Labor pains... the new Minister for Transport John Robertson and Premier Kristina Keneally. Photo: Simon Alekna
PREMIER Kristina Keneally is resisting demands to let NSW decide the fate of her tattered administration by calling an early election.
The resignations of cabinet ministers Ian Macdonald and Graham West were greeted yesterday with a near-universal ''enough's enough'' two days before the state budget.
The latest scandal has also started an ugly internal power struggle, with backbenchers keen to get their hands on a ministerial pay packet and pension before Labor faces electoral annihilation.Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell led the attack, urging Ms Keneally to call a poll and end the farce that has seen 215 Labor ministerial appointments in five years.
''People have had a gutful. They want the nightmare to end and would welcome an election,'' he said. ''Kristina Keneally should call an election because the people of NSW are desperate for one.''
Barry O'Farrell, leader of NSW's centre-right Liberal party, says that people have had a "gutful" of the state's Labor government.
O'Farrell is using Australian vernacular to trigger the most basic story told by main opposition parties: it's time for a change; this government has got to go. Just like David Cameron in the UK election campaign, except that he did not quite succeed in convincing his compatriots that the Conservatives were the solution.
This is not the first time an old narrative wine has been put in Australian bottles. One of O'Farrell's predecessors, Nick Greiner, used the "gutful" message in the run-up to the 1988 state election, in which he defeated another burnt-out Labor adminstration.
In 1980, Don Chipp, the founding leader of the Australian Democrats invited his compatriots to "keep the bastards honest". What he was saying was: with the single transferable vote, you can elect Democrat senators to hold the major parties to account. This was a more direct version of the "plague on both your houses" story that UK voters have heard for some fifty years, from Jo Grimond, David Steel, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy and Nick Clegg.