Allan Takes Aim Blog

Next election: Change or more of the same

Posted on: 29 February 2012

First posted The Chronicle, Canberra, Tuesday 28 February, 2012

The next ACT Assembly is a chance for Canberra voters to decide if they want a change in how the Territory is governed after asking themselves two simple questions: 1. Are they totally satisfied with the current government? 2. Do they think a change of government would be beneficial?

But before making up their minds, voters will have much to consider. So many promises will be made during the campaign that political oracles could go on strike because the contestants were doing them out of a job.

In serious vein, however, although these promises might affect younger voters, older voters might think long and hard about them. As result I feel in my bones that the ACT election might produce some surprising and unexpected results.

An older voter myself, I have experienced enough ACT elections to be cynical about the sincerity of the promises of which, no doubt, there will be a plethora. The major parties and the Greens no doubt will preach that the ACT will only become Utopia by electing them. Little wonder that so many older voters are cynics.

That said let me draw the attention of voters to the words of Oscar Ameringer, born 1870 in Bavaria, who migrated to America in 1907 and later became America’s most influential socialist. Ameringer said that during an election campaign a jealous party colleague had stabbed him in the back.

Later, when asked later about his colleague’s treachery he replied: “Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other. Unfortunately, this seems to becoming practice in Australia.

Some famous examples of this happening in Australia are: Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull being stabbed in the back by party colleagues, as were Paul Keating and Peter Costello. And though apparently it has not yet happened in the ACT, I know many people who think this is what happened to Jon Stanhope. Clearly Ameringer was a man before his time.

But let me return to the ACT election. Government has already started to roll out some promises though cynics tend to think the rollout is more desperation than inspiration. Despite a predicted deficit of $181m in the coming budget, the Treasurer has said that, during the next year, if the government is returned workers need not fear getting a slip saying: “don’t come Monday. In turn this mean will they need to worry about pinchpenny bankers evicting them because they cannot afford to pay their mortgage.

And let’s not forget the homeless and the disabled. Promises will be made to the former about affordable housing while the latter will be promised action on a whole range of issues. The picture being presented: “She’ll be right, mate.” However, they should read the placard on the elephant in the room that says: will it? Their voting choice might also be easier if voters could feel confident of the current opposition’s capacity to run the ACT.

Of more importance to many voters will be the current Labor/Greens arrangement; indeed, some might even devote time to examining Green policies. But a clincher for many will be the recent Assembly performance of the Labor and Greens Coalition that seemingly is determined to show the opposition as incapable of governing by turning a storm in a teacup about Liberal staff members failing to complete timesheets into, and using Shakespeares words: ‘Much Ado about Nothing.’

Sadly during the storm an MLA, and non – contestant at the next election, temporarily turned “The Peoples’ House” – the Assembly – and an area of privileged communication, into a cesspit by making defamatory allegations without substance for which later he had to apologise. What a legacy to be remembered by not a suggestion of what industries could be established in Canberra to reduce its mendicant status, vis -a -vis the Commonwealth.

But let me make it clear, had the Leader of the Opposition been less cavalier and more diligent in ensuring his staff followed the time keeping process laid down by Assembly, not just at his or their convenience, his standing with voters at the next ACT election could be affected and thus his hope of gaining Government.

The Chronicle, for Canberra’s best comumnity news. Posted every Tuesday


21 Responses to "Next election: Change or more of the same"

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My dealings with the ACT’s Leader of the Opposition have been slight, but they were enough for me to see that he hadn’t learnt to use the words “please” and “thank you”, and I suspect that “sorry” might also be foreign to him. Unfortunately, this lack in his education makes him appear arrogant and unlikeable, which he might not be. It is, however, the impression with which he left me on this one and only occasion when he spoke to me – to ask me for a slight favour, which I granted him. Politeness might not seem important in the political world, but it does carry a lot of weight as far as first impressions go.

Dear Lady Marylin,

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About this matter you are right. With many people politeness has gone a-begging although I have to say I have always found this politician polite. Nevertheless I shall pass your comment on personally and unless I am a very bad judge of character I feel sure he will take the message to heart.

No doubt you’ll have noticed that The Chronicle is now online at and as the whoe paper is on line this should obviate the problem about lack of delivery. Nevertheless, I shall continue to post my column to my own website as I may have additions to it that won’t be published in The Chronicle.

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