SA campaign updates: episode one

Welcome to the first in the Poll Bludger’s series of electorate-level fact bites from the South Australian campaign. Hopefully I will also find time over the weekend to step back and assess the bigger picture three weeks out from polling day – Tasmanian campaign coverage will probably have to wait until next week.

Hammond (Independent 2.3% versus Liberal): A day after an Advertiser poll showed him heading towards an easy victory over independent incumbent Peter Lewis, Liberal candidate Adrian Pederick’s campaign has been rocked by allegations that his mother took out a restraining order against him 15 years ago. The Australian reports that the order, which it received from an anonymous source (Lewis denies it was him), includes a claim from police that Pederick "caused personal injury to (his mother) and is, unless restrained, likely again to cause personal injury". It also says the existence of the order was "widely known within the farming district of Coomandook". Today the paper reports that the party’s Right faction is hoping to dump Pederick in favour of Chris Kenny, a former journalist and press secretary to Alexander Downer who unsuccessfully contested preselection for Unley last year. Interestingly, there hasn’t been a word about this in The Australian’s South Australian stablemate, The Advertiser.

Bright (Liberal 4.6%): Liberal candidate Angus Redford, an upper house MP who hopes to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Wayne Matthew, has created a stir with some hyperbolic rhetoric about law and order. According to last weekend’s Sunday Mail, Redford has issued a pamphlet in which a photo of a burnt-out car bears the caption: "West Bank, Beirut or Baghdad? No – It’s Adelaide 2006! How can we feel safe with Mr Rann in charge?". The article quotes Iraqi Kurdish community spokesman Sherko Kirmanj declaring the analogy "offensive for both communities", while the Mail’s leading article decried Redford’s "scare tactics". It may also have been a bit rough on Beirut, which I understand to be fairly placid these days.

Little Para (Labor 7.1%) and Taylor (Labor 17.9%): These safe Labor seats are both occupied by members who have quit the front bench in the past year (Lea Stevens and Trish White respectively), and yesterday’s Advertiser reported speculation that one or the other may be about to stand aside for Tony Zappia, Salisbury mayor and unsuccessful candidate for Makin at the 2004 federal election. They will be cutting it fine if so, with nominations to close at noon on Thursday, although it is not unknown for members to delay resignation to prevent factional opponents from marshaling their forces for preselection.

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.