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Posts Tagged ‘NSW Politics’

The latest Newspoll published in The Australian is devastating for the NSW Labor Party.

Their primary vote has crashed a record low of 26 per cent while the Coalition is up 2 points to 44 per cent. The Greens are up 5 to a record high of 17 per cent.

On a two party preferred basis the Coalition leads Labor 59-41.

Kristina Keneally and Barry O’Farrell are almost split on the preferred premier numbers, 35 to 34.

It’s hard to overstate how bad these numbers are for the Labor Party as they represent a complete wipe out at the next election.

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I just got off a plane, waiting for my connecting flight, and decided to check the news.

What do you know, apparently a special caucus meeting has been called where it’s expected Nathan Rees will be challenged for the leadership by either Frank Sartor or Kristina Keneally.

It’s hard for me to keep updated on the situation from the airport, and when the meeting is on I’ll be on a plane, so consider this an open thread for information and discussion on the challenge.

A quick comment on the issue – If Labor knifes Rees, it’s probably the stupidest thing they could do and will consign them to defeat at the next election.

Update:
The Right need to get their act together if they want to knock off Rees. At the moment, there’s still no consensus candidate with Keneally saying she won’t challenge Rees but if there’s a spill she will contest, and Sartor expected to challenge.

If they remain divided it’s possible that Rees can hold on, given he has pretty much all the Left votes and a handful of those on the Right.

Some Left MP’s have apparently stated that if Keneally becomes Premier they will defect from the party and sit on the crossbenches.

Update: Unconfirmed suggestions that Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt is being sounded out by MP’s and the party office.

Update: NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell has called for a no confidence vote in the State Government. Silly move in my opinion. He should just shut up, sit down and watch the fireworks.

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The big news out of last weekend’s State ALP conference is that Premier Nathan Rees has been given the power to appoint his own cabinet, no longer having factions force candidates upon him.

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There’s a bunch of new legislation up for debate in NSW Parliament over the next few weeks and some pretty major new policy initiatives from the Government. Rather than trying to give an update on everything that’s happening I’ll pick a few of the ones I think are the most important or interesting and give an overview.

Changes to voter enrolment

This week the Government introduced legislation to change the way new voters enrol.

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Independent NSW MLC Gordon Moyes has just announced he is joining Family First, becoming their first MP in NSW.

Moyes was elected to the Legislative Council in 2002 as a member of the Christian Democratic Party. He served in that capacity until 2009 when he was expelled from the party after a number of personal and policy clashes with the CDP and its leader, Fred Nile.

Immediately after he was expelled Moyes entered discussions with Family First about becoming a member and leading their upper house ticket in the 2011 election.

It’s an interesting, if not unexpected, move by Moyes. Whilst undoubtedly a social conservative he has sided with The Greens on a number of occasions and voted against the Government to subpoena documents in a range of areas.

Moyes holds a key balance of power position in the NSW upper house and his vote is often required to pass legislation. His modus operandi in Parliament seems to be to approach each issue on its merits and compare it to his personal beliefs and values. It will be interesting to see whether this changes now that he is once again a member of a political party. There are a few stark policy differences between Moyes and the Family First Senator Steve Fielding – most notably on the issue of climate change. Where Fielding is a climate sceptic/denialist, Moyes is a firm believer who has often advocated for stronger action on protecting the environment.

It’s difficult to predict the results of the next election but it is unlikely that Moyes would be re-elected. The Christian Right vote in the last few elections has only been high enough to elect one MLC – last election the CDP received 2.4%. It is possible that disgruntlement with both major parties could see a boost in the Christian vote, but I think this split will offset any positives to be gained from a small vote boost.

Update:
It looks like we have another schism between Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Gordon Moyes, this time on the issue of asylum seekers.

This week Steve Fielding said of the 78 asylum seekers on board the Oceanic Viking:

This is our boat, it’s been hijacked by the refugees, and the Rudd government hasn’t got a clue what to do. Those people trying to jump the queue should go to the back of the queue.

Today, Gordon Moyes has announced a completely different position:

Kevin Rudd could solve the problem of the 78 Sri Lankan boat people on the Australian vessel in Indonesian waters by ordering today that the ship bring them to Australia. Process them in Perth or Port Hedland, then bring them to Sydney.

He also goes on to describe his experiences in resettling illegal refugees in the 1960’s.

This is a stark policy difference and mirrors the difference between the two parliamentarians on climate change. Only one day into the “leadership” of the NSW branch of Family First and Moyes is already picking fights with the Federal leader. Looks like it might be a habit…

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Cabinet reshuffle

This afternoon Premier Nathan Rees unveiled what I would call a pretty significant cabinet reshuffle.

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The resignation of John Della Bosca has changed the political dynamic in NSW on a number of levels. Premier Nathan Rees has been forced to plan a cabinet reshuffle, promoting allies and demoting those who he perceives as being destabalising figures in caucus. Rees’ hold on the leadership of the Labor Party has also been affected by Della’s resignation, though perhaps not as obviously as some are suggesting.

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