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SA--don't expect too much greenness « Previous | |Next »
April 9, 2006

As a commentator John Spoehr is generally very upbeat about the Rann Labor Government in SA. He has reason to, considering the poverty of the Liberal opposition, its rejection in its own heartland seats by once faithful friends, and its failure to offer any policies new or different. And the Democrats are finished. After almost 30 years the recent election was the first time no Democrat had been returned to the legislative council. Sandra Kanck remains as the sole Democrat.

Sometimes Spoehr's optimism disconnects from political reality and becomes a form of policy dreaming. Consider this passage from an article entitled 'State politics to take on a green glow in years ahead' in The Adelaide Review on its response to global warming:

If Labor listens to [Tim] Flannery, South Australia will become an international leader in tackling global warming, replacing our carbon-based economy with one based on renewable sources of energy. The challenge for the state government is to ensure the widespread use of renewable, safe and clean forms of energy like solar and wind. By 2015, every house in South Australia should be powered by solar or wind energy and every business buying energy generated from a range of clean and renewable fuels.

That whole paragraph is premised on an 'if' and 'should'. Little is actually happening in SA in terms of sustainable living and what is happening is mostly spin.

To his credit Spoehr does acknowledge this inaction:

The Rann government is already backing solar and wind energy generation but it needs to develop strategies that dramatically accelerate the takeup of these options and measures to increase household and industry energy efficiency. It is hard to see how we will achieve this without regaining public control of the electricity industry in South Australia. South Australian policy makers have done it once before. They may do it again if the circumstances and the citizens demand it.

The pro-business Rann Government doesn't have any strategies period, nor did it given any indication that it plans to do so in its first term. Things could change though, couldn't they.

If there are to be strategies then they need to be a lot more than regaining public ownership of electricity or saying no to more tariff reductions to protect the car industry so it can make the shift to producing hybrid cars. These are not going to green the city by rolling back the cars, making it more people friendly and providing more shade for people to walk around the city.

It may well be the case, as Spoehr says, that 'the next state election might be fought less on the health of the economy and more on the health of our environment'--notice the 'might'---but if it is, it will be more spin than substance. The substance in SA is in law and order, uranium mining, service defence centre, and budget cuts to health and education, whilst the environment is about spin.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:53 AM | | Comments (4)


Gary, Have the Democrats lost their base in SA? That was their traditional stronghold of support and organisation.

The power base has gone.

The Democrats are finished--their presence in the Legislative Council has been replaced by Family First on the center right, and the Greens and Independents on the centre left.

The splintering of the centre that took place in the last federal election is now working its way through the states.

There is little chance the remaining federal Democrat Senators will be returned in the next federal election.

A possible exception is Senator Stott-Despora.

If Labor panders to The Greens, there will be solar on every roof in SA. That means solar hot water as well as photovoltaics.

I'm not sure that Labor will pander to the Greens in SA.

Do you think that will happen?

The Greens only have on member in the Legislative Council--Mark Parnell. Why would Rann/Foley Labor pander to Mark Parnell?