Another day, another litany of bad news for the NSW government in both the tabloid and broadsheet press. Transport, education, police, water wastage, the overall economy… NSW Labor seems to be under attack on all sides for just about everything.

The only break Morris Iemma gets is that his political opposition remains largely invisible. Oh, the odd coalition spokesman or nominal leader occasionally turns up as a near-footnote in the newspaper coverage, but with the election less than two months away it’s become Iemma versus the Terror and SMH.

The question is whether the unrelenting media criticism is creating an irreversible trend against the government. When Access Economics ices the criticism cake by finding NSW is so sick it risks “adoption by Angelina Jolie“, that history will judge the last ten years to have been “the lost decade” for the state, you might think the game is up for the Sussex Street mob.

But this is NSW. Most voters don’t read the newspapers, and Iemma and associates fight back with taxpayer funded advertisements telling the punters they government is really doing a good job. Plus they slip a construction consortium $25 million to delay creating a traffic jam until after the election.

Voters more accustomed to thinking might well wonder exactly what Sussex Street has done with all the money. The massive windfall from the property boom, never mind the country’s highest state taxes, somehow result in mediocre or worse services.

Too bad Fairfax and News Ltd aren’t running candidates.

Peter Fray

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