Frome by-election live

PRIMARY 5041 1267 7576 734 134 4557 19309
% 26.1% 6.6% 39.2% 3.8% 0.7% 23.6% 100.0%
Swing -16.4% -7.6% 0.7%
PORT PIRIE 2157 181 1344 129 29 2480 6320
% 34.1% 2.9% 21.3% 2.0% 0.5% 39.2% 100.0%
Swing -23.5% -11.7% -0.8%
REMAINDER 1368 735 4292 478 70 757 7700
% 17.8% 9.5% 55.7% 6.2% 0.9% 9.8% 100.0%
Swing -8.6% -6.2% 1.9%
DECLARATION 1516 351 1940 127 35 1320 5289
% 29.2% 6.5% 35.7% 2.3% 0.7% 25.5% 100.0%
Swing -9.2% -13.9% -1.9%
3CP 5532 8215 5562 19309
28.6% 42.5% 28.8%
2CP (FINAL) 9322 9987 19309
48.3% 51.7%

Thursday, January 28

Malcolm Mackerras muses on this and other recent by-elections in the Canberra Times.

Wednesday, January 27

Electoral commissioner Kay Mousley has officially rejected the Liberals’ request for a recount, on the basis that specific concerns about the counting of votes had not been identified. The mere closeness of the result was deemed insufficient grounds for a recount. Below is the piece I wrote for yesterday’s edition of Crikey, previously available to subscribers only. Martin Hamilton-Smith’s office has been in touch to dispute the claim that the “super Saturday” concept referred to below was seriously considered, saying it came down to “one MP” who had been “canvassing the notion to media”.

For psephologists and related species of political tragic, by-elections can’t happen often enough. But for normal people, forced mid-term visits to the polling booth rank somewhere around brain surgery on lists of favourite things. No political operative should ever need reminding of this, but it appears the South Australian Liberal Party did – and now has been, in terms it won’t forget in a hurry.

Saturday’s preference count for the Frome by-election, held a week earlier upon the retirement of former Premier Rob Kerin, gave the Liberal Party the rudest of shocks three days after it had issued a press release claiming victory. Both Liberal and Labor scrutineers were convinced that Liberal candidate Terry Boylan had survived an early scare, thanks to Nationals voters who ignored the party’s recommendation to direct second preferences to independent candidate Geoff Brock. It was believed this would prevent Brock from getting ahead of Labor’s John Rohde, resulting in his exclusion at the second last count. That being so, the State Electoral Office’s indicative two-party count pointed to an unconvincing final Liberal margin over Labor of 1.7 per cent.

However, it seems scrutineers obsessing over the Nationals had neglected to consider the actions of Greens voters, who in the absence of guidance from the party’s how-to-vote card were thought to have followed their normal practice of putting Labor second. In fact, 42 per cent of Greens preferences flowed to Brock against 37 per cent to Labor – enough for Brock to emerge a bare 30 votes ahead of Rohde, before storming home on Labor preferences to defeat Boylan 9987 votes to 9322.

Before the evening was through, a Liberal Party that could previously be heard expressing nothing but warm goodwill about their good mate Kero suddenly found voice to complain about the “obscure” reasons given for his retirement, which had “fuelled resentment” among voters. However, this was clearly wisdom after the event.

Last June, The Advertiser’s Greg Kelton reported that “senior Liberals” were “hatching a plan which would force the Rann Government to face a ‘super Saturday’ of by-elections on the growing political row over changes to country health services”. This would involve the simultaneous retirement of Kerin (who was quoted saying the idea had been “mentioned a few times”) along with fellow Liberal veterans Graham Gunn and Liz Penfold, initiating by-elections in the country and outback seats of Frome, Stuart and Flinders. As bad as Frome has been for the Liberals, it appears that only the reluctance of Gunn and Penfold to bring forward their retirements has spared them a self-inflicted triple-barrelled disaster.

For all that, Labor shouldn’t get too cocky (and reports from The Advertiser that “gleeful Labor MPs have run off copies of Mr Hamilton-Smith’s ‘Liberal victory’ press release to hold up when State Parliament resumes next month to goad the Liberals” do not bode well in this regard). The two-party swing Labor would have picked up if Brock had run third had less to do with voters’ conscious preferences than with their adherence to how-to-vote cards, which in Brock’s case had Labor third and Liberal fourth. The 16.4 per cent of voters who deserted Labor might very easily find less benign ways to register their evident displeasure with the government when the next election is held in March 2010.

Labor MPs would do well to acquaint themselves with a forgotten episode of Western Australia’s recent political history known as the Peel by-election, which in February 2007 gave Labor a morale-boosting 1.0 per cent two-party swing from a strong performance on the primary vote – for all the good that did Alan Carpenter 18 months later.

Tuesday, January 27

Crikey subscribers can read my by-election post-mortem here.

Sunday, January 25

Electoral commissioner Kaye Mousley refuses a recount. Mousley argues that “the final difference between the two candidates is some 600 votes with the distribution of preferences”, although the point surely is that Brock survived the second last exclusion by 30. That would leave the Court of Disputed Returns as their only recourse. However, the Electoral Act empowers the court only to anoint a different winner or order a new election, and I’m not aware of any basis on which such an order could be made.

Saturday, January 24

7.15pm. The last trickle of 265 postal votes had little bearing on the result: 147 (55.5 per cent) went to the Liberals, 47 (17.7 per cent) to Labor, 37 (14.0 per cent) to Brock, 23 (8.7 per cent) to the Nationals, 10 (3.8 per cent) to the Greens and 1 (0.4 per cent) to One Nation. In other words, they added 10 votes to the hurdle faced by Brock to overtake Labor. Meanwhile, the Poll Bludger has maintained its dismal record in predicting by-election results with this clanger from January 9: “Despite a preference swap between independent Port Pirie mayor Geoff Brock and Nationals candidate Neville Watson, there seems little reason not to think Terry Boylan will easily retain the seat for the Liberals.” That said, there’s plenty of humble pie to go round.

6.55pm. The Advertiser now has a full report, which tells us “Liberal officials say they will be ‘seeking clarity’ on the count from the State Electoral Office”. Also:

Liberal MP for Morphett Duncan McFetridge partly blamed Mr Kerin for the loss, saying he had given obscure reasons for leaving politics which fuelled resentment by voters towards the by-election.

True enough, but I hadn’t heard anyone in the Liberal Party complain before. Indeed, it seems they were happy to bring on the by-election because they were expecting Labor to suffer a bloody nose over the country health plan. In June we were hearing this idiotic talk emanating from the Liberal camp (courtesy of Greg Kelton of The Advertiser):

SENIOR Liberals are hatching a plan which would force the Rann Government to face a “super Saturday” of by-elections on the growing political row over changes to country health services … The move would involve three Liberal MPs in rural seats – who are all due to retire at the next election – stepping down to force by-elections. The MPs, Rob Kerin in Frome, Liz Penfold (Flinders) and Graham Gunn (Stuart), have all been outspoken in their criticism of the Government’s planned changes to rural health services … Mr Kerin told The Advertiser the by-election idea had been “mentioned a few times’” but he had not spoken to anyone about stepping down in Frome which he holds with a 4.2 per cent margin. He said he would not rule out the idea … (Gunn) ruled out stepping down to force a by-election in his seat of Stuart which, with a 0.4 per cent margin, is the most marginal Liberal seat in the state. Ms Penfold, whose vast Eyre Peninsula seat of Flinders is the safest Liberal seat in the state, said normally she would not support any moves for a by-election. “But this is such an important issue I will reserve my judgment,” she said.

6.45pm. The surprise packet was the flow of Greens preferences to Brock – 41.7 per cent against 36.6 per cent for Labor and 13.4 per cent for the Liberals. The estimates I was using in my preference calculation were 30 per cent, 50 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. The reason Brock was being written off was the high number of Nationals voters who were defying the HTV card and preferencing Boylan. The Nationals preference distribution I eventually arrived at based on Antony’s reports of what scrutineers were saying was pretty much accurate: 48.0 per cent to Brock (I had 45 per cent), 37.8 per cent to Boylan (I had 40 per cent, which admittedly was the low end of what Antony was expecting) and 14.1 per cent to Rohde (I had 15 per cent). No doubt the page on the Liberal website on Wednesday claiming victory will be removed shortly, so I’ve preserved it for posterity here. That said, we may yet get a recount.

6.20pm. Wasn’t looking hard enough – SEO preference distribution here. The amazement lies in the second last exclusion: Boylan 8215, Brock 5562, Rohde 5532. With Rohde excluded, preferences give Brock his 1.7 per cent victory.

6pm. BROCK SHOCK! Nothing yet on the SEO or Antony Green’s site, but The Advertiser reports that the preference distribution has defied expectations by giving victory to Geoff Brock – according to Brenton in comments by 9987 votes (51.7 per cent) to Terry Boylan’s 9322 (48.3 per cent). Evidently those Nationals preferences were kinder to Brock than scrutineers believed.

Wednesday, January 21

11pm. Antony Green in comments: “The Labor scrutineers have been watching National preferences all week to work out where they are going. They’re flowing to the Liberals, which is why everyone’s given up on Brock closing the gap. Once the Liberals get half of the National preferences, there aren’t enough votes left to get Brock ahead of Labor.”

4pm. Based on Antony’s feedback, I have changed the minor party preference estimates as follows. Nats: Brock 45, Liberal 40, Labor 15. Greens: Labor 50, Brock 30, Liberal 20. One Nation: Liberal 50, Brock 30, Labor 20. That leaves Brock in third place, 1.2 per cent behind Labor.

3pm. With the addition of 3288 pre-poll votes, only a handful of postal votes remain to complete the primary vote count. These have made things interesting: coming mostly from Port Pirie, where the main pre-poll booth was located, they have split 1094 (33.9 per cent) to Brock, 1033 (32.0 per cent) to Labor, 868 (26.9 per cent) to Liberal, 179 (5.3 per cent) to the Nationals), 50 (1.5 per cent) to the Greens and 14 (0.4 per cent) to One Nation. Brock’s primary vote deficit against Labor has narrowed from 3.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent and, if my preference estimate is correct, he will just barely edge ahead of Labor on preferences and ultimately win the seat. BUT – please read this before commenting – these estimates are completely unscientific (see my 8.16pm entry from Saturday) and are evidently different from the calculations of Antony Green, who has spoken to scrutineers. He says: “Brock could yet pull ahead narrowly and win on Labor preferences, but it would require stronger flows of preferences to him from the National and Greens candidates than I think can be delivered. Not impossible but I would say it is unlikely.”

Tuesday, January 20

12.30pm. Antony Green has added 1795 postal votes which aren’t yet appearing on the SEO site, and they are very encouraging for the Liberals. Only 189 (10.5%) are for Brock, whose total vote has fallen from 23.1 per cent to 21.7 per cent, increasing his deficit against Labor from 2.0 per cent to 3.3 per cent. However, Antony notes that the 3000 pre-poll votes remaining to be counted mostly come from Port Pirie, which might at least staunch the flow. Terry Boylan has received 925 votes (51.5 per cent), increasing his vote from 40.2 per cent to 41.5 per cent and perhaps increasing his slim hope of winning even if Brock overtakes Labor. My table now includes a section for provisional votes, with a “votes counted” figure based on an educated guess that the final total will be 4500. Note that the preference projection now has Brock finishing in third place.

Monday, January 19

My general overview of the situation can be read at Crikey. Dovif in comments: “As for the scrutineers, the ALP will be trying to kick out as many ALP 1s as possible, while the Libs will be trying to increase the ALP vote. That would be fun to watch.”

Sunday, January 18

The Advertiser reports the Liberals are “confident” of retaining the seat, while conceding a “slight possibility” of defeat. The report says “almost 5000” postal and early votes were cast by Friday.

Saturday, January 17

9.00pm. I have evidently not been giving enough weight to the possibility that Brock will fail to get ahead of Labor. He trails by 2 per cent on the primary vote, which he would be able to close on preferences – but as Antony Green points out, independents traditionally do poorly on pre-poll and postal votes and the primary vote gap can be expected to widen. Antony deems it unlikely that the Liberals can win if Brock stays ahead.

8.16pm. That’s us done for the evening, with the result still up in the air. My preference estimate has Brock leading 7208 to 6837. I have distributed the minor players as follows: Nats: Brock 60, Liberal 30, Labor 10. Greens: Labor 55, Brock 35, Liberal 10. One Nation: Liberal 55, Brock 35, Labor 10. I have then taken the Labor vote, including those votes Labor received as preferences from the aforementioned, and given 80 per cent to Brock and 20 per cent to the Liberals. It was reported on Wednesday there had been 1700 early votes and 2200 postal applications, which can be expected to favour the Liberals quite solidly. Stay tuned over the next week or two.

8.11pm. Clare has indeed given Liberal candidate Terry Boylan the result he needed – 59.0 per cent (though down 7.9 per cent from 2006) against only 6.2 per cent for Brock.

7.49pm. Port Broughton and Tarlee now added – relatively good results for the Liberals, bringing my margin estimate below 5 per cent. If Clare can cut that further, the result will be truly up in the air.

7.47pm. Port Broughton has kind of reported, but the SEO is having more of those data entry issues (Brock on zero).

7.44pm. Just taking my first look at Antony Green’s site – his assessment is about the same as mine.

7.42pm. Still to come: Clare (2432 votes in 2006), Port Broughton (good Liberal booth, 849 votes in 2006) and Tarlee (259 votes). The Liberals will need very good results here, a good show on the many outstanding declaration votes and better preferences than I’m crediting them with.

7.40pm. Port Pirie booth of Solomontown gives Brock a slightly below par 35.4 per cent. The Liberals will be hoping for a big result in the very large country booth of Clare.

7.35pm. Three rural booths plus Port Pirie West now in – another plus 40 per cent result for Brock in the latter. My preference calculation now has him opening up his lead, so my summation from three entries ago may have been askew.

7.33pm. These are my preference estimates – would be interested if anyone disagrees. Nats: Brock 55, Liberal 35, Labor 10. Greens: Labor 55, Brock 35, Liberal 10. One Nation: Liberal 55, Brock 35, Labor 10. Labor: Brock 80, Liberal 20.

7.31pm. Unfortunately, the SEO is doing an irrelevant Liberal-versus-Labor preference count. Brock will clearly finish ahead of Labor.

7.30pm. Here’s roughly how I see it. Frome is evenly divided between Port Pirie and the rural remainder – the former is breaking 66-34 to Brock over the Liberals, and the latter’s doing the opposite. That suggests it should be very close, but this is based on my very rough preference guesses which if anything probably flatter for the Liberals. The locally knowledgeable Michael Gorey is calling it for Brock in comments.

7.28pm. Crystal Brook (rural) and Port Pirie South both in, another 40 per cent result for Brock in the latter.

7.21pm. Risdon Park South replicates Risdon Park East, with Brock’s primary vote around 40 per cent – my slapdash preference calculation now has him in front.

7.19pm. Three more booths in including a very exciting result for Brock in the Port Pirie booth of Risdon Park East – assuming it’s not a glitch, because the SEO has no percentage figures next to the raw results.

7.12pm. 2CP error corrected.

7.10pm. Five more booths in, including the first from Port Pirie – which Geoff Brock narrowly won ahead of Labor. That shuts out any notion of Brock failing to pass the Nationals, and could yet make things very interesting as more Port Pirie booths come in. Apologies for the 2CP error in the table – will get to work on it.

6.55pm. I’ve now removed Brinkworth’s alleged 14 Labor votes from my count.

6.53pm. Some explanations about the table. The “3CP” result assumes the last three standing will be Labor, Liberal and Brock, although Brock is well behind the Nationals on the basis of small rural booths. The “count” figure has been devised so it will add up to 100 per cent when all votes are in, whereas other media normally just show you the number of votes counted divided by number of enrolled voters.

6.50pm. Two more small rural booths, Brinkworth and Manoora, now in – although something’s obviously gone awry with Brinkworth, which has 14 votes for Labor and nothing in any other column, including the total.

6.39pm. As Judith Barnes notes in comments, the absentee vote could be over 20 per cent.

6.37pm. Two country booths reporting, Georgetown and Lochiel – excuse the mess in the Port Pirie entries in the table, it will correct when I have figures in. Only a small amount counted, but Geoff Brock might have hoped for more, remembering of course that Port Pirie is his stronghold. In noting the drop in the Liberal vote, it needs to be remembered there was no Nationals candidate last time.

6.15pm. Please excuse the messiness in the table above – I’m still sorting it out. The numbers there are test results rather than real figures.

6.00pm. Polls close. Official results here. First figures should start to come in around 6.30pm, by which time I should have my act together with my results table.

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.

478 comments on “Frome by-election live”

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  1. These are my preference estimates – would be interested if anyone disagrees. Nats: Brock 55, Liberal 35, Labor 10. Greens: Labor 55, Brock 35, Liberal 10. One Nation: Liberal 55, Brock 35, Labor 10. Labor: Brock 80, Liberal 20.

  2. State Electoral Office is now showing a Labor win. None of these computers seem to cope with predictable good results from independent and Nationals candidates.

    What does the loss mean for Hamilton-Smith? It will be interesting to hear the spin.

    Brock is widely regarded as independent Labor.

  3. even a narrow scrape in win for the libs wont go down well for M.H.S. ive got eyes, fingers, toes and everything else possible crossed on this one, my neighbour has boasted for yonks that the libs are going to storm in with this seat.

  4. If the Libs do lose this seat it’ll be an unimaginable disaster for them. At at time when Labor’s stocks are very low in country SA, the Libs have been unable to harness this dissatisfaction and turn it into a positive for themselves. Terry Boylan was one of the Libs’ better candidates in South Australia. He is a award-winning policeman, a strong community man in Port Pirie, a decent bloke … he’s not supposed to lose this seat. Of course independents always find it easier to get traction in by-elections, especially those held during the silly season, but once esconed Brock will become another Rory McEwen (Mt Gambier), Karlene Maywald (Chaffey), Bob Such (Fisher in metro Adelaide) style MP – a well known independent voice who easily gets local media. The LIbs might not get another chance at Frome for 12 years!

  5. Assuming the final figures have now been posted, Labor might be a chance to win. It’s between the ALP and Brock, in my opinion, depending on preferences.

    I can’t see the Libs winning with 40pc if that’s the final vote before pre-polls are counted.

  6. Too unpredictable.

    As Antony has said:

    “I hate to say this, but it looks like it is going to come down to postal and pre-poll votes. Traditionally Independents do poorly with this class of vote, which means Labor should pull ahead of Brock. But not far enough ahead to prevent Brock getting ahead on National preferences. The Liberal primary vote is currently projecting under 40%, which makes it very difficult for the Liberal Party to win. But there are a lot of declaration votes.”

  7. Do we think the Labor stands any chance of ending up coming second? Or does the preference deal between the Nationals and Brock put an end to that possibility completely.

  8. I would call it as a win for Mr Brock
    appears Rob Kerin had a big personal vote
    In an area like this an incumbent independent will be elected forever !

  9. There’ll be some Liberal party leadership mumblings immediately from Iain Evans and his few supporters … but they’ll come to nothing except make the opposition seem unstable and unelectable. The party have spent big on this by-election and fallen hard. Rob Kerin was very popular locally and now the Liberals are going to hate him (despite him almost saving them from the jaws of defeat in 2002 … they still lost but only by a whisker as opposed to the landslide predicted up until he became Premier). The financial loss this by-election will deliver could be the nail in the coffin for any sort of effective opposition campaign in 2010. Business will baulk at this.

  10. I would say no chance of Labor heading Brock. The One Nation preferences will be all over the place – Brock likely to get more than Libs but very small numbers. Greens likely to split more like equal between Labor and Brock (most Green voters will know that a vote for Brock is best chance to defeat Libs) but possibly closer to 20% to Libs. Hard to predict Nats preferences as most of their votes are in rural areas where Brock’s vote is pretty low. But relations between Libs and Nats in SA are very bad and quite possibly a two thirds to Brock cf Libs but could be less.
    Expect the Libs to do a bit better in pre polls but will need to do much better to win on figures to date.

  11. In fact the Libs best chance is for Labor to finish ahead of Brock because Brock’s preferences are unlikely to be strong enough to Labor to get them in (eg maybe 70%) whereas the Labor preferences to Brock (actual Labor first preferences) will run very strongly to Brock possibly around 90%.
    The Libs thought they would raise their stocks by getting a resounding win with what they saw as a good candidate – talk about an own goal.

  12. Friiend said Brock did not provide pre-poll cards at all. Hope he can stay head of Labor. (As much as I would like to see Labor win, Labor to Brock preferences would have the most chance.)

  13. You people should be thinking twice about what you’re wishing for. If Brock just beats Labor, John Rohde will be a disgruntled postal worker! And we all know how that ends…

  14. Regarding the importance (or not) of this by-election, if the amount of media coverage was anything to go by then it was pretty low. I live in Adelaide and heard very little, even today. (Admittedly I faithfully avoid reading the Advertiser, so well named and so badly written).

    Anyway the point is if this was a low key election, not allocated much resources by any side, then can we draw any wider conclusions out of it? I presume not, although a swing away from the opposition in one of their safe seats is hardly flattering.

  15. Now that Brock has finished the night 2% behind Labor on the Primary vote, it is likely to attract less attention from now on than if the situation was reversed.

  16. If, as we’re being lead to believe, Rann is as popular as the well known in a swimming pool, then this result is not good for the Libs surely. Or is it the opposition are just as unpopular?

  17. everyone enjoys slinging sht at Rann Gary but we’re not fools, the opposition are hopeless and most of us know it, Hamilton Smith goes for stupid stunts or populist pie in the sky promises that he’s got no hope of funding, the Advertiser backs him on these ideas and rubbishes everything the government does, too many people can add up though, we’d be a financial basket case in no time flat if HS tried to carry out his promises,for all our whinging this states not in too bad shape and things are getting done slowly but surely.

  18. Socrates, my sources have told me that the Libs spent big on this election. I have a friend who is (for better or worse) a party member and he received letters from the party begging for funds! They were worried about this from the beginning but where unable to circumvent this possible disaster! Judith, we’ve crossed swords before, in good humour of course, but I have to agree about Hamilton-Smith’s pie-in-the-sky ideas, while it would be good if they could be achieved, our state’s fragile financial base doesn’t allow that possibility. Further most of his ideas were floated prior to the financial crisis and are now even less viable, putting him in a terrible situation! Just on the postals, I’m led to believe that in rural seats they are mostly used by farmers and more isolated country folk, who would presumbably strongly favour the Libs.

  19. Judith

    I agree. Rann is not popular and there’s a lot of cynicism about him (deservedly IMO) but he is clearly not stupid and is quite responsible and competent. MHS is none of those.

    I see some of my colleagues made the front page of the Mail with their opposition to the Marj. I think they’ll get a lot of support from other doctors, nurses and allied health. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for Hill and Sherbon.

    Doctors blast ‘mad Marj’ plan,22606,24927491-2682,00.html

  20. Bright Idea

    Thanks, in that case I agree this is a terrible result for the Libs. As an aside, why did they choose this timing? With people away on holidays the inconvenience factor of being forced to go to a by election because a politician doesn’t want to do their job any more can’t help. so the Libs haven’t just lost Kerin’s personal vote; they probably have some resentful former Kerin voters. Maybe this will hurt the pre-polls?

    Agree with Judith and Diogenes on MHS – his constnt plugging of a billion dollar stadium when we barely had the cash for hospitals and public transport was arrant nonsense. Now that we are short of cash it looks quite irresponsible. So far I’d say we have gained more tourists from the Tour Down Under at a fraction of the cost.

  21. Dio, i’m all for the new hospital mate, as a war widow i can get to choose but my last stay in the RAH was bloody horrible and uncomfortable, the staff were excellent and there was no way i could fault them, they tried, but the ward conditions were shockers.
    Bright Ideas, i’m glad you agree, i’m fairly inoffensive and i dont remember crossing swords with anyone here, i usually sit on the sidelines and pop my head up every now and again, saying that i read every post.
    i must admit i’m very biased against the libs, one day it may come out what they did to my family and myself when we were trying to get VOC’s off the ground along with the criminal injuries compensation act. even the last time they were in power their AG treated me with contempt and distain when i tried to bring it to his attention the special treatment VE was getting in prison, ex prisoners were ringing me up about it, it ended up blowing up into a big scandal that could have been nipped in the bud, that sort of treatment doesnt exactly endear themselves to folk, i’ve always been treated with respect by the labor party and their AG’s.

  22. reading up the candidates statemens I found this one amusing on the ABC site from the National Party’s Neville Wilson amusing:

    [He] says he expects rural people to support him.

    “The electorate at large are basically sick of the hoo-ha that’s going on between the major parties,” he said.

    Does that mean the nationals no longer regard themselves as a major party? 🙂


    Regarding the Marj, I know there are a lot of political factions in medicine as with any other field, but do you have a view on the Marj? Is it a good or bad idea, health wise? From a transport and economic viewpoint it is preferable to redeveloping the current site, but I have no idea what that means in terms of health care.

  23. Socrates

    There aren’t many factions in medicine as most of us are too disorganised and apathetic for form them. There are almost no doctors or nurses working at the RAH who want the Marj. The Marj was a political decision, not a policy decision.

    You need to look at why the Marj is being built to know whether it’s a good idea or not. The reasons for building it are;
    1. To effectively shut the QEH.
    2. To break the power and name brand of the RAH
    3. To build a new Hospital that runs how the Health bureaucrats want it to (you would not believe what they’ve got planned; “pods” of patients, no Emerg Department etc)
    4. To avoid spending and money on the Hospitals for 10 years.
    5. To create a legacy for Mike Rann.

    I agree the site is great for transport, as is the old Clipsal site or the Keswick barracks. It’s right across the road from my rooms so I’d be a big winner if it moved but I still don’t want it.

    Think of all the hundreds of famous hospitals in the world. Do they need to be closed instead of upgrading then? Of course not. They are renovated on site. The Governments whole premise for moving is a lie.

  24. Dio

    Thanks. Well I better be thankful for the DTEI bureaucrats I sometimes work for then – their planning is not perfect but a lot more public-good focused than that.

  25. whatever way the Frome election goes it’s a rebuff for MHS and the libs, they need a steady reliable leader that can install confidence in the party but heavens knows where they’ll get him/her from i cant see too many candidates there at the present time.

  26. what this by-election shows is with an excellent vote in Port Pirie…… add labor
    and Brocks vote together….. this is indeed a marginaL seat as was intended by
    the electoral comissioners
    Mr Kerin as the incumbent had a personal vote and kept this from happening
    i still think it most likely that Mr Brock will win
    also if I were the libs I would not presume they’ll have Mt Gambier in the
    bag next time around….. labor got a good vote there last Federal election

  27. I can’t see how Labor can be happy with a primary vote of only 25%.
    I would see the result as a rebuff for both parties, perhaps the Libs more so.

  28. This is a disastrous result for the Libs, it could only have been worse if they actually lost the seat. For all the supposed hatred of Labor in country areas of late (rural health), it sure hasn’t shown in Frome. Not only could the Libs take any advantage of Labor dissatisfaction, so far there is actually a SMALL SWING TOWARD LABOR. The Libs retained it on 3.4% in 2006, and are currently on 3.1% according to ABC elections, after 65% of the vote has been counted, with a final 2pp prediction of 53.4%. And considering the anti-Labor polling is coming from the rural areas with metro polling holding up at 2006 election levels (in some cases better than) for Rann, I really don’t think he has much to worry about at all.

    Rann’s Frome is Howard’s Aston.

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