There is no doubt for me that one of the greatest inventions of spin ever made is the ‘Silent Majority’ claim. Politicians use it more and more to argue they do have strong community support from those who don’t speak out for controversial decisions and policies, and WA Premier Colin Barnett decided to finish the year with it.
In the West Australian newspaper today Barnett says that he believes there is strong majority support for building the Roe 8 highway extension and that the protests and the Supreme Court win against it won’t harm his party’s chances of winning the next state election. If the Premier is so sure about it why not wait then with signing off on Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link till after the election, so voters can show him if they support the controversial highway to Fremantle Port. That way the ‘silent majority’ will have a say and are no longer the hidden voiceless, faceless people in the burbs who always support government decisions.
The other great spin invention to hide behind and to stop scrutiny and transparency is the claim that there is ‘Commercial Confidentiality’ that can’t be made public when the community asks questions, e.g. the new Perth Stadium and here in Freo the Kings Square project financial plans.
One of Premier Barnett’s biggest disappointments was the failure of Local Government reform and should he win the next election he will not doubt try to gain more power over local government and that is a big worry as DAPs and SAT already rubber-stamp unacceptable development against the wishes of local governments and communities.
The silent and vocal majorities want the building of the outer harbour to be prioritised, no matter what happens to the Perth Freight Link, so why not get on with that and show the voters concrete plans and a timeline before the next election, Premier?