Advertiser: 60-40 to Liberal in SA

The Advertiser has published one of its occasional self-conducted polls of South Australian voting intention, and while the sample is small (442, with a margin of error of over 4.5 per cent) and the pollster probably not the most expert going around, it adds to an impression of a government in terminal decline and a Premier long past his use-by date. Labor’s primary vote is at a New South Wales-ian 24 per cent compared with 50 per cent for the Liberals and 11 per cent for the Greens, with the Liberals leading 60-40 on two-party preferred. Liberal leader Isobel Redmond has a thumping 56-28 lead over Mike Rann as preferred premier, and Education Minister Jay Weatherill is favoured over Rann to lead Labor to the next election 34-26.

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.

295 thoughts on “Advertiser: 60-40 to Liberal in SA”

  1. If they have removed him from the list of ALP MPs, has he been expelled from the party. How can they pretend he isn’t one of theirs.

  2. [Embattled South Australian Premier Mike Rann has lost a key frontbencher, with Bernard Finnigan resigning from Cabinet.

    Finnigan, a conservative right-winger and government leader in the Upper House, held the portfolios of industrial relations, state/local government relations and gaming and was acting as the police minister for the travelling Kevin Foley. A short statement from the premier released late this morning said the positions would be reallocated:

    Finnigan, elected to the Upper House in 2006 after five years as assistant secretary of the SA branch of the Shop Distributive and Allied (SDA) Employees’ Association, was appointed to the ministry after a reshuffle in February.

    On taking his seat in parliament, the Mount Gambier-born 39-year-old declared himself a “servant of Christ and subject of His reign in history” in his maiden speech. Political opponents like the Democrats have attacked his “ardent and overt Catholicism”, which has seen him vote down same-sex rights and speak out against voluntary euthanasia and stem cell research.

    Finnigan had joined with other SDA-aligned party conservatives Tom Kenyon, Jack Snelling and Tom Koutsantonis to form a powerful bloc within the Labor caucus. All four won promotions in the February reshuffle.]

  3. BG@188: Key lesson from NSW – don’t change leaders too often! Manage the transition and do it at the right time. This places a huge responsibility on factional leaders such as Don Farrell. Which comes first? Factional interests or the Party? We have seen the destruction wrought by the Right’s faction leaders in NSW. A repeat of that behaviour in SA would be a tragedy for Labor.

    Don’s challenge (in my view) is this: put aside factional interests, and identify who within the Parliamentary ranks has the best chance of being an effective, election-winning Premier.

    Yes of course the SA Right can install its own Premier, and back whoever that is through to the next election. But think about this: 2010 wiped out much of Labor’s electoral buffer. If we applied the NSW outcome in an SA context, ie, a uniform swing of 16% (reflecting NSW 2PP of 65/35), this would leave Labor holding just 3 seats: Cheltenham currently on a 16.1% margin (Weatherill), Playford (16.2% – Snelling) and Ramsay (18.0% – Rann). Possibles would be Napier (15.8% – O’Brien) and Croydon (14.1% – Atkinson). Beyond that – oblivion. Parliamentary Leader of the ALP would be an irrelevant position in that scenario – we could even have an Independent as Leader of the Opposition!!! (God knows how that would work).

    SA Labor does not have the luxury of choosing a factionally acceptable but electorally unappealing new leader. And I repeat: regardless of the polls, the time for Rann to go has come.

    And I have NO factional allegiances so for me this is not a Left v Right issue: it is about looking after the best interests of the Labor Party, that’s all.

  4. Ind08

    I have seen two ‘elecotarally appealing’ pollies installed as leader. One promised to have a ‘red hot go’ but when he did, he party took it away from him. The other said she was “nobodies girl” when it was plain to all it was untrue.

    I suggest that the best person is one who can govern the best. Appearance, pfft. Appealing,, blah.

  5. Ind08

    In NSW Frank Sartor missed out on the leadership by one vote. If he had won- he would have pissed off every person in the state and in the process started an amazing set of reforms and won everyones respect.

    “Nobodies girl” spun like a merry-go-round and did nothing.

  6. Indo08: there will always be Labor seats that will withstand a large swing. Little Para is one of them; the swing at the last election was as much to do with the loss of Lea Stevens’ personal support as the government being on the nose.

    They are a solid Labor-voting bunch out there and they will always return a Labor member, even if the margin gets rather too close for comfort.

    To put it another way, the day Labor loses Little Para is the day they need to pack up and go home.

  7. Oh, and Indo: Weatherill is the only option at the moment.

    Chloe Fox will be the one to watch for the future, but I have concerns about her ability to hold her seat next time if the swing is on – which it certainly will be unless Labor can change the paradigm. They need to find her a very safe seat; it’s a pity that Ramsay and Kaurna have already been earmarked for others.

  8. DL@208 – yes understood that swings are not uniform! Actually I think Labor has already suffered (in 2010) a fair bit of the baseball bat effect in its safe seats that hit Labor so hard in NSW, and that faced with a prospect of a Liberal government, a lot of the protest vote from 2010 in safe seats will return to Labor. So the reality is Labor would always be able to count on a core of 12 to 14 safe seats in “traditional” labor voting areas, especially given that a “save the furniture” campaign strategy in 2014 would see a lot of campaign resources allocated to preserving the safe seats. However I was a bit shocked when I saw what the impact of a NSW-style 2PP would be in the context of the current SA election pendulum!!!

    My thinking goes something like this, quite independently of yesterday’s polling and other distractions:

    1. There are three years to go til the next election, so all is not lost yet.
    2. It is unthinkable that Rann could lead Labor to another election in 2014 – regardless of past performance, he is seen by the electorate at large as past his use by date.
    3. An orderly transition is imperative – heed the lesson from NSW
    4. That transition should be soner rather than later – let the new Premier campaign in 2014 with a decent track record
    5. The next Premier should be the best person for the job – regardless of faction
    6. I agree with BG that the person for the job is the person who can govern best, and should not be driven by “appearance” and “appealing” factors.

    But equally, the ability to sell a message is important for any political leader, and that is one of the most important criteria that must be assessed. (Loathsome as I find him, I have a grudging respect for Tony Abbott’s relentless ability to get his message through – the average voter couldn’t care less about media bias etc etc – the guy is able to get his message through, curse him, and Julia cannot). So who meets the leadership criteria at the moment? I think probably Weatherill. But a Weatherill premiership will require a lot of hatchet burying to succeed (so I’m with you BG on that one!!), and that’s why I think don Farrell’s role will be pivotal. In other words, he still has the power to make or break or SA Labor.

    Chloe Fox is a great person but has the twin handicaps of being in a very marginal seat, and with just not experience in ministerial and leadership roles to lead a government just yet.

    And no, I have not given up on Labor for 2014 – not just yet. 3 years is an eternity in SA politics, and the SA Liberals are a far more pathetic lot than O’Farrell’s team.

  9. [Chloe Fox is a great person but has the twin handicaps of being in a very marginal seat, and with just not experience in ministerial and leadership roles to lead a government just yet.]

    She is also a bit flighty.

  10. One way or another, the suppression order may be lifted on May 20.

    [The act says alleged offenders can only be named once they have entered a plea – be it guilty or not guilty – to the charges, and have been remanded for either sentence or trial.

    The MP is due to appear in court again on May 20, when a magistrate will organise a schedule for the case.]

  11. [“Nobodies girl” spun like a merry-go-round and did nothing.]

    …but she is an ALP hero(ine) b_g!!! We don’t let the facts (worse electoral rout in Australian history) get in the way of a good old spin around these parts.

  12. Given Mike Rann’s liking for making announcements on twitter, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on his tweets over Easter.

  13. Chloe Fox also comes across badly in public. She has become increasingly paranoid and out of touch with her electors, and I don’t even think a favourable redistribution will save her this time. She only hung on last time thanks to Vicki Chapman’s last minute own goal and the dries in the electorate fighting with the wet candidate’s supporters on election day.

    She suffers from the same hubris as Jane Lomax-Hyphen, and like Jane, the gloss has worn off. The next step is oblivion.

    Weatherill is the obvious choice in every way apart for lack of support from the Right.

    The fact that Weatherill has been a lousy local member, been caught out telling porkies on major local issues, has been Minister responsible for some nasty budget cuts in his portfolio and has supported every single one of the Rann Government’s por decisions…well, of course the punters forget all this as The Advertiser are backing him.

  14. IT

    Let’s be honest here. She is a lovely vivacious person but she is nuts and couldnt be trusted to run anything. And that’s what her friends say.

  15. Dio

    Without saying too much to give my id away, I have known her for a long time, even asked her out when she was a teenager. I agree with your sentiments.

    Fascinated by the missing MLC on the ALP website. All my ALP contacts are either uncontactable or saying they don’t know why the MLC’s name has disappeared off the ALP website. If he had been expelled from the ALP it wold have required a meeting of the Executive and has to be minuted etc and that would have been leaked one way or another. I think they have just done it not knowing what else to do.

    You have to admire the Right for sticking by their comrades in times of trouble.

    I still say the charged MP is innocent until proven guilty. This is a right he possesses as a citizen of Australia whether he be a Labor MP, a footballer, a grandmother or a drug dealer. If we lose this as a society, then we are no better than a medieval mob and cannot be called a civilized society.

  16. IT,

    So a woman knocks you back and you confirm “she is a lovely vivacious person, but nuts”.

    Get a room and get over yourself.

  17. With all the safe seat swings from 2010 the redistribution (this year I believe) should be rather interesting. The are likely to be major boundary changes.

  18. GG

    Your usual method of attack is clear again. Personal abuse of other PBers with whom’s politics you do not agree.

    Even though I admit, in hindsight my order of comment was poor, just because I am pink does not me spam. Mrs IT and I assisted in her campaign in a small way when she was first ran (unsuccessfully) for the Federal electorate of Boothby due to the high regard I had for her, even though I did not live in that electorate.

    I am fully aware of her personal background and have watched from a distance as her mental state has deteriorated. It does not give me any joy.

    Now, watching the demise of the SDA right and disappearance back into the DLP vortex whence they came does give me joy.

  19. IT,

    My precious, precious.

    You play on your alleged inside connections. Someone calls horseshit, points to your own words and you disappear up your own diaper.

    How unsurprising.

  20. [Greensborough Growler
    Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    My precious, precious.]

    Now it all makes sense. GG is Gollum Gollum.


  21. Jason: I’m out of the “Catholic” loop, but I have known Gary Lockwood for many years and I trust both his recollections and his fair appraisal of said things. Sure, he has his detractors, but he certainly knows his stuff IMHO. And what he says here accords with things I have heard before from other people who work closely with Farrell, Snelling, Finnigan, Kenyon and others in the hard Catholic Right.

    Incidentally, did you know that Finnigan is related to Ben Chifley?

    My dealings with Gary Lockwood go back to the time of the mass branch stacking in 1999 – we both had similar problems in our branches and both made unsuccessful attempts to get the party to take them seriously. Thankfully, Ralph Clarke took it out of our hands 😉

  22. I met Ralph Clarke in a non/political role and he was a really class act and very reasonable. I was very concerned considering his reputation and I really wondered if he had had a raw deal.

  23. [CONSUMER Affairs Minister Gail Gago will create history when Parliament resumes on May 3.

    Ms Gago, who is also the Status of Women Minister, will be the first woman to take on the role of Government Leader in the Upper House in the wake of the shock resignation this week of Industrial Relations Minister Bernard Finnigan.

    She will also become the sole Government minister in the chamber, which means she will have to handle every piece of legislation that goes through Parliament as well as handling all the motions and private member’s Bills put up by the Opposition and independents.]

    The rapid rise and fall of Bernard Finnigan:

  24. [Labor insiders have told The Advertiser the MP is being urged by some colleagues to step down for the good of the party]

    That would fit with them removing his name from the ALP website as being a Labor MP.

  25. Calling on one of your MPs to resign before he has even had a chance to enter a plea is a great example of British justice at work, don’t you think?

    And yes, Ralph Clarke is terrific bloke, but the ruling junta won’t let him back into the Labor Party.

    These two examples say it all, really.

  26. TT

    Agree. They should wait until the hearing on 20 May. If he pleads guilty, I imagine he has to stand down. If he pleads not guilty, I think he should stay until it is resolved. And I have no problem with him being paid while he is in his job.

  27. Redmond is a lot more sympathetic than the MPs own colleagues.

    [Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond said Labor must decide if the accused MP could be effective in Parliament, given the “stress and trauma”.

    “I can’t imagine that anyone, innocent or guilty, charged with offences like this could discharge the duties of the office,” she said.

    “Therefore I expect that it is appropriate for that person to go on leave. I think it’s reasonable for them to stay on (as a parliamentarian) and receive a base salary.”]

  28. GG

    Evidently there is a rule that is you miss 12 sitting days in a row without permission, you are sacked (if they vote that way).

    Redmond is clearly saying she will vote to keep him. We could get the bizarre sight of Labor voting to sack him as an MP and the Libs voting to keep him.

    He has a top QC who is a fighter and very bright.

  29. Diogs,

    The same type of “urgers” were the ones that ruined Theophanas over the rape allegations. Indicates to me, that this is just factional politics using a new “factor” to achieve personal progress. Pretty unedifying!

    Sounds to me like the polly is preparing to fight the charges.

  30. GG,
    The “accused” was happy for factional politics to promote him way above his ability in life,that to was pretty unedifying

  31. GG

    The factions are clearly very busy at the moment. I don’t know who is saying what but we’ll find out in a month or so I gather.

    The “urgers” are extremely unedifying in my opinion.

    [PRESSURE is mounting on Premier Mike Rann with a renewed factional push for a leadership change after the resignation of Bernard Finnigan as a minister left the government in crisis.

    With Labor reeling from Mr Finnigan’s resignation and from a disastrous opinion poll, numbers now are being actively counted to see if there is enough party support for Education Minister Jay Weatherill to take over as Premier.

    Nervous MPs fearing a NSW-style wipeout are considering whether a wholesale change of leadership is needed to give Labor a new image.

    A senior Labor source confirmed factional discussions were underway aimed at a smooth transition of leadership.]

  32. [JAY Weatherill is being assessed as a potential replacement for Premier Mike Rann, Labor insiders reveal.

    After the surprise resignation of Bernard Finnigan as a minister left the Labor Government in shock, Mr Rann is facing even more pressure on his leadership, with numbers being checked this weekend to assess the depth of support for Mr Weatherill, the Education Minister.

    With Labor reeling from the resignation and from a disastrous opinion poll, a senior Labor source confirmed factional discussions were under way aimed at a smooth transition of leadership and that numbers were being re-checked.

    “Caucus is starting to realise what the South Australian community already knows, and that is renewal is the only option,” the source said.]

  33. “Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni said Labor must explain why Mr Finnigan resigned as minister.

    “When Mr Finnigan was announced as minister 72 days earlier there was great fanfare,” Mr Pisoni said. “The Premier has been silent on the reasons for Mr Finnigan leaving the ministry – South Australians deserve an explanation, why did we see such a sudden departure of Mr Finnigan?”

  34. TTFAB @ 219

    The redistribution is next year.

    Jason @ 221

    Thanks for that link, Gary is a great chap, has had a very interesting journey.
    I think what he has written is fairly accurate but I cannot vouch for his personal life comments nor his history of the various Catholic secret societies.

    As far as his comments on the local Right he knows his stuff. To add to this, Kenyon’s office is staffed by Jack Snelling’s brother in law.

    What’s also insidious is that the SDA Right controlled Charles Sturt Council (they needed numbers from people not in that faction, or even the ALP, though) until a community revolt saw them chucked out at the November elections.

    Now, they control the numbers on Salisbury Council in collaboration with other ALP members, and they have 4 members on Port Adelaide Council including the aforementioned brother in law of Jack Snelling, and one of Snelling’s staff Tung Ngo. They have Councillors on other Adelaide Councils but are strongest in the north and north west.

    Talk around the ALP yesterday was that some of the pragmatic members of the Right are being courted by Weatherill’s people to ask for a leadership spill and dump Rann. I just don’t know how successful they will be. It will take for 5 of the current Right or their periphery to change their vote to achieve this. I cannot see this happening.

  35. IT: good comment @ 244 and that is also my reading of what is happening.

    But I think it will also very much depend on how both the member facing the charges and his supporters conduct themselves over the next few weeks. If there are any threats towards or intimidation of the more moderate Unity members in relation to possibly supporting Weatherill then the split might be on. I got a sense from the people I spoke with on Wednesday that they are well and truly over those bully boy tactics and are at the point of hitting back.

    Time will certainly tell and, one thing is for sure, the next few weeks will be very interesting.

  36. IT @ 244
    Chad Buchannan who is on the Sailsbury Council works in Snellings electorate office and Julie Woodman and Jana isomonger, although I don’t think Jana is in a faction, who are also on council are members of the same sub branch as me Playford! No wonder I clash with them all Jack has it all stitched up!

  37. The lefties seem breathless with expectation. So many ifs, buts, maybes and perhaps. Makes you think they are innumerate as well as dreamers.

  38. Jason

    I quite like Jack & Lucia personally, but detest their policies. But at least Jack has the decency to live in his electorate (and not the swankiest bit either), even adding a second storey to his home rather than move. Most of his Right wing comrades cannot stand being near their electorates as they don’t like poor people.

    And Jason, if you are genuine, be very careful about what you say here. The SDA Right read this blog and if you can be identified, well, there a lot of lonely gullies in the Playford electorate.

    And for once, GG @ 247, I agree with you. I dare anyone to name the 5 current Right or unaligned MPs who will switch to dump Rann. I can’t see it happening.

  39. IT: I can think of 3, possibly 4, but a lot depends on the circumstances.

    I don’t think there will be a challenge per se; I think there will be some number crunching done and the numbers will be presented to Mike in “go now with your head held high or leave humiliated by having your colleagues publicly turn against you” terms.

    Rann is nothing if not proud; he will go rather than fight under those circumstances. Having said that, though, he is unlikely to trust the numbers that anyone presented to him and would expect him and/or his supporters to do a ring around to confirm them. Only then would he move either way.

  40. Jason: I wouldn’t have pegged Julie Woodman as part of the hard right. I think she is part of the moderate right. Not sure about Chad.

    There are lots of Unity people in positions in all 3 tiers of government that got there on through the auspices of Unity (and usually the expressed approval of The Don) who aren’t part of the hard Catholic right. There are a different and special animal (“special” said in a Bruce McAvaney voice) 😉

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