South Australian election minus four days

Both parties plan ahead for a potential hung parliament, as the rate of pre-poll and voting doubles from last time.

Not only has the campaign been light on for published polling, which these days is par for the course in elections for the smaller states, but there has also been next to nothing in the news media about internal polling or how insiders think specific seats are playing out. Which leaves:

• Labor’s efforts to win the favour of Liberal-turned-independent member Dan Cregan at least make it clear that they expect him to retain his Adelaide Hills seat of Kavel. David Penberthy in The Australian reports that, “of the four former Liberal independents in the SA parliament, Mr Cregan is regarded as the least indebted to his former party and the most likely to side with Labor”. It has duly showered his electorate with such promises as a $220 million hospital for rapidly growing Mount Barker. The Liberals have made fairly extensive promises for the electorate of their own, but have preferred making an issue of Labor’s “extravagance” to matching them.

Tom Richardson of InDaily reports Advance Australia, a conservative activist group that has also been in the news for advertising crudely linking federal Labor to China, has seen fit to conduct push-polling targeting Heather Holmes-Ross, Mitcham mayor and independent candidate for Waite. The seat is held by Sam Duluk, another of the election’s Liberal-turned-independent incumbents. Nonetheless, the report relates that “major party insiders are sceptical of Holmes-Ross’s chances”.

• Antony Green has a blog post on the rate of pre-poll and postal voting, for which there were respectively 86,515 cast and 149,670 applications received as of Saturday. Elizabeth Henson of The Advertiser reports the former is double the total from the equivalent period in 2018; Antony Green notes the latter figure is 11.8% of the total enrolment compared with an overall total of 6.8%, although it has less room to grow from this point than pre-polls since applications close on Wednesday. In any case, it can conservatively be estimated that their combined number will double this time. Taking into account a further 100,000 or so absent votes, this means maybe 600,000 out of a total of 1,100,000 will be available to be counted on the night, with none of the pre-polls or absents to be counted until Monday.

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.

33 comments on “South Australian election minus four days”

  1. Because there’s not really that much to talk about that isn’t just partisan/ideological rhetoric. There isn’t really any polling to discuss and the election isn’t exactly a “big ideas” contest.

  2. I mean, I could give my thoughts on the feel of the contest but that would be unscientific, tainted by my own biases and thus could be completely off the mark but, for what it’s worth, it seems like the Liberal Party has all but given up at this point. Of course, they’re throwing everything they can at Labor (if just to save that furniture) but I think the writing is already on the wall (take this with a grain of salt, of course. My bubble is as opaque as everybody else’s.)

  3. With just four days left before polling day, the Marshall Government has announced a $3 million pledge to protect Aboriginal culture while Labor has spent the weekend focussing on ambulance ramping and cost of living pressures.

    Under the Liberals’ plan to protect Aboriginal culture, announced this morning, $350,000 would be spent each year to establish a website to revive and promote South Australia’s Aboriginal languages.

    The website is part of the SA Museum’s “Reawakening Aboriginal Languages” project and would allow members of the public to access language materials at any time, regardless of their location.

    Another $2 million would be spent over five years to complete the Kaurna ancestral remains repatriation program and to extend the program to other First Nations.

    “I’m very proud that we were recently able to lay to rest respectfully and with dignity the remains of Kaurna ancestors that were previously held away from the country that means so much to their people and culture,” Premier Steven Marshall said.

    “This world-leading pilot is the first phase of an outstanding project that will have a profound effect on the lives of many, many people – and I’m looking forward to extending the project to other First Nations.”

    It comes after the Marshall Government over the weekend pledged to make permanent its real-time fuel pricing scheme, which is currently on a two-year trial and requires all fuel outlets in South Australia to report any price changes to a database 30 minutes before they come into effect.

    Meanwhile, Labor has reiterated warnings of an ambulance ramping “crisis”, after the SA Ambulance Service on Monday declared a “code white” for the entire Adelaide metropolitan area, meaning delayed responses to emergency cases.

    “This is literally life and death,” Labor’s shadow treasurer Stephen Mullighan said this morning.

    “While Steven Marshall and (Treasurer) Rob Lucas obsess about the cost of fixing the health system, they ignore the cost of not investing in the health system.”

    The Opposition also spent the weekend announcing a $181.65 million package to build and renovate public housing, $37.7 million to double the state government cost of living concession and a pledge to develop a new autism strategy for public schools.

    The Liberals’ say their election promises would cost $288 million – $118 million of which is operating expenditure and $170 million is investing expenditure.

    Nearly $700 million of Liberal election commitments were budgeted before caretaker mode or through previously allocated funding.

    Throughout the campaign, the Liberals have attacked Labor’s policy costs, reiterating warnings of a “reckless spending spree” in the billions of dollars.

    Costings are traditionally released by political parties a couple of days before polling day.

    Labor says its policies are fully costed, but has deferred releasing details until later in the election campaign.

    “We’ll be doing it this Thursday,” Labor leader Peter Malinauskas said.

  4. Today will be about the further 2 deaths that have happened over night, due to Ambulances taking over 40mins to arrive. Both cases the ambulances should have arrived within 16mins.

    This is what the water caller conversations will be about again today.

    Thoughts with the families who lost loved ones overnight!

  5. “The Liberals have made fairly extensive promises for the electorate of their own, but have preferred making an issue of Labor’s “extravagance” to matching them.”…

    Ha, ha, ha… that’s a truly funny strategy:
    Liberals: splash money all around.
    Labor: match the splashing.
    Liberals: accusing Labor of being irresponsible for splashing money around.

    Well, what can I say, that’s the attitude of a side of politics that’s convinced that the majority of voters are complete Morons…. It’s up to South Australians to demonstrate to the Liberal party how wrong the Liberals are.

  6. To those South Australians who are still undecided:

    Albo is coming as our next PM, leading an ALP Federal government.
    Who do you think is going to negotiate better deals for SA with the Feds, the ALP Malinauskas or the Liberal Marshall?….

    Now you are ready to cast your vote….. 🙂

  7. Wat Tyler_says:
    Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 8:35 am
    “I mean, I could give my thoughts on the feel of the contest but that would be unscientific, tainted by my own biases and thus could be completely off the mark”

    ….. and soo unlike the other PB contributions (mostly on the main thread)

  8. I think the Libs have played their last hand ✋

    Rob Lucas (state treasurer for those great unwashed outside of the state) has sent out a mass email which purports to be a $4,000+ bill to each and every taxpayer – representing the cost of Labor promises.

    Like many good residents of the state I “recycled” mine.

    Seriously, the Libs will bang on about this until Saturday. It really is their only card to play, and with the background of an underfunded health system and a Lib promise to fund a (uneeded) new riverside stadium I can’t see it being credible except to those already converted to the dark side.

    I don’t know if this strategy comes out of undisclosed party polling (I did reject a polling call 3 days ago), or whether it is just the usual reaction.

    Unscientific Wat, I know, but there it is for all to disagree (including the lectorate)

  9. Steven Marshall has been campaigning hard all weekend in Elder. I think that is where it will be won or lost for Labor. I suspect they will pick up the other three marginals, but the Liberals have been campaigning hard on the last Labor Government’s decision to close the Repat Hospital. Given the hospital is in Elder it will be a much less likely gain for Labor.

  10. Yeah, that SA Repat hospital crap. When the Veterans moved into their new digs at the New Royal Adelaide Hospital, not many were pining for the aged Repat.

    The Repatriation General Hospital was originally a federal hospital for injured soldiers, during WW2, run by the Dept Veterans’ Affairs. Then in the 1990s it got transferred to the state health system. You can guess what happened to its funding then.

  11. @Alpo: I don’t know how familiar you are with the SA Labor Party, but they used to technically be in coalition with the _Nationals_ here. Meanwhile, the SA Liberals have had four sitting MPs go independent in the last term and two of them didn’t even have criminal charges outstanding. I’d still rather have our Labor Party dealing with the federal government even if it’s Liberal; they’re clearly better at negotiating with Tories than our actual Tories.

  12. Health Minister Stephen Wade has apologised to the families of two patients, including a 20-year-old, who died while waiting for ambulances overnight.

  13. The South Australian Council of Social Service today released its election report card assessing the major and minor parties’ plans to address rental affordability, digital inclusion, concessions, water access, and protection and support measures.

    The election report is based on an “assessment of overall policy” and “responses to policies proposed by SACOSS”.

    Scored out of five, both Labor and the Liberals fared worst on rental affordability, with the Opposition rated at just 1.75 and the Government even worse at 1.55.

  14. Four days to go and you’d think the Libs would be done, what with their bitter infighting, more deaths through ambulance inadequacies, veiled threats by Independents Troy Bell and Dan Cregan to abandon support for the Liberal Party that spawned them . . .

    Still, I suffer from some unease despite the “it’s all over, mate” confidence of some of my Labor confreres. They think the four most marginal seats are in the bag, but are they?

    Newland (Lib 0.2 %) is a bit messy methinks. Richard Harvey dug out a formidable sitting member, Tom Kenyon, and has worked hard in the seat ever since, helped by a fair serve from the pork barrel. He’s drawn top spot. His main opponents are the Labor-friendly veteran Frances Bedford, attempting to change seats, and ALP newbie Olivia Savvas. Family First is strong in the area and preferencing against Harvey. How that all works out, dog only knows.

    Adelaide (Lib 0.8 %) doesn’t look a pushover either. Although a disappointing minister, Rachel Sanderson also has drawn top spot. Can Labor’s Lucy Hood go one small step better than her impressive but unlucky predecessor, Jo Chapley?

    King (Lib 0.8 %) is seen as one that got away from Labor last time. Paula Leuthen is said to be a “good woman”. She has had four years to consolidate and is above Labor’s Rhiannon Pearce on the ballot paper.

    Elder (Lib 2.0 %) is a duel between two strong candidates, sitting member Carolyn Power and Labor’s Nadia Clancy, who so nearly snatched Boothby in the last federal election. If anyone can win it for Labor, Clancy can.

    Dunstan (Lib 8.1 %) should be safe for Steven Marshall, but he doesn’t massage his constituency well and he’ll be pushed by the hard-working and charming Cressida O’Hanlon, Labor’s candidate in federal Sturt last time. Kensington Gardens is now in Dunstan and may just save the Premier.

    Davenport (Lib 8.4 %) should be safe for Erin Thompson, though on figures from the last federal election Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson would win for Labor by 3 %. Of course, the Labor candidate then was the Kingston sitting member, the remarkable Amanda Rishworth.

    Mawson (ALP 0.8 %) has not entered discussions, even though Leon Bignell defied gravity to win last time. I don’t want to put the mockers on him.

    And my smoky? Hartley (Lib 6.5 %). Minister Vincent Tarzia has lost a big chunk of Italian voters to Morialta, as well as Liberal-voting suburbs Kensington Gardens and Kensington Park to Dunstan. Nick Xenophon’s candidature clouded the voting pattern last time. Despite ALP incompetence in delaying the selection of a candidate until the eleventh hour, psychologist Trent Ames and his team have worked frenetically and reckon they have a good shot.

  15. The biggest concern for the ALP, I think, is if the ALP wins in SA and that leads to complacency. The best thing that might happen for the election is for it to be really close. I don’t think it’ll make any difference federally if the LNP wins, but if the ALP wins by a thumping, it could make people think the federal election is ‘in the bag’, and that could be a problem.

  16. Since last Thursday continually on Seven News and 5AA they are saying momentum has swung back to the Libs since the Press Conference. My question is how many people besides them actually watched it?

    They are saying Marshall is more relaxed, making joke during the press conferences and looking to show a difference between him and Peter by doing this.

    Is anyone else hearing this or seeing this?

    Without polling is so bloody hard to tell if this is true or not.

    SportsBet hasn’t picked up any momentum change, still has labor at $1.45 v libs at $2.60

    @TheToorakToff – great review and right up.

    The numbers in the four seats that are required to be picked up by labor look like the following.

    Elder = 555 voters
    King = 218 voters
    Adelaide = 219 voters
    Newland = 54 voters

    I personally think they’ll pick up 2 or 3 but won’t get Elder.

    Davenport seems like it’s on the cards. Erin is well known, and it’s her local area re council elections.

    Only 4 days to go.

  17. I don’t think Marshall is “relaxed”, what with, just today, an ex-Lib. Leader squabbling with an ex Lib. Independent and an ex Lib. Independent squabbling with Marshall while awaiting court proceedings of alleged criminality!! If Davenport is in play, and I certainly don’t know if it is, then everything is in play!
    And I watch the media here, such as it is, closely, and I have seen virtually nothing on the Leaders Debate, you think the usual suspects in the media would trumpet a win for Marshall, but nothing! Then again I don’t watch channel 7 and nobody listens to 5AA, Adelaide’s 2GB…….

  18. Ita Buttrose was once asked what you do if you had 6 months left to live and said “I would move to Adelaide and marry an accountant – it would feel like a lifetime”.

    Spot on.


    The below summarised by Kevin Bonham on twitter.

    TPP: ALP 56 LIB 44
    Primary: LIB 33 ALP 41 Green 11 Others 15
    Better Premier Malinauskas leads 45-40.
    Personal ratings v similar to Newspoll despite the voting intention blowout…
    Marshall -2 (46-48) Malinauskas +19 (51-32)

  20. @The Toorak Toff

    Interesting comments re Hartley. If Labor had put in a candidate much earlier this would nearly be guaranteed to swing to Labor for the reasons you mentioned. It is also much more multicultural now and still a chunk of Housing SA properties in this area as well as alot of renters battling increasing rents. It will definitely become super marginal but will be interesting to see if Labor can win it.

    Anyone have any new intel on how the independents in Finniss and Hammond may be going to fair?

  21. The 15% for others in the lower house is interesting… is this the conservatives leaving the Liberal vote for Family First or independents?? Family First are certainly being noticed around the place, and seem to have a broader base now.

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