Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Is it worth putting Christopher Pyne at risk to save $30 billion? South Australia, ships and seats

Doling out the taxpayer dollars to prop up industries in South Australia became something of an art form for Labor federal governments. From preferential treatment for the wine over other forms of alcohol, to subsidies for car manufacturers, to the establishment of a submarine construction industry - SA got them all in an attempt by the ALP to cling to its House of Representative seats and to control of the state government. The pork-barrelling worked pretty well with the party still holding five of the 11 Reps seats (in italics in the list below) and, with the help of some very favourable electoral boundaries, there is still an ALP state government as well.
That the Liberal Party understood the power of the electoral bribe was shown during the last campaign where Tony Abbott matched the Labor commitment to continue building submarines in the state. The seat of Hindmarsh fell to the Coalition, Boothby lost its marginal status and Sturt moved into what has traditionally been the safe category with a two party preferred vote of 60.1%.
Adelaide - Labor 54.0 Coalition 46.0
Barker - Labor 33.5 Coalition 66.5
Boothby - Labor 42.9 Coalition 57.1 after 6.5% swing to Coalition
Grey - Labor 36.5 Coalition 63.5
Hindmarsh - Labor 48.1 Coalition 51.9 after 8.0% swing to Coalition
Kingston - Labor 59.7 Coalition 40.3
Makin - Labor 55.1 Coalition 44.9
Mayo - Labor 37.5 Coalition 62.5
Port Adelaide 64.0 Coalition 36.0
Sturt - 38.9 Coalition 60.1 after 6.5% swing to Coalition
Wakefield - 53.0 Coalition 46.6
Promises about spending billions are easy to make when in opposition but harder to keep when in government with a commitment to drastically reduce a budget deficit. Hence this morning's headline and the rash of stories preceding it about submarines being built in Japan rather than Adelaide:
 
2014-09-10_subs2What the stories about abandoning Adelaide for Japan tend to glide over is the potential electoral impact on the Coalition. Hindmarsh would surely return to Labor with Boothby a likely Labor gain and Christopher Pyne's seat of Sturt at least in the possible category. Add in the loss of at least one Coalition Senator and there will be a price to pay for the $30 billion.
The resolve of Cabinet will be tested before this decision is finally made.
Post a Comment