Daniella White

ACT election 2020: Alistair Coe took Canberra voters for fools | The Canberra Times

news, act-politics,

The Canberra Liberals spent the past four years trying to be viewed as a viable alternative to Labor. But when it mattered, they took Canberrans for fools, and they simply did not deserve to win. Liberal leader Alistair Coe’s campaign was heavy on stunts, but light on substance. He repeatedly refused to answer even basic questions, instead reverting to rehearsed slogans – even when it created a completely nonsensical answer. It gave Canberrans a taste of how he might govern and they didn’t like it. READ MORE: He has rallied against the government’s lack of transparency throughout his four years as Opposition Leader, but his performance on the campaign trail raised serious concerns about the type of government he would lead. Coe’s strategy may have allowed his key soundbites and face to land on the nightly news over a three-week period, but it would not fly with voters for the next four years. The reality was he simply would not have been able to deliver everything he had promised, and that was the reason he evaded questions all campaign. He fundamentally failed to offer Canberrans a viable alternative to the Labor government – an astonishing fact considering Labor has been in for 19 years. There’s a good argument to be had that it’s just not healthy for a single party to be in power for so long. But the reality is voters had no other option. Andrew Barr has led a disciplined, if slightly boring, campaign. This was a perception Labor was more than happy for voters to take. He’s become a more likable leader in the past year, thanks in part to his response to the bushfires and coronavirus pandemic. But a new Labor government must be more consultative when it creates new policies and proposed legislation. Now set to govern for 24 years straight, it is more important than ever. Consultation doesn’t mean caving to industry demands, but stakeholders should at least have a seat at the table. Planning rules need to be simpler and the government’s use of call in powers to wave through developments needs to be overhauled. READ MORE: Years of health mismanagement need to be turned around, and mistakes and delays to Canberra Hospital’s expansion need to be acknowledged. It is unacceptable that Canberra simply does not have the health infrastructure it needs to service a growing region.

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