The State Election last month reaffirmed how fortunate we are to live in this magnificent State and country.

We can express our opinions, as I did prior to the election, in a forthright manner and even go as far as accusing State Labor leadership of having (amongst other things) no idea when it comes to Taxi and Hire Car reform.

Sure, I might have fallen off Ms Mikakos’ Christmas card list but we are able to articulate an opposing point of view without fear of having to look over our shoulder the next morning.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.

The Westminster system of democracy ensures that when the election is over, the Premier is not the only one who gets back to his knitting the following Monday.

No Molotov Cocktails, no tear gas or water cannons.


It has been reported that Andrews got in in a ‘Bracks-slide’. That was in 2002.

Labor put forward a plan with lots of little trinkets on the State tab. And whilst they ‘murdered’ taxi and hire car licence holders like myself, the Victorian public were (legitimately) more concerned by Skyrail, rail extensions, level crossing removals and exciting proposals like the orbital rail loop. I don’t blame them.
Sadly, the Liberals (or ‘troglodytes’, as they were colourfully referred to by Doug Cameron on Q&A), spent a lot of energy whipping up fear and hysteria. They also relied on that tired, cheap tactic – Abbotisms… Three Word Slogans.

End Traffic Chaos!

Tough on Crime!

Get back in Control!

Seriously? Would you engage them as a PR consultancy to talk up the State of Victoria? I thought not.

In the real world, beyond the ‘lunch box’ of AM shock jocks, Victorians realise life is a little bit more involved, more nuanced than low road sensationalist bullshit.
As I reported last week, after Labor had slammed the door shut on our Industry, I met with Mathew Guy in 2016 and gave him (the skeleton) of a Hire Car/Taxi/Rideshare policy that, he agreed, could be a world class solution. I also offered my time to help his shadow Transport Minister put some meat on the bone. The Liberals could develop a considered, balanced and costed policy that they could prosecute all the way to the election.

My rationale? At least this might put some pressure on Labor to address the issue of compensation reasonably.

Call me old fashioned (oh that’s right, my kids already do) but I (wrongly) thought that’s what opposition is all about – developing a suite of alternative policies in every portfolio and then convincing the public to vote in your favour, rather than gaining access to the Government benches by default.

Instead of rolling up their sleeves and doing the detailed work, Guy chose to spring Jeff Kennett on the industry as his proposed ‘Taxi Tsar’ at the eleventh hour and if successful, would work out Liberal Party Policy after(!) the election.

I have heard that one before.

The public drew the conclusion that, not only had the Liberals stopped talking ‘Victorian’, but that they had skimped it on more than just this policy.


All these years later can anyone tell me what Bracksy’s most lasting legacy was? Give up?

Fixed four year terms.

This has stopped politicians gaming the system – the sort of thing that the public is sick of. It also gives a reformist government time to get stuck in and deliver its program – as there is no denying Labor has, over the past four years.

One of those ‘reforms’ was giving it to cabbies and hire car operators right between the eyeballs. Still reeling from our blood nose, we backed the Transport Matters Party (TMP) in the Upper House. The TMP received 15,000 votes state wide, but by preference harvesting, the TMP was able to secure two (out of forty) Upper House seats! Nothing illegal, they just gamed the system.

By contrast, the Greens secured in excess of 200,000 votes state wide and secured only one (1) Upper House seat.

How, on any objective assessment does this reflect the will of the people? How does it hold true to that most basic democratic principle of one man, one vote?
It simply doesn’t – it’s a farcical system that needs to be overhauled pronto.

Our democracy is just too valuable and too delicate a flower to be an aggrieved man’s play thing.

Uncle Dan, here’s your chance to go into the pantheon of great leaders. Use your numbers, and have the intestinal fortitude (as you did with assisted dying legislation) and reform this sick and outdated electoral system… now!

* George Kapnias is Managing Director of Southern Cross HQLC Pty Ltd, a hire car operator service.