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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

SA: health versus sport « Previous | |Next »
March 6, 2010

I returned from photographing in Tasmania to discover that the SA state election in full swing. We are about halfway through the campaign, the posters are everywhere, the issues no where, and nobody is paying much of attention to what is being said by twiddly dee and twiddly dum during the festival season about "keeping the state moving". The destination is never mentioned.

There is not much enthusiasm for the politicians because they are not offering much in terms of policies and vision. Nothing about rejuvenating the inner city, nothing about mental health in South Australia or aged care; not much on climate change and rising sea levels. The only excitement is the sad faced, bully boy Treasurer (Kevin Foley) getting all hairy chested about his budget surpluses and eagerness to slash and burn the state bureaucracy to protect the state's AAA ratings.

What is offered so far is a worn out version of the same old policies and lots of heated bickering over nothing in particular (costings and dirty deals). The big issue, from what I can make out, is whether to spend $1.7 billion on a new hospital (the ALP on old railway yards in the city and return the present site to parklands); or to do up the old public hospital (Royal Adelaide Hospital) on the cheap ($700 million) and spend the rest ($1 billion) on a new sports stadium (the Liberals) on the site the Rann Government wants to use for the hospital.

Why anybody would want to retain the dilapidated Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) ----and, surprisingly many medical professionals do---is beyond me. The RAH is just too run down to rebuild whilst the clinical facilities are far from world class. I have never really understood the politics of those who want to retain the old RAH. Nostalgia?

The Labor Party will not gain seats at the 2010 election--it will lose some, but not enough to lose power. Some hope for a hung parliament, with independents holding the balance of power, as a way to bring some excitement to politics as management. Or maybe Tony Abbott can fly in and juice things up. Some political chaos is desired/.

Mike Rann has given the federal government’s health plans enthusiastic support saying he was “prepared to strongly support the direction of these reforms”. On the other hand, Isobel Redmond said she “would not be interested in handing over our health system to a federal Labor Government that has so badly mismanaged the home insulation scheme”.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:06 PM | | Comments (10)


Pretty good summary, but missed one thing that troubles me with SA; the sheer intensity of intensifying attacks on parklands, environment, open spaces and Adelaide's "commons" in general.
As to the RAH, is it so bad that it might not continue in modified form, with specific tasks removed to a less expensive new premises, where appropriate?
You see, we are not hearing much from Redmond. They favour the small target approach, but I need to know what they are going to do about about certain things, and I find the silence ominous.

I agree with your observation about:

"the sheer intensity of intensifying attacks on parklands, environment, open spaces and Adelaide's "commons" in general.

by the Rann Government. Sadly, this does not appear to be an election issue. Another indication that there is no real policy agenda in SA?

Oh, the Liberals are promising to turn the Southern Expressway into a two-way highway from its current one-way configuration; and they pledged to give South Australian sport a lift with a $1.6 million boost for netball. Rann Labor promises to spend more on the Southern Expressway.

I see that Mike Rann and Labor wants to make the 17-day Adelaide Festival an annual event. The Adelaide Festival would join the newly annual Fringe Festival and annual music festival WOMADelaide, thus supporting SA's claim as "the festival state" each February and March.

The Piping Shrike had some interesting things to say about state politics.

Most are in the same position as SA - not much choice between parties with no real reason to be on opposite sides other than factional argy bargy. Tasmania is about the only politically interesting state left.

I agree with the Piping Shrike's thesis of the depoliticising of state government over the last decade. It is very obvious in SA.

The argument about the decline of the authority of state government's is also persuasive:

Without any political agenda, and any real base in society that it could represent, state government is becoming not only about little more than public services, but lacks the authority that might let them manage any problems that arise.

We don't really expect that much from our state politicians do we?

Even the Sunday Mail editorial was trying to drag them off, over Arkaroola and new mining exploration applications for it.
Now I know what a blue moon loooks like.
BTW, read an interesting piece in the Age from that old workhorse "unattributed",
"Maddern media plan shows theinner workings of spin".
It was well enough written to be amusing, if it wasn't so sad, as to subject matter.

Kenneth Davidson has a paragraph in his an op-ed The Age that says a lot about state politics:

The art of politics has become a game where politicians — through opinion polling and focus groups — sniff out what the electorate wants and then use the media megaphone to feed the voters back their own ideas masquerading as policy.

That describes the Rann Government's approach to law and order in SA.

I see that recent polls suggest that the Liberals have drawn level with Labor in South Australia and that Mike Rann's popularity plummets along with the ALP's primary vote. Clearly Rann is on the nose with voters.

A contest? Labor has been in office eight years and looks tired and jaded.

Anthony Green's analysis of the recent polls reinforces the bad news for Rann Labor. He says:

The key problem for Labor is that a 36% primary vote is worse than the vote Labor received when it only just scrambled into office at the 2002 election....The one advantage the government still has is the presence of sitting MPs in marginal seats, and the liklehood that there will be Independents returned in at least two seats that would normally be Coalition strongholds.

Green suggests that this poll points to the election producing another parliament in which neither major party will have a clear majority.

it is now obvious that Rann is on the nose with voters and there is rising panic in the ALP. Hence the return this week to law and order issues, a feature of the Rann Government's first term in office.

Lets hope that there is a hung Parliament. The Rann Government has become too arrogant.

Labor is in the position of losing an election that as recently as few months ago seemed in the bag.My guess is that Rann will be returned, but only just. Rann then retires in a a year or so upon being returned to office.

It is still highly unlikely that Redmond's LIberals will gain enough votes to form a minority government. The Liberals hold only 14 of the 47 seats in the lower house, but if they win five seats, that could result in a hung parliament, giving them a chance to govern with support from the crossbenches.