Meegan Fitzharris might have made a dog's breakfast of health but in this she is little different from the health ministers who came before her, seemingly hamstrung by tight budgets, bureaucratic dysfunction and Labor's resistance, perhaps ideological, to reforming the way the hospital is run.
The dire health system aside, Fitzharris rises well above anyone else in the Labor caucus by virtue of being competent and engaged. None other than Andrew Barr has shown her capacity, and Barr doesn't share her people-friendly nature.
And that leaves a vacuum. Who among the Labor line-up could succeed Barr as chief minister? And who could step up from the backbench to join the ministry? A collective pause for thought.
Yvette Berry is Deputy Chief Minister because she is female and from the left faction. Labor is like this; if the leader is from the right, the deputy is from the left, and vice-versa. And sadly, that's really Berry's only qualification for the job. For all her personal likeability, she has been entirely unconvincing in the ministry and if she has the vision or initiative to tackle the big issues she hasn't shown it. She has done nothing to earn the nod as Canberra's next chief minister. Which means that for all Barr's thin-skinned unsuitability for leadership, his dislike for democracy and the teetering state of his hold on the budget, Canberra should probably be thankful he has decided to stay.
The pressing problem for Barr on Wednesday was that with Fitzharris's resignation, he lost his power base in the caucus - with his right faction down to a rump of four, facing a muscled-up left grouping of six. And of those four right-wingers, one was Joy Burch, who is unlikely to have forgiven Barr even a little bit for her humiliation in 2016 when he ousted her from the ministry. Four in the right, six in the left, and two unaligned (Ramsay and newcomer Deepak-Raj Gupta) is a recipe for instability and nervousness for Barr.
That picture became much less clear by Wednesday afternoon. No sooner had Gupta confirmed he would seek the nomination than Barr told our reporters he had joined the right. It seemed that Barr, no doubt alert to the clear and present danger of a left-faction coup, moved like lightning on that piece of sandbagging. But late on Wednesday, Gupta denied the move, saying he had not made a decision about joining any faction. That news will be very unwelcome for Barr.
Barr also needs to find a new minister. The options are Joy Burch and Tara Cheyne from the right, and Suzanne Orr, Michael Pettersson and Bec Cody from the left.
It is possible Burch returns to the frontbench, given she has the experience. Michael Pettersson, if he stays in politics, is best described as a future contender. He's bright and personable, but still in his 20s and, well, it's not so much that he doesn't have the courage of his convictions as that he is perhaps still developing his convictions. One way or another, he has proved oddly biddable by the CFMEU, last year switching factions from right to left in lock-step with the union. His biggest headline move to date has been his remarkably unthought-through bill to legalise cannabis.
Pettersson and Burch aside, it is more likely the left will want the final ministerial spot, and that it will go to a woman. Cody owes her seat to the CFMEU; Orr has the backing of the Community and Public Sector Union. Cody has a string of batty headlines behind her already; Orr is so quiet as to be virtually anonymous. Take your pick.