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December 18 - January 7, 2010
The Independent Weekly
OLD MAN RIVER
We could write the obituary
of the River Murray
on New Year s Eve
and its eulogy on New Year s
Day. Australia s -- and South
Australia s -- treatment of the
Murray is an international
scandal. In a single generation
we ve allowed the death of the
Riverland, of the river s once-
were-wetlands and tributaries. We
mourn red gum forests thirsting,
fish, birds and lakes turning to
In 2010, not a single premier,
prime minister or water minister
will take the blame. If only they
were musical instruments we
could drown the buggers out.
THE BELL POLLS
South Australians will vote for
a new Parliament on March 20.
Onomancy reveals that the Rann
Government will be returned
with a reduced majority -- it
will win the war for SA s hearts
and minds with few battle-field
Labor will lose the seat of Mt
Gambier, now held by nominal
Independent Rory McEwen.
McEwen served with indistinc-
tion in Rann s Labor Cabinet and
voted with Labor on the floor of
the House. In the body politic,
his reward will be an unmarked
Labor will lose or come very
close to losing Chaffey, currently
held by the nominal National
Party s Karlene Maywald, who
was mentioned in dispatches in
Rann s Labor Cabinet and who
stopped the Premier sinking
down to his Wellies in the Battle
of Wellington Weir. She will get an
honourable discharge with a TPI
Many Labor backbenchers will
be glad to be rid of them both.
But the swinging pendulum
tells us the ALP may take two hits
on its own troops: Vini Ciccarello
in Norwood and Leon Bignell in
Mawson. Ciccarello will be missed
as much as an ingrown hair.
Bignell, campaigning effectively
for the past four years, has a
better chance of defeating Liberal
than Ciccarello does in Don
Dunstan s old seat."You never
know anything for sure," said
the affable and optimistic Bignell
yesterday, "but I don t think it ll
be as close as last time."
better than it
will 2010 bring?
on the issues
that count and
those that like to
In 2006, Bignell won with a 2.5 per
cent margin. This time he thinks
he will double that. The polls don t
suggest he s in any danger. We re not
If Labor wins any new seats it will
be Mitchell, held by the ex-Labor,
ex-Green Kris Hanna. Hanna is
a perpetual irritant to the Rann
Government. Labor would like to
strip Hanna of his insignia, but
history will record his valour in the
face of unfriendly fire.
There are still a few left alive
in Labor s Left-wing, but these
days it s a flightless bird. Those
who care about Port Adelaide and
Cheltenham s desecration will wheel
out and support independent candi-
dates more in line with traditional
Labor values to take on Foley and
Weatherill, and the upstarts will
lose. The ALP Right will be in the
ascendancy through 2010 to an extent
that it will be indistinguishable from
the Liberal Right.
Rann will still want to abolish the
Upper House in 2010, but he promised
us a referendum to do just that and
failed to deliver. Clairvoyance says
Labor will fail to gain control of the
There are 11 red leather seats
vacant in this game of musical
chairs. The major parties will take
the hyenas share and of the rest, the
Greens will win one and possibly two,
and Family First one or possibly nil.
Democrat deserter David
Winderlich will be offered a blindfold
and then deservedly shot for treason.
The state election will be a fight
of style, not substance. Policy issues
will be subsumed by an avalanche of
cliché-ridden advertising. That s a
prediction guaranteed to come true.
Most pundits believe the Federal
election will be held in September
or October. Psephologist Malcolm
Mackerras thinks August and The
Independent Weekly agrees.
There s more! Necromancy
suggests Kevin Rudd will be tempted
to call a double dissolution election.
In the House of Representatives
there will be few changes.
Christopher Pyne s enemies know
it s no use voting against him in
Sturt -- they ve tried before and he s
still risen from the dead, or perhaps
The year is dead,
long live the year!
An artificial dam built across the Lower Lakes compounds years of callous indifference by state and federal governments.
he s a member of the living dead and
nobody s noticed.
By the movements of celestial
bodies we can tell you that the seat
of Boothby, now held by Andrew
Southcott, will be tight. Southcott
won last time because of Kevin
Foley s infatuation with the utterly
hapless Nicole Cornes, which helped
her nomination as Labor s 2007
candidate. It won t be as easy this
The big surprise will be Nick
Xenophon s result. Last election
Xenophon got 14.8 per cent. This time
he s not up for re-election unless
there s a double dissolution, in which
case his name on the ballot paper
could pull a running mate over the
line as well.
Xenophon is on medical leave with
a bad back and won t be back until the
end of January. He s understood to be
interviewing prospective candidates
for the job.
Pack your Geiger counter -- geo-
mancy, predictions made by reading
scratches in the ground or the way
sand thrown in the air lands back,
says the uranium debate will keep
And the catalyst is the global
warming scare. Dr Ziggy Switkowski,
who heads the Australian
Nuclear Science and Technology
Organisation, says nuclear power
has to be considered if Australia is
to meet its carbon reduction targets,
and the professor of climate change
at Adelaide University, Barry Brook,
Tony Abbott was asked about
nuclear power within his first week
as Liberal leader. "I m not saying
I d never push it. It depends on the
circumstances. But I m not pushing it
now," he replied.
Abbott was a minister in the
Howard Government when it
canvassed several sites, including
SA s Iron Triangle, for a nuclear
power station. SA Premier Mike
Rann maintains his public opposition
to a nuclear plant in SA although
he encourages the expansion of
uranium mining for export.
SA s position hasn t always been
this negative. In the 1960 s it wanted
a nuclear power station at Port
Augusta, in 1969 the SA government
formally proposed a nuclear power
plant here to export electricity
to Victoria, and in 1976 the State
Government told a federal inquiry
that nuclear power appeared inevita-
ble for the State, perhaps by 2000.
Continued Page 6
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