Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

Tag: NSW

Turnbull For NSW – Update

Seems there may be something afoot:

Samantha Maiden, Online Political Editor The Australian January 21, 2010
MALCOLM TURNBULL is being urged by supporters and business leaders to make a run for New South Wales premier in 2011.

“Everyone is telling Malcolm to quit federal politics and he think that’s the right thing to do. Everyone is telling him to have a go in state politics,” a Liberal supporter told The Australian Online..

“People are disenchanted with (New South Wales Opposition Leader) Barry (O’Farrell), they have reservations about whether he’s got the ticker. But there’s also a lot of rank and file anger about Turnbull’s behaviour. He would have to do a big mea culpa and apologise for his behaviour.”

Probably just summer speculations at this point, no figures openly promoting Turnbull, and Abbott & the federal leadership may figure Turnbull is too openly dangerous as a premier, even though they will still be in opposition come 2011. Still I liked the idea back when I proposed it on December 7th, and still like it now. If you want to see the arguments for & against, the post is here.

Would be a waste to see a capable guy like Turnbull leave public life so quickly.

A disaster waiting to happen

Federalism sometimes doesn’t work:

THE [NSW] Minister for Planning, Kristina Keneally, has been accused of making the wrong call on a development near Canberra Airport after she made a site visit during a mid-afternoon lull in air traffic when planes were flying in from another direction.In December Ms Keneally endorsed a change to the Queanbeyan residential and economic strategy allowing a proposed development of 4800 homes at Tralee.

In a letter to the broadcaster Alan Jones obtained by the Herald, Ms Keneally apologised for not getting back to him sooner before defending the Tralee development.
She wrote: ”And when I visited Tralee a few months ago, standing on the site of the proposed school, I must say that the aircraft noise was hardly significant.”
But the managing director of the airport, Stephen Byron, said Ms Keneally did not make a proper assessment of the site because she visited it on the wrong day, at the wrong time…. ”had she visited Tralee on any of the following eight days [February 11-18 inclusive] she would have been able to experience the level of aircraft noise created by aircraft operating directly above the Tralee site.”

It has since been revealed that the Minister for Emergency Services, Steve Whan, lobbied for Village Building Company, which is involved in the project, before being elected to Parliament, and he and the NSW Labor branch have received more than $90,000 in donations from the company.

There’s no question Queanbeyan is growing and needs new space. However the proposed Tralee development, right under the flight path for the Canberra airport is an absolute joke. Canberra is the capital city of the 14th biggest economy in the world, a G-20 country, a regional leader, a major resource hub and one with a proud record of international involvement from serving in war to peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. And you still need a domestic connecting flight to get into the city. They are only finally getting around to improving some of the roadway to and from the airport (woe betide anyone foolish enough to try and get from the airport to the city quickly on a sitting week for parliament). The airport is looking to expand, but with Tralee about to be built under their major flight plans not only will that be a hazardous and difficult achievement, it spells 50+ years of heartache for the airport owners and the residents of Canberra.

If you click through to this PDF you can see the impact of Tralee. The airport is the X in the middle of the red path, with Tralee at the bottom, smack bang along the high noise flight corridor. There’s no reason Tralee has to be there, Canberra and Queanbeyan are still ringed by sheep paddocks as much as they were 100 years ago.

Right now in canberra it’s still rare to hear airport noise. But despite the forewarning, the new owners of properties in Tralee will soon (and rightly) complain about the noise and a noise sharing agreement will be reached. The airport will be able to service less traffic (perhaps shutting down from 10pm) and will be forced to equally share the punishment of aircraft noise across canberra’s leafy suburbs. No one will be happy, no one will feel any solution adequately solves the problem, but that is the inevitable future of building in Tralee. The developers will get their funds, the politicians their re-election funding and every citizen from Tralee to Canberra will be annoyed and unhappy at their environment.

Federalism was the deal that guaranteed nationhood, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. States constantly screw other states when it comes to issues that flow across the border. The giant Murry River is being strangled upstream because the effects hurt residents of other states, and so can be safely advocated and enforced by state politicians. Given the critical importance of Canberra getting an international airport, and having room for its expansion and consistent operation, Rudd needs to step in an stop the Tralee development any way possible. Not only will NSW and ACT voters love him for giving the finger to the failed Rees Government, it would be a big sign he takes fixing the problems of federalism seriously, as he promised in his 2007 election campaign.

Meet the Drovers dog

With NSW Labor in such a pitiful state, broken transport promises, poor economic management, and the popularity on par with swine flu, many ambitious minds within Sydney must surely be wondering if they could be parachuted into the coalitions leadership, and secure the easiest election victory since Saddam Hussein last held an election. With that in mind, Peter Holmes a Court’s piece in this morning SMH makes for interested reading:

I spent 16 years living overseas, but in 1999 my wife and I chose to move from New York to Sydney. We didn’t do it on a whim. We thought long and hard, and chose Sydney for its beauty, relative convenience, low pollution, business opportunities, weather, and, of course, its football. I am here because I want to be, because I believe in NSW….
I have some small experience of what it is like to undertake a process like this, with a rugby league club known to arouse the strongest of passions in the most unlikely of people. Like NSW, the South Sydney Rabbitohs had been No. 1, but their premierships were a distant memory. Like NSW, we had fallen behind the competition and needed to make changes across the board. We can recognise the progress: from effectively bankrupt wooden-spooners three years ago, to having a competitive team roster, the proper infrastructure and a growing membership. The team is by no means first, but it is clearly heading in the right direction.

Like the work done by the team at the Rabbitohs, reclaiming first for NSW will require us to do the boring stuff. It will take many years to complete the transformation and let our state match its performance with its great history and natural advantages, and give the people of NSW what they deserve.

Now is the time to do it. We can reclaim our natural position as the premier state, and as someone who has chosen to live here, I am ready to contribute and encourage you to as well. But I am just one of 7 million members who has a stake. If we are going to return to being the best, we have to do it together.

Demonstrate allegiance to group & proclaiming of loyalty: Check
Write about group issues whilst entirely using the personal pronoun ‘I’: Check
Show involvement with popular local cause: Check
Claim of demonstrated success & competence: Check
Call for unity around a joint cause: Check
Final line humility & re-demonstration of allegiance to group: Check

NSW Coalition leader Barry O’Farrell will fight like a wounded mother to protect his spot, but don’t be surprised if we get a stream of such pieces through the daily rags; all professing their loyalty to the state and the cause: Themselves.

P.s For any who didn’t get the title reference: On the morning of Feb 3rd 1983, Bob Hawke replaced Bill Hayden as leader of the Labor Party. At Lunchtime Malcolm Fraser called a snap-election (which he was to lose). That same afternoon, Hayden made the famous statement that ‘a drover’s dog could lead the Labor Party to victory at the present time’.

Image by Broken Simulacra, used under a Creative Commons licence.