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The Independent Weekly
March 19 - 25, 2010
The Independent Weekly is a South Australian owned and operated newspaper, taking an independent view of local news, issues, business, sport and culture for all South Australians.
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Publication Date: March 19, 2010. Recommended and maximum price only.
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The campaign is almost over. Today
the major and minor parties make
their last pitch for votes. Electoral
Commission staff have their rolls and
boxes in place, with volunteers assigned
at major and minor booths to distribute
All that s left now is your mark on the
ballot paper -- and the count.
"Keep South Australia moving
ahead," urges the ALP in its campaign
theme. "Mike Rann and Labor," says its
logo. "Redmond is ready," promise the
But the theme of this campaign has
not been as simple as sloganeering.
From the beginning the theme has been
about trust, and no more so than this
week when Premier Mike Rann claimed
to have made a deal with NSW Premier
Kristina Keneally and Queensland
Premier Anna Bligh for 400 gigalitres of
water down the Murray.
Water is, after trust, one of the
central issues in the South Australian
election. Other States have rivers other
than the Murray-Darling, but only
South Australia has only the Murray.
The river is its life. Adelaide drinks
and washes in it, Riverland irrigators
survive on it, and the Lower Lakes and
the Coorong are dying because of the
lack of it. So a Premier who can claim to
having made a deal with other States for
a share of the floodwaters now making
their way down the Darling is good
news electorally for Labor in the final
week of the campaign.
Yet there is no written agreement
between the Premiers, and there never
was. The Premier s departmental
chief executive Chris Eccles says, in
an email released by the Liberals, that
it s inaccurate to call it a deal. There
were, in fact, ongoing negotiations.
The Premier of Queensland simply
admitted to "a number of discussions";
the NSW Premier said the same.
Within 24 hours after making the
claim, Mr Rann was reduced to calling it
"an agreement" that water entitlements
will be met.
The Premier s media and campaign
team may no longer be wondering quite
so wonderingly why there s been a
growing suspicion over the past term
that the Premier s rhetoric is no longer
quite as credible as it once was.
And how credible is the Opposition?
Not at all, says Labor, citing costing
concerns over the rebuilding of
Royal Adelaide Hospital, the health
and financial risks of the Liberal s
stormwater policies and the final bill for
a covered inner-city sports stadium.
And the Liberal s campaign wasn t
helped this week when prominent
Liberal front-bencher and previous
leadership contender Vickie Chapman
refused to say straight-out she wouldn t
challenge Isobel Redmond after the
election. Luckily for the Opposition, she
issued a statement pledging her leader
every loyalty before the cock crowed
And what of the Labor leadership
after the election? Mike Rann this week
promised to stay on as the member for
Ramsay post-March 20, whatever the
result, but then said that the position of
party leader was "up to Caucus".
Even if it holds government Labor
will lose seats this election. How
long, asked radio talk-back and news
reporters this week, before Mike
Rann loses the support of the faction
leaders and feels that dreaded tap on
the shoulder? Or will he be tempted by
a diplomatic posting or a board position
with a defence company? He s got good
Mr Rann has had to deny over the
past few days that he s seeking to
replace Howard-appointed former SA
Liberal Senator Amanda Vanstone as
Australian ambassador to Italy. He said
that his wife has a cottage in Italy but
that it s boarded up and South Australia
"This gutter stuff from
Labor requires decent
leadership to intervene
unacceptable. It demeans
every voter s right to be
fairly informed." -- Greens
senator Bob Brown on ALP law
and order advertisements
"This is a blatant political
stunt. These ads cross the
line of decency." -- Uniting
Church SA Moderator Rev Rod
Dyson, on Labor's "tough on
"Unemployment in South
Australia is the lowest in
the Commonwealth." -- Tom
Playford, when he was Liberal
"It has been left to the
Greens, Democrats and
Bob Such to push electoral
reform." -- Deane Crabb,
SA Electoral Reform Society
"Hoon drivers who tear
up parks and gardens
may be handed a spade
and told to fix the
damage." -- Premier Mike
Rann, promising that people in
cars who destroy garden beds
may wake up and smell the
"We are fighting in the
next five days to make sure
we have an opportunity
for a Liberal Government.
I have always said that is
the absolute priority for
myself and colleagues." --
Liberal Vickie Chapman, asked
twice on Monday if she would
rule out a leadership challenge
against Isobel Redmond
"Isobel Redmond has my
full support as leader of
the Liberal Party." -- Ms
"If there is a hung
parliament my position is
clear: Hands off Adelaide
Oval." -- Kris Hanna,
Independent candidate and MP
"Senior Labor Party
sources have confirmed
that Mr Rann won t be
safe as leader if Labor
loses Saturday s election."
-- Shadow finance minister Rob
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