March 24, 2014
The Weatherill Labor Government has been returned to power for another 4 years with the help of Geoff Brock, the Independent of Frome, to support a minority government. Bob Such, the other Independent is on sick leave. Weatherill's victory was mostly unexpected, and it was generally seen as unlikely by the savvy political commentators who have inside information.
SA Labor will serve another 4 year term in Government. However, Labor is clinging to the barest of majorities, with the constant danger of being brought down by a by-election defeat or the defection of any member who might happen to feel aggrieved over a policy dispute or demotion.
Part of the price for Brock's support is a deal to transform Port Pirie’s ageing smelter into an “advanced poly-metallic processing and recovery facility”. Brock is also to become the Minister for regional development and local government relations.
The Liberal Party and conservatives are saying that Weatherill’s government is an illegitimate, that it doesn’t have a mandate to govern and that the Independents are turncoats. The Independents are are turncoats because these are really Liberal electorates. They are calling for fresh election. It's a very familiar set of talking points from the three years of this from 2010-2013 at the federal level.
Labor is in a difficult position. It needs to reboot the state’s economic situation. On the one hand it the ALP is committed to keeping up its steady stream of state-driven infrastructure building (the politics of stimulus), whilst on the other hand it is committed to reducing the state's expenditure given the decline in GST revenue by around $308 million.