There are now less than three weeks to go until polling day in South Australia (and indeed in Tasmania, which I’ll get around to eventually), which is around the time I start to take state election campaigns seriously. The all-important television advertisements can be viewed here for Labor and here for the Liberals. As is usually the case when a party has been in government for over a decade, it’s the opposition’s advertisements that pack the greater punch.
What follows is a quick review of noteworthy local developments, which have been drawn upon to update the relevant entries in the Poll Bludger election guide:
Napier (Labor 16.1%): Labor’s candidate to replace Michael O’Brien in its second safest seat is Jon Gee, secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s vehicle division. Gee prevailed in a vote of the party’s state executive over Dave Garland, a factionally unaligned official with the National Union of Workers. Following the collapse of O’Brien’s plan to relinquish his seat to Senator Don Farrell, Gee’s endorsement was described by David Washington of InDaily as another assertion of Premier Jay Weatherill’s authority over the party’s dominant Right faction. While Gee’s union is aligned with the Right in South Australia, it is not part of the bloc associated with Farrell and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. Lauren Novak of The Advertiser reported that Weatherill was keen to see the seat go to Gee due to his close connections with the northern suburbs and Holden.
Wright (Labor 4.6%): Danyse Soester, who has gained a high media profile as a parent concerned with the school sex abuse scandal and its handling by the government and the Education Department, has announced she will run as an independent against Education Minister Jennifer Rankine. Soester has won backing from Nick Xenophon, and has ruled out directing preferences to Labor or supporting them in government in the event of a hung parliament. Her announcement scored her a front page photo story in The Advertiser, although it was soon followed by a column in which the paper’s Amanda Blair dismissed Soester as a poster girl for the conspiracy theorists, and a blow-up doll inflated at every media opportunity by the likes of Nick Xenophon and shadow education minister David Pisoni.
Ramsay (Labor 17.8%): Anthony Antoniadis, the Liberal candidate for Labor’s safest seat, has gone to ground following the emergence of Facebook posts in which he made unflattering reflections on residents in the area he aspires to represent. The comments generally related to his experiences as manager of a news agency at the Parabanks Shopping Centre, a typical example reading: Welcome to Salisbury. A mother speaking to her 6-year-old son: Get out of my f*@%ing way and sit down. I want to play Keno.
Reynell (Labor 10.5%): Daniel Wills of The Advertiser reported on Thursday that multiple local residents had been left with “sorry I missed you” messages in very different styles of handwriting, all purporting to be from Labor candidate Katrine Hildyard.
Legislative Council: Liam Mannix of InDaily reports that the man who made preference harvesting a household name, Glenn Druery, is on a retainer from the state branch of the Shooters & Fishers Party. However, his endeavours might be complicated by a rival alliance based around the Liberal Democratic Party, with which Druery was once associated. The latter grouping has dubbed itself the Fair Minor Party Alliance, with Liberal Democrat principal Michael Noack claiming it encompasses five of the 11 small parties planning to run. Druery accuses it of running front groups in the form of Smokers Rights and Hemp. The distinction between the rival groups appears to be fairly loose, with most if not all micro-parties likely to preference each other ahead of the major and established minor parties.