Nice South Wales
Kristina Keneally has shown us how she's different to Nathan Rees. Rees wanted to convey a determination to make things happen: Keneally is not someone who makes things happen (well, neither was Rees) but someone that things happen to.
Since taking office, she's gone to see drought-ravaged farmers - not much can be done about the drought and the assistance packages are standard. Her comments made from there were particularly asinine and non-eventful, as were those on the bushfires and kids who did well in the HSC. If she had anything else to say on any other issue late last year, it doesn't matter either.
Her media policy was made clear on Channel Nine news on New Year's Eve. She was announced at the top of the news and stood there waiting for ten or fifteen minutes until the anchor was good enough to throw to her. There is no way that Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Nick Greiner or John Fahey would have copped that. Carr would have negotiated ten minutes of airtime, and even Iemma and Rees would have more self-regard than to hang around like a weather presenter. Anna Bligh, Mike Rann and John Brumby would have banned Channel Nine for even suggesting such a thing. Almost no Liberal leader would have been so desperate for airtime as to do that. Keneally did, however, initially posing as just anyone going to see the fireworks, until she let slip that she was off to an exclusive bash at Mrs Macquarie's Chair.
And there you have it - inanities in the face of major events in the life of NSW. Labor's one idea is that you might think Keneally is nice and therefore deny them the ignominious defeat for which they have worked so hard. If Keneally was going to do anything - even something trivial like canning the Rozelle metro - she would have done so by now. Even Kerry Chikarovski had more substance than Kristina bloody Keneally. The risk with Keneally is that people see her as insipid, which may be worse than just blusteringly incompetent, and subsequent Labor figures will find it hard to assert their own strength without appearing threatening.
All women know already that you can go along by getting along, but that it will only take you so far; this is pretty much all that Keneally's ascent proves. It also proves there are no new tricks left for Labor: this writer seeking "something else" need not waste any time on the idea that Labor might have anything to offer the people of NSW in 2011.