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The third way in SA? « Previous | |Next »
February 20, 2003

Parliament is back in business in South Australia for a few days. It is here today and gone tomorrow. The Rann Government is still on a honeymoon, even though it keeps on sending out bulletins warning about tough budgets and ever more cuts to public services; the Liberals are still in disarray and the Democrats nowhere to be heard.

The Rann Government's tacit claim is to further the third way-- a green wash, the knowledge society, innovative entrepreneurism in the fields of biotechnology and bioscience---and releasing us from the burdens of our history. Does it represent the renewal of the left? A way forward from the traditional right (meaning neo-liberalism) and left (social democracy Don Dunstan style) that captures the best of both?

Is the Rann Government the new centre? A southern spark of creativity that spills over into all manner of high-tech applications, communal brain trusts, and a self-confidence in its own smartness and capacity to enable innovation across a wide variety of different sectors and fields.

Thats an intoxicating vision---its that of Jane Lomax Smith who is Minister for Science and Information Economy. It is one that rejects an aping of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; one in which the social democratic left has learnt to love the market, is comfortable with the market and sees no need to manage capitalism in the time-honoured fashion. 'Cool new SA' is a creative response by a regional economy to the global market. It is about creating a dynamic knowledge eocnomy.

Is the image and gloss looking a bit thin; or a bit tatty and ragged with all the budget cuts, fear of the discipline of the global market and basic acceptance of neo-liberal economics. Does this mean that there is little room for manoeuvre for the Rann Government?

Do we see Thatcherism pursued by more softly softly means? Competition with compassion? Efficency and solidarity? Profit and community? Does this equate to a neo-con moral conservativism--tough on drugs, tough on law and order etc?
Do we see in the joining of economic liberalism with conservative social policies that is repelled by authoritarian populism?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:40 PM | | Comments (2)


>>That's an intoxicating vision---it's that of Jane Lomax Smith who is Minister for Science and Information Economy. It is one that rejects an aping of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane..." Gary, what you describe sounds precisely like the aping of the Big Pineapple's Smart State!

I agree.And Queensland will do it a lot better than SA.

It is the standard new knowledge economy ressponse--eg., the ALP's Knowledge Nation.

What I had in mind was that it breaks from the Olsen LIberal Government's policy of trying to get big transnational comapanies to locate in SA (IT, water, electricity), turn on the lights and get the gravy train rolling.

That strategy, which builds on the car industry, has been a flop. It was cargo cult dreamning. The Lomax Smith strategy builds on what is actually here fit is a bottoms up approach.

Not a hint of green in it though.