Yesterday Simon Corbell and Katy Gallagher surprised everyone by jumping onto the light rail trolleycar.
This made a lot of people very happy, but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to blow up horrendously in Labor’s faces.
To explain let’s go back to the electoral map.
Most pundits see the seven seat Molonglo electorate as being essentially out of play. Unless something big happens it’s likely to split three Labor, three Liberal, and one Green.
This light rail proposal is going to blow $600 million entirely within Molonglo without changing that much.
It also says to the voters of Gungahlin “everyone else gets to drive around in cars but you have to cram into a tram”. In the Inner North and South we largely long to see trams down the long vacant median strips. The mcmansion builders do not, on the whole, share that aspiration.
But out in the battleground electorates of Brindabella and Ginninderra the whole proposal shrieks “we don’t give a stuff about you”.
Promises of maybe extending the lines to them in 20 years time are unlikely to cut much ice.
It gets worse for Labor though.
First there’s the cynicism of announcing work might start in 2016.
Announce it for this election, start it for next election, open it the election after. We just have to keep voting these guys back into power for 12 years to actually get anything done? Seriously?
Do they think we’ve forgotten the interminable Gungahlin Pool?
And while we’re on credibility, we’ve had Simon Corbell for years banging on about how we couldn’t afford light rail and his busways were a better idea.
Then yesterday the Orwellian reveal and it turns out we’ve been in favour of rail all along?
“Yippee for Light Rail, it’s totally affordable, I never waved a consultant’s report around showing it would be ruinously costly”.
It’s just not a good look.
Worse it won’t play well where it matters.
With increased rates notices going out and the Cotter Dam cost blowouts on the mind of all those ratepayers, while Actew Water proposes big price increases, it’s pretty much Christmas Day for the Liberals.
This really is the best chance they’re going to get for a generation.