Of all the state ALP governments, Victoria's is the most adept at spin. Given this, and given the huge majority the ALP has in the lower house (notwithstanding a few lost seats in 2006), I figured they'd be a show-in for the 2006 election.
It may not be so simple. This week, we've seen public servants complaining about poor working conditions, the public complaining about poor quality from the public service, and everybody blaming the government.
Today, intensive care paramedics have resigned in the face of years of poor pay, and dangerously unsafe working conditions:
INTENSIVE care paramedics have resigned en masse outside the Premier's office, warning any resulting deaths are on his head.The state's mobile intensive care ambulance paramedics are in a deadlock with the State Government over pay and have invited John Brumby to join them for a shift to experience life on the streets.
After months of negotiations, the state's 300 MICA paramedics have taken the unprecedented step of leaving hundreds of their resignation letters and shoulder insignias outside the Premier's office in the city this morning.
The resignations will take effect from early September with MICA paramedics returning to normal ambulance duties - unable to perform intensive care services for heart attack or car crash victims on site.
MICA paramedics face a $6000 fine for talking to the media, but one officer said the Brumby government had treated MICA workers with contempt and that its false promises were putting lives at risk. (source)
Curiously, the union are nowhere to be seen in the media on this issue, and the Herald Sun has deferred to the shadow health minister.
This comes in the wake of almost daily storied in relation to the state's child protection crisis:
The Premier today said at-risk children were being forced to wait because the government could not attract and retain staff.
But he denies any child is left uncared for while waiting to be assigned to a permanent child protection worker.
A whistleblower claims 2000 Victorian children alerted to the Department of Human Services (DHS) do not have case workers. (source)
So, it would seem that Brumby, and the government more generally, have been caught out lying by this whistleblower. It has been rare, over the years, to see the Herald Sun directly attack premiers. They've attacked particular ministers, or departments, but have used the kid gloves approach with Kennett, Bracks, and now Brumby. This could mark an interesting turning point in the run up to the 2010 election. The unions need to pull their finger out, as the Brumby government has treated them with contempt in recent times. Secondly, the Greens need to work on some grass-roots campaigning. There are plenty of (mostly) inner-city areas where the Greens could have a serious chance, if they work hard, and there's plenty of disillusionment in Melbourne's suburbs, where the working masses are fed up with labor, but don't necessarily want to get fucked in the ear by the Tories.