The early 20th century American president, Calvin Coolidge, was famous for his very short answers and lack of energy.
When the poet Dorothy Parker was informed of Coolidge’s death in 1933, she replied, “How can they know?”
This is how most people feel about the 2023 NSW election campaign. There are few signs of life.
It’s hard to tell if Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns are running for Premier or auditioning for future careers as funeral directors.
Both are apathetic, lacking in inspiration and solutions to the serious problems of the State in terms of energy security, cost of living and school education.
Mark Latham, leader of One Nation NSW, (pictured) has revealed his party’s key policy areas ahead of the state election on 25 March.
Both have been captured by public relations consultants and press advisers. Every second word is ‘plan’ even though they don’t have one.
Every campaign day is framed around photo opportunities and stage-led events.
This is what depresses the big parties: they are more concerned with the images than with the answers.
On Election Day, March 25, the long-term trend of declining primary voting for Labor and Liberals/Nationals is likely to continue. Support for ‘minor parties’ like One Nation is growing.
It’s not hard to see why.
My party is not perfect, but at least we speak clearly and directly about the policies needed to overcome our most serious social and economic problems.
The immediate challenge in NSW is keeping the lights on.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has forecast blackouts, particularly after the closure of the Eraring coal-fired power station in 2025 (which supplies a quarter of the state’s electricity).
He has vowed to tackle rising fuel bills for NSW households as a priority and says tackling real problems like this is why more people are turning to “minor parties” like his rather than Labour. and liberals.
Perrottet’s policy, through his Energy Minister Matt Kean, is more solar farms and windmills in the far western districts of New South Wales. But when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, that’s when the lights go out.
Minns has talked about renationalizing Eraring, buying it back from Origin Energy. However, within two years, it will be a depleted asset as the company has no incentive to maintain its maintenance budget and ensure that all of its turbines are running. As closing approaches, they are running out of it.
The only way to keep Eraring open is to stop the transition to the so-called green energy economy.
Australia is the only country in the world with something called ‘Rewire the Nation’ – spending tens of billions on new transmission cables and corridors in the west to connect renewables to the grid.
Someone has to pay for this, and the costs are passed on to consumers in the form of rapidly rising electricity bills.
“The immediate challenge in NSW is keeping the lights on,” says Mark Latham, who has called for coal-fired power stations like this one in the Hunter Valley to stay open.
Kean introduced a new $138 million electricity tax, a five percent increase on a $1,000 bill.
On Wednesday, the Australian Energy Regulator reported the true cost of Kean’s rush to 100 per cent renewables and the additional costs of transmission.
That’s an additional 15 to 25 percent increase in the price of electricity for small businesses and 21 percent for residential customers with default accounts.
These cost of living setbacks can be avoided if we drop the Kean policy. Australia used to have the most affordable and reliable electricity and gas in the world.
We need to go back to what worked best: coal and gas power and now, with the advent of Australia’s nuclear submarines, we need nuclear electricity generation as well.
Only reliable 24/7 base load power can keep the lights on in NSW and alleviate the cost of living crisis.
In school politics, Perrottet and Minns have been equally negligent. Education Minister Sarah Mitchell does nothing unless the Education Department tells her to.
It is totally captive to unelected bureaucrats, the very people who have given NSW the world’s most falling school achievement results.
He warns that Liberal NSW policy is more solar farms and windmills in the far western districts of NSW “but when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, that’s when the lights go out.”
The labor policy, by order of the Federation of Teachers, is to convert 10,000 occasional teachers into permanent positions.
This will not add a single teacher to any classroom or school, nor will it address the teacher shortage crisis.
It just changes the job classification of existing teachers, many of whom want to remain on a contingent basis because of the workplace flexibility it offers.
A Nation has a different approach. We would raise professional teaching standards and pay our best teachers more to bring high-achieving students back to the State’s classrooms.
We would also return the teaching itself to the evidence base.
It is hard to believe that the NSW government does not require any classroom to be taught according to educational research.
We know exactly what works and what doesn’t work in schools. If we know these things, why doesn’t the Minister require every classroom to teach with evidence?
Mark Latham promised that One Nation would reverse the state’s slide down the international league tables and improve student outcomes.
That means Direct Instruction, phonics literacy, strong behavior standards, lots of testing and assessment data, and individual learning plans for students.
This is how the State’s fall in the international league tables is reversed and student results are raised.
It’s not hard to see why the major parties are failing. They have grown old, complacent and ineffective.
It is time to change. It is time for the ‘minor parties’ to become major parties and force real solutions to long-standing problems into government policy.
In NSW, we need intention, not images; solutions, do not rotate.