State election: the week ahead (Feb. 6-12)

Monday, 6 February 2006

In the leadup to the State Election on Saturday, March 18, 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.

40 days and 40 nights ... will the Liberals be left in the Wilderness at the end of this campaign? In the absence of a formal campaign start - now that we have fixed terms - both major Parties are trying to feel their way into full time campaign mode. So far, the ALP has had all the running within a generally positive economic environment and the polls running heavily in their favour.

Nevertheless, last week the Liberal Party were campaigning around education and law and order and tying this to their marginal seat campaign. We should expect to see a lot more attention given to these issues - as well as to health - as the campaigning develops. These will be the telling policies that will shape the thinking of South Australians as they consider their vote.

So far we've seen no big announcements and both major parties will be watching the mood of the electorate as they decide when to have their big-set piece campaign launches. Schools have returned and we've settled back to work, but we're still not thinking too much about politics. Womadelaide, the Fringe, the Festival and other entertainments will provide distractions. But, picking the right time to attract the voter with policy releases will be a delicate art, and should provide opportunities for the parties.

While the major parties are positioning themselves, what we can expect to see this week is the efforts of the minor parties to gain more media attention. The further into the campaign we get, the harder it will be for the minor parties to have their voices heard and capture the attention of the voters.

Labor's big lead in the polls will be reassuring for the government - but they won't want complacency to set in. Things may seem fairly predictable at the moment - but one thing we can be sure about is that there is still plenty of time for things to go wrong.


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