State election: the week ahead (March 6-12)

Monday, 6 March 2006

In the leadup to the March 18 State Election, Senior Lecturers in Politics at the University of Adelaide, Dr Clem Macintyre and Dr Greg McCarthy, will examine the political week ahead. Who's performing well? Who needs to lift their game? What are the major issues on the campaign trail this week? Dr McCarthy and Dr Macintyre will offer their thoughts on these topics and other election issues on a weekly basis.

The following comments can be attributed to Dr Clem Macintyre, Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Politics, University of Adelaide. For further comments about any aspect of the forthcoming election, please contact Dr McCarthy or Dr Macintyre on their contact details listed below.

With less than two weeks to go the State election campaign continues to drift. This is a reflection of the beliefs held by both the main parties that modern political campaigns need to be run to a tight formula and keep to a disciplined script.

The focus has stayed on the Leaders and each party has released a regular daily policy announcement. It might seem a bit boring and predictable - but this is just what the ALP wants. Keep it controlled and, above all, avoid any mistakes.

The Government would have been pleased with the outcome of the "Great Debate". Mike Rann appeared secure and confident. He stressed leadership and stability. For his part, Rob Kerin tried to find holes in the Government's economic record, but did so in a way that would not have made much sense to the average voter.

The Debate offered the Liberals a chance (and for a cash-strapped party a cheap opportunity) to get their message across. But to make it count, they needed to land a real blow. In the end, it was seen as either a draw or a narrow win to Mr Rann. The Liberals will be wondering when their campaign will gain some traction.

The recent polls indicate that the Liberals still have lots to do. There are indications in the polls that Labor will pick up several new metropolitan seats that are within striking distance, and might even secure some bigger swings and go close to winning a few of the safer Liberal seats. Either way, the recent polls will have forced the Liberals into diverting resources from the marginal seats to protect those that were once regarded as secure.

Only in the Upper House does there appear to be any doubt about the outcome. The late entries of Peter Lewis and Ralph Clarke as candidates will stimulate some interest, but neither is likely to be elected. In contrast, there is clear evidence of growing support for Nick Xenophon. Final party preference deals will be registered today and while both major parties would like to see the back of Mr Xenophon, it's beginning to look like voters will re-elect him directly on first preferences.


Contact Details

Professor Clem Macintyre
Head, School of History & Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5601
Mobile: 0432 977 055

Dr Greg McCarthy
Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4735
Mobile: 0419 809 938

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762