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Worst Labor Government Ever: That's a Disputable Claim (email sent 24/3/11)

Norman Abjorensen

Re: ‘Doomed party resembles a decaying Soviet machine’, The Australian, 24/3/11

Your article suggested that “… the Labor era in NSW 2007-11 … (is) almost uniformly (seen) … as the worst Labor government ever”.

May I respectfully suggest that: (a) the present government in NSW is the victim not only of the internal oligarchy that was nominated in Rodney Cavalier’s book but of extremely naive policies by its predecessors that undermined the ability of any later government to be effective; and (b) similar problems affect all governments in Australia to some degree (eg see It’s time to fix the failed state, 2008).

Queensland’s system of government (which I have observed more closely) has also been dysfunctional and crisis prone for many years - arguably for similar reasons to those that have undermined effective government in NSW. A brief comment on the mess in Queensland is in Response to an Open Note to Campbell Newman. Queensland’s ALP administration (like that in NSW) would presumably be headed for certain electoral disaster, if the Queensland Government had not been lucky enough to have a major flood crisis to divert public attention from administrative dysfunctions and crises.

My nomination for the worst government ever in Queensland goes that in 1989-1995 – on the grounds that it made the position of subsequent governments unworkably by demolishing the basis for professional public administration, and opening the door to cronyism (see Queensland’s Worst Government, 2005 and Reform of Queensland Institutions - or a Rising Tide of Public Hypocrisy?, 2004).

Thus I submit that in seeking nominees for the worst ever government in NSW, it would be fair to look at history as well as at those who have inherited history’s legacy.

John Craig