Home' InDaily : June 18th 2010 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
9The Independent Weekly
June 18 - 24, 2010
state politics Tom Richardson
'It s $450 million -- and not a
penny more." -- Mike Rann, on
Adelaide Oval upgrade, April
"So here we go again, I ll make
this very, very clear ... we ve
announced the figure of $535
million, there ll be not one cent
spent more than that!" -- Mike
Rann, on Adelaide Oval upgrade,
June 16, 2010.
And politicians wonder why
people simply don t trust them.
Today is the day we get our first
look at the Stadium Management
Authority s revised plan for
Adelaide Oval, in an event already
destined to be a PR debacle.
This project has been fraught
from the outset, even though the
Government kept its looming
problems conveniently under wraps
until it had secured an unlikely
But even before Kevin Foley had
his epiphany, remembering that he
had been told before the poll that
the stadium cost would blow out,
this project had become a looming
liability for Labor.
It had already gotten many of
the state s voters offside, voters
who trusted the Government s spin
about financial competence (even
after eight years which suggested
they should know better). It has
gotten key stakeholders offside
through months, even years, of
First there was money on the
table to upgrade AAMI Stadium,
then there wasn t, then there was
money for Adelaide Oval -- but no
more than $450 million, then ...
well, you get the idea!
Today, no doubt, the SMA s PR
campaign will manage to get the
vast majority of the Adelaide media
offside by adhering to the tried and
true damage control strategy of
giving the first bite of the cherry to
our friends over at News Ltd. Why
people still think this is sensible
media management befuddles me.
Sure, you may garner some brownie
points (and get more favourable
coverage) from the 'Tiser, but you re
guaranteed to put the noses of 90
per cent of the city s reporters out
of joint. And surely this project is
in desperate need of some goodwill,
rather than one morning s (rela-
tively) glowing coverage followed by
several months more of cynicism
To be fair, the SMA s publicity
campaign has been orchestrated
by PR firm Michels Warren, rather
than the Government s media unit,
and I understand Government
insiders were enraged when they
learned of this morning s drop to
But, of course, we shouldn t be
surprised. This was, after all, the
modus operandi of selling this
stadium from the outset: muddy
the waters, leak a little bit of
information here and a little there,
go for the big media sell and worry
about the costings and specifics
later. Subtly imply that the Federal
Government is all on board with a
$100 million funding commitment,
when in reality no such money was
ever promised. Was it even asked
for? We don t know.
Then, of course, once the true
extent of the folly and chicanery
is revealed, the Deputy Premier
disappears magically from view.
The Premier, conveniently on a
work s outing overseas, apparently
refuses to publicly air any view
that isn t in "Tweet" form, and
a quick scour of his Twitter site
suggests he was always unlikely
to use the forum to hose down any
Within hours of Kevin s mea
culpa, messages such as this
were popping up on the Premier s
of Univ College London who have
a campus in Adelaide offering
Masters degrees in Resources
ranking ahead of Oxford.
London doing a great Job. In last
year 19 trade expos and 15 consumer
Nothing along these lines,
again on Adel Oval
shed" U can say that again Kevin!
Rann has been under fire in
absentia and since his return over
his peculiar travel itinerary, but
frankly I believe these things are
We media types frequently get
ourselves into a bother of righteous
indignation where politicians
travel arrangements are concerned.
Let s be frank: Mike Rann gets
negative publicity of some sort
almost every time he leaves South
Australian soil; if he really wanted
to skive off on a publicly funded
knees-up, there are surely easier
ways to do it.
Like him or not, the Premier is
an exceedingly hard-worker, and all
this fuss over his two-week absence
-- not to mention how much it cost --
What is of concern, however, is
that fact that, as far as access to the
Adelaide media was concerned, he
WAS effectively on holiday.
my newsroom that the Premier
would not be available (beyond the
medium of Twitter, of course) until
he returned from his sojourn, and
that he wasn t keeping tabs on local
events in any case!
A remarkable admission: the
Acting Premier is under scrutiny
that could (and should) force his
resignation, and the Premier
(according to his own staff) hasn t
even been briefed about it!
Rann s reticence wouldn t have
been much of an issue, mind you,
were it not that after a couple of
days of stomach-turningly bad
publicity, Kev apparently decided
that he d do something uncharac-
teristic and shun the spotlight.
Thus, for the best part of a
fortnight, South Australia was
effectively rudderless. No-one knew
who was sailing the ship; all anyone
could tell was that it was sailing
into rough seas and no one much
wanted to talk about it.
Except, of course, the Opposition.
Rann s annual trip has done
what it usually does; give the Libs
some much-needed oxygen and
momentum leading into a crucial
While the Government wallows
in the mendacity of its Adelaide
Oval strategy -- PR firms trying to
micro-manage the media while it
mismanages the project -- it is the
Opposition that is looking squeaky
Remember, of course, that the
Libs had their own proposal for
inner-city football: a shiny new
stadium, replete with retractable
roof, for the bargain price of $900
And not a penny more ...
London to a brick that Rann s trip wasn t all work.
Rudderless ship of state
Suburban Adelaide welfare
recipients could be targeted in a
proposed expansion of an income
management scheme originally
part of the Northern Territory
From July 1, people living in
disadvantaged regions in the
Northern Territory will have up to
70 per cent of their regular welfare
quarantined for essentials such as
food and rent, ahead of a possible
Under the plan debated in Federal
Parliament this week, the income
management scheme will apply not
just to people referred to Centrelink
by child protection authorities and
social workers, but also to Youth
Allowance, Newstart Allowance
and Parenting Payment recipients
in classified disadvantaged areas.
All lump-sum payments will also
be quarantined on a Basics Card,
which can be used only on essential
items at designated retailers.
The SA Council of Social Service
says regional indigenous communi-
ties and Adelaide areas such as
Elizabeth and the "Parks" area near
Port Adelaide could be targeted in a
"It s a very nanny state interven-
tion," chief executive officer Ross
"We think that it has the possibil-
ity to undermine people s freedoms.
The great majority of people we
know on low incomes manage their
money very well and it s only a
small number of people who don t.
"By targeting particular
disadvantaged areas, some suburbs
will be stigmatised and I think
people would leave. You d have a
situation where residents living on
one side of the street may be subject
to the compulsory scheme, but their
neighbours on the other side are
Mr Womersley said the burden of
proof would be on recipients to opt
out of welfare quarantining.
Those on income management
can get exemption only by finding
a job, studying or demonstrating
responsible parenting. Those under
the child-protection section cannot
apply for exemption, but can seek to
have their circumstances reviewed.
"It leaves a lot of jurisdiction in
the hands of individual officers,"
Mr Womersley said
"There is a supposed 12-month
review period, but we suspect that
people who are having their money
managed will not escape easily."
Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin,
said income management "fights
passive welfare" and "supports
people to do to the right thing" in
the Northern Territory, and the
scheme will undergo a review
before being rolled out to other
states in 2011 or 2012.
"Income management is a
vital measure to protect the basic
rights and to make sure the most
vulnerable in our community are
protected so that they can have the
same sorts of aspirations that other
Australians aspire to: a decent job,
a decent home, a safe and healthy
life," she said.
Income management was
introduced for Aborigines in the
Northern Territory as part of the
2007 emergency response and will
be expanded across the territory to
remove any racial discrimination.
White Australians in indigenous scheme
Links Archive June 17th 2010 June 21st 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page