As a former colleague of Katy Gallagher and Andrew Barr, I was asked what it was about Katy’s reign as Chief Minister which made it so good (in the opinion of the questioner).
I guess the word I used is apt. It was “stability”. In my time and in the past two years by my observance, the ship of state has sailed largely on without too much in the way of storms.
Sure, there have been issues. The light rail is one, the emergency department numbers (perennial) is another. I’m sure the anti-Laborites out there will come up with a few. Bullying in the hospital is often trotted out but I don’t know if that one resonates.
The point I made, and I think it is right, is that Katy’s style was one of a considered and measured Chief. She was a team player who consulted. And she was not a show pony.
One of the criticisms of her predecessor was that he was showy. His detractors said he was arrogant and aggressive. Maybe so, maybe not. But this has never been levelled at Katy.
Kate Carnell was regarded as a show pony and it was said that the most dangerous place to be was between Kate and a camera. Maybe or maybe not. Again, though, this was not levelled at Katy.
She was indeed, the quiet achiever. The improvements in the hospital over many years are down to her. The birthing centre, walk-in clinics, the hospital infrastructure redevelopments, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital are all of Katy’s making and we are the richer for it. The Calvary Hospital issue was a storm in a teacup and mostly hyperbole.
The salacious stuff attributing a connection with the data issue was seen to be what it was. Katy actually did the right thing with that one and was applauded for it.
But she did a lot of smaller things which often went unnoticed. They weren’t really that small. I remember the national ripple effect of our industrial manslaughter laws, pioneered by Katy.
I served in the Assembly during the tenure of four chief ministers and Katy is the one I will remember with affection.
Tall Poppy harvesters! Do your best, but you can’t change history. Canberra loved Katy and you can’t change that. They will continue to love her in the Senate. Katy vs Zed… a game to watch!
On the question of whether her leaving will make it harder for Labor to win the next election, I believe it will. Andrew Barr has to carve out his own niche. However, we must all remember the old political adage: “Oppositions don’t win elections, Governments lose them.”
Tony Abbott did a brilliant job of helping Rudd/Gillard/Rudd lose the federal election. He had a strategy to help them out of office and employed it for a whole term. I don’t see this happening in the Assembly. The Opposition hasn’t really laid a glove on Katy’s team in the past two years.
Let’s see if they can lift their game and help Andrew Barr lose the next election. I don’t think they’re up to it. It will take more than Jeremy Hanson raising the same old stuff and Alistair Coe going off about the light rail and potholes to win the election.
If they’re hoping the light rail will win it for them, it shows up a political laziness. Bring on the contest I say cos it has been boring to date.