The Iemma Government “plans to create a
series of super-ministries as part of a drive to slash public service jobs and
save $2.5 billion over four years – and return the state budget to surplus,”
The SMH reports today.

It comes at a cost, though. Premier Morris
Iemma wants to excise 4,000 people from the public service without slicing into
the vitals of police, teachers and nurses.

When Peter Debnam became opposition leader
six months ago, it was asked how a former naval officer turned Member for
Vaucluse could ever connect with NSW voters.

It seems to be happening. Yesterday’s
Newspoll suggests Iemma’s appeal in the electorate is waning while Opposition Leader
Peter Debnam’s stocks are rising.

Dissatisfaction with Mr Iemma’s performance has grown to 32%, up from
28% two months ago, according to a Newspoll for The Australian.

Meanwhile,
satisfaction with Opposition Leader Peter Debnam’s performance is up five
points to 37%.

Newspoll, however, suggests more than a
third of voters remain uncommitted on the issue, with an election just over a
year away.

Primary support
for the major NSW parties in the January poll is unchanged from two months ago,
with the Coalition receiving 43% of primary support and Labor unchanged
on 34%.

In two-party
preferred terms, the Coalition has 51% support and Labor 49%.

Which means that Iemma must loathe
distractions like his predecessor Bob Carr turning up on Gore Vidal’s knee on
Foreign Correspondentthis week.

Former naval officers from Vaucluse might
seem out of touch – but former premiers are worse.

Peter Fray

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