Home' InDaily : April 9th 2010 Contents news www.independentweekly.com.au
5The Independent Weekly
April 9 - 15, 2010
Well, that was one result. The
other was Redmond s reaction.
It s difficult to find a single word
to describe it. Fury would come
close. Rage could be apt, as in a
raging volcano. Some of those
close to her say they saw a side
the public has never seen in the
nine months of her leadership.
She slammed her glass down, they
said, with such fury it sprayed
on the desk and that she went to
her office in a rage. One claims he
heard her threaten resignation,
another that she said she d force
a second spill -- presumably this
time it wouldn t be a glass of
water. For almost two hours she
refused to speak with the media or
leave her fortified keep.
While Martin Hamilton-Smith
had a quiet little drink, the new
deputy leader of the opposition
in the House of Assembly went
downstairs with some of the new
Liberal MPs to welcome them
home to the House. What a day
they had had.
But as the clock dragged,
Hamilton-Smith excused himself
from the group. He searched
out Redmond to suggest that
perhaps it was time to go into the
parliamentary courtyard and
greet the press, as civilised people
do. Which she did, with the good
grace of an orca greeting a seal.
"I am not prepared to discuss
what happens within the party
room," Redmond said icily when
asked if she d "hit the roof".
Frankly and bluntly, she said
Hamilton-Smith was not her first
choice as deputy. That he was
her last choice as deputy was left
But she promised, twice, on
camera, that she would abide by
the wishes of the party room. At
that moment, Redmond violated
her reputation as a person who
tells the truth.
astonished in the background,
described Redmond as a
"sensation" and pledged his
"complete and total support".
"You will see no challenge
for the leadership from Martin
Hamilton-Smith over the next
four years," he promised.
The contrast could not be
And the press conference
finished. Back to their respective
offices they trotted. They did not
exchange another angry word,
because there were no more
Redmond will go down in
history as a leader who never
spoke to her deputy. Not once,
during the deputy s entire term.
"I tried to ring her," Hamilton-
Smith said later. "I texted her.
There was no reply. She didn t
speak to me again."
But Redmond was far from
mute. It was back to conversations
with Evans, Ridgeway and
Williams. Taxpayers will get a
hefty bill when Redmond s mobile
phone account comes in. She
flew to Sydney ostensibly for a
holiday and a break, but the break
she wanted was every bone in
Hamilton-Smith s body.
"I m having some farm
therapy," said Williams from
his Mt Burr farm on Monday
afternoon. "I m crushing sheep."
But between sheep, he and
Redmond were in constant
conversation. "I m dedicated to
the party, to the leader," he told
her. "I can work well with them
(the factions). "I can bring them
together. I can perform on their
(Labor s) level in the House
as well as anybody else going
Far away, off the Fleurieu
Peninsula, Kangaroo Island was
enjoying exceptional Easter
weather and Michael Pengilly was
enjoying Kangaroo Island. He was
on his farm near Emu Bay when
the phone rang. It was Mitch
Williams calling to tell him what
Redmond was hatching in the
shadow of the Opera House, and
to ask for Pengilly s support. The
first time Pengilly heard of the
second leadership spill was when
he was asked to back one of the
"I told him it was stupid,"
Pengilly said yesterday. "I said
they were all mad." Pengilly
then texted Redmond, and when
she rang back from Sydney on
Saturday he offered her the same
"There was a certain religious
significance to be plotting
someone s overthrow on Easter
Friday," Pengilly later laughed.
That was the last time they
spoke. She secretly started
planning to dump him from the
shadow ministry, and Pengilly
says they ve not spoken to each
other since that call.
Meanwhile, still in Sydney,
Redmond spoke to senior and
junior MPs, including the
feuding camps. And poor old
Ivan Venning, that almost
harmless character who holds the
incongruous position of party
Whip, had five signatures on a
piece of paper because Redmond
hadn t stopped making mistakes
Under Liberal rules, any
five members can call for the
leadership positions to be
declared vacant, and Evans had
easily that number on his side
-- if not for himself, then for his
faction. Soon enough Redmond
had the letter with the required
five signatures calling for another
In Adelaide, Hamilton-Smith
busied himself as deputy. His
parliamentary website, updated
to reflect his new role, is still there
today - or at least it was yesterday.
"Martin Hamilton-Smith, deputy
leader" it says. Oh, those were the
days! Then on Thursday he issued
a media release based on that
day s ABS data over a claimed 23
per cent decline in goods exports,
and saying full-time employment
had gone down every month for
the past seven months. But it was
his own job in double jeopardy.
The Evans faction stitched up
a deal, and stitched up Hamilton-
Smith. Together with Redmond
it was decided that Evans would
withdraw from the second
contest. Mitch would stand in his
place, as it were. Of course, Mitch
was quite prepared to sacrifice
himself for the cause and become
deputy leader. That s the kind of
guy he is.
justifiably did not re-contest.
The depth of his antipathy is as
deep as the devil s blue sea. "It
is beneath my dignity to stand,"
he said. "The Liberal Party
over the past week has been
unprofessional and lacking a
sense of decency."
And with Hamilton-Smith out,
that left just one man standing.
The last green bottle, Mitch
"I ve just got off the phone to
Martin," Williams said to The
Independent Weekly on Monday
night. "He s just told me he s not
going to stand. I m going to ring
So on Tuesday morning, 13 of
the eligible 18 Liberal MPs met at
Parliament House to once again
select a deputy leader. All five
absentees sent a proxy, perhaps
declining to fight over carrion.
Two of them, Vickie Chapman
and Michael Pengilly, were on
Kangaroo Island. Hamilton-Smith
deigned not to attend. Another
was delayed by flooding from a
freak rainstorm which lashed the
city as MPs were making their
way to parliament.
There was not even a vote.
Williams had the job. Within 10
minutes he and Redmond were
together at the lectern, facing the
"I am determined that any
government led by me and any
opposition led by me in the
meantime will not be a factional-
based opposition," Ms Redmond
said after the vote. She may as
well try to turn back a locust
plague with a flyswatter.
"Clearly in the Labor Party
they have very defined factions
and we have already talked about
the need for us to actually come to
the conclusion about whether we
then do what Labor does and have
defined factions, or simply have
no factions which would be my
preference," she said.
Labor is ecstatic. The scandal
over its dodgy how-to-vote fraud,
revealed hours after the polls
closed, is almost forgotten. The
fight for Labor s own deputy
leadership just weeks ago is
ancient history in voters minds.
If good government needs a good
opposition, there is a persuasive
argument that South Australia
now lacks both.
"I d have to concede that over
the past couple of weeks we ve
lost some of the momentum
that was certainly going our
way," Redmond added with
Hamilton-Smith sat with a cup
of coffee outside his electorate on
Tuesday afternoon after the TV
crews had left. "I could have stood
again," he said underneath the
spreading jacarandas. "I could
have shown Izzy the depth of
discontent. I promised her loyalty
and I got none. She claims she
can t trust me," he harrumphs,
"but when I was leader it was
her manoeuvring to take my job.
A deputy needs to back up the
leader, not be his or her rival.
You don t make a tilt at leader
of a political party while you re
somebody s deputy."
Redmond has not quelled
the fire -- she has stoked it. The
Hatfields have installed if not
their first choice, then at least
their second. The McCoys are
bruised and bloody, but mainly
And is it a coincidence that
these factional leaders and their
clans -- Redmond, Chapman
and Evans -- are all folk from
the Adelaide Hills, the South
The Hatfields and McCoys
From Page 3
Martin Hamilton-Smith: "And she didn't speak to me again."
Photo: Stephen Gray
Links Archive April 8th 2010 April 12th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page