Monday, March 20, 2006

I Love a Good Election - In Fact I'm Having One Right Now

OK, so I hear you say: There's only one thing more boring than post-election analysis - and that's of elections in states where I (the reader) don't even live.

Well, *raspberry* on you. I know I have at least 5 SA dedicated QPers and at least one Taswegian whom I'm sure will find the following stupendously interesting. And if you don't, well...sod you.

Besides, the conclusions I'm drawing - and don't worry, they're brief - apply across all politics.

So, for those unaware: Two state elections over the weekend. Premier Mike Rann and friends absolutely annihilated the Libs in SA, while Labor had a surprisingly easy win in Tasmania, albeit with a small swing against them.

Say what you will about the 2004 federal election disaster, but at the end of the day it was only a swing of 1.8% to Howard. Rann managed nearly 10%.

So now there's lots of talk about the unprecedented period of political stability in Australia, state and federally. There hasn't been a change of government since 2002 and Howard's been quick to sulk that the only reason state Labor governments keep getting in is they are riding on the crest of a strong national economy for which he, single-handedly and with no help from anybody else or any other external factor in the entire universe, is responsible. Shame this directly contradicted the now former SA Opposition Leader Rob Kerin's argument that SA is an economically-struggling state, and that's all the state Labor party's fault.

Note to Liberal Party: synchronise your state and federal spin doctors better.

The reality is that state Labor governments have been successful in shifting to the Right economically and socially, manipulating a populist "lock-em-all-up" law and order agenda so well-honed by Bob Carr. Their respective Treasurers are also so anally retentive with the purse strings that any apprehension of Labor as economic mismanagers or fear of a repeat of the economic disasters that befell SA and Victoria on Labor's watch are long gone.

But at least with the right-shifting Labor Party we queers still get our state law reforms, even if some of its own members, such as the SA Attorney-General, work so hard to postpone their inevitable enactment. With a huge majority in the Lower House and a combined bloc Labor, 3 Liberal, 1 Democrat, 1 Green and (perhaps) 2 No Pokies vote in favour of the Relationships Bill - and a guarantee this Bill will be re-introduced in their first term - Labor now has no excuses left.

The Murdoch Media Mayhem has wasted no time dancing on the "graves" of the evil pinko commo minor parties, the most poisonous of which being the "watermelon" Greens. What the MMM won't tell you, however, is that despite the disappointing result of the Greens in Tasmania, their heartland, in the more conservative state of SA the Greens outpolled Family Fist in the lower house and are likely to get their first member into SA's Upper House as FF is set to give Andrew "we're not a religious party" Evans a playmate.

OK, so the Democrats' vote plunged and a substantial protest third vote against the major parties was up for grabs but an automatic transfer of Democrats voters to the Greens is not, contrary to popular opinion, a given. The Greens have done well in SA and must take up the slack of progressive politics now that the Dems are all but dead.

A mixed bag, all up. Obviously another Family Fister employed in any form of politics is a bad thing but if this were going to happen anywhere, it was South Australia, where they began. Says a lot about the change in the SA political climate from the 70s when the original "third party", the Dems, started as a socially progressive party and became quite successful, compared to today, when a pack of hypocritical, far-right self-righteous Jesus freaks are instead generating from SA as the third party. *sigh*

Quickly: Yay for Frances Bedford, the main internal agitator for queer law reform in SA Labor. Family Fist and its Assemblies of God buddies had promised a campaign to take her out in her marginal seat of Florey, home of the Paradise (think Hillsong) Community Chruch. What happened instead? Bedford scored a 10% swing in her favour.

Boo for Tom Kenyon, the new Labor member for Newland who previously said that were the Relationships Bill to be given a conscience vote, he would vote against it. If you'd like to write to him suggesting he consider joining another party, as this reform has been Labor policy for at least 5 years, his email is

Oh, and one of the new ALP Upper House members, Ian Hunter, is - or at least was at as 2003 - the boyfriend of my former male boss at Myer. I believe this makes him the first openly gay male MP in SA (remembering Don Dunstan never officially admitted it when he was Premier and Mark Brindal was outed, not out by choice).


At 20/3/06 4:15 pm, Blogger HDZ said...

Ooh, this politics stuff is fun.

What do you know about the wider politics of Nick "No Pokies" Xenophon and his team? Sandra Kanck of the Democrats is classing him/them as "conservative" but you seem to put him in the more progressing camp.

Also, do you happen to know if (a) there were enough "No Pokies" candiates to soak up all his votes and (b) where will their preferences flow (People Last/Green/whatever)?

But I do agree, whatever happened to the progressive SA of yore?

At 20/3/06 4:39 pm, Anonymous Baz n Bazza (Frances Bedford Groupies) said...

Nick Xenephon won two seats for his "No Pokies" party. His running mate will be Ann Bressington, known to be a right wing conservative. This may take the tarnish of "Mr soft Issues.
As to Tom Kenyon, the boy is a product of Young Labour, so he is bound not to be aware of the prinicples of the SA ALP.

Frances Bedford. Who luvs yer mate, you knocked the chair from under Family Fist.

At 20/3/06 4:44 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Hard one to call HDZ. I guess by definition No Pokies would be conservative (zero tolerance policy on drugs, pokies "bad for families" etc) but from what I understand Xenophon's quite even-handed in reviewing all the legislation before him and judging it on its merits or shortcomings.

He voted for the amended Relationships Bill, hopefully he'll do so again.

From what I hear it sounds like his new stablemate is a lot more conservative and not as likely to support the Bill.

No Pokies won 2 Upper House spots on quota alone, which is an incredible achievement in itself for a party that very few election analysts were taking seriously prior to the election.

It also sounds as though working in collaboration with Kris Hanna has been a boon for the latter, who may win Mitchell as a former Labor, former Green, now Independent MP.

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