At long, long last, Canberra has been saved from the wrath of Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope. Stanhope resigned today, leaving the cyclonic one  in his wake.
ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope is retiring.
Australia’s longest serving government leader, who turned 60 last month, was elected to the top post in November 2001.
Which would make his tenure ten years…so not the longest, but anyway, we continue…
Mr Stanhope described the jobs as a privilege.
“I would like to thank the people of Canberra for the opportunity they’ve given me to represent them,” he told reporters on Monday.
“I consider it a privilege to have been granted this role.”
He also thanked his successor Katy Gallagher for her unstinting support and friendship.
“I quite simply could not have more faith in Katy’s capacity,” he says.
Mr Stanhope thanked voters in his ACT electorate on Ginninderra, in northern Canberra, where he lives with his wife Robyn.
“I particularly acknowledge and express my deep gratitude to the people of Belconnen and my electorate of Ginninderra, the community which Robyn and I have lived for the last 37 years and where we brought up our children,” he says.
The same people he told to be quiet when he was talking to them at Belconnen Mall because they were silly and didn’t understand the issues? Well I suppose they did vote for him…I will never understand why.
Anyway, the article just gets stranger from there. We start with Stanhope’s bizarre dreams (and you thought mine were odd).
“I’m confident that with the splendid leadership which Katy can provide, the territory … will ultimately achieve if not statehood, constitutional equality with the states.”
Will never happen, and rightly so. We are a territory of the federal government based on land which originally belonged to New South Wales. A decent chunk of our land is controlled through a love/hate relationship between the federal government’s National Capital Authority and our own Legislative Assembly. Realistically we should have one or two local councils running our territory rather than the psuedo-state government that we do have…maybe then we wouldn’t have a grossly oversized public service of the ACT Government, assisting them to do wasteful jobs which should never have been done by them anyway.
And then the article continues…apparently Jon wants to hang on to the one thing which worked well for him during his time at the top.
Mr Stanhope acknowledged many Canberrans were still coming to terms with the 2003 bushfires, which killed four people and destroyed about 500 homes.
“The government, I believe, responded well in the face of this crisis,” he says.
On the day…well no, they were slow to act when they knew the threat was coming. We had the whole debacle of them driving to the Nolan Gallery to save paintings long before they even bothered to tell Canberrans that something might be wrong. The media were on the ball that day, the emergency services did what they could, but the government was found wanting. Still, on the back of the publicity which Jon Stanhope got for jumping out of a helicopter and saving a drowning man around that time, and his supposed decisiveness on the day (we only found out later how big a lie that was), he was popular for quite some time.
Stanhope’s government has been riddled with budgetary mismanagement, incredible delays, his trademark “consultation” process where he talks to nobody and makes his own decision (decisiveness is good, pretending to consult and then blaming everyone else for the eventual mess is not), and a gazillion public artworks which are completely unnecessary and an eyesore to boot.
On Facebook, 2CC have asked “Should we commission a piece of art to honour the work of ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope?”. My answer sums up what I think of Stanhope’s reign of terror. “No, we should pull down all the ones he put up and send him the bill for their removal, and perhaps for their original construction as well.”
I’m not really looking forward to having Cyclone Katy as Chief Minister (the turnip badge is reserved for Stanhope)…but at least now that we have the inexplicably popular Stanhope out of the way, Canberra might, maybe, perhaps, if we’re lucky, see fit to elect Zed Seselja and his far more competent team to clean up the mess next year. One can hope.