I’m a Liberal for Life – but I’m thinking of voting for the Labor Party in NSW | Pete shmigel
ONew South Wales Labor leader Chris Minns holds a meeting of representatives from West Sydney on Wednesday to discuss the resumption of Covid-19. I go there as a resident of Parramatta, a local recycling operator and mental health advocate. And because, after 30 years as a public Liberal, I think I’m voting for Minns to be the next premier of NSW.
My political background has been around 25 years of Liberal Party membership, adviser to two prime ministers, two opposition leaders and four shadow ministers and ministers, campaign manager and even state candidate for the seat where he was born the Australian Labor Party.
So, have I changed? Have I experienced a life event that made me reconsider my values and beliefs? Am I about to declare my new credentials progressive, pro-social, anti-patriarchal and climate emergency?
Not even close. While I respect those with more collectivist and distributive perspectives, I remain on the side of individualism, free enterprise, a smaller government with a strong safety net, and the need to challenge change. in our society before adopting it.
Instead, I look at Minns through the same pragmatic prism that many unaligned voters – probably around 60% of all voters these days – look at leaders, candidates, and elections. And he looks good.
Better activists than I spoke about three key factors for eligibility: competence, stability and integrity.
In terms of competence (AKA, make no mistake), one center-right commentator said this week: “Chris Minns hasn’t been wrong since he became Labor leader. Minns’ strategic and tactical approach to the politics of Covid-19 has been a show of skill. Taking the lead in the opposition, he proclaimed negativity dead and declared a unity ticket with the government on broader Covid policy. From those heights, he cleverly tore up implementation flaws, such as unclear restriction rules, inequalities between different parts of Sydney, and the need to protect frontline workers.
But being able is not a sufficient reason for me to vote for Minns. If we set aside the views of ‘zeroistas’ who will never be satisfied, the government has largely done a decent job of containing an unprecedented virus if we use aspects such as hospitalization and deaths – rather. that only the transmission – as indicators.
This brings us to the next eligibility factor: stability. Here, Minns has the “benefit of despair”. After many cuts and changes over the past 10 years, NSW Labor seems to have finally realized that you can’t win when you function like a broken kaleidoscope. It will have strong domestic support between now and the election and possibly beyond.
To achieve this stability, NSW Labor did not do much more than it even came with the government. There appears to be limited pressure on the leadership of Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian. While potential suitors, such as Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, might champion their cause, chances are they won’t. Because they know how to count and the chances of being re-elected for a fourth term are long, with only one liberal 20th century precedent, Robert Askin in 1973.
Therefore, the deciding factor in considering Minns is integrity. It took a decade and there have been many ups and downs, but the objective reality is that NSW’s worst period of corruption and labor cronyism seems to be mostly behind it.
NSW Labor also demonstrates integrity in its positioning. Minns speaks of injustice, especially in western Sydney, where police helicopters over migrant families gathered in public parks have become a “new normal”.
Minns seems to have a store that has at least partially cleaned up his act; it is faithful to the DNA of the work. It’s not my shop and it’s not my DNA, but, both as an ex-pro and as a gambler, I respect clarity of purpose.
Indeed, integrity is where the NSW coalition government fails. In its handling of the lockdown, the government is subject to questions about its honesty and accountability, incompatible with the principles of good public administration and out of step with its own historical values.
As it enters its eleventh year, government is characterized by much of what characterizes long-term governments, and this generally produces maladministration. The inertia of longevity and loyalty to capacity; the deterioration of the discretionary powers of ministerial offices and the grip of the bureaucracy; the mediocre domination of political ritual and personal habits over public ideas and innovation; management of media dynamics on community engagement; the sly victory of pride over humility.
As someone who fought for the Liberals’ return to power in 2011, it is disgusting to see the Minister of Police writing a selfish humorous column in the Daily Telegraph, while its officers enforce containment filled with arbitrary rules at a high social cost. Embarrassing to see senior male ministers exchanging laughs on social media about lockdown beard and model-building hobbies while people of horrific ‘worrying LGAs’ worry about their livelihoods . It’s horrible to read statements about “opening ads to get punters to get vaccinated” when kids – among whom emergency department presentation rates for self-harm have increased by 50% – just want to go back at school.
In presiding over a lockdown that many of its own Rusty consider too long, too hard and lacking in evidence, and only now acknowledging its overbreadth and repercussions, I really wonder what the Liberal government in NSW still believes.
When the NSW crisis cabinet deliberates, who is asking the fundamental questions about liberal values like freedom? Who looks at the long-term economic impact and makes concrete plans to move forward? Who, given that the New South Wales Liberals were the first to introduce a shadow ministry for mental health (owned by the current Prime Minister), calls for the emotional costs and argues for extra effort over the A paltry additional 5 million dollars that have been allocated?
It looks like my old colleagues and even friends may have lost their political GPS. I hope they find him. Until then, I take a long look at Chris Minns, and I suspect that many other non-aligned voters are too.