Allan Takes Aim Blog

Setting the ACT’s new political stage

Posted on: 18 January 2012

This is an updated version of the column published in this week’s Chronicle.

Nine months from now the ACT will give birth to a new Assembly. A few of its Members will no doubt be recognised (subconsciously) for playing a role comparable to one described in the classic monologue “All the world’s a stage “ Act II Scene VII in Shakespeare’s play “As you like it.” But whether recognised or not, of one thing you can be sure, some will spruik monologues, dreary rather than classic, because they love the sound of their own voice.

Some MLAS will have been elected also despite not understanding that voters are interested in what they have to say provided they do it by way of explanation not declamation. (I hope voters realise its time to give short shrift to politicians who declaim rather than explain so that the next Assembly functions not as a shouting house but a thinking one.)

It is also a fact that the Assembly will have one new MLA at least because Labor MLA John Hargreaves (recognised unofficially as chief comedian in the current ACT Comedy Theatre – known as the Assembly- is retiring. It is also likely there will be more. How many? I don’t knows although rumours as accurate as some climate change forecasts will circulate.

Because I haven’t met all the hopefuls (a pleasure that still awaits me) I feel sure the Assembly will welcome more than one new MLA. Whether Labor, Liberal, Green or someone not yet visible on the political spectrum, I don’t know. Like you, I’ll have to wait and see.

Of current MLAs, for example MLA Steve Doszpot, elected Member for Brindabella in 2008 has moved to Molonglo, an electorate for which he has yet to be pre-selected. Based on his Assembly performance I will be very much surprised if he is not pre -selected and re-elected

Unfortunately Labor candidate for Molonglo, David Mathews, didn’t win in 2008 but I hope he doesn’t miss out this time because he has been assiduous in trying to help people in the electorate during the last four years. I am picking Doszpot and Mathews as winners because they strike me as having the common sense I think a necessary pre-requisite for an MLA.

My next choice is Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur, a surprise winner in Molonglo in 2008. She might well surprise again in October. As for my predictions, they are not based on how many times these candidates are seen in the press or seen and heard on TV and radio but on the basis that when they are, they display the common sense I mentioned earlier.

As the months go by, I hope to bring you my opinion about other new candidates. It would be unfair to condemn anyone without knowing anything about them and who knows, among them there might be some who will do better for Canberra than some of the people who already are being talked of as certainties.

And so by the time the election arrives I expect to have given you the opportunity to read about new candidates so that in October you will vote for the candidates you want not the ones that party hierarchies want.

I am in no doubt most voters will have read the monologue I cited in the first paragraph (if they haven’t they should) and nor am in doubt either that they will be able to identify that some MLAs standing for re-election fit one of the descriptions given by Shakespeare.

For example they might think that some have still not grown up and not only are they still like infants mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms but also that they are unlikely to change. Some might even think some MLAs seeking re-election are more like whining schoolboys creeping unwillingly to school.

And from what I know, none seem to fit the image of the lover sighing like a furnace with a woeful ballad made to his mistresses’ eyebrows. And as my knowledge of the romantic predilections of current MLAs is zilch, I shall resist making predictions.

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news Published every Tuesday


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