It is election time this weekend in the Australian Capital Territory. Despite numerous persons standing in seats all around the place, it is less than a two-horse race.
The ACT Branch of the Greens is frankly less than impressive. Independents have a history of holding the balance of power in the ACT Assembly, but some of these have in the past at least, ended up as quasi party members. Take for example so-called independent Michael Moore who leapt at the chance to actually be in government, accepting a sweetheart deal with a former Liberal government, becoming their Health Minister. Yeah - real independent. This time we have people like the former star recruit of the Libs who left the party or was expelled, depending on who you listen to, set up a pretend party trying to get even with his former colleagues. There is little that I have seen among the other independents to do much to excite me.
The only real options are, as usual, the Labour Party and the Liberal Party. The current Labour government under leader John Stanhope, has a far from spotless record. Even Stanhope has admitted that they 'got it wrong' at times. But what is the alternative? A branch of the Liberal party that spends more time infighting and throwing leaders out than much else. Under current young hopeful, Ned Zilich, in desperation the Libs have chosen to go down the route of blatant attempted vote buying. Despite payment of age pensions being a Federal matter and not one for States and Territories, Zilich gleefully recently announced that all age pensioners under his government would receive a one-off payment of $500. Not invalid pensioners, not unemployed, nor any other member of the disadvantaged, just the aged. And why the aged? Because of recent very public admissions of just how poor the age pension actually is.
Take it from me, no welfare in Australia is that great, albeit better than much of the world. But let's be really honest, just how much long-time good is a once-off payment of $5oo going to be? Not that much. It was nothing more than an attempt to buy votes of the elderly. A pathetic attempt to buy an election.
Judging by the odds being offered bookmakers who have a pretty good record in predicting these results, while there will be a contest, it is hard to see Labour losing.
I wonder how many votes this transparent attempt to buy the result will have cost Zilich and his mob?