Macklin / Labor stays on the rails with a decisive win

“Happily, the electoral commission staffers were their usual helpful selves but the conditions would have shamed Bangladesh,” bemoans Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

TWO down in this vintage election year, one to go… and even it seems pretty much decided; Daffy Donald is not coming back from the dead.

But here in our little patch Labor defied the odds and scored another decisive win after 15 years in government. And this despite a powerful Opposition attack on the light rail project.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin.

THE televised debate between CM Andrew Barr and Lib leader Jeremy Hanson worked well when the speakers were allowed to state their cases, but became a shemozzle when they interrupted each other mid-sentence. Moderator Greg Jennett, the ABC’s National Affairs correspondent, should have pulled them apart instead of grinning inanely at the incoherent babble.

However, Hanson clearly won. He spoke directly to the camera and made telling points about the costly light rail project. Barr’s response that the alternative was “traffic gridlock like Sydney and Melbourne” fell flat, especially when Melbourne has an excellent tram and rail system. But perhaps most telling was Hanson’s reminder that if Labor won we’d have 19 unbroken years of one-party rule.

YOUR columnist voted early at the Callam Offices, Woden, and a more down-at-heel location could hardly be imagined. Hand-written signs directed voters around a maze to a long queue leading to some ancient computers. It was tough on the old and the disabled. Happily, the electoral commission staffers were their usual helpful selves but the conditions would have shamed Bangladesh.

ACROSS the Pacific, America finally realised what a goofball they’d chosen as the Republican candidate for President. Amazingly, it took an 11-year-old video of his trash-talking women for them to realise the error of their ways. And he was still able to command the loyalty of more than 30 per cent of voters.

Both PM Malcolm Turnbull and Labor’s Bill Shorten have turned their backs on him while the NSW Upper House passed a motion calling him a “revolting slug”. Only Tony Abbott has leapt to the defence of his policies – including the building of a wall on the Mexican border. No surprises there.

ABBOTT was on a roll after the death of the same-sex marriage plebiscite as Labor sought to wedge Turnbull by opposing it in the Senate. Their justification – that the debate would hurt the children of same-sex partners – is about as transparently phony as the conservatives’ claim that they stopped the boats out of concern for the refugees drowning at sea. No wonder politicians are in such bad odour.

NSW Premier Mike Baird did nothing to remedy that with his craven backdown over the banning of greyhound racing. If Canberra’s chief minister falls in line he, too, will get the obloquy he so richly deserves.

HEART-rending coroner’s inquest on the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes with accusations that the thoroughly likeable quick, Dougie Bollinger, had “sledged” the batsman with the threat that “I’m going to kill you”. Commentators say “sledging is part of the game”, which is quite untrue. As one who played at A Grade level in Queensland some years ago, I can assure you it has only developed nastily since the Test captaincy of Ian Chappell. If Phil Hughes’ death leads to its formal banning he will have done the game its greatest service.


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