Puttin’ on the writs

Mike Rann formally initiated the South Australian election campaign yesterday when he advised Governor Marjorie Jackson-Nelson to issue the writs, which he had delayed until the second last day possible. This is not greatly remarkable given that the election was fixed for March 18 in any case, but it nonetheless attracted censure from The Advertiser which extravagantly claimed that "the public service has been frozen in the headlights of the approaching poll since before Christmas". Notwithstanding the nameless terrors confronted by public servants, it seems the only practical effect was that candidates wishing to festoon lamp posts and stobie poles with election paraphernalia had to hold back until the formal beginning of the campaign – or rather, until 24 hours beforehand, owing to a loophole requiring councils to give a day’s notice when ordering that posters be removed.

Of far greater importance to the campaign and world history in general was the Poll Bludger’s arrival in town, where I will be spending the next week soaking up the electoral ambience. My arrival brought me face-to-face with a much-touted vote loser for the Rann government, namely the new Adelaide Airport which opened on Friday after long and expensive delays. It appears that a few teething problems were overlooked in the rush to commence operations in time for the election – those of us who exited the plane from the rear were required to access the terminal by crossing the tarmac and using a service entry, where a sign warned of $5000 fines for "trespassers".

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2 comments on “Puttin’ on the writs”

  1. Today the Advertiser has another acerbic attack on the government: ‘C’mon Premier, show us your ideas’. It is odd that after nearly four years of handling Rann with kid gloves the paper has decided that Rann and his government are a policy-free-zone and are suddenly holding them to account. Had this been the case since the last election we may have had a much closer competition this time around!

  2. Dave I reckon we are reading different versions of the ‘Tiser. Its been whacking Labor consistently for the past year particularly over health. It certainly stepped up a notch or since November with ex Lib politician and staffer turned journo Craig Bildstien leading the charge. His articles read like Lib media releases only longer. The headline on todays offering was a cracker “Spin doctors running Government’s campaign at taxpayers’ expense”.
    Anyway musn’t grumble. I don’t think the Tiser will cost Labor the election and I don’t think it’s to blame for the perilous state of the Libs. Truth is they’ve spent four lazy fractious years in Opposition and show few signs of being a credible alternative government.

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