Simon Corbell, I think it’s time to go.
The most experienced member of the Labor team in the ACT Legislative Assembly must have an exit strategy. I think it’s time to swing it in to action. His departure needn’t be as instant as Katy’s, but I think it’s time to see where the external doors are and pick one.
It’s often difficult to choose the right time to go.
Katy Gallagher made the call in the last few weeks. Who knows how much of that decision was about the new opportunity and how much of it was about needing to get out.
This is not a case of rats deserting a sinking ship. Although bookmakers would have adjusted their markets for the 2016 poll on Friday, it’s well and truly line ball. This is Canberra after all and the ALP has do some diabolically bad things to not be elected.
The reality for Simon however is that there’s a big chance he will personally miss out on election in 2016. Not sure whether that’s fair or not because, as far as I’m concerned, Corbell is one of the most effective members of the Government team. But he just doesn’t connect with the electorate. In 2012, his personal primary vote reflected that lack of connection. Those not too familiar with Hare Clark declared that he’d lost his spot in the Assembly early on in the count in 2012. I did no such thing. I was always confident that Katy Gallagher’s preferences would well and truly carry him over the line….and they did.
The pure primary vote picture for Corbell was woeful. With just 1900 votes, Simon was outpolled on primary by Katy and Andrew as well as Megan Fitzharris (ALP), Jeremy Hanson, Steve Dozpot, Guilia Jones, Elizabeth Lee, James Milligan and Tom Sefton (Lib), Caroline Le Couteur and Shane Rattenbury (Greens) and Tim Bohm (Bullet Train). On pure primary he ran 13th in a 7 seat electorate.
As the distribution of preferences unfolded we learnt that many of the ‘true believers’ in Molonglo placed their beloved leader first on the ballot paper with either Simon or Andrew second. The brightness of Katy’s primary vote star blinded many ALP voters to Simon’s. Irrespective of that, with two full quotas to her name, she ensured that Mr Corbell was back in the Assembly.
In 2016, there ain’t no Katy Gallagher. And as Capital Metro Minister, Simon’s on a hiding to nothing standing anywhere south of the lake. He lives in Weston Creek. The tram line isn’t set to go within a bulls roar of Weston Creek
Electorally Simon is a support act. He doesn’t have the ballot box connection to be the main attraction. Despite enormous name recognition and a long career dealing with difficult portfolios, Simon doesn’t inspire voters to rally behind him in great numbers. I can’t even explain why.
I’ve got a bit of time for Simon. When I think of Simon Corbell I think of integrity and methodical process. As a journalist and radio announcer, I’m so impressed with his accessibility. He doesn’t shy away from tough conversations. But that doesn’t seem to count for much in voter land.
I may be wrong. I’m the one who declared there was no way that Chris Bourke would be elected to the Assembly in 2012. He made it.
I guess the other thing with Simon is, after spending more than half his life in Assembly, is it not time to have a crack at something else ?
What do you think ?