editors letterTHEY say that no matter what goes on in the run up to an election, the voters always get it right in the end.
And you’d have to say they did so last Saturday.
Concerns about the Labor Party’s management of the economy during their last term of office lingered, for sure, especially in relation to the nightmare that has been and still is the Wonthaggi desalination plant and the wasted money spent on the North-south Pipeline etc.
And there was also concern that Labor has sold its soul to sectional interests including the nurses, professional fire fighters and ambulance paramedics, in order to cobble together a supporter base to fight this election.
But the Coalition didn’t cover themselves in glory either, taking years to get into their stride after an unexpected win in 2010, the departure of the elected Premier Ted Baillieu and the debacle surrounding Frankston MP Geoff Shaw, which entangled our own Bass MP, Ken Smith, who was subsequently ousted as Speaker.
They also made several poor decisions along the way such as failing to recognise the seriousness of the Hazelwood Mine Fire from the outset and also failing the manage the haemorrhaging TAFE/RTO sector properly.
Retired Eastern Victoria MP, Peter Hall, the Minister for Higher Education and Skills at the time, recognised that simply capping funding to the sector wasn’t going to work but he should have stuck to his guns.
It’s now a very complicated problem where the quality of courses offered by both TAFEs and RTOs are being questioned and everyone is in financial difficulty.
For example there are some training courses, like Aged Care qualifications, that shouldn’t be delivered by Registered Training Organisations and should be the exclusive domain of the TAFEs.
The TAFE debacle at a time when the state was already losing its manufacturing base and needed training, was a disaster and the Coalition has rightly been carpeted for it.
Having started slowly, they left too many loose ends at election time, and they got hammered by their opponents.
OK, so Labor has won office but with the shooters/fishers, sex party, Greens and a raggle-taggle group of MPs holding the ‘balance of power’ in the Upper House, it’s not going to be plain sailing.
Of course, that will only be a problem if the major parties can’t agree and if there’s one thing the people of Victoria are sick and tired of seeing it is the image of their Parliamentary representatives at each other’s throats all the time.
Victoria is a great state, but with the exit of our automotive industries in the next few years, high unemployment in regional areas and many other challenges; it would be nice to see some bi-partisan gestures at getting the state back on track.
Two promises that will be interesting to watch from here, however, are the plan to legislate nurse ratios and also to cap municipal rates to the CPI. Some health services may not survive that approach and many rural shires are already screaming blue murder!
The fact that the Labor Party ignored much of Gippsland in the campaign period doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence either especially with projects like the Wonthaggi Secondary College relocation and sub-regional redevelopment of the Wonthaggi hospital still outstanding.
But we’ll take Mr Andrews at his word that he will govern for all of Victoria, even those that didn’t vote for him.