If voters can’t trust their government to give them the full story how can they trust them enough to vote them back into power?

That’s the question that the Keneally government faces in light of the extraordinary events in NSW since parliament was prorogued in December, events that have been partially eclipsed by a combination of Christmas holidays and devastating floods.

And we can only presume that that’s exactly what the Keneally government wants.

As our reporter Matthew Knott writes today, “…court summons will be issued this week in a bid to force the eight former directors who quit in protest over the privatisation of NSW electricity assets to appear before an upper house inquiry into the controversial sell off.  The legal action should finally resolve whether witnesses at the inquiry are covered by parliamentary privilege despite the fact parliament has been prorogued (shut down) until after the state election. If the upper house General Purposes Standing Committee’s subpoenas are upheld in court then the former Eraring and Delta directors will appear before the committee next Monday.”

In the meantime, this morning we heard from the Premier herself, who, asked during this morning’s inquiry what she thought of the directors being summonsed to appear on January 24, said, “I have no qualms about what the directors might say and I think it would be a loss for democracy if … this needs to end up in courts,” she said.

Keneally also said she would not recall Parliament to ensure the directors were protected by privilege, labelling it “unnecessary”, and then refused to guarantee the government would not take legal action against the directors, saying she feared that what they could say may affect the ongoing second tranche of the sell-off.

The NSW government may have exercised their right to prorogue, but that won’t stop voters exercising their right to boot them out come March. That still leaves plenty of time for the Keneally government to fundamentally damage voter faith in their system of government.

Peter Fray

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