With four days till the Assembly election it is time to declare the result as I see it of what has been a high promising financial campaign by both sides. My political leanings are known so it is no surprise I predict a Liberal win, however the reasons call for justification.
The extent of financial commitments mentioned above are matters of concern. Like most people I have lost track of the total amounts promised by each Party and worry it may not be possible to meet the target in government. However the Liberals’ shopping list appears more directed at basic community needs: health, education, roads for example.
Labor’s two millstones are the tram and rising rates, closely followed by unpopular planning proposals. The Liberals have the edge on the tram and the reasonable fear it will cost us much more money than budgeted in the future. Savings from canning the tram also will fund other initiatives as well as saving money. Curbing rate rises is another matter and there is no proposal for how it will be done.
Planning proposals look set for reconsideration, however the Opposition has not spelled out its policy and, because the issue is not widespread, the voting effect is localised.
Both parties wish to check the financial clout of developers, however neither has committed to curbing their overall influence on Canberra’s development which, under various guises, could be seen as pernicious.
There are many other smaller important issues being addressed however one factor, again about even, is the participants announcing the new policies. These are largely restricted to the leaders and deputies as if nobody else can be relied upon. Perhaps this reflects a clear party choice between an experienced but tired government and an inexperienced but keen opposition. One other unfortunate factor is that Labor does not have a sitting MLA in the seat of Murrumbidgee (Jeremy Hanson’s bailiwick).
No doubt the Greens will retain their core vote but it won’t improve. Their campaign has been lacklustre, policies announced hardly of importance to mainstream voters, the Party is closely identified with the unpopular tram and their sitting MLA has had bad personal publicity.
It is difficult to see other candidates doing more than adding to major parties’ quotas as they are eliminated. Most are single issue – or give that impression – and with the exception of the anti-casino poker machine group Canberra Community Voters with club membership support, struggle to be seen or heard.
Home experience has seen one ALP doorknock and two brochures, two Green, one independent and several Liberal brochures, which even allowing for targeting specific suburbs indicates most independents and smaller groups lack volunteer workers.
Finally there is a mood for change across the territory. The government has been in too long and its projects: the tram, new developments and rates inspire cost concerns. The Liberals are untried and not entirely trusted to look after the average Canberran, however they deserve a go, there isn’t anyone else.
Pictured above are Liberals leader Jeremy Hanson (right) with Liberals’ campaign director Daniel Clode at the party’s campaign launch. Photo: Charlotte Harper