WITH eight months to the state election member for Orange Andrew Gee has put his report card out early for the electorate to mark but history suggests a majority of voters will give him a pass when the time comes.
Mr Gee represents one of the safest Nationals seats in the state and even if the gloss has gone off the Coalition in recent months there has been nothing so far that would impact directly on Mr Gee’s performance at the ballot box next year.
Opposition leader John Robertson has spent a couple of years railing against the NSW government but it has been hard to take seriously the leader of a party that was on watch while transport infrastructure and services crumbled and a succession of Labor MPs acted in the most corrupt and cynical of fashions.
It is only in recent months since ICAC began to turn the blowtorch on Coalition MPs, including former premier Barry O’Farrell, that Mr Robertson could command the attention of any but the most dyed-in-the-wool Labor supporters.
Premier Baird can expect to lose a little of the buffer he enjoys but Labor will be hard pressed to make a significant impression on the Coalition’s majority.
In Orange Mr Gee has claimed some credit for getting the 24-hour medical helicopter service off the ground and the commissioning of a second linear accelerator for radiotherapy but the groundwork for these projects was laid by others.
He certainly began his career in State Parliament by taking it up to his own government when the situation warranted it, including Health Minister Jillian Skinner, but he will be cross-examined on regional jobs and electricity privatisation.
Expect Labor and the Greens to question Mr Gee’s performance on measures to create jobs for workers from Electrolux and the power industry and the hasty plan to build the Needles Gap dam, but do not expect them to make serious inroads into his enormous margin unless there is a Coalition catastrophe in Macquarie Street.