It is still too early to identify the final seat winners, however we know enough of the Assembly election result to declare another Labor government for the next four years.
While personally disappointed (and surprised), the electorate has spoken and the inevitable post-mortems: the Tram, rates, health, jobs and some questionable planning decisions, will not alter the result. It is time to address the positive side, which includes the much needed Assembly membership increase to 25 from 17 – an increase that could strengthen the backbench against the Cabinet – and a smaller electorate to service out of the old Molonglo seat.
There is some apprehension among those who did not support Labor, however this sizeable chunk of the population can only be ignored at a government’s peril, “conservatives” or not, and even with a lengthy mandate.
Yet much can be done at little or no cost which would be welcomed by residents. Clearing up public areas, graffiti removal, replacing footpaths, evicting troublesome housing tenants, the blight of shipping containers in front yards … And hopefully prosecutions for those engaged in shonky planning and land deals with no more anonymous “counselling” punishments.
We can expect a turnover of top staff, either retirements or resignations, normal with a new government, although one hopes departmental name changes, so often meaningless, will not occur leading to more pulped letterhead.
The opportunity to break the mould and begin again does not happen often but should be used with discretion and without impatience. Similarly the regular mantra of “cutting red tape” should be ruthlessly implemented (for a change) and the necessary steps taken to either abolish or enforce the myriad of rules, regulations and legislation which exist only in word rather than deed in the ACT. Could the police also be relieved of extra sometimes silly social duties? They have enough proper law enforcement to administer.
Ministers and bureaucrats must be held accountable for the running of departments and be honest in admitting mistakes – no easy job when the opportunities for cover-ups abound, though the latter is because of fear of retribution.
Detailed consultation should be established and maintained so the “streaker’s defence”, especially in major initiatives like planning, does not blow up and blow out in the government’s face and residents’ time and effort unnecessarily employed protecting their community and quality of life.
It would be welcome too if the rights of noisy minorities were put into perspective along with their responsibilities, together with those of the usually silent majority.
Big schemes should be approached with caution. People, even young people, live here because they like the life-style. If they wanted Sydney or Melbourne’s vibrancy they would live there. Plans to create a metropolis on the Molonglo need to be tested among a population other than developers and unions.
We should hope!