Originally posted 3-Oct-2008 at truepolitik.myperspective.org.au
The NSW Labor Government has been savaged by voters in four by-elections yesterday. Ryde, formerly held by John Watkins, is now held by the Liberal Party. Ryde and Cabramatta recorded swings of about 22%; and ex-Premier Morris Iemma’s seat of Lakemba recorded a swing of about 13% against Labor. The ALP did not contest the seat of Port Macquarie, but it has been taken by a new Independent, much to the disappointment of the National Party.
While the Labor Party has been sent a clear message about its unpopularity, Federally, the ALP, and Kevin Rudd, remain popular. the challenge for the NSW Labor Government, led by new Premier Nathan Rees, is to reverse the decline in infrastructure, promote public transport, restore adequate funding for NSW hospitals and schools, while managing a budget which will have declining income in the current economic climate.
The only sources of funds for him will be: the Federal Government’s promised early infrastructure funds, increased State taxes, and borrowing. All are likely to feature in November’s mini-budget. Nathan Rees just hopes that voters will be happy that the “message” has been sent in 2008, and not repeat it in the state election in 2011. So will Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.