A few thoughts post-election…
As I write this, the seat is still too close to call. Counting is continuing, but it would seem we are destined to remain a marginal seat for the next election — in fact some voters reckoned they were deliberately voting to stay marginal.
Elsewhere, some sandbelt (or as I prefer to call them, “Frankston line”) seats are still being counted, though it looks like some of them have swung back to Labor.
East West Link
A few weeks ago Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the state election a referendum on the East West Link tollroad.
“This election is about many things, but in the end, it is a referendum on the East West Link. It is a referendum on the plan that this Premier and no one else has, to build a modern 21st century with 21st century infrastructure.”
Some people still don’t grasp that the tollroad was a bad idea for numerous reasons.
- It wouldn’t solve traffic congestion.
- It would have entrenched car dependency — which is bad for all sorts of reasons.
- It would have swallowed billions of dollars in funding — perhaps $18 billion just for stage one.
- Because it was so expensive, we couldn’t have it as well as big public transport upgrades. Trying to do both would have led to the old “balance” scenario, where all the road projects get up, and public transport gets the crumbs. (Even while the $4 billion Regional Rail Link has been built, which you’d think would skew the balance back towards equal, billions have been spent on motorways, and pseudo-motorway “arterials”.)
- Even if you could fund everything, building big new roads is still a bad idea. Even if you argue they spark economic growth by enabling mobility of people and goods, the problem is they do so in the least efficient manner possible (and in the case of people, limiting it to those who can drive).
- As I’ve said before: do we want more traffic? Or do we want more people using public transport? The one we want is where the investment should go.
Foremost in not grasping these concepts is the PM himself. It’s hardly surprising; in transport policy as in so many other areas, he’s a dinosaur.
Having declared the election to be a referendum on East West Link, he has now put out a statement saying he wants it to happen anyway:
“He (Denis Napthine) restored the fiscal position of the state and embarked on a major infrastructure programme to get Victoria moving. I share his commitment to the East West Link and I am determined to do what I can to ensure this vital national infrastructure project proceeds to completion.”
And to cap it off, when he had his first phone conversation with Premier-elect Daniel Andrews, he suggested building it anyway, despite Andrews’ pledge not to!
Mr Andrews spoke with PM about 30mins ago – "he asked me to break my commitment" re: EWL & "I very politely" said no. pic.twitter.com/d8VS9Uf6rW
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) November 30, 2014
I suspect Abbott simply doesn’t understand why people would not want a massive new road. He still thinks they’re the “roads of the 21st century“.
I’d like to think that in our big cities, voters are increasingly aware that cars a not a mass transit solution.
Credit to Daniel Andrews for refusing the offer to break his pledge, and indeed deciding to release all the East West Link paperwork (including cabinet-in-confidence papers). It should make for some interesting reading.
- PTUA open letter to Mr Abbott: Open Letter to Tony Abbott: Your referendum is lost. Please put the $3 billion back where it came from: Rail
My son Jeremy’s Pudding video got noticed by The Age… By Monday morning it had over 14,000 views.
On Monday, The Age updated its story with an audio interview with me, describing what inspired the video. Then it got picked up by news.com.au, and then shown (including to Mr Andrews) on The Project (about 26 minutes in). As I write this, it’s at 28,000 views.
I know Daniel Andrews has a sense of humour… hopefully he sees the funny side of this.
So how did it happen?
Jeremy had been looking at an ALP campaign video on Youtube, and played it to Isaac (who is of voting age), who misheard, and wondered why there was talk of pudding. Jeremy (too young to vote) took it from there.
Initially Jeremy posted it privately, and only his friends could see it, but M thought (and I agreed) it could get a wider audience on YouTube. It spread after I tweeted it, helped along by my Twitter feed being followed by a number of journalists.
What’s interesting is that both my kids are becoming more politically engaged — a product no doubt of my interest, and the fact that we often watch the evening news together.
The political parties using social media and the internet is helping this, and in fact hopefully the spread of this video has helped more otherwise disengaged people know who our new Premier is.
- Flashback to last election: Did these trains lose Labor the election?