Can the last LNP MP to leave the House switch off the lights?
This year has been billed as the year of the “Great Resignation”, when employees, inspired by historically low unemployment rates and having experienced more flexible working practices during the pandemic, change careers en masse.
It has been said never has there been a time when the labour market is so in favour of workers that changing careers has been so inviting.
One sector, though, appears to be experiencing the great resignation right now in greater numbers than others – NSW conservative politicians.
PSA members will recall last year, just as we collectively stumbled out of the darkness of lockdown and into the daylight, Premier Gladys Berejiklian packed up her desk and headed to the more lucrative but arguably now equally tumultuous arms of Optus. Whilst this came as a surprise to many at the time the subsequent revelations of ICAC made her decision a case of jumping before she was pushed.
She was followed almost simultaneously by her Deputy, John Barilaro who appears to have spent the preceding months in office positioning himself for the most lucrative of gigs on the public dime, notwithstanding he had spent most of his underwhelming parliamentary career disparaging our members and the public sector in general.
Now with the 2023 NSW Election looming and the polls looking shakier for the LNP than Waqa Blake under a Nathan Cleary torpedo bomb, State LNP MPs are charging for the exit like a Boxing Day sale.
In March LNP Upper House MPs, Don Harwin and Catherine Cusack, pulled the pin. The former won’t be given a fond farewell by our members at the Powerhouse Museum, having presided over the disastrous relocation project to Parramatta, while the latter did so in protest over Scott Morrison’s flood-relief pork barrelling before voters even got to show her the door.
In July Gabrielle Upton, a former Minister more famous more for her inability to make any decisions than bad ones, announced she was leaving the plum seat of Vaucluse.
In August, the Premier’s inbox overflowed with resignation letters. Victor Dominello Minister for Customer Service and Member for Ryde resigned sadly due to family health issue. Kevin Connolly, MP for Riverstone, advised he was leaving the backbench for someone else. Grafton koala-hater and private sector gaol advocate Chris Gulaptis headed for greener pastures. And then former Roads Minister, Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey, sang “Take this job and shove it” after being unceremoniously dumped from cabinet by Mr Perrottet.
Rob Stokes and Geoff Lee are gone and Health Minister Brad Hazzard must think his party’s chances are crook, so he’s out.
Ironically one of the Government’s most scandal-ridden members, nominal independent Gareth Ward, is among the few that haven’t tendered resignations from Parliament and intends to run again. John Sidoti, however, has gone.
Is it a case of career changes or MPs evacuating their posts voluntarily before the electorate does it for them?
What it appears to be is a 12-year-old stale Government that even its own members don’t want to face the consequences for.
Whatever the case, the result in March 2023 will be a Government full of fresh faces. For PSA members, hopefully this means fresh ideas replacing the oppressive wage policies, privatisation agenda and unimaginative restructuring
of the incumbents.