Friday, March 25, 2011

NSW Election: Issues to watch, issues to ignore

New South Wales Labor is toast. Everyone knows it, but that doesn't make the election a dead rubber. As mentioned in the previous post, the upper house (Legislative Council) is uncertain and many seats are marginal. Moreover, election funding is associated with number of primary votes, so your first preference still gives a few dollars to the party you select.

Although it is late in the day to be offering it, Steve over at the Box Pop has been writing a five-part series on the election. The first post highlights just how narrow and misleading some of the groups claiming to give a "Christian" assessment of the parties are. The second explains the relevant differences between state and federal elections. The final three posts each offer one issue worth paying attention to and one that is a red herring. First, public education is worth preserving, but ethics classes are now a done deal. Second, ecological responsibility can't be sidelined by claiming that Christians disagree (since that applies pretty much everywhere),* whereas foreign policy has little to do with state government. The final post is yet to be published, but I'm hoping it will be about sustainable infrastructure planning that is not in bed with developers (to my mind, this has been one of the biggest failures of NSW Labor over the last sixteen years).** Hints in the first post suggest otherwise, but I can dream on for another couple of hours until it goes up.
H/T Andrew Cameron.
*For example, it's worth remembering that Newcastle is already the world's biggest coal export port and is currently dramatically increasingly its capacity. Once completed, the expanded facility will be able to handle a volume of coal so large that the resulting emissions will be greater than all of Australia's other emissions combined. We cannot pretend that we in NSW are not a serious part of the problem.
**Did you know that only one party refuses to accept donations from either unions or corporations? Can you guess which one?

UPDATE: Steve's final post is now up. It is not on infrastructure, but on something else also very important.


Mister Tim said...

Well, the NSW Greens may not, but the Australian Greens do take donations from unions, e.g. the ETU in Victoria.

Juggernaut1981 said...

I'd have to say Byron, this election is all about choosing the least diseased monkey from the cage... certainly not about choosing the best one.

Ironically a party with the least "You should vote for me" name (Save Our State) seems like it might be a party worth voting for (considering I tend to disagree with details of some of their policies rather than almost everything about most of them).

byron smith said...

Tim - It is a state election after all, and I think it is a commendable but not widely known policy. It is particularly apt given the recent track record of Labor. A more theoretical question: how much do you think the performance and policies of parties at other levels of government (or even internationally) ought to be taken into consideration when voting? I realise that this does happen, quite often simply from confusion about who is in charge of what, but to what extent is it an appropriate exercise in practical judgement?

For future reference, Federal Greens donations policy.

@Andrew - I don't know much about them. The fact that until very recently they were known as "Save Our Suburbs" doesn't fill me with confidence (NIMBY anyone?), nor the fact that they seem to have spent much of their collective life fighting medium-density development in Sydney and Melbourne. We need much more medium density (well-designed!) to stop swallowing our best agricultural land and increasing our reliance on cars. Their ecological policies have a degree of sanity (they are not in denial). I'm not sure what to think about the population growth in Oz question, which seems to be a significant desire for them as well. Yes, increasing population is likely to lead to greater strain on resources (especially water), but if the world is going to go from 7 to 9 billion in the next 40 years, shouldn't Australia accept some of this growth? But then, maybe I've missed the bits of their platform that you particularly like (I have only read bits of their website). What is it that attracts you?

byron smith said...

Speaking of not knowing policies...

SMH: "Asked how much they felt they knew about the Coalition's policies, 79 per cent said they knew either ''little'' or ''nothing at all'', with just 21 per cent saying they knew a lot.

"Knowledge of Labor's policies was slightly better, with 68 per cent saying they knew little or nothing and 31 per cent saying they knew a lot."

byron smith said...

SMH: O'Farrell off to a good start.

byron smith said...

The Conversation: NSW government and science (de)funding.