Campaign Diary: It’s just so Adelaide

In today’s Campaign Diary entry, we look at the tangled web of Adelaide political connections and we question whether the parties are really so far apart on some key issues.

Feb 26, 2018, updated Feb 26, 2018
Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi talks to journalists outside his campaign launch on Sunday. Photo: AAP/Russell Millard

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi talks to journalists outside his campaign launch on Sunday. Photo: AAP/Russell Millard

So Adelaide

The Australian newspaper’s associate editor Chris Kenny was in town on the weekend to take a close look at the state election campaign – but not in the way you might imagine.

He was here to support his sister Therese Kenny’s campaign as a Liberal candidate for the seat of Torrens.

Kenny, who hosts a show on Sky News, has never hidden his ideological allegiances.


Drinkies Chris?

— Nic Nolan (@nicthenolan) February 24, 2018

And the Mr Nolan wanting to catch for a drink?

He’s the new media adviser to Australian Conservatives leader Corey Bernardi, and a former spinner for Isobel Redmond when she was state Liberal leader.

Oh, and the former radio man also voiced the spooky new election campaign ad for Business SA (for the record, he was granted permission by his new boss because the ad’s message is in line with his party’s).

Small town.


Tweedledum etc

You could hold a tickertape parade down North Terrace with the press releases, planning documents, think-pieces and memos written about the future of the old RAH site by South Australia’s political class.

And after all the handwringing and contemplating, it seems that the major parties are finally settling on basically the same sorts of concepts.

Today, Liberal leader Steven Marshall started revving up his vision for the site.

He’s flagged this previously, but one of his key ideas is to turn the site into a start-up hub – at a cost of $27.5 million.

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Labor announced its vision last week – it wants to devote space at the site to “start-ups and businesses in future-facing industries”.

“South Australia needs to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and turn their ideas into the businesses that will generate the jobs of the future,” Marshall says.

“The Old Royal Hospital site presents us with enormous opportunity to bring together our educational institutions, government and the private sector to work together to grow the types of industries that will provide the jobs of the future,” Premier Jay Weatherill says.

Today, the Liberals announced a new plan to bring an educational institution to the site.

It might be refreshing for the parties to suggest that each other’s ideas are both compatible and reasonable.

The nuclear option

It’s strange how things turn out sometimes.

After dangling before us the promise of a river of gold for South Australia from the storage of high-level nuclear waste, the Labor Government lost its nerve after a citizen’s jury decided to oppose the idea.

The Liberals pulled their support as well, effectively killing the idea.

But it’s clearly stuck with some in the body politic, including Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives who made support for the nuclear industry a key plank of their campaign launch on the weekend (along with mockery of Elon Musk, whom Bernardi described as “the monorail salesman from The Simpsons“).

Today, Master Builders SA threw its support behind the idea as part of its election manifesto, Building a Stronger South Australia.

“The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found that South Australia could benefit from projected revenue of $257 billion,” says Master Builders boss Ian Markos.

“If the government invested this money into a State Wealth Fund, this could accumulate to $445 billion – $260,000 for every South Australia. There would be no need to pay state taxes!

“Many opponents of nuclear say it would damage South Australia’s ‘clean and green’ image, hurting our wine and food industry, but with nuclear facilities and waste disposal throughout France does anybody think twice about drinking a French champagne?”

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