NSW Chucks A Sickie

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Unless you have the misfortune of living in
WA or the ACT,
this Anzac Day is being remembered just like a regular old Saturday. We all
have a sense of the ultimate sacrifice our Diggers paid 94 years ago and in those
wars ever since. But while they fought so that we could officially start
getting drunk well into the AM, gamble at possibly the most mindless and contrived
of all games of chance and shudder at the horror and waste of war (like we know
what we’re talking about), apparently this isn’t enough. Many, it appears, would
like to have Monday off work too.

Is this not a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far we have evolved as a
nation? One can only imagine the real fear of living in a time of war and being
asked to sign up, or say farewell to your life partner as they head off to a
war zone. But, in 2009, the closest Joe Public has come to a global crisis is
the economy going into recession — and the response is to ask for more time
off. 

Leading the "I’m tired of work" brigade is
of course Unions NSW. Being the proxy entity that runs NSW, it’s rather fitting
since they represent the state that is leading the country in bad economic performance and high unemployment. It seems that a fortnight after a four-day weekend,
NSW workers are falling in a heap and unable to go on.

Just at a time when we should be increasing productivity and consumption,
Unions NSW in fact, "carried a motion which said denying workers a Monday
holiday for Anzac Day would see them lose a valued day to spend with family and
friends
". 
It is heart-breaking to think kids won’t be able to watch mummy and daddy drink
themselves stupid at some godforsaken barbecue on Monday — just the one on
Saturday.

Ironically, NSW Premier Nathan Rees just happens to be at Anzac Cove in time for
25 April. Some may presume this is to honour our fallen heroes, but my sneering
cynical mind suggests it’s actually a fact-finding mission. Some years ago we
all went to town on the cunning Turks when they started digging up Anzac Cove
to build a car park.
Our man Rees made a big show of a new car park at Wentworthville
but months later, has found himself bogged down in a water-logged trench, and —
much like his Government — appears lost, without a strategy and nothing
resembling a campaign to get NSW back on track.

Tracks seem to be the bane of NSW Labor. The media reports endlessly of the sham
that is NSW public transport. We see Railcorp forever
cancelling services for trackwork or busily untangling the intricacies of our
rail lines. It’s hard to imagine that during World War II bridges could be
built overnight, freight moved across countries and people transported to
flashpoints under constant enemy bombardment. For NSW, the battle between
Railcorp, Nick Lewocki and the Rees Government is just
as wretched. One can only imagine the difficulties: billions of
dollars, countless reports and inquiries plus some truly outstanding
consultancy advice. The results speak for themselves — a bureaucratic blame
game and regular ICAC Reports.

NSW may have evolved into the Pedestrian State
some time ago but the current phase of ineptness seemed to start with last year’s
Kumbaya Festival. It seems as though the Pope’s
visit and Iemma’s exit sent NSW to sleep. Who would have thought we’d be
wondering: What Would Morris Do? The problems with the proposed Metro rail
system aren’t engineering related — the real reason it won’t work in Sydney is because people are too slow getting on
and off. The state is in such a daze it even decided to sell off NSW Lotteries.

You only have to look at the fatbench of the NSW Government — literally, check
out Tripodi,
Della and Campbell (or even some of the back bench).
Is this the price the NSW Right pays for spending so many long hours in the war
room at Sussex Street?

Nathan Rees does seem to be doing a great job
selling Barangaroo to the UAE (literally) and looks desperate to spend big on some critical infrastructure: rebuilding
the Opera House. NSW
is a state going nowhere fast and we seem incapable of changing this.

Unfortunately the NSW Teachers Federation is the strongest of all unions, and
our beloved teachers are having Monday off and a reacclimatisation Tuesday.

This is no doubt because education is one of the things our soldiers fought and died to protect and we’ll appreciate education that bit more if we have to wait two extra days for it to resume.

Lest we forget.

New Matilda

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.

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