After weeks – maybe months and years – of Labor leads, Saturday’s South
Australian election has got interesting in the final days.

An Advertiser poll in the marginals of Norwood and Hartley found an unexpectedly soft Labor vote – and a distressingly high number of undecided
voters.

Flinders University veteran
political commentator Dean Jaensch told the ABC yesterday:
“There’s anything between 12 and 18%
across the board undecided”. Gary Morgan warns of the impact in his South
Australian poll
today,
too.

What’s behind this – and what’s likely to
happen? William Bowe, AKA The Poll Bludger,
has a pretty good theory: “If the universal expectation of a Labor win is
encouraging swinging voters to think again, it might be that a shift in the
polls will be enough to bring them back on board.”

My old mob, the South Australian Liberals,
are a useless, leaderless rabble. They deserve to go down – and go down big
time. Labor leader Mike Rann deserves a second term as premier and a majority
in his own right.

For once, the Adelaide Advertiser has
distinguished itself. The title of its editorial today
says it all: Return Labor then put them to the test.

I expect the ALP will win back the seat of
Mitchell from renegade MP, Kris Hanna, and pick up the Liberal seats of Hartley,
Stuart, Light, Mawson, Morialta, Bright and Newland.

The Libs will get a consolation prize – the
return of Hammond from the renegade Peter Lewis who cost them government when he
sided with Labor in 2002. A second country independent seat, Mt Gambier,
remains too close to call – complicated by how voters react to local
rich-listee Alan Scott’s view he has feudal rights over the region.

The Legislative Council will be a beauty. Family
First seem set to grab a second place, even though their existing MLC Andrew
Evans seems to only understand what to do in a pulpit, not a parliament. Two
Australian Democrat spots are up for grabs. If they go, the party’s over. Also
facing re-election is the popular – and populist – No Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon.

No matter what the result is, there will be
a stink over preferences and ticket votes. Bring it on.

South Australia’s political class should be arguing for optional preferential
voting. Elections are about giving the poor dumb sods who can only manage to
make a cross or a tick or put a number one on a ballot paper a say in how their
lives are run – not about boosting the backroom boys and their preference power
plays.

And that still soft Labor vote? Well, while
Mike Rann deserves a second term, his own strategists have reinforced the claim
he is still more spin than substance. This hasn’t just been a presidential
campaign. As some local wags have said, Labor’s efforts have displayed
Zoolander-like
levels of vanity and idiocy:

Zoolander: Well,
I guess it started during my first year of the second grade, when I was eating
lunch and caught my reflection in a spoon, and I thought to myself, ‘Hey,
Derek, you’re ridiculously good looking! And I thought maybe I could do that
for a career.

Matilda: Do what
for a career?

Zoolander: Be
professionally good looking.

Labor’s spin strategies have always assumed
voters are as bright as Derek Zoolander, but behind nice Media Mike there’s a
bunch of boot-boys. They’ve been unable to resist giving the hapless Liberal
leader Rob Kerin a kicking in their ads. That’s upset nice, respectable South
Australians – no convicts here, remember. Now, thanks to their arrogance, voters
may have some second thoughts about giving the gang an absolute landslide
victory.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW