Gladys Berijiklian has won the NSW election. Her party is leading in the two seats left undecided which would give her a majority if she takes them.
While many pundits point to her being the first woman ever to be elected as Premier in NSW, we could go down the identity politics line and say she was also the daughter of Armenian immigrants who didn’t speak English. What does it matter? The better person won on merit. Did voters honestly think “It’s 2019. Better vote the immigrant woman in so we aren’t seen as a bunch of bigots to others!”? Of course not. Daley was the poorer candidate. The election validated it.
If we were to look at the electorates across the state, the LNP was returned because they thought she was clearly more up to the job than Opposition Leader Michael Daley, whose popularity sunk like a stone in his seat of Maroubra. It was unbelievable to think he wants to retain the leadership of the party after such a disastrous campaign.
For what it’s worth, NSW is net cash. For all the moaners that complain about the widespread sell down of assets under the LNP, the balance sheet shows that since 2011, net assets of the state have risen 75% to $254bn.
The Allianz Stadium rebuild was supposedly a key election issue. It wasn’t. Apart from the fact Daley was exposed as being extremely light on numbers, the media did its best to say that $18mn was all that was required to upgrade it to meet safety standards. The NSW economy gets around $86bn in tax revenues. If we think of $729mn to scrap and build it, that comes to 0.85% of the budget. Tiny.
Scare stories in the media pointed to “net” pension liabilities of an extra $17bn since they took office. The real number was only +$2bn. It only requires a look at the published accounts to fact check these figures. Once again journalists did their best to distort the truth. Perhaps one should congratulate the NSW Government for using realistic 2% discount rates on superannuation as opposed to the world’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS in the US, using 7.5% to mask the massive $1 trillion+ hole in marked to market shortfalls.
While historically true that Berijiklian is the first female leader to win an election in NSW, we must look beyond her gender and focus on her merely being the better candidate on pretty much all measures. Girl power? Or just the reality that the white patriarchy we hear about so much is proving time again that it is nothing more than a myth. Even men will happily vote in favour of a better candidate regardless of gender. CM couldn’t be happier to know the LNP leads for another 4 years with Gladys Berijiklian at the helm!!