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Victorian state election « Previous | |Next »
November 5, 2006

It is hard for me to be enthusiastic over, or be deeply interested in, the Victorian election. Yawn. The Bracks Government has a massive majority--62 seats compared with the Liberals' 17. Victoria is now a Labor State, no longer the "jewel" in the postwar Menzian Liberal "crown". Guy Rundle, in an op-ed in The Sunday Age expresses my sentiments:

As Victoria staggers across the finish line in an election so boring, so fore-ordained - with the exception of the competition for a few seats between the Greens and the not-at-all-loopy People Power - that seasoned political correspondents have been eating their own heads rather than cover another photo opportunity,

The divided Victorian Liberals are in no position to be an effective opposition, as their factions are too busy fighting one another, the party is in a chronically poor condition, and it is struggling with social conservatism and market fundamentalism. The socially reformist Brack's Government will be returned. Of that there is no doubt.

It's just like the earlier SA state election with a difference. The Victorian Liberals have steadily been improving, with some simple, digestible policies on free public transport for students, reducing the cost burden of kindergartens and reducing the number of poker machines. Unlike the SA Liberals, the Victorian Liberals have rediscovered thier roots in social liberalism. Alas, it is the ALP that best exemplifies the social liberal (Deakinite) tradition in Victorian politics.

The Brack's Government, though it poses as a progressive reforming one, it has done little about delivering water savings to the River Murray, to the Yarra or water recycling in Melbourne and the country towns. It has a high stamp duty regime, is addicted to regressive gambling taxes and has long waiting lists for elective surgery. :Like the other states Victoria has a huge infrastructure deficit in transport and communications, water, environment, schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure

The strategy is incremental change that does not move outside the voters comfort zone around service delivery, runs a tight fiscal ship and keeps the economy ticking over. So my main interest in the election is whether the Greens can capture the balance of power in the reformed upper house. I hope Labor loses control of the Legislative Council and Family First is denied a look in as they attempt to block the Greens from gaining power. The Greens holding the balance of power would result in a bit of opposition for a technocratic, socially conservative Bracks government. Some stormy times are needed.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:01 AM | | Comments (0)