Where did he fall down? Police, planning and public transport – the three Ps premiers need to get right but that so often trip them up. Being a premier is a much more difficult task than being prime minister. State governments are the largest funders and providers of human services and citizens are intolerant of lack of or inadequate provision.
Judith is being generous. Me? Less so.
Victorians were quietly angry in 2010. Once you consider the declining public transport standards, alcohol-fuelled street violence, skyrocketing electricity and gas bills, the bungled implementation of the Myki ticketing system, the gold-plated desalination plant, the perceptions – rightly, as it turned out – that crime was on the increase and increased nanny state interventions, there was much to be angry about.
The arrogant, aloof, out-of-touch Brumby government found itself out of office.
Baillieu had a long list of problems to be fixed. Yet his only achievement – getting rid of the police chief – is looking more and more like an accident. His anti-corruption commission is toothless. Public transport is still poor. The Myki card rollout was a disaster. It also turned out that Victorians had been overpaying for water and Baillieu couldn’t work out that people might want their money back.
Political appointments under the Brumby government have been maintained, and some of those individuals have been promoted.
Baillieu fixed none of the problems he was elected to fix. He failed to stamp his authority on the public service and was unable to articulate why his government should remain in office. On present polling, the ALP will return to government at the next election.
Update: Roger Franklin over at Quadrant Online has similar views:
But back to that farewell speech, when those things dearest to Baillieu were given heartfelt voice. So what were the high points of his time in office, the things he valued most? Two items topped his list: the belief that multiculturalism is Victoria’s “greatest strength” and his abiding love for our local “arts community.” Apart from testifying to the pernicious influence of his party’s multi-cultists on the ex-Premier’s thinking, the former also explains why that affront to free speech, the state’s anti-villification statutes, survived party room efforts to scuttle them; likewise that lawyers’ picnic, the Human Rights Charter.