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South Australian Premier John Olsen Resigns After Damning Report

October 19, 2001

John Olsen, outgoing Premier of South Australia The South Australian Liberal Premier, John Olsen, resigned this afternoon, following the release of a damning report into his ministerial dealings with the Motorola company.

Olsen has been accused of giving misleading, inaccurate and dishonest evidence to an inquiry established to investigate a government contract with Motorola.

The South Australian government survives in the House of Assembly with the support of two independents. The government's future must now be in doubt.

The man Olsen deposed in a coup five years ago, Dean Brown, currently Human Services Minister, may replace Olsen. The current Deputy Premier, Rod Kerin, is also in the running, as is the Environment Minister, Iain Evans.

An election must be held by March next year.

There are three marginal Federal seats in South Australia and this turmoil will not assist the Liberal Party's chances of retaining them at the November 10 federal election.

The South Australian government is the only Liberal State government left in Australia following successive Labor victories in Queensland (1998), Tasmania (1998), Victoria (1999), Western Australia (2001) and the Northern Territory (2001). The ACT Liberal government goes to the polls tomorrow and is not expected to retain office.

John Olsen first entered State politics, serving as Opposition Leader between 1982-90, before becoming a Senator. He returned to State politics in 1992, expecting to be re-elected leader, but was defeated by his arch-rival, Dean Brown. Brown subsequently defeated the Labor government in 1993, but was deposed by Olsen in 1996. Olsen took the government to near-defeat in 1997, relying now on the support of independents.

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