The Null Device

Election rant

The election is nigh upon us, and it looks like Labor is going to get back in easily. No great surprise, as the Liberals have been doing their best headless-chicken impression for some time. The other party to watch is the Greens. If they poll well, they could capture one or two formerly safe Labor heartland seats; if this happens, Labor will have to stop taking the inner cities for granted, giving outer suburbanites (in marginal seats, or so the theory goes) their Los Angeles-style freeways whilst not spending 1/10 of that on public transport.

Victoria has appalling public transport compared to other places. Unless you live in the inner city or on a railway line, it is virtually unusable, leading to US-style car dependency, with all the problems that causes (from obesity to pollution to dependency on oil). And given that the marginal seats (which decided who governed) were in the outer suburbs where public transport is a pipe dream at best, the answer is always Build More Freeways.

Well, with any luck this will change this election; if the government would pony up a fraction of the billions earmarked for freeways (many of dubious economic value) on reducing car dependency (and not by just sitting back and saying that they expect that public transport use will grow; building railway line extensions and expanding bus services to run outside of peak times would be a good start), we wouldn't be on course to becoming the Los Angeles of the southern hemisphere as we are now.

How am I voting? Most probably Public Transport First, with preferences to the Greens. PTFirst don't stand a chance of winning a seat, but if they make a strong showing, it will send a message to policymakers; the Greens do stand a chance, and hopefully will do well. It may be optimistic to expect them to win lower-house seats, but who knows?

There are 5 comments on "Election rant":

Posted by: csmole Sun Dec 1 14:25:12 2002

I think Sydney already is the Los Angeles, if not of the southern hemisphere, then certainly of Australia. It has many-laned roads of dubious need with poor sign posting and even poorer planning. Not to mention the resemblance in the people themselves. Let's all get self-obsessed!

Posted by: acb Sun Dec 1 14:34:42 2002

Sydney has better public transport than Melbourne (or at least it did two years ago when I went over there). Though it is LA-like in other ways. (Some call it Australia's Most American City.)

Posted by: Graham Mon Dec 2 07:25:27 2002

Well, as far as Sydney goes, it's peachy east of Strathfield with the buses, they're building new railway lines, and they're finally doing something useful with the light rail.

West of Strathfield, hmm...

Notwithstanding all that, Melbourne and Brisbane are far nicer cities than Sydney.

Posted by: mark Mon Dec 2 13:20:46 2002

When I was in Melbourne in October, I thought the public transport was great. But then, I only used the trains, and occasionally (when in the city) the trams. I was shown a bus schedule for the area around Waverly early on... dear $deity, it's lucky I had access to a car!

Posted by: acb Mon Dec 2 13:45:23 2002

Yes, in the outer east, buses are abysmal. They stop running around 6:30pm on most days, earlier on Saturdays, and don't run at all on Sundays. I used to live in Ferntree Gully (fortunately, within 10 minutes of the railway station), and know how bad it was. In the inner city, trams and some buses keep the same hours. The whole system shuts down shortly after midnight though, which is still a nuisance.