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!