Monday, 30 September 2013

The O'Farrell government going nowhere but it is reviewing reviews

In a very well written article in today's Daily Telegraph its State Political Editor Andrew Clennell wrote entitled "The Premier State NSW stuck in a policy bog as Barry O'Farrell reviews and reviews and reviews” DT 300913 exposes the O’Farrell Liberal government as a do nothing government, just intent on presiding, offending as few people as possible, making itself a smaller target as possible and just getting to the next election in March 2015.

Mr Clennell in an article published in the Daily Telegraph on June 6, 2013 at DT 060613 described the performance of the O'Farrell Liberal's as:

"This affair is the best example of a lazy, arrogant government, which thinks it can hide behind the ICAC scandal and a record of electoral margin."

On Febraury 24 2013 on this blog commenting on another article of Mr Clennell RH 240213 I wrote that the article had, "in effect, exposed Premier Barry O'Farrell for who, in my opinion he really is; just another politician, just interested in being there, providing no intellectual leadership, and no genuine intellectual agenda."

The observations made in today's article are not a popular press beat up. It is an important analysis of the failure of the ability of the O'Farrell government to actually govern. The list of 100 reviews with no decision is an embarrassment to New South Wales. How much are all these consultants costing? The Premier asserts that his government makes "no apologies for seeking expert advice on which to base decisions." Does he have no faith in the state's public service?

In any event, after receiving all this expert advice there is an expectation by the people in this state for the O'Farrell government to actually make decisions and govern.

While I accept there are plenty of proposals where expert advice needs to be sought for example Law reform issues such as child abuse matters where the Law Reform Commission, the Law Society, Bar Association and the Judiciary should to be consulted. However, the O'Farrell government didn't get expert advice when it introduced its ridiculous and ineffective: "Right to silence" legislation to give the impression it was tackling gun crime.

It should have consulted widely on its planning law reforms, which were the most absurd and dangerous planning reforms ever, proposed in this state. The government might have been better consulting one of its own members the Liberal member for Pittwater who is a highly qualified and highly regarded planning lawyer, which would have saved a lot of angst to a worried community.

The O’Farrell Liberals spent almost 2 years waiting for Nick Greiner to tell the government what infrastructure priorities it needed to adopt. The Liberals sat in opposition for 16 long years. Might the community have expected it to be elected with some kind of plan?

WestConnex was their magic solution. A year ago it was going to cost $10 billion, now it is going to cost $11.5 billion. It is not going to be finished until 2023. It is not even going to start until after the state election in 2015. The roads are in gridlock; the cap has been removed from Port Botany millions of containers will be spewing onto our roads.  And in 2023, Hey Presto the "WestConnex lemon" will be the magic solution.

When Nick Greiner resigned from infrastructure NSW in disgust, the public now have some idea as to why? Now Infrastructure NSW is to be reviewed.

The trouble with getting these 100 reviews is it demonstrates either the government or the public service of which it leads does not have the ability to make decisions, or the government is frightened of making decisions because they may be unpopular. Either way the people of New South Wales are not being well served.

What will happen next?

That is not very hard to predict. When Parliament resumes in a couple weeks time there will be a flurry of activity. Announcements will be made to give the impression of the government doing things.

Having regard to the intellectual capacity of the O'Farrell Liberal government, any rushed decisions in these circumstances are likely to be disasters.

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