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Politics Abhors A Vacuum

So they did it. The Australian electorate slapped down the Gillard Labor Government but refused to embrace Tony Abbott and the Coalition to the extent necessary to propel them into office.

Gillard-AbbottOn current counting, a two-party preference for Labor of 50.68 per cent prevails. A bare majority of 135,792 voters opted for Labor over the Coalition.

Spin it as they are doing furiously this morning, the Liberals have failed to capture the majority they sought. They point to their 43.48 per cent share of the primary vote, compared to Labor’s 38.51 per cent.

But the Liberals don’t point out that most of the swing went to the Greens. The Liberal vote is up a mere 0.64 per cent. In Queensland, the LNP vote is up a piddling 0.43 per cent. The Greens are up 3.64 per cent.

Australia voted yesterday the way Tasmania did six months ago. Just on 50 per cent of the nation cast their number one preference for Labor or the Greens. The centre left domination of Australian politics has been confirmed again. [Read more…]


A Brief History of the Rann Government (Updated)

The Labor Government in South Australia has been in office since 2002. It has been led by Premier Mike Rann throughout.

The government was formed following the elections of February 9, 2002. That election returned a hung Parliament with 23 ALP, 20 Liberal, 1 National and 3 Independent members in the 47-seat House of Assembly.

Following the opening of Parliament on March 5, 2002, the then Liberal Premier, Rob Kerin, moved a motion of confidence in his Liberal government which had been in office since 1993. After a 45 minute debate, the motion was defeated by 23 votes to 22. There was one abstention (Dr. Bob Such, Independent member for Fisher). The newly-elected Speaker, Peter Lewis, the Independent member for Hammond, was not required to vote, but he had previously indicated that he would support the ALP.

In accordance with the principles of the Westminster system and parliamentary democracy, Kerin then surrendered his commission to the Governor, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, recommending that she call upon Mike Rann and commission him to form a government.

Rann formed a minority government with the support of Peter Lewis, an independent who had formerly been a Liberal member. Lewis was made Speaker.

At the end of 2002, following months of uncertainty arising from the erratic behaviour of Lewis, Rann appointed the independent member for Mount Gambier, Rory McEwen, to a new cabinet position as Minister for Trade and Regional Development. McEwen was a former member of the Liberal Party who won his seat as an independent after failing to win Liberal preselection.

In 2004, Rann appointed the only National Party member of the House of Assembly, Karlene Maywald, to his ministry. Maywald, the member for the conservative rural electorate of Chaffey, was given a portfolio with responsibility for water management. Like McEwen, Maywald had supported Kerin in the confidence vote in 2002.

Following the 2006 election, the government was returned with 28 seats to the Liberals 15, Independents 3 and one National. The agreement with McEwen and Maywald was honoured and they remained in the Cabinet.

The Rann government suffered a massive swing against it at the 2010 election. It lost 7.8% of its primary vote, winning just 37.5%. There was a two-party-preferred swing of 8.4% against the ALP, reducing it to just 48.4%. Despite this, the ALP won 26 seats, a net loss of 2.

In the election, Maywald’s seat was won by the Nationals. McEwen had retired and his seat was won by another independent.

Rann’s success in the election was attributed to a successful campaign of “sandbagging” marginal seats.


South Australian Election: Despite Swing, Mike Rann Claims Third Term For Labor

The South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, has claimed victory for the ALP in the South Australian election.

It is Rann’s third consecutive win, since taking office in 2002.

Despite an anti-Labor swing of 8.4%, which saw the ALP poll just 48.4% of the two-party-preferred vote, the government lost only 2 seats and held 26 of the 47 seats in the House of Assembly.

The Liberal Party won 18 seats (up 4). There were 3 independents.

  • Listen to Premier Mike Rann on election night (10m)

COAG Chief Ministers’ Press Conference

The annual Council of Australian Government’s meeting has taken place in Canberra.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met with State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers, all Labor Party representatives.

The press conference following the meeting includes comments by Kevin Rudd and Premiers Morris Iemma (NSW), John Brumby (Vic) and Mike Rann (SA), as well as Chief Minister Jon Stanhope (ACT). [Read more…]


Rann Now Longest-Serving Premier

Peter Beattie’s resignation as Queensland Premier will elevate South Australia’s Mike Rann to the position of longest-serving state premier. Rann was elected in March 2002.

Mike Rann, Premier of South AustraliaThe Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, will become the longest-serving state or territory head of government, having been elected in August 2001. She just eclipses the ACT’s Jon Stanhope, elected in November 2001.

The retirements of Bob Carr (elected 1995), Steve Bracks (1999) and Beattie (1998) have resulted in the Labor governments which dominate the Australian states and territories moving to a second-generation of leaders.

Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop (elected February 2001) resigned due to ill-health in January 2006. Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon (elected September 1998) also resigned due to ill-health in February 2004.

Rann remains the last-elected and only original member of the clutch of Labor Premiers elected between 1995 and 2002.

John Howard remains the longest-serving head of government, having been Prime Minister since March 11, 1996.


COAG Meeting: Chief Ministers’ Press Conference

This is audio of the press conference following the annual Council of Australian Governments meeting.

The press conference was chaired by Prime Minister John Howard. The other participants were the six State Premiers: Steve Bracks (Vic), Morris Iemma (NSW), Peter Beattie (Qld), Alan Carpenter (WA), Mike Rann (SA) and Paul Lennon (Tas). The Territory Chief Ministers were Jon Stanhope (ACT) and Clare Martin (NT). [Read more…]


Federalism: Canberra And South Australia Act On Murray River

The Federal and South Australian governments have announced a package of measures aimed at reducing salinity, improving water quality and protecting biodiversity in the Murray Darling region.

The measures, worth $12.1 million, were announced by the Liberal Party Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Labor Party Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann. [Read more…]


Council Of Australian Governments Joint Press Conference on Stem Cell Research

The meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, held in Canberra on Friday, is being hailed by the participants as the best ever.

The major decision of COAG was an agreement on stem cell research. For the first time ever, all the State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers are from the ALP, with Prime Minister John Howard representing the non-Labor Federal government.

The Premiers were no doubt keen to demonstrate that wall-to-wall Labor governments are good for the federal compact, but there seemed also to be a genuine belief that the COAG meeting had been productive. There was effusive praise from the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, for the Prime Minister. [Read more…]


Independent Peter Lewis To Support Minority Labor Government In South Australia

Peter Lewis, the independent member for Hammond in the South Australian House of Assembly, has announced that he will give his support to the Labor Party, following last Saturday’s election. The decision ensures that Mike Rann will become Premier of a minority Labor government.

RannFor the first time in the nation’s history, there will now be coast to coast Labor governments in every state and territory. Only the Federal government is controlled by the coalition parties.

Whilst counting in Hartley, Stuart and Norwood is not yet completed, it appears that the ALP will have 23 seats in the 47-seat House. With the support of Lewis, the ALP will have an absolute majority of 24. They could yet garner the support of another independent, Bob Such. [Read more…]


South Australian Election: A Look at the State of the Parties

There are 47 electorates being contested in today’s South Australian election. Either side needs to win 24 seats to govern in their own right. [Read more…]