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SA Liberals:-disunity is death « Previous | |Next »
February 1, 2013

The SA Liberals, who have historically been deeply divided between their conservative and moderate factions, now have a chance to get their house in order after Isobel Redmond, the stop gap or compromise leader, has resigned. Will they finally be able to do so?

That factional division has been so entrenched and embittered that the SA Liberals are a dysfunctional political party with often stock policy responses based on a few talking points about debt and deficits. They have been in the political wilderness for a decade or more and continue to publicly deny that there are no factions in the Liberal Party. They need a game changer more than just a breath of fresh air.

Redmond's time as Opposition leader was characterized by her anti-politician persona, a small-target, policy-lite approach to Opposition, political gaffes, and a lack of policy innovation. Despite this we know some of the policies:--- eg., the public service is to be reduced by 25,000 jobs, but the Liberals are afraid of saying and defending this kind of slash and burn in public.

This implicit neo-liberal politics of austerity has allowed Jay Weatherill, the Labor Premier, to stamp his imprimatur on the state political scene. Labor gives the impression of having got its house in order and Weatherill being in charge of things.

The Liberals are mostly climate change denialists, have little time for renewable energy, and should they get into power – they are promising to bring in laws that will make it unviable to build any more wind farms in many rural areas. They are backing fossil fuels and don't want to do do much at all about reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

They hold that wind and solar power are a major cause of rising electricity prices in South Australia despite wholesale electricity prices falling during the period when most of South Australia's wind farms were coming on-line.

Whoever is the new leader--Steven Marshall?--- of the SA Liberals, it remains a backward looking party. They continue to back the fossil fuel industry even though one of South Australia's coal-fired power stations in Port Augusta only operate for six months of the year whilst the other is to be closed-down indefinitely (largely due to the introduction of a significant amount of wind power in SA).

Update
Steven Marshall, the Member for Norwood, is the new leader of the SA Liberals. The old factional conflict was over the deputy leadership in the form of a Vickie Chapman (moderate) and Iain Evans (conservative) contest. Chapman wins and the Liberals are talking about unity.

ill the Liberal leadership group, which encouraged former leader Isobel Redmond to pursue a small-target strategy since the 2010 election, continue with that strategy now? Are they going to stick to a hard edged politics of austerity as a solution to a fragile, slow-growing regional economy in transition---that is, continue to argue that fiscal tightening is needed for economic growth is to recover? Will they address the declining minimum reading standard and declining standards of science and mathematics education in South Australia?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:24 PM | | Comments (13)
Comments

Comments

Adelaide seems a very provincial place.
Am often in mind of GST's ageless comment as to post globalisation politicians being, "managers of decline". Different shopfronts, same product.
I think globalisation has eroded state government's ability to operate in those areas where it was most intended to. When they are prevented from moderating even the most crass demands of capital, they are left with races to the bottom on public service and services cut, Laura Norder, "public immorality", etc.
The US style libertarian think tank wonks would love to see government discredited, has ultimate failure been designed into the system over the last generation?
It is surely not for nothing that the system appears, "captured".
But yes, I think Weatherill is playing his cards as best he can as the Tories are stuffing theirs in familiar fashion. Maybe less like a train wreck for Labor now and if the fed Tories get in, that might play Labor's way also.

We have got to get the finances of SA sorted out is what the SA Liberals say. Then they decline to say how they will do it.

A factional riven Labor is big spending, wasteful, and racks up the bills, say the SA Liberals. So they will have to sort out the mess by reducing government spending.

Their other policy is growing the economy through the private (not the public) sector. That means less red and green tape.

The SA Liberals have no policies to make Adelaide the centre of innovation and growth---to attract to Adelaide a few smart people to do new and creative things. Or encourage a few smart young South Australian's to stay.

All we hear about from the SA Liberals is leadership instability, factional brawling and petty personal bickering that y dates back to the 1970s

The SA Liberals are very good at warring with each other.

So Steven Marshall is the new leader of the SA Liberals.

So what do we make of all that mind numbing speculation about Alexander Downer being the white knight on a white charger who would rescue the SA Liberals.

The fragility of the SA economy, as it shifts away from being a rust bucket, is clearly an point of central concern.

There is an the obvious lack of talent within the ranks of the Liberal Party in SA.

South Australia needs more than place branding, even if it does lack a clear identity both within Australia and internationally.

Getting the government sector out of the way and letting the private sector rip clearly is the SA Liberal script. They will say that virtually all economists agree that government surpluses now would be a good idea.

The Liberal politicians will say that a states’s accounts as no different than a household’s – and campaign about reducing government waste and debt.

"Whoever is the new leader--Steven Marshall?--- of the SA Liberals, it remains a backward looking party."

The SA Liberals have a 19th century attitude to the digital economy. They have no understanding of how to add value to the fibre optic cable in the NBN's infrastructure.

They also have little idea of the changes of the next decade which is going to see accelerated change as the internet enters a new phase.

Unity, a fresh start????

It's probably just another just another chapter in a long internal war