With just six days to go, the NSW Labor campaign has come down to just two pithy messages: “don’t give Barry O’Farrell a blank cheque” and “Kristina is going down fighting”.
Even the PM was driven to Leumeah, a good hour from Sydney’s centre on the South Western Motorway, yesterday to reinforce this message to the 300 faithful assembled at the Western Suburbs League Club for the state Labor launch.
Clad in her lucky orange jacket, the one she wore to captivate the Americans, Julia intoned the day’s key line: “Don’t give Barry O’Farrell a blank cheque.
“If Mr O’Farrell thought the people of NSW would support his policies he would tell us what they are,” she declared. “He won’t because he knows what he’s got planned will not be supported by the families of NSW, it’s not what they want.
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“My message to the people of NSW is simple: don’t give Barry O’Farrell a blank cheque, don’t let Barry O’Farrell do whatever he wants.”
Kristina herself gave an impressive performance, speaking for 25 minutes without a single note. With less than a week of her premiership left, she is showing no signs of weakness.
When King Leonidas 1 of Sparta was assembling troops for the battle of Thermopylae, he was so sure of defeat that he took only those Spartans who had living sons. I’m not sure if KK has done a similar check, but yesterday’s campaign launch did feel like the eve of that battle, when the Persians overpowered the Spartans and put them all to the sword.
You don’t need to consult the Delphic Oracle to know that Labor is going to lose, but Kristina’s speech yesterday left us in no doubt that she was going to go down fighting.
“I’m going to get back on that [campaign] bus and stay on it until the close of polls on Saturday,” she cried, metaphorically swinging a sword around her head. “And I’d like to invite every single one of you to come along for the ride.”
Former premiers Barry Unsworth and Bob Carr turned up, and even Nathan Rees, who the Sunday papers had reported would be a no-show, although he did look as though he had sucked on a lemon.
But why did Kristina feel it necessary to mention Barangaroo? It means nothing to the outer suburban voters, and in the inner-west has become a by-word for government skulduggery. Just hearing the name will remind the Balmain voters to vote for Jamie Parker.
I did get to buy a NSW Labor key ring and hat, which will be the prizes for the best story at the “Farewell Eddie and Joe” lunch planned for next week. There’s also a new drinking game for Saturday night — you have to take a swig every time someone concedes, and a extra shot for a minister.
Since 1998, nine NSW state ministers have lost their seats in an election. That number could double by the end of Saturday, so if you are going to play it, please pace yourselves.
When the lifeless bodies of the NSW right are carried back to Sussex Street on their shields, you will want to be awake to see it.