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There's No "I" in "team", and no "You" in Labor
Richard Tonkin is a regular Webdiarist from the fair town of Adelaide. here is his take on tomorrow's South Australian election. If anyone wants to send us an article on the Tasmanian state politics today or tomorrow it would be appreciated, otherwise feel free to use this thread to comment on the Tassie election as well.
by Richard Tonkin
With St Patrick's Day falling on the eve of the South Australian election, I'm having a think before I go for a drink, and I'm thinking that this election campaign has turned into the worst kind of Irish joke.
The "bread and circuses" environment created by the combination of the Festival of Arts, the Fringe, WOMAD, the Adelaide Cup (moved for the first time into this month) have contributed to a city-wide mild sense of euphoria that has dulled the population to the action, or lack thereof, in SA's political arena.
Hell, the Liberals only started advertising on the telly this week. Did they believe that blitzing the Sunday night movies and The Simpsons was going to reverse the effect of Labor's incessant media campaign? The media preview of the ad even misspelled Labour with a "U". Do they really want to win?
The South Australian Democrats are back in 1972, when the DLP campaign running with the slogan "Get Mac back and make 'em honest" resulted in the demise of the party. Today we see posters of leader Sandra Kanck emblazed with the slogan "Still Keeping The Bastards Honest" This isn't going to influence the local political psyche into a parliamentary overthrow. Do they really want to win?
Back to Labor. Premier Rann's brilliant use of the Government Purse has given him a budget far beyond those of other parties. By calling the election on the day before the deadline he was able to utilise the public coffers through pro-Government ads. When you consider that the Rober Gerard fiasco left the Libs without their usual propoganda bankroller, he's had a huge advantage. The Democrats, with a handful of seated politicians are battling to be heard. The Greens,with not one seated member. don't seem to have two five cent pieces to rub together.
All the non-Government parties would have done well to appoint independant MLC Nick Xenophon as a media advisor. He's filmed puppets in front bars, driven toy cars, stood in front of Parliament House talking to anyone passing by, and put himself in the public eye. Having entered SA politics on the now-obsolete single-issue platform of "No Pokies' he's tipped to do something that one of his kind rarely achieves- a second eight-year spot in the Upper House.
Democrat MLC Kate Reyolds had a go, using cardboard cut-outs in a visual portrayal of what she believed the Legislative Council could become. It was shown on television, but followed by vision of the stunt she'd copied, carried out by Opposition Leader Mike Rann a while back. As a last media appearance before polling day, it's not a good one.
Funnily enough, Family First's media management has been pretty effective, with claims that the major parties were copying their policies penetrating the daily pages of festivities much more effectively than the Greens' ploy of claiming that THEY are the party that Jesus would have voted for.
In the meantime SA's uranium mine has been tripled in size, as has the warship precinct, and Halliburton's tactical approach to consulation and tendering (along with Rann-appointed board positions) gives them a stranglehold on local employment. Nobody knows who's going to fill the jobs being created (population expansion? and a visit to a hospital emergency room takes most people many hours.
In the middle of this I'm beginning to question the possible motive for a planned Liberal election failure. The use of Family First to wipe out the minor parties and become a feasible coalition partner in 2010, perhaps? The upcoming increase in global war theatres that the Bush administration hopes to use to control a century of "democracy?" is another possibilty... who'd want to be seen "holding the reins" when that particular program kicks in? The Federal assistants of Australia's support of Bush are retiring at a rate of knots, and I could imagine emulation of this tactic at state level would be a desirable approach.
Perhaps, and this I believe as most likely, a combination of the two above ideas could make a bloody good reason to sit on the sidelines. However here could be something about to happen that we, and the Libs, don't want to know about. This possibility is also something to consider.
If you think I'm going to have a hangover on Saturday, it's nothing like the one that South Australia will have on Monday. You know the kind where you wake up thinking "Um, I probably shouldn't have done what I did" ?
Anyhow, I'll see you later, after the "Rannslide".