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ACT Legislative Assembly – Half Time…

By 17 July 2014 26

orange-pieces

During my time in the Legislative Assembly, I came to know what it was that made a good Opposition. I knew, occasionally, what being held to account was about.

I had three years in Opposition in the colourful days 1998 to 2001. They were heady days and often heady nights. Passions ran high, tempers flared, personal insults had a certain panache about them. There was indeed colour.

When Labor came to power in 2001, the colour and headiness continued with serious debate, light-hearted banter and good natured insults. The Government was keen, and the Opposition was, although upset at losing the election, determined to get the Treasury benches back.

The 2008 election saw a downward slide in intensity from the Opposition. It was as though they were mostly resigned to Opposition for life.

I had hoped for more colour and intensity since the election in 2012. The community wanted change. They divided the Chamber rather equally, but what has been delivered?

We are now at the half way mark of the current Assembly and I have paused to look at the performance of those representatives, particularly the Opposition. I do so because, Governments are judged largely on the performance of the Ministers and Government backbenchers hardly get an opportunity to shine.

Where have the Opposition been? Where is the differentiation? Where is the substance of the claim to being an alternative Government? I dunno…maybe they’re waiting for the Government to self-destruct.

The Canberra Liberals website shows 91 media releases from the 8 members in 7 months – an average of 13 per month which is an average of 1.6 per member per month. Not good enough!

I haven’t seen anything from most of the Opposition in the media. So, if I don’t see it, what about the disaffected and disinterested ordinary member of the community.

The next election is too close to make up this gap in credibility. If they want to make a contest of it, they had better move a bit more quickly.

Sometimes I wish that I had remained in the Legislative Assembly. Then I have a cup tea and a good lie down and get over it!

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26 Responses to ACT Legislative Assembly – Half Time…
#1
bundah9:31 am, 17 Jul 14

Well apart from the period ’95-00 under Carnell it has been Labor all the way even though their performance has been mediocre which, as a socialist, I find very disappointing

#2
Mysteryman11:43 am, 17 Jul 14

The only thing worse than the current opposition is the government itself.

#3
Madam Cholet1:21 pm, 17 Jul 14

“We are now at the half way mark of the current Assembly and I have paused to look at the performance of those representatives, particularly the Opposition. I do so because, Governments are judged largely on the performance of the Ministers and Government backbenchers hardly get an opportunity to shine.”

So not willing to analyse your own side. A bit of a one-sided assessment considering the title of “ACT Legislative Assembly – Half Time’, and not “The Liberal Opposition & Greens in the ACT – Half Time”

#4
miz2:16 pm, 17 Jul 14

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

#5
martin754:44 pm, 17 Jul 14

How many Canberrans could correctly name the MLA’s in their electorate?

Except for maybe two or three, I have absolutely know idea what the other MLA’s stand for, believe in or even their names. What have they been doing for the past 24 months?

#6
watto235:00 pm, 17 Jul 14

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

They should have strolled in last election but didn’t. They showed a lack of understanding about how the ACT electoral system worked. In a Labor city like Canberra even the Labor party have only got a majority government once! The Libs thought they could just stroll in, but there there is still a strong anti major party swing at the moment. When they had power in the past they had support from independents. Its the only way they’ll get power, but they need to preference the strong moderate independants/minor parties and not the extremist nutters that happen to agree with them. Maybe lean a bit more to the middle on social issues and they’d also gain a few more votes instead of reflecting the extreme anti social policies of the federal counterparts. Plus instead of saying no all the time, it would be nice to have alternatives. Federal Libs did this, thought they could con people and they are suffering in the polls. I’m never going to vote for a party that doesn’t put up alternatives! If everyone at least voted like that, we might get some true alternative plans instead of negative politics all round.

#7
John Hargreaves Ex M5:25 pm, 17 Jul 14

Madam Cholet said :

“We are now at the half way mark of the current Assembly and I have paused to look at the performance of those representatives, particularly the Opposition. I do so because, Governments are judged largely on the performance of the Ministers and Government backbenchers hardly get an opportunity to shine.”

So not willing to analyse your own side. A bit of a one-sided assessment considering the title of “ACT Legislative Assembly – Half Time’, and not “The Liberal Opposition & Greens in the ACT – Half Time”

The Govt is at least doing things. heaps of them. that’s why people complain. but you can’t complain about what the Opposition have been doing cos there is nothing to complain about. How about they tell the folks in punterland why they should b supported instead of just whingeing occasionally and staying on holidays.

#8
John Hargreaves Ex M5:27 pm, 17 Jul 14

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

It’s not only the lack of press releases, it is really about them saying what it is that they would do differently and let the punters choose. Andrew Wall was on the radio today complaining about the trees near the Uriarra solar farm, but he didn’t say what he’d do for renewable energy if he had the reins…

#9
John Hargreaves Ex M5:28 pm, 17 Jul 14

martin75 said :

How many Canberrans could correctly name the MLA’s in their electorate?

Except for maybe two or three, I have absolutely know idea what the other MLA’s stand for, believe in or even their names. What have they been doing for the past 24 months?

Spot on! couldn’t agree more! this is what I mourn!

#10
gooterz5:35 pm, 17 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

It’s not only the lack of press releases, it is really about them saying what it is that they would do differently and let the punters choose. Andrew Wall was on the radio today complaining about the trees near the Uriarra solar farm, but he didn’t say what he’d do for renewable energy if he had the reins…

When your opponent is making a mess of things do you try to distract the publics attention with likely new controversial policies or let their opponent continue to rip themselves apart.

I think most of Canberra would rather a government who was light on rather than a government who mandated every flavour cool-aid.

#11
HiddenDragon6:39 pm, 17 Jul 14

watto23 said :

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

They should have strolled in last election but didn’t. They showed a lack of understanding about how the ACT electoral system worked. In a Labor city like Canberra even the Labor party have only got a majority government once! The Libs thought they could just stroll in, but there there is still a strong anti major party swing at the moment. When they had power in the past they had support from independents. Its the only way they’ll get power, but they need to preference the strong moderate independants/minor parties and not the extremist nutters that happen to agree with them. Maybe lean a bit more to the middle on social issues and they’d also gain a few more votes instead of reflecting the extreme anti social policies of the federal counterparts. Plus instead of saying no all the time, it would be nice to have alternatives. Federal Libs did this, thought they could con people and they are suffering in the polls. I’m never going to vote for a party that doesn’t put up alternatives! If everyone at least voted like that, we might get some true alternative plans instead of negative politics all round.

Yes – the next ACT election will, in part at least, be a referendum on the Abbott Government, so a bit of thoughtful positioning (distancing) could be helpful.

#12
rommeldog567:57 pm, 17 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

martin75 said :

How many Canberrans could correctly name the MLA’s in their electorate?

Except for maybe two or three, I have absolutely know idea what the other MLA’s stand for, believe in or even their names. What have they been doing for the past 24 months?

Spot on! couldn’t agree more! this is what I mourn!

You know what I mourn ? Good Governance and decision making by this ACT Government !

Personally, I couldn’t care less if someone can not recite the names of their ACT Legislative Assembly reps. Give me good Governance and sound decision making any day – something this current ACT minority Government seems incapable of doing.

#13
miz9:06 pm, 17 Jul 14

Yeah, I agree with Rommel – give me a government that is proud to do the small, everyday things well, instead of constantly trying to big note themselves (which gets truly tiresome and only makes you notice the graffiti and potholes they are NOT spending the money on, all the more).

#14
bd8411:19 pm, 17 Jul 14

Ah so that’s how labor evaluates itself a government? Based on the number of media releases it issues! Maybe we can implement a gold star reward system to say good job too.

#15
Bosworth10:34 am, 18 Jul 14

Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

#16
gooterz3:26 pm, 18 Jul 14

Bosworth said :

Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

No on 24

#17
John Hargreaves Ex M6:29 pm, 18 Jul 14

bd84 said :

Ah so that’s how labor evaluates itself a government? Based on the number of media releases it issues! Maybe we can implement a gold star reward system to say good job too.

We all judge the current Govt on what they’ve done and what they say they’ll do but judge the others on what they say they’ll do. So far I’ve heard nothing about what the Opposition will/could do… wanna enlighten me? Feel free!

How are they going to tackle traffic congestion, how are they going to tackle the public housing waiting list, how are they going to tackle the hospital waiting list? How are they going to tackle the problem of recidivism in our jail? How are they going to tackle the drug issues around town? What about how are they going to tackle the potholes and road maintenance?

Getting an idea of what they might do would be a start but the ACT community is still waiting. and waiting, and has been waiting since 2001.

#18
rommeldog569:48 pm, 18 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

bd84 said :

Ah so that’s how labor evaluates itself a government? Based on the number of media releases it issues! Maybe we can implement a gold star reward system to say good job too.

We all judge the current Govt on what they’ve done and what they say they’ll do but judge the others on what they say they’ll do. So far I’ve heard nothing about what the Opposition will/could do… wanna enlighten me? Feel free!

How are they going to tackle traffic congestion, how are they going to tackle the public housing waiting list, how are they going to tackle the hospital waiting list? How are they going to tackle the problem of recidivism in our jail? How are they going to tackle the drug issues around town? What about how are they going to tackle the potholes and road maintenance?

Getting an idea of what they might do would be a start but the ACT community is still waiting. and waiting, and has been waiting since 2001.

Yes, yes, yes John. But u forget the modern trend in politics is that Government’s loose power, oppositions don’t win it I’m afraid.

True, the ACT Lib’s haven’t really shown much – but to be honest, they don’t need to do they. That’s because the ACT Labor/Green Gov’t is continually shooting itself in the foot – usually with a 88mm cannon. IMHO, the ACT Gov’t is next to hopeless, mate.

The ACT Lib’s don’t need to do much except oppose, just like the Lib’s did in opposition Federally.

And, no one would really believe any “promises” that any opposition gave while not in Government anyway.

Politics and public administration on Oz generally, and in the ACT in particular any semblance of good decision making and fiscal management, appears to be in very, very poor shape on both sides of politics.

#19
John Hargreaves Ex M4:07 pm, 21 Jul 14

rommeldog56 said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

bd84 said :

Ah so that’s how labor evaluates itself a government? Based on the number of media releases it issues! Maybe we can implement a gold star reward system to say good job too.

We all judge the current Govt on what they’ve done and what they say they’ll do but judge the others on what they say they’ll do. So far I’ve heard nothing about what the Opposition will/could do… wanna enlighten me? Feel free!

How are they going to tackle traffic congestion, how are they going to tackle the public housing waiting list, how are they going to tackle the hospital waiting list? How are they going to tackle the problem of recidivism in our jail? How are they going to tackle the drug issues around town? What about how are they going to tackle the potholes and road maintenance?

Getting an idea of what they might do would be a start but the ACT community is still waiting. and waiting, and has been waiting since 2001.

Yes, yes, yes John.

But u forget the modern trend in politics is that Government’s loose power, oppositions don’t win it I’m afraid.

True, the ACT Lib’s haven’t really shown much – but to be honest, they don’t need to do they. That’s because the ACT Labor/Green Gov’t is continually shooting itself in the foot – usually with a 88mm cannon. IMHO, the ACT Gov’t is next to hopeless, mate.

The ACT Lib’s don’t need to do much except oppose, just like the Lib’s did in opposition Federally.

And, no one would really believe any “promises” that any opposition gave while not in Government anyway.

Politics and public administration on Oz generally, and in the ACT in particular any semblance of good decision making and fiscal management, appears to be in very, very poor shape on both sides of politics.

I actually don’t agree that the Govt is making poor decisions but hey, you’d expect that. But what about the Oppositions supposedly helping Govts to lose office? Our blokes ought to lift their game or they will be in power and won’t have a clue what to do next. When Kate Carnell got into that trouble and had to quit the top job, Labour was in a position to have a no-confidence motion which would have meant that the Govt would have fallen. Jon Stanhope rightly didn’t go there cos we were not ready for Govt. We were by the time the election came around and we won. These blokes are not ready after 13 years!

#20
John Hargreaves Ex M4:12 pm, 21 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

rommeldog56 said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

bd84 said :

Ah so that’s how labor evaluates itself a government? Based on the number of media releases it issues! Maybe we can implement a gold star reward system to say good job too.

We all judge the current Govt on what they’ve done and what they say they’ll do but judge the others on what they say they’ll do. So far I’ve heard nothing about what the Opposition will/could do… wanna enlighten me? Feel free!

How are they going to tackle traffic congestion, how are they going to tackle the public housing waiting list, how are they going to tackle the hospital waiting list? How are they going to tackle the problem of recidivism in our jail? How are they going to tackle the drug issues around town? What about how are they going to tackle the potholes and road maintenance?

Getting an idea of what they might do would be a start but the ACT community is still waiting. and waiting, and has been waiting since 2001.

Yes, yes, yes John.

But u forget the modern trend in politics is that Government’s loose power, oppositions don’t win it I’m afraid.

True, the ACT Lib’s haven’t really shown much – but to be honest, they don’t need to do they. That’s because the ACT Labor/Green Gov’t is continually shooting itself in the foot – usually with a 88mm cannon. IMHO, the ACT Gov’t is next to hopeless, mate.

The ACT Lib’s don’t need to do much except oppose, just like the Lib’s did in opposition Federally.

And, no one would really believe any “promises” that any opposition gave while not in Government anyway.

Politics and public administration on Oz generally, and in the ACT in particular any semblance of good decision making and fiscal management, appears to be in very, very poor shape on both sides of politics.

I actually don’t agree that the Govt is making poor decisions but hey, you’d expect that. But what about the Oppositions supposedly helping Govts to lose office? Our blokes ought to lift their game or they will be in power and won’t have a clue what to do next. When Kate Carnell got into that trouble and had to quit the top job, Labour was in a position to have a no-confidence motion which would have meant that the Govt would have fallen. Jon Stanhope rightly didn’t go there cos we were not ready for Govt. We were by the time the election came around and we won. These blokes are not ready after 13 years!

I meant Labor not Labour. I hate auto spell checking!

#21
bundah5:10 pm, 21 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

How are they going to tackle traffic congestion, how are they going to tackle the public housing waiting list, how are they going to tackle the hospital waiting list? How are they going to tackle the problem of recidivism in our jail? How are they going to tackle the drug issues around town? What about how are they going to tackle the potholes and road maintenance?

Getting an idea of what they might do would be a start but the ACT community is still waiting. and waiting, and has been waiting since 2001.

The issues you raise are obviously not unique to the ACT and the simple reality is that unless there’s greater spending in these areas little will change. The question is are people prepared to make a greater financial contribution in order to get an improved outcome?

#22
milkman7:06 am, 22 Jul 14

bundah said :

The question is are people prepared to make a greater financial contribution in order to get an improved outcome?

Not when it’s being p$#!ed away on c@#p like light rail that we don’t need, while a bus stop on Adelaide Ave (which we do need) is not forthcoming.

I don’t think the current local government has any concept of financial responsibility at all.

#23
rommeldog569:43 am, 22 Jul 14

milkman said :

bundah said :

The question is are people prepared to make a greater financial contribution in order to get an improved outcome?

Not when it’s being p$#!ed away on c@#p like light rail that we don’t need, while a bus stop on Adelaide Ave (which we do need) is not forthcoming.

I don’t think the current local government has any concept of financial responsibility at all.

Ummmm……you left out that the current ACT Gov’t also has no idea about good decision making nor prioritisation. Will be interesting to see if the Light Rail buys them enough votes to hang onto power in 2016.

#24
gooterz9:06 pm, 22 Jul 14

rommeldog56 said :

milkman said :

bundah said :

The question is are people prepared to make a greater financial contribution in order to get an improved outcome?

Not when it’s being p$#!ed away on c@#p like light rail that we don’t need, while a bus stop on Adelaide Ave (which we do need) is not forthcoming.

I don’t think the current local government has any concept of financial responsibility at all.

Ummmm……you left out that the current ACT Gov’t also has no idea about good decision making nor prioritisation. Will be interesting to see if the Light Rail buys them enough votes to hang onto power in 2016.

Whatever votes they’ll gain from people who have preference of rail over bus will be massacred by the number put out by construction. Depending on if the construction has started.

#25
Garfield10:02 am, 23 Jul 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

It’s not only the lack of press releases, it is really about them saying what it is that they would do differently and let the punters choose. Andrew Wall was on the radio today complaining about the trees near the Uriarra solar farm, but he didn’t say what he’d do for renewable energy if he had the reins…

The original complaint about the solar farm was that it’s right on the doorstep of the village, when there are other places it could go in the vicinity where it would be out of sight. The developers response to this has been to propose a thick screen of trees between the farm and the village, ignoring the fact that its a government requirement for the villagers to keep a cleared zone around the village to protect it from bushfires (at their own expense). Andrew was no doubt raising this new problem when you heard him on the radio.

The solution is for the solar farm to be built out of sight of the village – then the residents are happy and there is no need to compromise their bushfire safety with trees inside what is supposed to be a cleared zone. You’ve obviously not been following the story, or you would have already known this.

In regards to the Liberals policy regarding renewable energy, I remember reading an article by Nicole Lawder, their environment spokesperson, that was published in the Canberra Times some months back. It seemed a lot more rational than the government’s policy of increasingly paying out ever bigger subsidies to meet the 90% renewables target. Australia’s target, signed up to by federal Labor, is to reduce carbon emissions by 5-15% by 2020, so why is the local Labor government forcing residents of the ACT to pay for such massive reductions when, due to our higher than average incomes, we’ll already be bearing a higher than average share of national costs?

#26
dungfungus10:42 am, 23 Jul 14

Garfield said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

miz said :

I recall you, John, as a very active local member during most of your time (though you did not support me and my street as we expected towards the end of your time), however remaining Labor MLAs appear to be getting deaf and blind, as often happens before a defeat. Given the light rail Blind Freddy can see they are making a real mess of things just to keep power. The Libs are going to stroll in at this rate, despite the apparent lack of media releases ….

It’s not only the lack of press releases, it is really about them saying what it is that they would do differently and let the punters choose. Andrew Wall was on the radio today complaining about the trees near the Uriarra solar farm, but he didn’t say what he’d do for renewable energy if he had the reins…

The original complaint about the solar farm was that it’s right on the doorstep of the village, when there are other places it could go in the vicinity where it would be out of sight. The developers response to this has been to propose a thick screen of trees between the farm and the village, ignoring the fact that its a government requirement for the villagers to keep a cleared zone around the village to protect it from bushfires (at their own expense). Andrew was no doubt raising this new problem when you heard him on the radio.

The solution is for the solar farm to be built out of sight of the village – then the residents are happy and there is no need to compromise their bushfire safety with trees inside what is supposed to be a cleared zone. You’ve obviously not been following the story, or you would have already known this.

In regards to the Liberals policy regarding renewable energy, I remember reading an article by Nicole Lawder, their environment spokesperson, that was published in the Canberra Times some months back. It seemed a lot more rational than the government’s policy of increasingly paying out ever bigger subsidies to meet the 90% renewables target. Australia’s target, signed up to by federal Labor, is to reduce carbon emissions by 5-15% by 2020, so why is the local Labor government forcing residents of the ACT to pay for such massive reductions when, due to our higher than average incomes, we’ll already be bearing a higher than average share of national costs?

It’s all about Simon Corbell’s moral vanity and that’s priceless.

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