Mike Baird won a second term of government in NSW on Saturday, and immediately launched a campaign to deliver 150,000 jobs and has claimed a mandate to privatise energy supply to the state. He has also expressed a desire that the major parties should “put politics out the door” and work together on some issues.
The Coalition won comfortably, even though their majority was reduced from 69 seats to around 53 in a 93-seat parliament. Labor should hold at least 32 seats, after winnning back 10–14 seats on a swing of nearly 9 per cent.
It was also a strong showing from the Greens, who won the new electorate of Newtown, beat out Labor for the seat of Balmain and took control of Lismore and Ballina – both traditional National Party seats.
How the rest of the upper house will be shaped won’t be known until next week. According to the latest figures, the Coalition suffered a swing against it of 4.5 per cent. Once the final votes are tallied, and given the National party’s poor performance, Mike Baird may still need to navigate carefully in order to push his party’s policies through the upper house, particularly that of the proposed privatisation of energy supply.
And while the results of the NSW election may be reassuring for Mr Abbott and the Federal Government, a correction to the one-sided result of the last election was expected. Labor gaining a 9 per cent swing means that it would then only need to win 14 seats to put them back in a position to win government at the next election.
According to federal party members, Mike Baird won this election not only because he was popular, but because his campaign was transparent, and he sold the benefits of change, not just change itself. The Abbott government may do well to take note of such an example.
While many Australians may have been focused on the Aussie’s World Cup Cricket win yesterday, the big ‘game-changer’ for the country may end up being the results of the NSW State Election. Mike Baird – the ‘popular’ politician, if indeed there is such a thing – won the NSW Election by a clear margin. But what does this mean for all Australians?
Tony Abbott must be swelling in his shoes at his party’s victory in the NSW Election – one of so few its enjoyed in recent times. Baird’s win gives Abbott a bit of breathing room and some time to recoup from the losses suffered from his failed first budget. And while Abbott may be marinating in self-satisfaction for a day or two, it’s Opposition Leader Bill Shorten who may now be in the hot seat.
Labor’s campaign in NSW relied heavily on anti-Abbott sentiment, finger pointing and name-calling, much the same as the federal Labor Party’s political tactics. What Shorten needs now is to show that he actually has some answers to our country’s most pressing needs. No longer can he sit in the corner, relying on the upopularity of the PM. Say what you will about Abbott, but he has weathered some pretty serious storms over the past six months. And yet he, and his party, are slowly climbing out of the hole created by the mismanagement of its first budget.
In fact, ever since the threat of a leadership spill, which Abbott barely survived – it’s almost fair to say that he has thrived. And the success he has been enjoying can be put down to the fact that his party is, at the very least, proposing policies that aim to correct Australia’s economic woes. His success could also be attributed to the lack of what may be deemed as a viable alternative in Shorten.
Be it Labor’s legacy, or the failed first budget, either way, Australia finds itself in a slump – and the only way out seems to be through economic reform, via means that may include a reduction in government spending and/or an increase in taxes. What we really need is an end to the blame game. What we need now are answers.
But before the answers come more questions. Will Abbott’s second budget actually be fairer for Australians? Does the Labor Party have any effective policy suggestions at all? What needs to be done in order to get Australia out of its funk?
Mike Baird has stated that he hopes that the major parties can “put politics out the door on some issues” – which would be a refreshing change to the current national political climate. Maybe the federal party leaders could learn a few things from this type of approach. Maybe then, we’ll get the answers we so sorely need.
What do you think? Do you think Tony Abbott is a strong, albeit unpopular leader? Do you have an opinion on Bill Shorten’s lack of policy direction? Would you like to see a more bi-partisan approach to government?