Over the election already? Well get ready for the 2010 South
Australian election. The major parties will have to.

The Nick Xenophon juggernaut will be back
in full swing and could end up with four seats or more. Xenophon says he will
be endorsing like-minded candidates under the No Pokies banner and that’s
likely to attract the big guns at the Labor and Liberal Party. The Democrats
might even fill their water pistol to squirt a few shots.

At last estimation 200,000 voters or
21% of electors in South
Australia abandoned the Labor
and Liberal Parties and put No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon number one on their
ticket. Under the quota system he and running mate Anne Bressington are
guaranteed spots in the Upper House with the remote possibility of a third.

Neither Xeno nor Bressington have to stand
again until 2014. That means new candidates in 2010. Both major parties now have to
face the fact that their own supporters abandoned them to support Xeno and could
do again in 2010. Xeno is going to give them the chance and choice. Xeno will
use his No Pokies and name as a stamp of endorsement on like-minded candidates.

The Labor Party isn’t going to let that
happen without a fight and neither is the Liberal Party. Both parties and the
Democrats (who were demolished in the poll) refused to do a preference deal
with the stunt master. But it backfired. After that news broke, the phones ran
hot with donations and volunteers for the No Pokies man. He had two thousand
volunteers and raised $80,000 from small donations which helped the
$70,000 dollar loan he took out.

Here’s what they’re facing. Xenophon told
Crikey: “If there is not enough reform
from the government on pokies over
the next four years I’ll be looking at endorsing candidates even in the Lower
House.”

It
doesn’t take a genius to work out that party strategists will pull no punches
in the next four years and at the next election to prevent the same. Problem
for them is that the nastier they got during the election campaign, the
stronger the support for Xeno.

Peter Fray

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