Allan Takes Aim Blog

ACT Politics

Posted on: 14 November 2012


Is Canberra’s transformation on the way?

The cast of the ACT’s new political revue has been chosen. Some cast members from the old revue have been retained and some new ones chosen by public acclaim although a dispute as to the truth of that claim, a dispute that, depending on performance, will continue throughout the four years life of the new revue.

Almost certainly the eagle eyed critics who sit in the front seats of the ACT‘s political stalls will make their review of the revue and the performances of various cast members known through the medium of letters to the editor of Canberra City News, the Canberra Times and The Chronicle and this blog.

The content of the revue will be determined by the roles of the various players as indicated in the press release 8 November 2012: ‘Ministerial Portfolios finalised for incoming ACT Government.’ Number one and topping the bill, Labor’s Katy Gallagher will continue as Chief Minister as well as take a number of other roles. Andrew Barr will continue as her deputy also with other roles while Simon Corbell will carry on in his old ministerial role but with a new role in Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations. Completing the Labor bill is Joy Burch, who will add Education and Training to previous ministerial roles. The other Labor performers will form part of Labor’s cheer squad.

Shane Rattenbury in his Green suit is the fifth Minister (or should this be fifth columnist) responsible for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Women and Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Ageing. As one cynic said, the latter is an appropriate appointment as he’s likely to make a lot of people feel aged.

In the release the Chief Minister also said she is taking on the Regional Development and Education portfolios because as the most senior member of government it is her responsibility to drive the transformation of Canberra in both areas. In the penultimate paragraph and speaking on behalf of her cabinet she said: ‘we are looking forward to serving the community in our new roles and the hard work of the next four years begins today.’ So it seems citizens should get prepared for four years of hard labour.

Without being too cynical, these words echo the words of government leaders down the centuries. Read what Petronius said in 210 BCE: ‘We trained hard… but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be re-organised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation. Will this be Canberra for the next four years?

With a Green in Cabinet I think this is possible. Clearly those who advocated the Greens take a ministry had never ever studied political history or they would have realised that while a majority of Greens are environmentalists many of their leaders are Fabians those modern Utopians committed to the idea that Government is boss not the people.

But a bigger question: in four years if Canberra isn’t any different what will Canberra voters do? Will they dismiss the Liberal opposition as no better? I suspect many wanted give the Liberals a go at the last election and had Malcolm Turnbull not Tony Abbott been leading the Federal Liberal Party the ACT Liberals might well have had a majority of votes and seats.

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

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