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Don’t Forget The Dark Days Of The Past

By Bruce Notley-Smith on April 14, 2015 in Other

Photo: Carl Scully

Photo: Carl Scully

On March 28 the good folk of NSW will be summonsed to a local polling booth, have their names marked off the electoral roll and be handed the little green ballot paper. At this moment they will have the future of the state for the next four years in their hands.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been responding to journalists’ questions about the election campaign, and it struck me that many of them were still In school or university four years ago, and they know very little about the politics of NSW pre 2011.

It’s also a concern that many voters may have forgotten just how bad the last mob was. Mob is an apt description, as it was a government run by some seriously shady characters; their factional control ensured all Labor parliamentarians toed the line, lest they lose their candidacy at the next election. Crossing the floor is not an option in the Labor Party; instant expulsion will result, so self-preservation always wins.

By November 2010, voters were ready to take a baseball bat to the Labor Government and wanted them sacked.

Premier Kristina Keneally shut down parliament three months early to prevent a parliamentary enquiry into her government’s sale of the electricity generators for only 40 percent of their value, causing the directors of the electricity companies to resign en mass.

Then there was the Rozelle Metro, a rail line to service the seat of Balmain, which was under threat from the Greens. Just like eleven of the twelve rail lines Labor promised to build, it was never going to happen. Mind you, that broken promise ended up costing the government $500 million in compensation. That money could have built 20 primary schools.

The finance minister appointed the Labor Party president Michael Williamson to the board of Sydney Water, effective one day before the election. Williamson is now in jail for stealing $5 million of Health Services Union members’ money.

And while Eddie Obeid and Ian ‘Macca’ Macdonald were busy with union mates putting the finishing touches to a scheme to rip $300 million from NSW residents, their fellow Labor Party members sat in silence.

If you are 18 years old and now eligible to vote, you weren’t yet born when Labor promised electronic public transport ticketing like the Opal Card. Gladys Berejiklian managed to introduce it in just two years.

It is so easy for those vying for election to make promises that they never intend to keep.

I will be happy if the voters of Coogee judge me on my record of keeping the promises I made to them four years ago; the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail project, scrapping of the notorious Part 3A of the Planning Act, extra doctors, nurses, police and teachers.

I’m also pretty proud about making a Container Deposit Scheme a reality, and righting the wrongs of the past by erasing the historical convictions of gay men who were convicted of a criminal offence just for having consensual sex.

Judgement Day approaches. At least I haven’t seen any baseball bats.