VICTORIA’S impending November election is focused on “pretty low-level stuff” and lacks a serious examination of the state’s future, Mark Latham claims.
The former Labor leader has called for all state governments to be pared back in order to save taxpayers billions of dollars, including the abolition of the Victorian upper house. Mr Latham said Premier Denis Napthine and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews lacked much in the way of leadership with each side stumbling through minor scandals.
“You’d have to say it’s pretty low-level stuff — most state elections aren’t focused on the big issues and Victoria is shaping up to be another example of that,” Mr Latham told The Standard. “There’s a bit of a stalemate going on.
“Andrews and Napthine aren’t the most colourful leaders, they’re sort of grey figures plodding along hoping the other side will make a mistake.”
Mr Latham said it was concerning the best-known Victorian parliamentarian nationwide was rebel MP Geoff Shaw due to the amount of publicity he generated. “Andrews has made a hash job of the whole tapegate stuff with The Age, Napthine has been focused on Geoff Shaw and keeping a lid on him,” he said.
“It’s the same in New South Wales. You’ve got Labor saying how bad the government is with the number of MPs that have resigned due to ICAC and then on the other hand (Premier) Mike Baird saying how bad Labor was when it was in power.
“It’s just a race to the bottom.”
In Mr Latham’s new book The Political Bubble, the former Labor leader outlines seven key reasons why Australians have become frustrated with their elected representatives.
The impact of self-interested lobbyists, shrill media commentators and “tribalism” within both major parties are put under the microscope with Mr Latham also suggesting ways in which government can be improved.
He said scaling back state governments was essential given that Australia was often cited “as the most over-governed country in the world”.