NSW result put Gillard’s reforms in doubt
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s plans for a national school curriculum, hospitals overhaul and carbon tax are in jeopardy in the wake of the coalition’s NSW state election win.
NSW premier-elect Barry O’Farrell, who oversaw the defeat of the 16-year-old Labor government in a landslide on Saturday, has said he was yet to be convinced about the merits of the health agreement-inprinciple reached in February.
He’s also told NSW teachers that he doesn’t support the national curriculum as it stands.
Mr O’Farrell said the election also sent a signal to Canberra that voters did not want a carbon tax.
Ms Gillard, who congratulated Mr O’Farrell on his win, said she was committed to working co-operatively with coalition governments in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.
Federal Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said there was no indication in internal party research that the carbon tax was a vote changer.
‘‘ It’s not like we suddenly four months ago had an incredibly popular state government and that shifted following the announcement that we were going to act on climate change,’’ Mr Burke said.
The federal Labor government will also be asked to find billions for NSW transport projects and defer its 2010 election promise to build the Parramatta-Epping rail line.
Federal coalition frontbenchers campaigned heavily in two regional seats held by independents – Tamworth and Port Macquarie – which fell to The Nationals.
The wins have been trumpeted by The Nationals as a backlash to the deals done by independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott to deliver government to Ms Gillard.
The seat results have led to speculation the federal coalition may try to induce the independents to switch sides, something Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said was ‘‘ the sort of bridge we would cross if it ever came to it’’.
Mr Windsor said he was confident he made the right call in supporting the Gillard government, as it promised to provide the ‘‘ most stability’’ over the term.