The South Australian by-elections

I was perhaps the most boring person at a party on Saturday night while I refreshed the webpages for South Australian news websites on my phone. The occasion: there were two by-elections for state parliament seats, vacated by former Labor premier, Mike Rann, and his right-hand man, Kevin Foley, both MPs since 1993.

Labor’s candidate in Rann’s former seat of Ramsay, Zoe Bettison won very comfortably with 54% of first preferences. They’ve also retained Foley’s former seat, Port Adelaide, where Susan Close won with 53.2% on two party preferred.

The commentary in some of the South Australian press has been pretty negative for Labor, despite winning both seats under trying circumstances. The numbers in Port Adelaide in particular were not looking so good on election night, and new Premier Jay Weatherill’s Party has been criticised for coming so close in that seat. Their main competitor, “indepenedent” candidate Gary Johanson has been quick to put the boot in

Mr Johanson was in no rush to concede defeat.

“At this stage, I would say the numbers probably favour the government, but I’ll prolong the agony,” he said.

However, even if Labor won the seat, it had lost the support of the people, he said. “It’s hard to see that as a victory,” he said.

Hard to see a victory as a victory?

Putting a more positive spin on the situation, a friend of mine has said…

Labor appears all but certain to achieve a stunning victory in the Port Adelaide by-election. In a hard fought campaign that saw the ten year old Labor Government face the local Mayor and an independent who was secretly given permission by the Liberal Party to use their branding, Labor is more than 1,000 votes in front after all booths have been counted. Labor’s candidate, Susan Close, is touted as a rising star and is expected to play a significant role in influencing progressive policy in South Australia over the next decade.

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