former Unions NSW boss John Robertson was chosen to join the cabinet.
If ever there was proof needed that the Large Hadron Collider is destabilising the remnants of New South Wales politics, comes today's email from ex-Health Minister Reba Meagher to Australian Associated Press, confirming that she made no attempt to inform Premier Rees on Saturday before telling the media of her intention to quit politics.
Said media outlet takes up the story.
Nathan's cabinet is in place. Reba Meagher jumped before she was pushed. Frank Sartor was pushed, and then gave a press conference to tell the world why Premier Rees was wrong. And Joe Tripodi? Well, he got promoted.
Not merely Minister for Ports and Waterways anymore, Joseph Guerino Tripodi, BEc(Hons) is now Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Regulatory Reform, and Minister for Finance.
Joining Tripodi in the state Economic Dream Team is Eric Roozendaal, BA LLB. Two Labor right-wing heavies in charge of the nation's biggest basket case.
Roozendaal arrived in State Parliament by the time-honoured career path from Sussex Street to a Legislative Council casual vacancy. Labor NSW general secretary Roozendaal was parachuted into the Legislative Council in June 2004 after Tony Burke won a Federal by-election. As Burke was elected to the Legislative Council in the 2003 state election, his replacement does not face the polls until 2011.
Let's just recap that: Eric Roozendaal has become State Treasurer without ever being elected to parliament.
Following is a list of the ministers in the new Rees government, annotated in this press release from Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon with the amounts they have received in donations for their election campaigns in 2003 and 2007. Those with zero against their name are members of the upper house who don't have individual campaigns, and Mr Roozendaal, who doesn't need campaign funding for another three years:
Friday was arguably the most tumultuous day in New South Wales politics since Jack Lang was sacked on May 13, 1932. Firstly Michael Costa was axed as State Treasurer by Premier Morris Iemma, then Iemma himself resigned after his attempt to reshuffle cabinet was nixed by his caucus.
And all this happened two days after deputy premier John Watkins resigned from parliament to become CEO of Alzheimers Australia.