Does it matter who wins tomorrow’s Victorian state election? Does it matter which party wins any state election?

Essentially, state governments are in the business of managing — or in the case of the NSW Labor government, mismanaging — service delivery. Even when they are ideologically driven, like the Kennett government, the primary focus of their ideology is on budgets and services.

The good thing about modern state politics is that the voters explicitly understand that state elections are not a battle of ideas, but a referendum on which party is the most efficient manager of public resources.

So yes, of course it matters, but for very different reasons.

In the case of Victoria tomorrow, the stakes are lower because competent management is the likely result no matter which side wins. Only a hung parliament could complicate that stability.

In the case of NSW, next March, grossly incompetent management will end the tenure of the current government, but there’s little evidence that the other mob can fix the mess.

That is a state election that really matters.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey