Home' InDaily : April 9th 2010 Contents CODAN LIMITED (CDA)
Codan Limited designs, manufactures and markets a
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April 9 - 15, 2010
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Saga of the
Purple jacarandas are still in
bloom, unseasonably, along
Unley Road as journalists
and photographers rush to Martin
Hamilton-Smith s electoral
office on Tuesday. The member
for Waite s media conference is
scheduled for 10.30am and no
one wants to be late. Not like the
Three deputy leaders of the
South Australian Liberal Party
in three weeks, and just 200 weeks
to go until the next state election.
That s OK, suggested Opposition
Leader Isobel Redmond after that
morning s deputy leadership
meeting, because in 200 weeks
anything can happen.
In the SA Liberal Party,
anything and everything
is already happening. The
party is riven by factions and
shambling between ridicule and
incompetence. To understand
why, we need to go back to the days
when a former premier, Steele
Hall, was leading a breakaway of
moderate conservatives to form
a new political party, the Liberal
Hall s move in the early 1970s
began a war between the long-
ruling families of SA s Liberal
hierarchy which makes the feud
between the Hatfields and McCoys
look like a literary debate in a
gentlemen s club. The moderates
and conservatives in the SA
Liberals despise each other more
than they do the Labor Party,
Redmond observed this week.
"It s not a matter of
personalities so much as factions.
I was not prepared to tolerate a
faction deal as part of this party,"
she said, but Redmond was being
disingenuous. She d been blithely
dealing with the factions for the
Redmond had fought a good
but not great election campaign.
On March 20, after the votes were
counted, Labor was returned with
a smaller but still comfortable
parliamentary majority and the
Liberals, despite an 8 per cent
swing and the win in Chaffey, are
almost as far from the Treasury
benches as before the election.
Redmond s deputy Stephen
Griffiths had also fought a good
though not great campaign. He
stumbled just once, which was
less than Redmond herself. Yet at
3.30pm on Friday, March 26, with
the election not even a week past
and Upper House votes still being
counted, Redmond called Griffiths
into her second-floor Parliament
House office. There, she gave him
a little news that he didn t want to
hear. She would be withdrawing
her support from him as deputy,
she told the astonished shadow
What Redmond did not tell him
was that for almost a week she had
been having conversations with
her neighbouring Liberal MP in
the Adelaide Hills, Iain Evans. He
would play a pivotal role in the
mad, mad week that followed.
IAIN EVANS IS A CANNY player
in the Liberal factional fracas,
a man of some talent and with
no delusions of modesty. Some
people, wrote Shakespeare,
are born great, some achieve
greatness, and some have
greatness thrust upon em. And
some, like Evans, won the trifecta.
He was born into politics.
His father, Stan Evans, was
already in state parliament when
The Seekers were the biggest
band on black and white TV.
Evans Senior had a brief period
thwarting the ambitions of Dean
Brown before retiring from the
seat of Davenport and handing
it to his son. Evans Junior took
to parliament like a fish to chips.
Within four years -- almost to
the day -- of walking into the
House of Assembly he became
a minister. Before a dozen years
had passed he was deputy leader
of the Opposition, and in March
2006 Evans took his place behind
the sign on the desk which said
Leader of the Opposition.
And every year he had been
feuding with the moderates of
his own Liberal Party, and a jolly
joust it was. The moderates had
enjoyed periods of ascendency
when Dean Brown was premier
and periods of swimming the
River Styx under John Olsen s
right-wing leadership. It was
a time of wild swings and of
roundabouts more chaotic than
Evans deputy during this
period was his factional arch
enemy, Vickie Chapman.
Chapman had also been born
and thrust into greatness.
Her father was Ted Chapman,
squire of Kangaroo Island and a
long-serving MP. In 1985 Chapman
Senior became involved in a
fight to the death with Evans
Senior over Liberal pre-selection
for the seat of Davenport. The
former won the duel but the
latter won the seat. Chapman was
ousted by Evans standing as an
independent, and the kids have
been fighting their parents battle
And thus these forces mobilised
after the March 20 election. Evans
told Redmond she needed a firm,
experienced hand on the tiller
as her deputy. He had already
been involved in the campaign
itself as part of a strategic group
which included Redmond, Rob
Lucas, David Ridgeway and party
secretary Julian Sheezel from
Evans right-wing faction. The
electorally canny deputy leader
of the Liberals in the Upper
House, Michelle Lensink of the
moderates, had been inexplicably
excluded from the day-to-day
And so on Friday, March 26,
Redmond had her natter with
Griffiths. She would support
Evans, and Griffiths could paddle
Griffiths was stunned. What
had he done to deserve this?
What he had done was to not be
Griffiths went home and
brooded. It seemed so unfair.
"He d been a good deputy who d
supported her well," says a friend.
It's been more
Peyton Place than
this week, more
feuds than at a
reveals how the
Iain Evans: Got in Redmond s ear.
Photo: Kate Elmes
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innovator and global leader in the
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Hear Peggy's views on Smart Justice
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Tuesday 20 April 2010
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