Steven Marshall south australia
Premier of South Australia Steven Marshall (Image: AAP/David Mariuz)

For the Marshall government in South Australia the threatened collapse of the Whyalla steelworks couldn’t have come at a worse time. Actually, all times for the collapse of remaining industry in that rust bucket of a state are pretty bad, and not merely because they summon up the ghost of Craig Emerson singing "no Whyalla wipeout".  

Ah, you hadn't thought of that for a while had you? Sorry, but if it's going to be in my head, it has to be in yours.

But with an election next year, the first-term Marshall government are behind in the polls, and looking at being chucked. The question is, why are they behind in the polls? And the wider question is, why are Liberal parties collapsing at the state level almost everywhere in the country? Especially since they've had a lock on federal power for a decade. How has this become so split?