Early 20th century US President Calvin Coolidge was known for his very short answers and lack of energy.
When the poet Dorothy Parker was told of Coolidge’s death in 1933, she replied, “How do they know?”
This is how most people feel about the 2023 NSW election campaign. There are few signs of life.
It’s hard to say whether Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns are running for prime minister or auditioning for future careers as funeral directors.
Both are lethargic and lack inspiration and solutions to the state’s serious problems in energy security, cost of living and school education.
Mark Latham, leader of One Nation NSW, (pictured) has unveiled key policies for his party ahead of the state election on March 25
He has vowed to tackle rising fuel bills for NSW households as a priority and says tackling real issues like this is why more people are turning to ‘small parties’ like his over Labor and Liberals
Both have been picked up by the PR consultants and spin doctors. Every second word is “plan,” even if they don’t have one.
Each campaign day is dedicated to photo opportunities and staged events.
This is what drags the big parties down: they’re more concerned about images than answers.
On Election Day, March 25, the long-term trend of shrinking primary votes for Labor and Liberals/Nationals is likely to continue. Support for “small parties” like One Nation is growing.
It’s not hard to know why.
My party is not perfect, but at least we talk clearly and directly about the policies needed to solve our most serious social and economic problems.
The immediate challenge in NSW is to keep the lights on.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has predicted blackouts, particularly following the 2025 closure of the Eraring coal-fired power station (which supplies a quarter of the state’s electricity).
Perrottet’s policy, through his energy minister Matt Kean, is more solar farms and wind turbines in the far western districts of NSW. But when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, the lights go out.
Minns has talked about renationalizing Eraring, about buying back Origin Energy. In two years, however, it will be an asset that has gotten out of hand, as the company has no incentive to maintain its maintenance budget and ensure that all of its turbines are working. Closing is approaching, they run it down.
The only way to keep Eraring open is to halt the transition to a so-called green energy economy.
Australia is the only country in the world with something like ‘Rewiring The Nation’ – spending tens of billions on new transmission wires and corridors in the west to connect renewable energy to the grid.
Someone has to pay for this and the cost is passed on to consumers in rapidly rising electricity bills.
Kean has introduced a new $138 million electricity tax, a five percent increase on a $1,000 bill.
‘The immediate challenge in NSW is to keep the lights on,’ says Mark Latham, who has called for coal-fired power plants like this one in the Hunter Valley to remain open
He warns that NSW’s liberal policy is more about solar farms and windmills in NSW’s far western districts ‘but when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing the lights go out’
On Wednesday, Australia’s energy regulator reported on the true cost of Kean’s rush to 100 percent renewables and additional transmission costs.
It is a further increase in the electricity price of 15 to 25 percent for small businesses and 21 percent for residential customers with standard bills.
These cost-of-living setbacks can be avoided if we move away from the Kean policy. Australia used to have the most affordable and reliable electricity and gas in the world.
We need to return to what worked best – coal and gas fired power and now with the arrival of Australian nuclear submarines we also need nuclear power generation.
Only reliable, 24/7 base load power can keep the lights on in NSW and alleviate the cost of living crisis.
In school policy, Perrottet and Minns have been equally negligent. The Secretary of Education, Sarah Mitchell, does nothing unless the Department of Education tells her to.
She is completely trapped in unelected bureaucrats – the same people who have given NSW the fastest falling grades in the world.
The labor policy, commissioned by the Federation of Teachers, is to convert 10,000 casual teachers into permanent jobs.
This will not add any teacher to a class or school, or solve the teacher shortage.
It simply changes the job classification of existing teachers, many of whom want to stay temporarily because of the workplace flexibility it offers.
One Nation has a different approach. We would raise the professional standards of teaching and pay our best teachers more to return high-achieving college dropouts to the state’s classrooms.
We would also bring the education itself back to the scientific basis.
Mark Latham has promised One Nation would reverse the state’s decline in international rankings and improve student outcomes
It’s hard to believe that the NSW government doesn’t require teaching to take place in a classroom, according to the education survey.
We know exactly what works and what doesn’t work in schools. Knowing these things, why doesn’t the minister require every classroom to teach the evidence?
That means direct instruction, phonetics in literacy, strong standards of behavior, lots of testing and data review, and individual student learning plans.
Here’s how to reverse the state’s decline in international rankings and improve student outcomes.
It is not difficult to understand why the big parties fail. They have grown old, complacent and ineffective.
It’s time for change. It is time for the ‘small parties’ to become big and enforce real solutions to long-standing problems in government policy.
In NSW we need intent, not imagery; solutions, not running.