The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Premier Barnett!

Sunday 14 September 2008 at 3:18 am

It’s … not a surprise, but it also is a surprise, in that it really wasn’t long ago that Colin Barnett was retiring and the Liberals were screwed. Although I must say that “we’d have to rely on the Greens in the upper house” sounds like an awfully flimsy excuse, unless, y’know, the Nationals plan to push through legislation that sucks.

At least the opposition this time around won’t be so bad. But, given how much the last opposition sucked, and that they are now a minority government, I’m reserving judgement as to what we’ll see. (For instance: “government that has a social conscience”? Yeah, right.)

There’s definitely nothing that makes me hold my breath for anything spectacular out of this government — but then again, it still can’t be as bad as NSW! So I look forward to seeing hundreds of millions of dollars each year be poured into towns of a few hundred people, hospital waiting lists disappear, teachers to suddenly become superbly paid, crime rates to fall through the floor, and stamp duty to be cut.

(Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll be amazed if they pull off any one of those.)

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National Party, centrestage

Thursday 11 September 2008 at 1:50 am

Brendon Grylls must be relishing his time as the most important person in Western Australian politics at the moment. The most impressive part is that none of what he’s on about is new; the pre-election profile that aired on Stateline before the election seems amazingly prescient now!

And with John Bowler on his side, he commands five Legislative Assembly votes — enough for minority government with the Libs, or a majority with an apparently fragile Labor. So much for the old predictions that one-vote-one-value would destroy the Nationals and cement the big parties!

Also, what’s up with all the criticism of the WAEC from pollies? They’re taking just as long to finalise the vote count as they’ve done for every previous election I’ve seen, but just because Labor couldn’t win government this time means there needs to be an inquiry?!

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Perhaps the most awesome of all possible results

Sunday 7 September 2008 at 2:46 am

So, on the one hand, it’s never much fun to see a race without a winner.

But given that I am a political nerd, I think a hung parliament is awesome. Given that the campaign was short, mediocre, and predominantly negative … this outcome is great.

I guess having the Olympics to draw people’s attention while Barnett figured out what to do was a good thing, and naturally I concede I completely underestimated the level of disenchantment people had with healthcare, Burke scandals, Carpenter himself, and so forth. I’m particularly impressed that most of the new seats from the one-vote one-value redistribution went to the Libs.

Yet the result seems to say “we really don’t like you, but nor do we trust that other mob”. I think it delicious to imagine the prospect of Alan Carpenter forming a minority government with the Nationals, and being forced to compromise and consult on every decision he takes. This, to me, would be a best-of-both-worlds that tones down his brusqueness while also keeping the only competent team for government that we have. (It is, of course, more likely that the Liberals and Nationals settle their squabble and form government with the independents; most of them are right-leaning, so that’d be more of a business-as-usual story.)

And at least things in Perth aren’t as bad as they are in NSW; competence is apparently harder to come by than I’d have guessed!

P.S. I’m amused that, even though I thought the ballot paper was awfully short when I voted a fortnight ago, I was among the record numbers of people giving first preference to the Greens (a.k.a. the only party in WA to have its act together).


You’re building a railway … where?

Monday 1 September 2008 at 12:52 am

So the Premier used his official campaign launch the other day to promise more upgrades for Transperth, and thus I shall launch into a public transport rant!

The media release makes tantalising promises of 10 new trains, more late-night services, and improved bus frequencies (yay!). But there are bigger announcements: apparently he’ll spend $850m (ouch!) on a railway from Midland to Ellenbrook, something that’s been on the cards for years now. And even better, he intends to fix the biggest remaining hole in Perth’s rail system, due north of the city towards Ballajura.

Except instead of actually fixing it, he’s offering up a bus lane, albeit one using new “auto-tram” vehicles out of Germany (incidentally: not a proven technology, although they really are just modified buses).

No offence to Ellenbrook, but it’s got a mere ten thousand people. Compared to the sixty-plus thousand living along Alexander Drive, with thought to how much fun it is to drive that road at peak hour, and assuming the state can only afford one train line … surely the correct place for a railway (or subway or tramway or something) is not out in the sticks?

(That said, two railways is obviously better; they needn’t be that expensive!)


Jesus has … multiple points of view

Monday 1 September 2008 at 12:07 am

Different Christian groups at the SF Pride Parade

So this is what they mean by freedom of religion! Spotted at the San Francisco Pride Parade back in June (which, incidentally, was a lot of fun).