Wednesday, July 09, 2008

NSW In Need Of New Ministers

The NSW Labor Government continues to squabble. The latest backbencher to express unease, MP for Drummoyne, Angela D'Amore, suffered a tirade from Premier Morris Iemma for more than an hour. Media report that he threatened to withdraw government projects in her electorate if she didn't do as she was told - at about the same as Mr Iemma told the press of the "industrial terror tactics" of the rail union. (it had threatened strike action during World Youth Day in Sydney, and it would have been reprehensible). mmm ... must check the meaning of 'hypocrite'.

The NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, in a fit of pique, withdrew from a Labor Party fundraising event. He is at odds with his party executive over the Government's desire to sell taxpayer-owned electricity assets. Backbenchers continue to tell senior Ministers that they are out of touch. Hospitals are never far from the news, and hospitals routinely go "code red"; meaning only life-threatening cases are accepted by ambulance, or admitted.

In February, I wrote that the NSW Labor Government was ready to supernova - other media seem say "implode". So what Ministers should go? My list is:
  • Morris Iemma, Premier: incompetence; lack of leadership; conflict with ALP State Executive
  • Michael Costa, Treasurer: workplace bully; ready to "retire" with a nice pension; conflict with ALP State Executive
  • Reba Meagher, Minster for Health: incompetence
  • Frank Sartor, Minister for Planning: incompetence; has problems identifying conflict of interest; wants to micromanage everything. When he was Minister for Water, his nicknames within Sydney Water were "The Big Drip" (if he had an 'idea'), or "Cranky Franky (in his 'usual' mood)
  • David Campbell, Minister for Police: too much political involvement with Police matters; WYD "annoyance" legislation!
  • Joe Tripodi, Minister for Small Business: incompetence; too many dubious "connections", including from the sacked Wollongong Council
  • Graeme West, Minster for Gaming & Racing: incompetence-Clubs NSW bypass him, and go straight to the Premier and the Treasurer.
  • I'm sure arguments could be made for others.
There are not many possible replacements! Nevertheless, the best hope for the ALP is that backbenchers continue to express their views, and make them known to the media. That will be the only way to change the dictatorship that runs the NSW Government.