Allan Takes Aim Blog

ACT Opinions

Posted on: 25 September 2012

A Concerto of Concerns

The election on 20th October brought back to mind an event I organised more than forty years ago that few, if any, Canberra residents, would know of. Held at the Plaza Cinema, Leeds, the event was the world marathon piano playing championships between pianists Sandy Strickland and Gordon Jackson both of whose piano playing ability would, I have to say as a former classical violinist, put people off music for life. In some respects this election campaign is of the same ilk although it must be said that some candidates have more political ability than Strickland and Jackson had musical ability.

My classical music experience is the reason why I called the Chief Minister’s presentation of Labor’s policies as a Symphony of Political Promises,( the Greens promises as Fugues while in this article the Liberals promises are a Concerto of Concerns.
However, the real question is: can you believe their promises? The promises of Labor and Liberal have something in common because both promise to improve the harmony of Canberra. Indeed both claim their promises are in tune with residents’ concerns today but will also help keep Canberra a City of Harmony in the future. Unfortunately for the Greens ( I doubt their fugues will do the same.

As for the launch of the Liberal campaign, even if a concerto wasn’t used the launch was distinctly theatrical. Zed, the Leader, climbing the stairs at the Convention Centre looked like a man on the way to the top of Canberra’s political mountain as if already Chief Minister. I got the feeling that this climb was designed to show him as a man confident that he and his team of candidates were as one with their campaign slogan “We’re ready!”

The question of course is: what are they ready for? They have an extensive programme of policies focussed on what they think are the bread and butter issues that concern voters. For example, they say they will make sure that children are safe going to and from school. And still on schools they are committing to an audit of public education infrastructure and the building of a school for autistic children.

Most of us, even if pensioners, know the importance of pay day. Delay in pay can mean no food on the table, no money for the mortgage, rent or lease or for any other item. But what many in Government don’t seem to realise is that if government customers don’t get paid in time they are in the same boat. The Liberals promise that won’t happen with them.

The Liberals also promise to reduce rego costs which are an endemic concern in this car driven city and also promise to reduce ground fees at all sports clubs. A major concern, the lack of a constructive system to address Canberra’s long term infrastructure needs they promise to address by establishing an Independent Infrastructure Commissioner who will have to work closely with the community.

In its desire to allay concerns of public servants, perhaps what might be considered contentious is the Liberal plan to set up a full time Independent Public Service Administration Commission to ensure public servants can work without fear and that promotion is based on merit.

While in contention land, let me raise the issue of the tripling of rates in some suburbs which according to the Liberals is what highly respected former Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister Ted Quinlan laid out in table 45 of his Government Commissioned Quinlan Review. If the Quinlan Review is correct that would clearly be a concern of voters. The Liberals say they will allay that concern by abandoning the tax reform of the current government and reinstate the 2011 -12 formula used to calculate rates.
As from today ACT voters have twenty five days to decide if they want a government with policies that will take care of the future but also devote itself also to rectifying the bread and butter concerns that make or mar their daily life or parties that promise solutions to manufactured social engineering problem that they created. Liberals: (
Keep reading here about other parties and Independents candidates before you make up your mind.


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