Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
O'Farrell poised for victory -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

O'Farrell poised for victory

Broadcast: 21/02/2011

Reporter: Deborah Cornwall

After 16 years in the political wilderness the NSW Liberal Party is set to claim a historic victory
at the state election next month.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: After 16 years in the political wilderness, the New South Wales Liberal
Party is now poised for victory in next month's state election, a prospect that's finally turned
the spotlight on the Premier-in-waiting Barry O'Farrell. Until now, the Opposition Leader has been
able to fly under the radar, eclipsed by the seemingly endless scandals, stuff ups and internal
warring that have engulfed the Labor Government in its last four years of office. Deborah Cornwall

DEBORAH CORNWALL, REPORTER: As NSW cranks up into election mode, there's a surreal quality to the
daily hand-pumping and photo calls. After all, everyone already knows the winner.

BARRY O'FARRELL, NSW OPPOSITION LEADER: After 16 years of the public being promised the world and
delivered nothing, there is clearly promise fatigue in this city, across this state.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Kristina Keneally, Labor's third premier in three years, is leading the death
march and she's never seemed so alive.

JOURNALIST (Feb. 11): You have people with great certainty such as myself telling you that you are
gonna get dumped. Do you have some sort of Zen secret going here?

KRISTINA KENEALLY, NSW PREMIER: You know, it's my job. This is my job. People don't expect their
Premier to quail under that; they expect their Premier to get up and do her job, and that's what I

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But despite the Premier's considerable personal charm, the latest polls are
flagging catastrophic losses for Labor, leaving it with just 13 seats in a House of 93.

And for the Premier-in-waiting Barry O'Farrell the only real unknown is just how savage Labor's
wipe out will be.

BARRY O'FARRELL: I'm seeking to replicate what's only been done on two previous occasions. In the
history of the Liberal Party, we've only won office in this state from Opposition twice.

IMRE SALUSINZKY, THE AUSTRALIAN: I don't think any of us have ever seen the degree of voter anger
that we're seeing against NSW Labor. It was said that voters were waiting for Paul Keating with
baseball bats on their verandas in 1996. Well they're waiting with, I don't know, flame throwers.

ANTONY GREEN, ABC ELECTION ANALYST: The polls have been indicating a swing of up to 18 per cent at
this election. Now that's twice the size of the swing at any election I've covered with the ABC in
the last two decades. And if it were to occur, then the NSW Labor Party would be reduced to a rump.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But Labor isn't going down without a fight. In the first round of ads the Premier
delivered an abject apology for her government and its appalling behaviour.

KRISTINA KENEALLY (NSW Labor advertisement): But I understand the Government was too focused on
itself and not focused enough on you. It went off track and I am sorry.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: But in a final desperate attempt to claw back losses, Labor is now fixed on just
one clear target: get Barry.

MICHAEL LEE, NSW LABOR PRESIDENT (Feb. 6): It's almost like Barry's been asleep on the lounge for
so long, no-one's game to wake him up.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The Premier has taken to daily taunting of the Opposition Leader, casting him as
a man with no vision or policies.

KRISTINA KENEALLY: It's time to move from the reserve to the first grade, Barry. Time to step up.

BARRY O'FARRELL: I'm not surprised that Labor seeks to focus on me because it can't run on its
team. It's a scandal-ridden team. It can't run on its record of non-delivery for 16 years.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The sniping between the two leaders has at least produced some mildly
entertaining moments for the bored, largely disengaged voters of NSW.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER, JOURNALIST: Would you put the triple A at risk?

BARRY O'FARRELL: No, as I said in the speech, Quentin, so you weren't paying attention either.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: I know, but ...

BARRY O'FARRELL: As I said in the speech, we will deal responsibly within the triple A ...

KRISTINA KENEALLY: Usually you don't insult the host, Barry, just good ...

BARRY O'FARRELL: It was a joke, Kristina - that's an Australian tradition.

IMRE SALUSINZKY: It's difficult for a big, burly bloke to muscle up to a thin, attractive woman
with a soothing Ohio accent because the optics of it are just not good. And one has to say that
O'Farrell hasn't found his stride in that particular engagement.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: With the election just weeks away, Barry O'Farrell still remains largely an
unknown quantity to voters. But after years of back-to-back scandals, it has been hard to be heard
above the din.

BARRY O'FARRELL: I think Annabel Crabb once famously said that - in a column that she pitied the
Opposition Leader of NSW because unless he was caught doing something unseemly with a goat, how was
he gonna get publicity? And then she said, "But only if the goat spoke."

IMRE SALUSINZKY: Labor's train wreck has sucked up a lot of his oxygen. We criticise him and Labor
criticises him for not getting a lot of his policies out there, but with ministers falling like
skittles, scandals, sex club, the whole box of dice, people were so mesmerised by this, they really
weren't very interested in his ideas.

BARRY O'FARRELL: I'm concerned about the level of expectation. I'm concerned about the dangers of
complacency. And I'm concerned that Labor will do what it always does. Labor has its back to the
wall. It will do or say anything to try to win this election campaign.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: On the eve of massive victory, Barry O'Farrell still seems strangely spooked by
the Labor machine. His cautious collaborative style in stark contrast to the posturing
larger-than-life Labor leaders that have hogged the stage for one and a half decades.

But after years of flying under the radar, the Liberal Leader may yet surprise us all.

IMRE SALUSINZKY: He looks benign. He's big, he's friendly, he's easy-going, but he has a very handy
dash of rat cunning to him.

BARRY O'FARRELL: No, there's a difference between being tough and determined and being a bastard
and being political. You don't get elected to leadership positions in political parties,
particularly in this state, when there's a genuine election unless there's an inner toughness.

HEATHER EWART: Deborah Cornwall with that report.