An unusual election tactic. Given the troubles besetting the NSW Labor Government I guess it is easy for an Opposition to get a little complacent about its chances but there is something quite foolhardy about telling a significant proportion of voters that they are getting paid too much. Yet that is what the Liberal shadow finance spokesman Mike Baird has done by arguing that NSW public servants are getting paid too much. Mr Baird was giving evidence to a Senate Committee when he said NSW public servants’ salaries are increasing 14% faster than equivalent pay packets in the private sector.

He accused the State Labor Government of squandering unforseen revenue windfalls and underfunding public sector superannuation. All very responsible perhaps and even appealing to all those who are not themselves on the public payroll but unlikely to result in the Liberals winning any votes. Promising to take something away, however, will certainly influence a few public servants that Labor is not so bad after all.

ACT Labor in panic mode. The unofficial ACT election campaign is well and truly underway. We knew that from the moment government instrumentalities started pumping out those tax payer funded adds pretending to provide information about services while in reality attempting to create the impression that the incumbent government had done a very good job. Today the issue has become one of roads with the Stanhope team almost admitting it made a mistake in building only a two lane road connecting the suburbs of Gunghalin with Canberra’s south. That road was only opened in March and now the Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has rushed out a press statement saying that work will start on doubling the size of the road. I say rushed because he wanted to beat an announcement planned for this morning by his Liberal Party opponents promising to do exactly that. This ACT Labor Government is surely in panic mode.

Labour to hang on. A good night for election tragics tonight as the good people of Glasgow East go to the polls. The by-election is seen as a serious test for Labour Prime Minister George Brown with The Scotsman predicting on election eve that the battle was likely to go down to the wire with the Scottish National Party claiming the race was “neck and neck” and Downing Street predicting a Labour victory by about 1,000 votes. The Crikey Election Indicator shows:

Anything much less than a majority of a thousand and the speculation over the Brown leadership is sure to intensify.

Threat to sporrans.. While on things Scottish, I note that Stavros Dimas, the European environment commissioner, yesterday announced plans to bring in a total import ban on products derived from seals that have been killed in a cruel way. Manufacturers of traditional Highland dress are up in arms about the proposed ban, believing it could spell disaster for the sporran — the vast majority of which are made from seal skin.

Peter Fray

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