It would be easy to get caught up in the rhetoric hype of the Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, as the NSW Liberal party enjoys a two-party preferred lead in the polls, holding 61 points, over Labor’s 39, according to the latest The Australian Newspoll. In his webcast on the NSW Liberal Party website, Mr. O’Farrell outlines in his “Action Plan to Fix NSW” that Liberal party plan to create “100,000 new jobs by cutting tax...after fifteen years of Labor, let’s make New South Wales number one again”. The Liberal party has endured relatively little in the way of bad press, compared to the seemingly unending series of blunders offered to us by Labor. Just yesterday it was announced that the cost of the Premier’s solar panel rebate scheme has risen by $500 million, raising concerns over promises made by the Premier to the people of NSW.
It’s a dire time for the NSW government, a time when most commentators are already referring to Mr. O’Farrell as the next Premier. Former Labor MP Graham Richardson speculated on ABC’s Q&A program last night that the elections in March will be “electoral slaughter...the likes of which we have never seen”. And amidst all the backlash and the bad press came last weekend’s official Labor re-election campaign launch.
Amoungst four hundred Labor die-hard supports, Premier Keneally said “I am sorry”. She told the crowd that the Labor government had lost their way, that they were too focused on themselves, “and not enough on what matters to families in this state”.
It was a strange tactic to employ at the start of a political campaign. Politicians are usually the last to admit guilt, especially in an election year. But it’s a tactic that has been brought about by the old adage that desperate times call for desperate measures. And for the Keneally government, these certainly are desperate times.
Keneally has forty-four days to make up the twenty-two point difference in the two party preferred polls. Forty-four days to prove to the people of NSW that the Labor government are worthy and capable of leading the state. But most importantly, forty-four days to hold the party together, and to keep her ministers, and her ministers spouses, out of trouble.