State of the Capital – Weekly Political Wrap 27/11/14

John Hope 29 November 2014


Katy Lundy prepares to leave politics

Generally, politicians are quiet for a reason. Either they are hiding something or they want to rise through the ranks by avoiding a miscalculation… or there are planning to retire. Only one year into her three-year term, our Lundy has decided to hang up her boots. Having spent most of her political career in opposition, Lundy has been not so subtly searching for her replacement. To the ACT’s CFMEU secretary Dean Hall’s disapproval, it has been revealed that Lundy has made suggestions to Briana Heseltine that she may replace her. Heseltine, the self-made face of the Mr Fluffy fiasco and always with her child in her arms for the photographers, took to Facebook with the news of her discussions with Lundy just recently – a revealing debut. Only time (around two years) and $400,000 of the senator’s wages will tell.

Fluffy politics

Before tabling a $750 million appropriation bill this week, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher warned that the hit to the ACT budget will be immense and long-lasting. The warning comes in the light of a number of budgetary blows such as a slowing economy, rising unemployment, and the big white elephant on rail. Compared to other states and territories, the ACT isn’t doing too badly but I doubt that the territory’s 2016 election will be fought on such a conciliatory tone.

By now it should be fairly clear that the opposition is single-minded on making the election solely about light rail. The trick for the opposition will be to dodge any guilt by association for the $1 billion concessional loan the ACT is being forced to accept by the federal government. Although the people of the ACT are buffered by the highest disposable income in the country, the Canberra Liberals will have to devise a strategy a little more complex than the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ of their alliterative federal counterparts. The strategy might involve something to do with smaller parties… just a hunch.

Slow down says the Green Governor

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury this week flagged slower speed limits for the ACT. Mr Rattenbury has targeted areas in Mawson, Wanniassa, Manuka, Weston, Hawker, Dickson, Chisholm, Amaroo, Calwell, Conder and Kambah to put on the breaks from either 60km/h or 50km/h to 40 km/h per. Hitting the radio this week to sell his solution for making the ACT’s roads safer Rattenbury said, ‘the slower speed environments improve safety for all road users and, in particular, help make travel in town centres safer and more comfortable’.

On a federal note…

For the cheering crowds and those who hear what they want to hear, Obama’s Brisbane address hit Abbott right on the kisser. For the political pundits and those who hear things for what they are, Obama’s speech had nothing to do with climate change; it was a warning. And the warning would have just as easily come from a smooth talking democrat as a bumbling republican. The warning was: Australia, choose your friends wisely, and choose your best friends extremely wisely.

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