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What would a Liberal Government look like in the ACT?

By johnboy 3 July 2012 60

Let us, for a moment engage in a thought exercise as to what it would mean for Canberra if the Liberals were to form Government after the October election?

Firstly how would this come about? Labor is short of high profile candidates in both Ginninderra and Brindabella with the retirement of the very popular Jon Stanhope and John Hargreaves.

To attack this weakness the Liberals are running a full court press down south (Brindabella) with Brendan Smyth and Zed Seselja both running and the highly respected Val Jeffery a chance to hoover up the wrinkly votes (get a better wooly jumper this time around Val).

Out Belco way (Ginninderra) the Liberals are hoping Coe and Dunne can hold their own (we’re unconvinced the plummy painfully young Coe is connecting with West Belconnen working families as he’d hope, but let’s play it out for the hypothetical OK?).

From there they’re hoping the iconic Chic Henry can hive off the unthinking Labor base with a Summernats vote. It could happen.

Suddenly the Liberals are effectively in six seats before Molonglo’s bevy of seven seats is considered.

Losing Zed to Brindabella won’t help them, but it’s hard to see the Green vote doing anything but going down to single seat representation.

Three seats to the Liberals in Molonglo (up one from the historic lows of 2008) is nine Liberal seats. In a 17 seat Assembly.

Majority Government Liberal?

It’s a possibility.

Faced with a 9 seat voting block including the Motorists Party you might even see the Greens cutting a deal to get a seat at the big table (and hang onto the speakership).

And then what?

One could imagine they will try and be more developer friendly than their predecessors, but Labor in the ACT have been far from unfriendly to developers. With Canberra real estate coming off the boil in the forseeable future that’s likely to be moot.

There seem to be a disproportionate of Catholics in Liberal ranks, so expect social policy to lean that way.

But before there is wailing and gnashing of teeth I would suggest we think a bit more about this.

The ACT’s public service and institutions are pretty well stacked with at best fellow travellers and in a lot of cases movers and shakers within Labor politics.

The Liberals don’t have anything like the cadre to purge those institutions and make more friendly replacements. They don’t have that many mates here in Canberra, and with State Governments Liberal across the nation (and anticipated federally) there’s no talent to bus in from interstate.

So we’d have an incoming government after 12 years in the wilderness asking a lot of pointed questions of institutions it’s not in a position to fully takeover.

We’d also have a public service not particularly minded to help out the Government in the event of any dodginess on their part.

Include a reliance on Chic Henry who doesn’t appear likely to want to be a tory stooge and we could get a pretty functional government willing to turn over rocks and shine lights into dark corners of the ACT if only to embarrass their enemies, and unable to create too many dark corners of their own.

It’s worth thinking about.

What’s Your opinion?


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What would a Liberal Government look like in the ACT?
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davo101 2:27 pm 05 Jul 12

Ryoma said :

For example, if they offered any of the following;
– an ACT income-tax free zone (would need agreement of the Feds)
– complete removal of OH&S, EEO, and environmental legislation
– removal of payroll tax
– privatisation of all of ACTEW-AGL (yes, it’s half done, but I mean all of it) and ACTION, along with other stuff
– completely open slather on planning; heights, architectural styles and zoning
– liberal gun and drug laws (i.e people to make their own decisions on these things
– the raising of ACT government bonds to pay for infrastructure development

Pretty much everything on that list would be what Sir Humphrey would describe as “very courageous”. Better still adopt them all and absolutely no one will vote for you. Democracy is about the art of the possible and particularly minority government. Jumping to one extreme is going to be a big ask, you have to get your colleagues to agree with you first, win over public support, and then somehow get it through parliament.

Ryoma 1:06 pm 05 Jul 12

Hi all

It is a very interesting thing to think through. I definitely agree with the idea of governments needing to be changed every few years, both to limit the potential for corruption, and to ensure that fresh blood enters upon both sides of the fence.

It may well be true that the Libs do not do a good job, and may do pretty badly. But to be fair, how on earth does anyone know what a party (any party!) is capable of until it is actually in place?

And given that Canberra appears to be a centre-left sort of place, where half the population are public servants, what would a Liberal government gain by actually coming to an election with either conservative or truly libertarian policies?

For example, if they offered any of the following;
– an ACT income-tax free zone (would need agreement of the Feds)
– complete removal of OH&S, EEO, and environmental legislation
– removal of payroll tax
– privatisation of all of ACTEW-AGL (yes, it’s half done, but I mean all of it) and ACTION, along with other stuff
– completely open slather on planning; heights, architectural styles and zoning
– liberal gun and drug laws (i.e people to make their own decisions on these things
– the raising of ACT government bonds to pay for instrastructure development

I am not suggesting I agree with any of these things, or even that any of them are a good idea, but to make the point that in a more diverse political environment, some of these things might arise.

We get what we deserve with our major parties because this diversity does not exist here in the ACT. If we looked at this on a “colour scale” (bear with me), where being libertarian is dark blue, the Libs are a very pale blue, the ALP a pale pink, and the Greens magenta-coloured.

But because that set of opinions is not raised locally, we get a narrow set of options by people of all three parties so as not to “frighten the horses”. As a result, our economy is not as vibratn as Singapore (another city state), but nor do we have the excellent public services offered in Scandinavia – in both cases for a variety of reasons.

So, how would Canberrans react if we actually did get a Liberal (or another) party coming in with some actual visionary ideas – or at least ones that were well beyond what we are used to hearing? I think (sadly) that a common public servant reaction would be – “aaargh, change is coming, that’s what I moved to Canberra to avoid – aaargh, the sky is falling”! Of course not all public servants would think that way, but it appears to me that that is at least part of why we have a tired old government past its use-by date still in power.

Let the flaming begin! 🙂

caf 10:17 am 05 Jul 12

Tetranitrate said :

Bingo, this government is so hopelessly arrogant, corrupt and out of touch that it simply needs to go, if only so we can re-elect a renewed labor government in 4 years time.

“Arrogant” and “out of touch” are matters of opinion, but “corrupt” is a pretty serious charge – do you have anything that would back that up?

    johnboy 10:20 am 05 Jul 12

    Without an ICAC or a royal commission corruption is almost impossible to prove.

    But corruption is universal, it’s just a matter or degree and if it’s being pushed back against.

PantsMan 9:09 am 05 Jul 12

Thumper said :

Bingo, this government is so hopelessly arrogant, corrupt and out of touch that it simply needs to go, if only so we can re-elect a renewed labor government in 4 years time.

This.

+1.

Thumper 8:27 am 05 Jul 12

Bingo, this government is so hopelessly arrogant, corrupt and out of touch that it simply needs to go, if only so we can re-elect a renewed labor government in 4 years time.

This.

Tetranitrate 12:19 am 05 Jul 12

housebound said :

As much as the plastic bag ban is a bit of a feelgood, token measure, I don’t really care either way.

But for all those who think the sky would fall in if the unchallenged rule of our current overlords were to fail – just look at the issues with ACT health statistics and ask yourself how widespread those competency/honesty issues are in a seriously politicised ACT public service.

Even if you don’t like one side of politics or the other, a clean-out every now and again is something a society needs. Otherwise you end up like Queensland and NSW, where things get so bad that a landslide election not only sees a change in government, but wipes out the former ruling party to a point where it is only marginally viable as an opposition.

Far better to follow the recent Victorian examples (change to Bracks and then, more recently, change to the libs) and see a change of government elected on slim margins. Governments behave so much better if they think there’s a chance they’ll not be re-elected.

Of course, if the Libs did get in in the ACT, I would be amongst the first to want to see them go about mid-way through their second term, and that would be only if they didn’t do worse than this mob.

Bingo, this government is so hopelessly arrogant, corrupt and out of touch that it simply needs to go, if only so we can re-elect a renewed labor government in 4 years time.

savoman 11:40 pm 04 Jul 12

I predict 8 libs, 6 labor and 3 greens so not change in government. Libs need to run a time for a change motto and stop the negative focus oh nd bring back the crackers.

VicePope 7:17 pm 04 Jul 12

If the local Libs are the answer, the question is stupid. It is difficult to see any of them managing their own offices well, and impossible to contemplate that they would grow into Ministers. Labor is a perennial disappointment, but seems to have a few people who could probably obtain employment outside the political sphere if they had to. The Greens are what they are and that is not very much. But the Libs? Young Alistair could use his smarm to sell over-priced cars or suits. Ms Dunne could be assistant manager of a volunteer tuckshop. Mr Doszpot and Mr Smith may need sympathetic employers. Mr Seselja and Mr Hanson I see as unsuccessful real estate agents or clientless consultants.

housebound 6:46 pm 04 Jul 12

As much as the plastic bag ban is a bit of a feelgood, token measure, I don’t really care either way.

But for all those who think the sky would fall in if the unchallenged rule of our current overlords were to fail – just look at the issues with ACT health statistics and ask yourself how widespread those competency/honesty issues are in a seriously politicised ACT public service.

Even if you don’t like one side of politics or the other, a clean-out every now and again is something a society needs. Otherwise you end up like Queensland and NSW, where things get so bad that a landslide election not only sees a change in government, but wipes out the former ruling party to a point where it is only marginally viable as an opposition.

Far better to follow the recent Victorian examples (change to Bracks and then, more recently, change to the libs) and see a change of government elected on slim margins. Governments behave so much better if they think there’s a chance they’ll not be re-elected.

Of course, if the Libs did get in in the ACT, I would be amongst the first to want to see them go about mid-way through their second term, and that would be only if they didn’t do worse than this mob.

Mr Gillespie 5:56 pm 04 Jul 12

Will the Libs repeal that imbeclic “shopping bag ban” like how the Federal Libs are promising to repeal the Carbon Tax if elected?

Zed, please include in your campaign advertising you will REPEAL THE BAG BAN and I assure you, you will have an even better chance of getting into office.

bigred 5:55 pm 04 Jul 12

The only seat that seems in play is the second Molongolo greenie, while the rest may change jockeys they will not change persuasion.

jasmine 4:07 pm 04 Jul 12

ALP may lose a few votes in territory election in Weston Creek due to the lack of planned infrastructure for Molonglo and expected congestion around Cooleman Ct and in traffic. Caught Simon Corbell on Stateline the other week evading questions about ‘lessons learned from Gunghalin’ being repeated in new sub-division of Molonglo with a mealy reply along lines of ‘governments always learn from projects’. Evidently not this time. One road in/out just doesn’t cut it when planning for major uban projects.

dundle 3:03 pm 04 Jul 12

Honestly, they all suck. I’ve been very disappointed with Labor and Greens, who usually take my vote. Liberal would probably not manage to do any better. I have no idea who to vote for, I wish we had a new party!

davo101 12:59 pm 04 Jul 12

p1 said :

But you can use it as a paper plane within the polling place. In fact, you can cast a valid vote, then fold that into a plane…

Only if you “without delay…fold the ballot paper so as to conceal the vote and put it in a ballot box at the polling place”

and don’t forget to make the noise as it crashes into the box.

p1 12:42 pm 04 Jul 12

davo101 said :

johnboy said :

After that you can make a paper aeroplane out of it if you’re so inclined.

-1
Please don’t. You’re not allowed to remove the ballet paper from the polling station.

But you can use it as a paper plane within the polling place. In fact, you can cast a valid vote, then fold that into a plane…

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