The SA Politics Thread

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The SA Politics Thread

#1 Post by Isiskii » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:13 am

Kevin Foley, Michael Wright, Paul Holloway resign as ministers.
Greg Kelton, State editor From: The Advertiser February 07, 2011 12:00AM

KEVIN Foley has thrown the political spotlight on Premier Mike Rann's future by stepping down as deputy premier and treasurer.
Sweeping changes to the frontbench will result from yesterday's resignations of Mr Foley, Police Minister Michael Wright and Resources Minister Paul Holloway in 24 hours.

Party sources said the moves completed the first phase of regeneration for Labor.

Sources said it was likely Mr Rann would be "next cab off the rank" possibly late next year to give a new leader a chance to build a profile.

Mr Foley said he would stay in Cabinet. But he would not guarantee that he would stay in Parliament until the next election in 2014.

"I'm quite relaxed, quite comfortable and excited about my future and that of this Labor Government," Mr Foley said.

"It is time for Kevin Foley to give way to younger, talented people who will take this Labor government to the next election and win, and win beyond that," he said.

"I am a realist. I know that for a lot of South Australians they thought that I was too arrogant, that I was too much of a bully boy, too outspoken, too direct, too strong in my approach.

"I apologise for that if that's upset people."

Employment Minister Jack Snelling is expected to be named by Mr Rann as treasurer, replacing Mr Foley, who was in high spirits as he announced his decision at Port Adelaide yesterday. The new portfolios are expected to be announced quickly by Mr Rann so they can be sworn in before Parliament resumes tomorrow after a nine-week break.

A hastily convened meeting of Caucus this afternoon will elect replacements for all three with Attorney-General John Rau becoming deputy premier and Labor backbenchers Tom Kenyon and Bernard Finnigan to replace Mr Wright and Mr Holloway.

Mr Foley, who said he wanted a quieter, less public profile role, endorsed both Mr Rau and Mr Snelling to take over his roles.

He had kept the state waiting for almost three weeks announcing he would be quitting politics at the next election, but on the eve of leaving for a visit to the US, he refused to make an announcement about his future. Despite speculation that he had been tapped on the shoulder, like his colleague Mr Wright, Mr Foley said he had not been pushed out of the job, nor did he have a dagger in his back.

He issued a warning to Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond, saying the Labor Party was coming back stronger, more youthful and more energised than it had ever been. Also yesterday:

MR RANN said good government was a blend of experience with new blood, demonstrated by the fact that the majority of current ministers were not in Cabinet when Labor was elected in 2002.

EDUCATION Minister Jay Weatherill, considered by the public as the best Labor leadership prospect, was named by Mr Holloway as a future party leader.

SENIOR Labor powerbrokers described the transition as going smoothly, showing the party had the discipline to institute change without blood on the floor.

POLICE Minister Michael Wright, who only a week ago had accused his colleagues of an act of bastardry for suggesting he would be dumped from Cabinet, said he had come to the conclusion "that now is probably the best time for me to step down from the ministry".

Mr Foley would not comment on whether he had considered not standing down.

"It's not been easy," he said.

"I have enjoyed being this state's deputy premier and treasurer." Mr Foley said Mr Rann had done an outstanding job and the party needed to keep people of experience in the top leadership positions.

"You can't change everyone in the Labor government and bring in a whole new fresh team," he said. "That doesn't work."

Ms Redmond, meanwhile, rejected suggestions her Opposition ministry was old, saying it had six new members after the March election.

She indicated she would undertake a reshuffle once she had "seen how things were going on the other side".

SA Unions secretary Janet Giles said the changes were meaningless unless there were changes to the way Labor governed.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#2 Post by Wayno » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:25 pm

my only concern is Holloway, as he's been instrumental to the advancement of SA mining. Hope he remains influential from the back bench.
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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#3 Post by stumpjumper » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:18 pm

Holloway may be good for the mining industry, but as a planning minister, he has approved almost everything put in front of him, and has done u-turns when instructed to. For example, after assuring the Mt Barker community in 2007 that re-subdivision at Mt Barker had reached its sensible and practical limit, when asked by a consortium led by his own consultant advisers he approved a further 1300 ha resubdivision, despite very high levels of community resistance.

Holloway said in 2009 that all future major developments around Adelaide would be Transport Oriented Developments and would be built where local employment was available. He then approved on request by the owner, a cash supporter of the ALP. resubdivision of the Buckland Park swamp for 15,000 residents, in defiance of very negative environmental reports, and with only a shuttle bus connecting the development to the occasional Virginia to city bus. There is no employment close to Buckland Park.

Holloway has not promoted urban consolidation or infill to any extent, I suggest because the people he listens to are broadacre developers who are not geared to undertaking small infill developments.

As a tourism minister (he really is), he hasn't made any impression on SA's falling visitation rates.

Anyway, he's been culled , along with the AWU's Michael Wright. Holloway is ASU (Australian Services Union), not the SDA, so there won't be much for him in the new SDA government. He might as well take his fat super and settle down to a life of long free lunches as a director of any of the numerous mining and other companies he's helped out in his timer in parliament.

There's a place for broadacre development of new homes, but let's hope Holloway's replacement is also interested in the type of development undertaken by 90% of firms in the building and development industry - the less glamorous small site jobs, even if the firms aren't big donors to SA Progressive Business or provide gala opening photo ops.

Did anyone else catch ex-Treasurer Foley's Freudian slip on radio this morning? He berated a caller for criticising Finnigan and Kenyon who had 'only taken jobs they had earned'. I say Freudian because surely being the best talented for the job is what counts, rather than a ministry being solely a prize to be earned by, say, long years labouring as a union official and as a parliamentary staffer. That said, it is hard to see what relevant experience either brings to their job. Neither has worked outside the union/political system.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#4 Post by rhino » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:22 pm

stumpjumper wrote: He then approved on request by the owner, a cash supporter of the ALP. resubdivision of the Buckland Park swamp
Care to name this person, and how you know he is a cash supporter of the ALP?
stumpjumper wrote:Did anyone else catch ex-Treasurer Foley's Freudian slip on radio this morning? He berated a caller for criticising Finnigan and Kenyon who had 'only taken jobs they had earned'. I say Freudian because surely being the best talented for the job is what counts, rather than a ministry being solely a prize to be earned by, say, long years labouring as a union official and as a parliamentary staffer. That said, it is hard to see what relevant experience either brings to their job. Neither has worked outside the union/political system.
Tom Kenyon has a degree in environmental science, and is passionate about it. I believe it's what helped him get his particular parliamentary staffer job. I would say he does have relevant experience to bring to the job, gained in his job as a staffer. What's your basis for saying he hasn't?
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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#5 Post by stumpjumper » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:26 pm

Care to name this person, and how you know he is a cash supporter of the ALP?
I'm glad you asked. The person is Lang Walker, executive chairman of the Walker Corporation, beneficial owner and developer of Buckland Park.

The list of cash donors to the ALP, published as required, records Lang Walker of Walker Corporation as a cash donor to the ALP.

Mr Walker's first donation to the Rann government was $25,000 in 2005. Mr Walker has continued to be a significant donor to the Rann government. In fact he also acts as a fundraiser for Rann. Last year, as well as his fundraising activities, Walker paid Rann $1500 for a seat at a very select dinner for 50 held in the Old Lion Cellars a few days before the announcement of the rezoning and subdivision of Walker's swamp north of Adelaide.

It was quite an occasion. Among the guests was Nick Bolkus, the head of SA Progressive Business, the fundraising arm of the Rann government. Bolkus had been helping Walker in the developer's successful efforts in raising funds for the Labor government.

Walker also employed Bolkus as a lobbyist in relation to the Buckland Park development. Walker used the magic formula of Bolkus + Connor Holmes + Holloway = Rezoning + Special Project. There may be a dollar sign missing somewhere, but my maths is about right.

Also present were a few ministers (including Hill and Conlon, who had recently enjoyed Lang Walker's hospitality in Sydney Harbour aboard Walker's luxury yacht - not the new $50 million one, the old $30 million 52 metre one)

The combination of Bolkus and Connor Holmes seems to work a treat on the Rann government. As well as working as a lobbyist for private firms who want special attention from the government, Bolkus works for the government as its chief fundraiser, and Connor Holmes are not only consultants to the development industry, but are also consultants to the government - on development. It's easy to see the efficiencies when everyone is so close. For example, in some cases, Connor Holmes is paid by the developer to lobby for, say, the maximum number of houses on a development site, and is simultaneously paid by the planning minister to advise on how to best plan the development. Neat! The duo of Bolkus and Connor Holmes have worked on Thoroughbred Racing SA's redevelopment of the Gawler Racecourse (against community opposition), on the Mt Barker rezoning and redevelopment (against community opposition) and on the Buckland Park swamp rezoning and redevelopment (against community opposition and opposition from various experts such as the Planning Institute of Australia and numerous environmental organisations).

Bolkus also headed the government's stormwater authority which advised, against expert opinion and community wishes, against using the Cheltenham Racecourse as a stormwater retention basin for the western suburbs while Bolkus was employed by Thoroughbred Racing SA to clear the way for rezoning and redevelopment of the land. However, the planning minister advised that Mr Bolkus was able to keep the two roles 'separate'.

http://www.premcab.sa.gov.au/lobbyist/r ... bolkus.pdf

http://team7.govhack.net.tmp.anchor.net ... 3691755031

As to Connor Holmes' ability to avoid conflicts of interest, as former Adelaide City Council CEO Stuart Moseley and now Connor Holmes employee said in relation to the Mt Barker development where Connor Holmes was both lobbying for the developer and advising the government:

"Connor Holmes has a dual role, one to advise state government with respect to its 30-year growth strategies and a separate role to represent commercial clients. Connor Holmes is conscious of its dual role as an adviser to government and notes that any decisions on growth are ultimately left to the government to make."

...after taking advice from Connor Holmes, no doubt. But back to the flash dinner at the Old Lion.

Also present were were Dean Day of Daycorp, co-developer of the swamp with Lang Walker and a member of the 'Mt Barker Consortium', Alex Candetti of Candetti Constructions, who had won a $10 million contract in December to build a police station at Roxby Downs a few weeks before the dinner, and Australian Hotels Association SA chief executive Ian Horne.

Most of the people at the dinner had, or will become, very wealthy or wealthier courtesy of the government to which they had donated their ticket price.

You might say that for a developer who has got an application pending with the state government to be actively fundraising for the government before that decision is made is not a good practice, but that would be nit-picking. Fortunately, there is absolutely no suggestion of any sort of chicanery, and the Walker Corporation is well in the clear. Mr Lang Walker himself said the project had been closely scrutinised and that any donations to the Rann government were irrelevant to the project's approval.

Phew!
Tom Kenyon has a degree in environmental science, and is passionate about it. I believe it's what helped him get his particular parliamentary staffer job. I would say he does have relevant experience to bring to the job, gained in his job as a staffer. What's your basis for saying he hasn't?
Tom Kenyon has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management. I've met him and he seems a good bloke to me. I think that his close association with the SDA was as much help as his degree in his being chosen by Don Farrell - sorry, I mean 'pre-selected'.

Kenyon worked, not for long, in the office of Minister for Mineral Resources and Development Paul Holloway. Kenyon had been pre-selected twice by then (failing to win a seat each time) but had not worked in the field of his degree. I'm not sure how much experience in his field he would have got on top of his degree at Holloway's office, because I don't know what his duties were. What's more, working as a junior ministerial adviser is not the same as working in the field or in a commercial environment. That's why I said it was 'hard to see what relevant experience' he could bring to his job.

I suppose, if Kenyon's made Minister for the Environment or something, his education and whatever practical experience he had at Holloway's office could help, so to that extent you have a point. At this stage, he hasn't been given a ministry.

My general point is that instead of the main criteria for being given a minister being:

1. Are you loyal (ie are you an SDA supporter)?
2. Have you 'earned' this position (ie have you 'paid your dues' through the union/staffer system)?

The only criterion should be:

Are you the best person available for the job?

We are, after all, dealing with a public trust and public funds. Government is not a private game where the aim is to get the biggest rewards possible.

As to the general truth of what I write on this forum, I try hard to ensure that anything I write as a fact is correct. Free use of adjectives and metaphor is another matter. but the facts, I try to keep as straight as possible.

So you can rely on the facts above, even if you disagree with my conclusions, inferences, or insidious suggestions.
Last edited by stumpjumper on Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#6 Post by stumpjumper » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:42 pm

Ha. Bernard Finnigan, the new government leader in the Upper House, has called for a higher birth rate...

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Aaargh!!! She's back!

#7 Post by stumpjumper » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:13 pm

"There is no silver bullet..." "We cannot make it rain..."

Like zombies and vampires, some politicians just won't stay down. Anyone who thought we'd heard the last of Karlene Maywald's schoolmarmish voice is wrong.

The head of the SDA's new look Murray Darling Basin Authority is busy building a parallel, more powerful body to ensure that environmental flows take second place to the demands of farmers in the upper reaches of the system.

Maywald has been appointed to the new advisory body.

The decision by former MDBA head Mike Taylor that 3000 gigalitres' allowance would have to be cut from the NSW farmers precipitated the change, managed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Water, SDA boss Don Farrell and Farrell's old employee at the SDA, Water Minister Tony Burke.

Where outgoing MBDA head Mike Taylor believed 'there is no healthy economy without a healthy river', therefore the river's needs come first, SDA appointere Brian Knowles claims Taylor's view to be a misinterpretation. He says that the actual basis for the MDBA's work is 'there is no healthy river without a healthy economy'.

Farrell and Burke have also got rid of under secretary for water Dr James Horne, another believer in the 'river first, farmers second' theory.

From the Advertiser today: It is understood Mr Knowles has virtually sidelined the independent authority and asked members to stand down over their position of putting environmental concerns ahead of social and economic concerns of irrigators.

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Re: Aaargh!!! She's back!

#8 Post by Waewick » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:50 pm

complete joke

just goes to show that if you get elected into parliament the comfy ride for the rest of your life is assured.

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Re: Aaargh!!! She's back!

#9 Post by Omicron » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:51 pm

Oh lord, not her again.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#10 Post by crawf » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:16 pm

I actually don't mind her to be honest.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#11 Post by Isiskii » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:42 pm

Take off the rose-coloured glasses, Crawf.

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Re: Aaargh!!! She's back!

#12 Post by Aidan » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:26 pm

stumpjumper wrote:"There is no silver bullet..." "We cannot make it rain..."

Like zombies and vampires, some politicians just won't stay down. Anyone who thought we'd heard the last of Karlene Maywald's schoolmarmish voice is wrong.

The head of the SDA's new look Murray Darling Basin Authority is busy building a parallel, more powerful body to ensure that environmental flows take second place to the demands of farmers in the upper reaches of the system.

Maywald has been appointed to the new advisory body.
Well at least there's one Croweater on it!

Of all the expollies out there, Karlene Maywald is probably the least objectionable.
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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#13 Post by stumpjumper » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:49 am

Well at least there's one Croweater on it!
There are at least two South Australians, for what it's worth.

Don't forget the man behind the personnel changes on the Murray Darling Basin Authority AND the new parallel advisory body. It's Don Farrell, the 'controller' behind the weird SA cabinet reshuffle. Don Farrell, still leader of the Shoppies, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water.

So far what he has done in the position has not been helpful to SA. For example he has replaced 'environment first' MDBA chair Mike Taylor with 'farmers first' Brian Knowles. Goodbye to environmental flows as a priority.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#14 Post by Isiskii » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:17 am

'Shoppies' will have the final say
Brad Crouch From: Sunday Mail (SA) February 13, 2011 12:00am

MIKE Rann wants to lead Labor to the 2014 election, but he may not have a choice.

His plunging approval rating now appears terminal. Its steady downward slide, dating back to the Michelle Chantelois saga when trust became a key issue, has hit a perilous new low.

He is on the nose with women and even a large chunk of Labor voters prefer Isobel Redmond.

Marginal seat MPs are also nervous. Unless the recent reshuffle turns things around - and early indications are it has been something of a damp squib - Labor will have to confront the choice of drifting towards Opposition or gambling on a new leader.

Granted, the next election is three years away but once a political brand becomes so damaged with perceptions of tiredness and arrogance, the public simply switches off until they can boot the incumbents out.

Into this mix comes the government within the Government, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. This most powerful of unions, with a conservative Catholic leadership, dominates Labor's Right which, in turn, dominates Caucus.

The list of MPs who worked for the SDA gives a measure of the union's influence in government - Jack Snelling, Tom Koutsantonis, Bernie Finnigan, Michael Atkinson, Tom Kenyon and Lee Odenwalder. The "Shoppies" former state secretary, Don Farrell, now a senator, remains a kingmaker whose backing is crucial for the non-aligned Mr Rann to stay in his job.

The dominance of the Right, and the influence of the SDA, was shown in the reshuffle - the minority Left faction was frozen out.

The bottom line is, if the SDA and its Right allies decides Mr Rann's time has passed, then he is in trouble.
Advertiser's finally starting to catch onto the SDA's control of the Labor Party.

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Re: The SA Politics Thread

#15 Post by stumpjumper » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:58 am

Not before time.

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