By Dave Wright
SYDNEY - The May 2 snap by-election in the electorate of Davidson, even if won by the Liberals, will not relieve the state of siege afflicting the NSW minority government of Nick Greiner.
The by-election will be followed by an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into the resignation from state parliament of former Liberal independent MP Terry Metherell, appointed to a Senior Executive Service position, paying $110,000 a year, on the day of his resignation. Greiner has rejected a call by opposition leader Bob Carr for the premier and environment minister Tim Moore to stand aside while the investigation is conducted.
The by-election result is far from certain, even though Davidson is normally a super-safe Liberal seat. While Labour has decided not to stand, 15 candidates have nominated, including the Greens, the Democrats and a high-profile local independent, Julie Sutton.
Greens candidate Ross Knowles has a strong environmental activist background, having worked on the Wilderness Society's national campaign for wilderness for over two years. He has also worked on many local campaigns.
"The important issues of this election are the lack of integrity of the Greiner government, squandering of public assets, the deterioration of health services and education, and urban environment issues such as improved public transport to reduce the number of cars on the road", said Knowles.
The public disgust caused by the Metherell affair, combined with the worsening economic crisis in NSW, may produce a significant swing against the government and to a progressive alternative.