Time to give the B team a turn?
The NSW Liberals are the perennial B team of Australian politics. Since the emergence of the current two-party system, they (and their UAP/Nationalist) predecessors have held office only when incumbent Labor governments have either split or been so long in office that the accumulated arrogance and corruption is too much to take*. On those criteria, the performance of the Iemma government suggests that the Libs may finally be due for a turn. But there are a couple of obvious problems: the next election is not due for a couple of years, and the Liberals have never looked capable of presenting a credible alternative than they do now (to be fair, they look marginally better for the change from Debnam to O’Farrell).
So, I’d prefer it if Labor had a go at internal renewal. John Sutton’s suggestion that Iemma be replaced by his deputy, John Watkins, looks like a start. There’s also the possibility of an old-style party-Parliamentary leadership split over electricity privatisation, with threats to force the resignation of Treasurer Michael Costa. Again, the sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned.
If Iemma and Costa lose their jobs before pushing their privatisation through, it will, no doubt harm their prospects of well-paid post-political sinecures. But the financial sector looks after its own, and I’m sure something will be found for these loyal allies.
* I can’t recall ever reading much about the 1965 election which brought the startlingly corrupt Askin government to power, and introduced the one sustained period of Liberal rule with (I think) four election wins in a row. Still, Labor had been in for 24 years and the rightwing machine that has produced so many of our current hacks was already in charge, so I don’t think this can be a big exception to the rule.