Stunning attack on Iemma's ministers
Lisa Carty, NSW Political Editor, Sun Herald
July 6, 2008
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THE struggling State Government has hit a new low, with one of its own declaring the Premier and his ministers out of touch.
In a no-holds-barred attack on her senior colleagues, fiery Drummoyne MP Angela D'Amore declared: "They need to get out a lot more with backbenchers and talk to people.
"I am not surprised the polls have been so bad. No marginal MP is surprised because we are feeling the tremors on the ground."
MPs in marginal seats were more exposed to community anger and frustration, she said, and they knew things were going very badly for the Government.
"We are talking to people on a daily basis and we know people are under massive financial pressure and they feel the Government doesn't understand that.
"Marginal seat MPs feel like their backs have been broken. They're good local MPs and they know what the community is feeling.
"It's time senior ministers started talking to people and talking to backbenchers because we are the voice of the community.
"It's our job to channel the community's feeling into government.
"I raise issues continuously with ministers directly but my feeling is the message is not getting through."
Asked if she was directing her comments at Premier Morris Iemma, Ms D'Amore said: "It's directed at the whole Government but people know who's at the head of the Government."
Last week's Sun-Herald/Taverner poll found the Opposition is in a comfortable election-winning position. Two-party preferred, the split is 56-44. Labor's primary vote has collapsed from 39 to 28 per cent while the Coalition is up from 37 to 46 per cent.
Ms D'Amore, who chairs the parliamentary committee that oversees the office of the ombudsman and the Police Integrity Commission, said people did not want to wait 10 years for better transport and health.
"Any government at any stage needs short-term, medium-term and long-term projects, but when you're looking at things like public transport surely there are ways to give relief now," she said.
"My residents don't quite believe policy documents any more. They want to see projects delivered."
The popular MP, who holds her seat with an 8 per cent margin, is the first in the Government to criticise it so publicly and so unapologetically.
Her stance is even more remarkable because she's related by marriage to right-wing powerbroker and Iemma henchman Joe Tripodi, the Ports Minister.
She knew her outburst would anger some ministers but said: "Politics isn't about saying what's appropriate, or being comfortable, it's about telling the truth. That's what the people who elected me expect me to do. That's how a democracy works."
Any Labor MP who raised concerns in caucus was "looked at like they've got three heads", she said.
"Caucus needs to be a robust forum where MPs can discuss issues truthfully," she said. "If you do that you shouldn't be seen as controversial - you should be seen as being in touch."
Caucus was now just a rubber stamp for the Premier's report, his verbal summary of Government plans and progress, she said.
Camden MP Geoff Corrigan felt the ire of some ministers after his caucus room criticism of the Government was leaked to the media a fortnight ago.
Mr Corrigan told Mr Iemma he was "living in a parallel universe" if he thought the Government was travelling well.
Since then, he has been the subject of a whispering campaign designed to make him less credible.