South Australia

Mar 6, 2018

Xenophon in political limbo along with a major chunk of SA voters

Nick Xenophon's SA-BEST isn't a minor party -- but it's virtually impossible for it to be a major one either. Which is bad news for the voters it will attract.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Trying to predict the outcome of the Saturday week's South Australian election is a mug's game. After an early burst of polling optimism for Nick Xenophon's SA-BEST that had the party on 32% and Xenophon as preferred premier, more recent polling suggests a significant softening. The Australian claimed on the weekend that the party's vote was in "free fall", having fallen to 21% since December, but admitted this was partly methodological, given Xenophon wasn't running candidates in every seat. That 21% is actually 27% in the 36 seats the party is running in.

A number of seat-based polls suggest SA-BEST will struggle to get the kind of primary vote that will enable it to pick up seats, which it will have to do so off major party preferences. But 27% for a party that didn't exist several months ago is a remarkable achievement for Xenophon and testament to the deep level of disaffection toward the major parties in South Australia. For Labor, the disaffection is understandable -- it has clung to power now since the dawn of the century and is long past its use-by date. For Liberals, you can only wonder how many different ways a party can invent to not win elections.

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10 thoughts on “Xenophon in political limbo along with a major chunk of SA voters

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    It might be a gamble that doesn’t pay off. I’m not sure why he decided to do it, seems perhaps he has bitten off more than he can chew.

    The electoral system not being able to recognise a party that gets 25% of the vote is clearly a problem though. Perhaps a Hare_Clark_whoever system needs to come in across all states and territories. It might leave us a bit like Italy, but coalitions can be a better form of government and certainly lead to less extreme policy making.

    1. Xoanon

      Agreed, we need PR voting in lower houses across Australia. With the vote share of the major parties having been significantly eroded, parliaments are becoming ever more unrepresentative, ie the Greens with 10% of the primary vote nationally but just one House of Reps seat. I’d suggest a Hare-Clark system for the House of Reps, with, say, 30 electorates each electing five members (with adjustments to member numbers by the AEC allowed, to fit within state borders and keep voter numbers per seat equal).

      1. AR

        The change to Optional/minimum 12 votes below the line in the Senate totally obviates the point of the existence of that bastard iniquitous Line – thanks a bunch PJK!
        The only fair way to vote is pure PR. Hare-Clark is the nearest to pure d’Ondt as used in most of northern Euroland.

  2. David Stakes

    This is what happens when you get a populist trying to hamstring a major party, nobody wins. And as you say people have wasted a vote.

  3. klewso

    Little Eddie and his own “Munster Raving Loony Party”.

  4. CML

    After last night’s debate…Jay Wetherill won hands down!
    That isn’t only my opinion…talk back radio here and newspaper blogs would tend to that opinion also. That doesn’t mean Jay will win, but it is looking more hopeful.
    Xenophony is just a showman with NO substance. He had NOTHING to say last night that would encourage anyone to vote for him. Also in the mix here are several sitting members who are standing as independents. They might well be the ‘kingmakers’ if Mr X tanks.
    In his concluding remarks, Jay said something like: Nick went to Canberra to keep the bastards honest, but instead he ended up joining them.
    Game. Set. Match!!

  5. Arky

    “27% for a party that didn’t exist several months ago”
    Technically true, but given that SA voters have been electing Xenophon and his aligned candidates for 20 years under various names (No Pokies, Nick Xenophon Group, NXT and now SA-BEST) it’s a little misleading.

  6. AR

    Almost a cosmic irony but, because of strange weather conditions last night, I was able to pick up the debate live when searching the MW dial for my daily purgative of Blot & the Poison Dwarf who, in the absence of Blot “for personal reasons”, had to make do the dog-lover or his pseudo-cousin.
    Seemed to me that MrX was in full command and wiped the floor with the timeserving apparatchik men-without-navels.
    But then, I’m biased in favour of integrity, decency and a loathing of political machines.

  7. [email protected]

    Does he trully aspire to be premier? I always thought he was in his element in senate committees, living the classic liberals dream of personifying the checks and balances of power. Surely he’s gunning to be king maker, not king?

  8. john OCallaghan

    It does’nt matter how long a Govt is in power,as long as they keep progressing and bring in fresh blood every now and then it is fine.
    Weatherill’s performance on renewables alone should be enough to put him back in,and as for the Independant in Liberal clothing and the other lunatic Lib… well god help us!

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