tip off

Frome by-election (South Australia): January 17

This post will be progressively updated with news on the South Australian state by-election in Frome, to be held on January 17.

January 16

One day to go: this site will be providing live coverage from shortly after the close of polls at 6pm local time tomorrow. Antony Green lays out the officially registered how-to-vote cards, which have been lodged by all candidates bar the Greens. The Flinders News reports that “No Pokies Senator Nick Xenophon and Member of the House of Assembly Kris Hanna are rallying behind (Geoff) Brock to help him become the next local parliamentarian”. Xenophon’s support for Hanna was instrumental in his surprise success in retaining his seat of Mitchell after quitting first Labor and then the Greens during the previous term.

January 14

The Australian’s Jamie Walker breathlessly reports that Labor’s direction of preferences to Geoff Brock has “thrown the contest wide open”, as if the alternative – preferences to the Liberals – had been in any way in prospect. The Liberals are “taking this remote possibility seriously”, “spending heavily on advertising and working the electorate to get local policeman Terry Boylan over the line”. We are also told that “the ALP can’t be discounted, either”, though I’ll stick my neck out and say that they can be. The Independent Weekly reports the Greens are not directing preferences. The ABC reports a record 1700 early votes have been received along with 2200 postal vote applications, which the State Electoral Office puts down to the number of people away on holidays. Antony Green has a new post on Frome, mostly focused on the historical record of governments winning seats from oppositions at by-elections.

January 12

Former Port Pirie resident Michael Gorey in comments notes that the Nationals are not even putting the Liberals ahead of Labor on preferences: they are issuing a split ticket between the two for third preference behind Geoff Brock. Gorey says we should not rule out the prospect of a Nationals-fuelled Brock overtaking Labor and perhaps achieving an upset with their preferences.

January 2

Mike Rann’s tip: “My expectation is that it’s a safe Liberal seat and will continue to be a safe Liberal seat”.

December 29

Jamie Walker of The Australian reports Geoff Brock and Neville Watson have arranged to swap preferences.

December 24

Russell Emmerson of the Adelaide Advertiser reports that radio ads featuring Mike Rann explaining cuts of 1600 jobs in the government’s recent mini-budget are “under scrutiny” to determine whether they are “electoral material”, and thus in breach of regulations. One very much doubts that the regulations would encompass public information advertising of this kind – what’s more, the ads were broadcast only in the metropolitan area, notwithstanding the opposition’s line that “the footprint for most of these radio stations extends well into the Frome electorate”.

December 18

Nominations have closed, and there are no further candidates to those already noted. The ballot paper order is John Rohde (Country Labor); Neville Wilson (Nationals); Terry Boylan (Liberal); Joy O’Brien (Greens); Peter Fitzpatrick (One Nation); Geoff Brock (Independent Your Voice). Antony Green has gone to town on the by-election here. Along with many other facts and figures, he notes something that had previously escaped my notice: that this is the first state by-election in South Australia since 1994. He also observes that Frome was expressly created to serve as a marginal electorate for purposes of the state’s counter-productive arithmetic test of electoral fairness, which he gets stuck into here.

December 17

The Northern Argus reports Hallett resident Joy O’Brien and Dublin resident Peter Fitzpatrick will respectively run for the Greens and One Nation. Clare and Gilbert Valleys Mayor Allan Aughey, who has “previously been a Labor Party candidate” (not sure when), has denied rumours he will run as an independent.

December 10

The ABC reports that the mayor and deputy mayor of Port Pirie, Geoff Brock and Neville Wilson, will contest the by-election – the former as an independent, the latter as Nationals candidate. Nominations close on Thursday, December 18.

November 28

The State Electoral Office has a Frome by-election page up. Its map and profile of the electorate can be viewed here.

November 25

Channel Nine News reports nominations will close on December 18.

November 15

Conservative firebrand Christopher Pearson weighs in in his regular column for The Weekend Australian:

The rural electorate of Frome has an industrial end, the city of Port Pirie, where Nyrstar’s mainland lead and zinc-smelting operation is based. Either directly or by way of contractors, the smelter accounts for about 800 jobs and another 600 flow-on jobs. Without them, the city would have no economic reason to exist. Its present unemployment rate is 6.2 per cent. If the plant were to close, it’s estimated the rate would nearly double. On Wednesday, Nyrstar announced it was considering shutting down Pirie’s smelter and its zinc operation in Hobart. Under the eligibility formula in the Rudd Government’s green paper on emissions, Nyrstar is not eligible for assistance as an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry. The prospect of a $40 per tonne carbon price, envisaged in Treasury modelling, would drive smelting operations offshore …

On Tuesday there was some doubt over whether Labor would field a candidate at the by-election, despite Kerin’s margin being a low 3.4 per cent. South Australia’s new Country Health Plan has been very poorly received and the Government had resigned itself to a rebuff in a pre-Christmas poll. By Thursday evening, SA Labor had decided to deprive the Liberals of an easy win by postponing the vote until January 17 and running a campaign on the theme of Premier Mike Rann standing up to Canberra and fighting for local jobs. SA Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith had been expecting a December 13 poll. At first he complained about the delay, which will keep the under-resourced Liberals on a war footing throughout the festive season. However, he seems to have warmed to the task in the wake of reports that the launch of Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s white paper had suddenly been delayed. Federally, the Coalition welcomes the campaign as a mini-referendum on the design and timing of the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme.

November 13

House of Assembly Speaker Jack Snelling has set January 17 as the date for the by-election. This has displeased the Liberals, who wished for it to be held on December 13. The accompanying ABC report confirms that John Rohde will contest the seat for Labor.

November 12

Thanks to Max in comments for alerting us to the following tidbit from The Advertiser: ”(Premier Mike Rann) said Labor was likely to contest the by-election. Labor’s candidate is likely to be John Rohde who ran for the seat at the last election.”.

November 11

Former SA Liberal Premier Rob Kerin has announced his retirement, effective immediately. This will initiate a by-election in his seat of Frome, where his margin fell from 11.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent at the March 2006 election. Kerin had already made it known he would note contest the election, and Port Pirie policeman Terry Boylan was preselected to succeed him in May. Labor also has an election candidate in place – postal worker John Rohde, who also contested in 2002 and 2006 – but the struggling Rann government probably won’t be game to take on a mid-term by-election in a normally safe Liberal seat. Unless a strong independent candidate emerges, Boylan is likely to go untroubled. My election guide entry described the electorate thus:

Frome was created when a redistribution before the 1993 election removed Port Pirie from Stuart, which it had previously dominated along with Port Augusta. Port Pirie is an industrial town whose principal attraction is Pasminco’s lead and zinc smelter, and it provided Labor with a safe seat in the days when it formed an electorate in its own right (which ended when rural vote weighting was abolished in 1970). There has since been a decline in both Port Pirie’s relative population and Labor’s share of the vote. It is now included in Frome as part of a 50 kilometre stretch of the eastern Spencer Gulf coastline, from which the electorate stretches south-eastwards through the Clare Valley wine country to Tarlee, about 50 kilometres north of Adelaide. More than half the electorate’s voters are in small country towns such as Gladstone, Crystal Brook and Clare, which have kept the seat in Liberal hands since Rob Kerin became its inaugural member in 1993.

UPDATE: I note Greg Kelton of The Advertiser reported the following on July 23:

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.

Perhaps I’m underestimating the desire of locals to vent their fury about country health services, but this strikes me as foolish in the extreme. Sykesie in comments notes that the government released its draft Country Health Care Strategy just last week.

106
  • 1
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the thread William. I personally will have to disagree with you on the likelihood of Labor not fielding a candidate here – in fact I will be mortified if they don’t. I know this is a mainly rural seat, but it really would send a terrible sign if they don’t run a candidate.

    It’s my belief that the ALP are travelling better in SA than the recent newspoll/advertiser polls have showed. I have evidence from a government minister that Labor’s vote is holding up much better in the city than the country – which sounds reasonable based on the Sunday Mail polls. So – whilst its extremely unlikely Labor can win Frome, keeping the margin below about 6 or 7% would represent a decent effort, in my opinion. In contrast, the Mayo by-election decision not to run a candidate was tactically the correct decision by the ALP – borne out by the close result.

  • 2
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Why would they bother, though? Maybe they might do well, but it’s very rare that governments run in by-elections in opposition seats.

  • 3
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I just think it gives the opposition a free-kick and plenty of unmerited publicity. The Advertiser would have a field day as well – I can just see it – “Rann wimps out of contest” etc.

  • 4
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I just think it gives the opposition a free-kick and plenty of unmerited publicity.

    So does a big by-election swing. Labor can’t win either way – at least by not running they save some money.

  • 5
    Swing Lowe
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    If the Libs are struggling in SA, it would prob be better if Labor didn’t run a candidate and let a local independent or the Greens have a real shot at the seat.

    If Labor stands, there will almost certainly be a swing away from the government – which is manna from heaven for a state opposition…

  • 6
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    All of your points seem reasonable – I guess I’m just a stand and fight kind of guy :-)

  • 7
    Max
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering if this will open the floodgates at all?

    There’s a few state Libs who have announced (or implied) that they are retiring next election. Why not all go now and get some new faces in? Looks a lot better to run a campaign where a potential cabinet has already had some experience in Parliament. Gives MHS some more room to wiggle as well in terms of issuing portfolios.

    Just a thought. If they’re going to go, now is about the last opportunity before the election.

    I agree William that Labor will lose either way here… however the question is what would be worse; getting a flogging in a by-election or having to put up with 20-30 days of negative coverage (especially from the Tiser) about how scared the government is, how much they are on the slide, how pathetic it is they can’t find one suitable candidate, how its an affront to democracy… etc etc. Because thats what will happen, and Rann can’t hide behind the ‘safe Liberal seat’ argument like he could for Mayo. 3.4% is clearly not safe (on paper). A flogging isn’t also necessarily all negative; it gives Rann the chance to bleat on about how he needs tto work harder etc, and might give him the prime excuse for a cabinet reshuffle.

    Hard call. But I’m tipping them to run a candidate.

  • 8
    bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that it is held by the Libs on only 3.4%, thanks to the record statewide Labor vote in 2006, previously held in a double digits figure. Any swing to the Libs would see them scream out that it spells the end of the Rann Labor government, when clearly that is not happening, as the swings are only occurring in rural areas, with city areas more or less polling at unchanged levels from the 2006 election.

    Labor would be wise to stay out of this by-election.

  • 9
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Rob Kerin’s personal vote is often mentioned in despatches as being quite high – so I wonder what role that has in all of this? The punters won’t neccessarily be happy about having to trot off to a by-election either …

  • 10
    bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    The cynic in me says the Liberals got Kerin to do it, as he was already retiring at the next election, but needed some media oxygen such as a by-election in a rural seat in an attempt to throw some mud on Rann Labor.

  • 11
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I note Greg Kelton of The Advertiser reported the following on July 23:

    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.

    Perhaps I’m underestimating the desire of locals to vent their fury about country health services, but this strikes me as foolish in the extreme. Nothing more has been heard of the idea since.

  • 12
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    There might be something in it William – the government has just released its “new” draft country health plan this week …

    http://www.ministers.sa.gov.au/news.php?id=3901

  • 13
    Paul Nash
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Thats interesting particularly the seat of Flinders which was once a National Party stronghold. So the Liberals would be scared of facing the Nationals in that seat than Labor.

  • 14
    bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Hah! I knew it!

  • 15
    Swing Lowe
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    If this is a concerted tactic by the Libs, it has to rank as one of the dumber ideas I’ve seen.

    All Labor has to do is not stand in the by-elections – which makes perfect sense if the by-elections are in Frome and Flinders. The Libs almost certainly will lose votes to either the Nats (who caucus with Labor) or an independent. It’s an almost certain lose-lose for the Libs – unless Labor is silly enough to run a candidate in those seats…

  • 16
    MDMConnell
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Strange seats to choose, too. Stuart was only held due to Gunn’s high personal vote, so Labor would have a good chance of keeping the swing down, even winning. This would be hugely embarrassing for the Liberals.
    Eyre is such a safe seat that no significance would be read into the results.

  • 17
    bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Labor got 56.8% of the 2pp vote at the 2006 election. All electorate margins will be skewed toward Labor. I think its a stretch to say Stuart was ONLY retained by Gunn’s personal vote.

  • 18
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Duncan cleared:

    Former federal government minister Peter Duncan has been cleared of an allegation he lied while applying for a $1 million government grant.

    In the South Australian District Court, Duncan, 63, was found not guilty on two counts of making an untrue statement in relation to an application to the commonwealth and one of dishonestly intending to obtain a gain from the commonwealth.

    http://news.smh.com.au/national/exmp-duncan-not-guilty-in-fraud-case-20081111-5mcs.html

  • 19
    MDMConnell
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I mean Flinders, not Eyre, of course…….

  • 20
    MDMConnell
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    #17

    But Stuart was very marginal going into the election, and only swung 2% or so when the rest of the state went strongly to Labor. His personal vote certainly seems to be a big factor.

  • 21
    Diogenes
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Rann would have to be nuts to run a candidate in Frome. The Libs would turn it into a referendum on the grossly incompetently handled Country Health cost cutting scheme. If there is one Minister who doesn’t need any more “face time” it’s John Hill. The less Health publicity for SA Labor, the better.

  • 22
    Brenton
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased that Peter Duncan has been cleared of any wrongdoing. I will always be grateful to Peter Duncan who was a great and progressive Attorney General of South Australia. Unlike the shocker we have now!!!!
    In regard to Rob Kerin. a nice guy for a Liberal! Enjoy that extra leaning on the bar time, Rob!

  • 23
    Diogenes
    Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    As it turns out, Labor has already preselected a candidate for Frome. I can’t imagine having preselected someone for the 2010 election that Labor could turn around and saying we may have all these ideas but we’ll wait for 2010 before letting voters choose us. They only need a 3.4% swing. Looks like game on.

    Labor candidate for Frome John Rohde is ready to fight for the issues affecting voters.

    Mr Rohde, a postal worker, recently won preselection for the seat for the next State election in 2010.

    http://portpirie.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/im-ready-to-fight-says-veteran-labor-contender/1347724.aspx

    Brenton

    I saw our AG at the Pageant on Saturday. What did we do to deserve him :?:

  • 24
    bob1234
    Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    “Looks like game on.”

    Just because they’ve preselected the 2010 candidate, doesn’t mean they’ll field one in the upcoming by-election.

    And I hope they don’t.

  • 25
    Max
    Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    No, but it does make it that little bit harder for Rann to wiggle out of the by-election & justify that to the public.

    Mind you having said that, if he announces quietly today that Labor won’t field a candidate it will get buried in the news thanks to the soccer final tonight (go you reds!!!) which will be the top story tomorrow. So keep one eye open.

    I still don’t think they’ll bail, but we’ll see in the next week or so I guess.

  • 26
    Al
    Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    God, don’t get me started on Atkinson. I’m fairly appreciative of the current government as their policies are working to reverse a lot of the infrastructure failures we’ve had from past Liberal and Labor governments (I work in infrastructure), but I could never bring myself to vote for him. I’ve been thinking of moving to Hindmarsh and getting the added bonus of voting against him.

  • 27
    Bright Ideas
    Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    All very interesting. The idea of a super Saturday probably won’t happen. Graham Gunn has been MP for Stuart for 40-odd years (currently the longest serving MP in Australia I think) and loves the job. The Libs held that seat PURELY on his personal vote at the last election, given a 1.2% swing (or thereabouts) against them in Stuart compared to a 8% swing in country SA at large. If you’ve been around for 40 years (and never made it to Cabinet … though he was briefly speaker) you’ve had time to cultivate a personal following!

    The main issue for Labor here is the recently released country health plan. It was initially released in July/August, but received such huge uproar that it was scrapped and re-written/re-released last week. The crux of this plan is the development of new hospitals in the state’s handful of major regional centres and the downgrading of the multitude of small hospitals that are to be found in country towns all over the place. The electorates of Flinders, Stuart and Frome will be affected more so than any others given their multitude of small towns and small hospitals. While the plan would have seen the creation of some first class hospital facilities, it would have been at the expense of small, localised services (hence the local outrage). I’m unaware of the finer detail of the re-released plan, but it was slated in the Advertiser as ‘a nonsense’. Given that SA Labor’s vote appears to have collapsed in the country (borne out in polls that put the parties at 50:50 statewide, but marginal seat polls show Labor is ahead in city marginals) they’ve got no chance in these seats … though I agree heartily with Diogenes (@21) that the party could not possibly justify not running a candidate in Frome given that they have already preselected one!

  • 28
    bob1234
    Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    “No, but it does make it that little bit harder for Rann to wiggle out of the by-election & justify that to the public.”

    I really don’t see how it makes a difference. All electorates, state and federal, are challenged by Labor at a general election. This by-election is for a rural seat, an opposition seat, held by 11% in 2002, and 3.4% in 2006.

    It’ll play out like Gippsland if you ask me. Rural seats mean nothing, SA elections are decided in the metro, Labor would have more to lose contesting it than not contesting it.

  • 29
    Max
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    An article I’ve just realised isn’t online, so thought I’d share with you all. Page 17 of yesterdays (being the 12th) Advertiser, last paragraph:

    (Premier Mike Rann) said Labor was likely to contest the by-election. Labor’s candidate is likely to be John Rohde who ran for the seat at the last election.

    But we’ll see. The Tiser has jumped the gun before.

  • 30
    Geoff Robinson
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Funny things can happen in rural by-elections. Remember how Bob Carr won Clarence in 1996 from the Nats at a time when his govt was making a very rocky start. Still it is quite a different political environment.

  • 31
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Legislative Assembly Speaker Jack Snelling has set January 17 as the date for the by-election. This has displeased the Liberals, who wished for it to be held on December 13. The ABC report confirms that John Rohde will contest the seat for Labor.

  • 32
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Labor made a mistake in standing a candidate in a rural seat in a by-election, which is where the swings away from 2006 levels are contained to. It’ll play out like Gippsland, the electorate will swing away while swinging seats are still sticking with the government.

  • 33
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Will Frome be contested on the 2006 or the 2010 boundaries?

  • 34
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    bob – I’m not aware of any boundary changes regarding Frome but I’m happy for someone to correct me!

  • 35
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Boundaries must be re-drawn after every election, it is compulsory.

    http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/news/?sectionID=106

    2006 boundaries – http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/news/map.php?image=2006%2Felectorate417.gif

    2010 boundaries – http://www.seo.sa.gov.au/apps/uploadedFiles/news/433/Frome.pdf

  • 36
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    By-elections are always held under the old boundaries. Otherwise you would get some areas with two representatives and others with none. South Australia uniquely has a redistribution after election – because they happen so frequently, they tend to be very incremental. On this occasion, Frome has received 725 new voters in Goyder (“Part of the Barunga West Council area incorporating the localities of Alford, Bute and Ward Hill, part of the locality of Tickera and the remainder of the localities of Port Broughton, Wokurna and Mundoora.”) Read all about the redistribution here.

  • 37
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks William.

  • 38
    bob1234
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    William – i’ve just re-read your writeup, and note that Rohde wasn’t just running in 2006. He ran in 2002, and perhaps earlier. It might be worth changing, as it could play for Labor as some sort of ‘candidate incumbency’ factor.

  • 39
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bob, I’ve added 2002.

  • 40
    Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Harry Woods won Clarence, it had very little to do with Carr.

  • 41
    Max
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    God, when was the last time an election was held so early in the year?

    Not particularly surprised this is the day Rann (uh sorry, the speaker of the house) picked. People are much less likely to feel antagonistic towards the incumbent in January then they are in December when the Tiser is breathing down everybody’s neck. Hot 36 degree day, people are going to be particularly cranky they have to vote when the cricket is on and they should be inside with their air conditioning on. And who is to blame for this? Lots of interesting factors at play here. Labor might, just might do better than expected.

    The more I think about it the more I think the timing is very odd. Unless Kerin didn’t care about timing and just decided he’d like to spend Christmas enjoying himself. Who knows?

  • 42
    Max
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    *incumbent government I should clarify

  • 43
    Diogenes
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Max

    The down side of a January election for Rann is that the hotter weather will have killed off moer gardens, with voters vainly pottering around handwatering. That will help remind the voters what Rann has achieved for Water in SA.

  • 44
    bob1234
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes, damn the Labor Party for not being able to make it rain!

  • 45
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The reason SA has no water, apart from the drought, is that more than 60% of all the water consumed in Australia is used for irrigation, and about half it is used to grow rice and cotton in the Riverina – a vast National Party rort of the taxpayer dating back decades. If the Riverina was turned back into grazing land there’d be plenty of water for everyone, even with the drought.

  • 46
    Diogenes
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    The Labor Party (and the Libs before them) have never had a well-thought out plan for water in SA. Their plan has always been to pray it continues raining, spend nothing on infrastructure and spent lots on advertising that they are looking into the water problem. It’s Media Mike 101.

    There are plenty of countries and states with much worse water problems but their governments have actually addressed the problems with storm-water capture, changes in irrigation practices, buying back water licenses and desal plants. The SA Government’s only response is “We can’t make it rain”. Actually, it has been raining quite a bit. Many areas of SA have close to average rainfall. Rann pretends we are in the “worst drought ever”. As usual, it’s all spin and no substance.

  • 47
    bob1234
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    So, if it’s always been the same from all governments in SA, which government is the one to start “storm-water capture, changes in irrigation practices, buying back water licenses and desal plants”?

    Why, it’s the current Labor government!

  • 48
    Diogenes
    Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    bob

    The storm-water capture initiatives have been almost exclusively initiatives of local councils, not the state government. Irrigation changes were almost all brought in by the irrigators themselves without state help. License buy back has been pitifully slow and token. And I can’t see the desal plant.

  • 49
    bob1234
    Posted Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    The desal plant is coming.

    Which is further than any previous government has got.

  • 50
    Posted Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Christopher Pearson in The Australian:

    The rural electorate of Frome has an industrial end, the city of Port Pirie, where Nyrstar’s mainland lead and zinc-smelting operation is based. Either directly or by way of contractors, the smelter accounts for about 800 jobs and another 600 flow-on jobs. Without them, the city would have no economic reason to exist. Its present unemployment rate is 6.2 per cent. If the plant were to close, it’s estimated the rate would nearly double. On Wednesday, Nyrstar announced it was considering shutting down Pirie’s smelter and its zinc operation in Hobart. Under the eligibility formula in the Rudd Government’s green paper on emissions, Nyrstar is not eligible for assistance as an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry. The prospect of a $40 per tonne carbon price, envisaged in Treasury modelling, would drive smelting operations offshore …

    On Tuesday there was some doubt over whether Labor would field a candidate at the by-election, despite Kerin’s margin being a low 3.4 per cent. South Australia’s new Country Health Plan has been very poorly received and the Government had resigned itself to a rebuff in a pre-Christmas poll. By Thursday evening, SA Labor had decided to deprive the Liberals of an easy win by postponing the vote until January 17 and running a campaign on the theme of Premier Mike Rann standing up to Canberra and fighting for local jobs. SA Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith had been expecting a December 13 poll. At first he complained about the delay, which will keep the under-resourced Liberals on a war footing throughout the festive season. However, he seems to have warmed to the task in the wake of reports that the launch of Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s white paper had suddenly been delayed. Federally, the Coalition welcomes the campaign as a mini-referendum on the design and timing of the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme.

Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...