Months after surviving a leadership challenge by a solitary vote, Isobel Redmond has pulled the plug on her three-and-a-half year spell as leader of the South Australian Liberals. Her successor will be chosen at a secret party room ballot at 9am on Monday. The hot tip had been that Alexander Downer would be drafted in to take the reins, but his denials today have been fairly emphatic. Deputy leader Steven Marshall appears to be a likely starter on Monday; the unsuccessful challenger from November, Martin Hamilton-Smith, is also presumably considering his options. This post will be feature updates on events as they transpire.
UPDATE (1/2/13): Daniel Wills of the Advertiser:
FIRST-term MP Steven Marshall is firming to become state Liberal leader after Isobel Redmond’s shock resignation, but senior party sources insist he will only take the job “on his own terms”.
Lucille Keen of the Financial Review:
The surprise move has pushed her deputy, Steven Marshall, into the leader’s position pending a party-room vote on Monday.
Insiders say he is likely to win that vote but speculation is still intense about the possibility that Mr Downer will lead the party to the March 2014 poll.
It remains more likely, if he is to assume the leadership, that Mr Downer would wait until later in the year before declaring his hand.
Equally, he might just let the issue fizzle out if a new leader performs strongly.
UPDATE (2/2/13): Steven Marshall has appeared for a symbolism-packed photo opportunity with bitter 90s leadership rivals John Olsen and Dean Brown, who have both announced their support for his leadership bid. Olsen had reportedly been a backer of the Downer option. Downer was not available for comment yesterday.