It’s the fourth Saturday in March and on a four year cycle that means it is State Election Day in New South Wales. It’s not that there aren’t important issues at stake but it isn’t the most exciting of topics. The differences between the two major parties (the incumbent Liberal/Nationals and Labor) are not huge. Over the time I’ve been in Australia, the process has mainly been one of each party having a long stint in power which it finally loses when people get bored of them, they get into a cycle of ditching leaders and the close connection between state government and building developers mires the ruling party in corruption.
Corruption in particular was rife amid the NSW Australian Labor Party during its last tenure in power. High profile court cases and a loss of more famous names means Labor has been lacking in star power. The current state Labor leader Michale Daley, has only been in that role since last November when the previous leader resigned because of a sexual harassment scandal.
You would think that would bode well for the ruling Liberal Party but no. The current Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is competent enough (not ideologically somebody I’d vote for but given the current horror show of right of centre politicians worldwide looks like a paragon of reasonableness) but is also leader by default of more popular leaders having resigned for various reasons. However, she lacks the full-throated support of Sydney’s rightwing talk radio. Also, her showpiece public transport infrastructure projects, which should have all been completed before this election, are still ongoing after delays and cost blowouts.
With the centre looking unappetizing, that leaves the possibility of many minor parties making some gains this cycle. The left has the Green Party (which has had its own internal strife recently) plus some other minor parties. The right is a banquet of deplorables, chief of which is the unholy team-up of former Labor Leader turned alt-lite misogynist Mark Latham with Queensland racist Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. Latham is running for the ‘legislative council’ upper house (basically a Senate). While these wingnutty parties won’t get the votes to actually form a government, there’s a strong chance of a hung parliament which might put the balance of power in the hands of somebody less than in tune with either reality or ethics.
Yes there will be sausages.