Worn down, cut off and out of ideas.” That was Friday’s headline on the resignation of Liberal leader Isobel Redmond, but it pretty much sums up the pitiful state of the South Australian parliamentary Liberal team as a whole.

Cartoon: Jos Valdmann

Now that Izzy has fallen on her sword, we can only hope this squabbling bunch of brats has a quick reality check, remembers that we pay their wages and finally understands that we expect them to play a role in the direction of South Australia.

I am so sick of hearing about leadership instability, factional brawling and petty personal bickering (bickering that apparently dates back to the 1970s in some cases and parental spats in others).

This isn’t Shakespeare, people, so start putting the South Australian public before personal ambition and factional loyalties – or please find a different job.

So what do we need from this rabble?

We need ideas: just one for starters; and then perhaps a couple more; and then maybe even an entire policy platform – sometime before March 2014 would be nice.

Is it any wonder Ms Redmond kept making a dill of herself over policy, when the Liberals fell into an ideas abyss shortly after the last election?

It’s unfair to suggest across-the-board laziness, because I know of MPs who attend up to 70 after-hours community meetings and public events every week.

But shadow spokespeople have had three years to establish where South Australia is failing in their particular portfolio areas. (The Normandy Landings, one of the biggest coordinated efforts in history, took only 18 months from planning to execution – that’s half the time it’s taken for the state Liberals to do bugger all.)

South Australians need an opposition with conviction.

OK – so you’re considering cutting public servant numbers to save us from bankruptcy.

Well, prosecute the argument, instead of backtracking every time a journalist asks a difficult question or Premier Jay Weatherill deflects an idea with his perfectly-executed condescension.

Just tell us what you stand for!

If you’re the party for business, tell us how you plan to stop the plague of TV news stories about South Australian companies going to the wall.

Tell us how you’re going to ensure all those cranes towering over Adelaide remain in the skyline when publicly-funded projects come to an end – and how you’re planning to give smaller construction companies a piece of the action as well as the handful of big players.

It’s not like the Liberals even need to reinvent the policy wheel – just steal the speech notes from any business chief and you’ll see their main concerns are high tax rates and the uncompetitive nature of doing business in South Australia.

Finally, we need the opposition to actually, occasionally, oppose.

Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni always has a good crack, and the new leader-in-wanting Stephen Marshall has crafted a strong media persona, but others on the team make Marcel Marceau look like positively verbose.

Independent and Greens MPs command more airspace most nights on the news these days and it’s not surprising given they’ve usually got more to say that’s fresh and engaging.

On Friday, declaring his desire to lead the Liberals to the next state election in the wake of Ms Redmond’s shock resignation, Mr Marshall said he wouldn’t be releasing any policies until after tomorrow’s leadership ballot but hoped to launch a health policy “sooner rather than later”.

We’ve been waiting three years for a policy, Mr Marshall, so I suppose another weekend won’t hurt.

Despite years of leadership instability and the yawning ideas chasm, the polls still put the South Australian Liberals ahead of Labor.

Just imagine how the polls might look if they start working for us instead of warring with each other.

Comments on this post will close at 7pm AEDT.

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23 comments

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    • PW says:

      05:31am | 03/02/13

      70 after hours and community meetings and public events a week? Thats ten a day, without a day off. They must be short meetings and events, thats all I can say.

    • craig2 says:

      06:23am | 03/02/13

      South Australia, nice city and not much else. Oh I suppose those cranes could stay up and build another church! How exciting!

    • Hughsie says:

      02:39pm | 03/02/13

      @Craig2 - South Australia is in fact a State… not a city. Adelaide is an example of a city. That’s primary school level geography Craig - LOL! Embarrassing.

    • Geronimo says:

      06:26am | 03/02/13

      A point of order Madam Speaker.
      Very well, permission granted, the member for Gonzo has the floor.
      Madam Speaker, I move the Leader of The Fearless Friar’s Ferocious Opposition be suspended indefinitely on the grounds he continuously plagiarizes the cast of The Muppet Show and abuses the good order and discipline of accepted stupidity.

      Ring the bells, lock the doors.

    • Mack says:

      08:19am | 03/02/13

      @Geronimo - your stupidity knows no bounds. The story is about the SA election. Didn’t bother to read the story, eh?

      I think you must harbour some secret man love for the Fearless Friar. C’mon now…..admit it.

    • Geronimo says:

      01:45pm | 03/02/13

      Wrong again Mac, given Geronimo’s ability to translate is limited to Smoke Signals, he finds it more enlightening and far more enjoyable to encourage admonishments from the A to Z Super Sleuths in the Troppo Blogosphere.

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      06:27am | 03/02/13

      Hi Lainie,

      I personally don’t know much about the South Australian Politics.  Is it a bit like the Federal Politics and how things are managed all around?  Being in the opposition is most definitely tough as we have seen in the Federal Politics recently?  That actually should give all politicians in opposition to try twice as hard as the rest for that special chance in the game of politics?
      No time for being complacent by standing at the same spot with similar policies and agendas of the past!  It is most definitely time to move on.


      What most voters look for is some kind of incentive to go in the other direction.  If there isn’t much of a choice then what is the point of trying something new and different.  Just like our shopping experiences competition happens to be actually good for the members of the public when we are shopping around for better deals. There has to be strong visions for the future all around combined with sheer determination and bit of convincing on all sides involved . Politicians interested in winning elections need to be a little bit stronger at persuading members of the public why they stand out from the rest.  Kind regards.

    • Ben says:

      07:22am | 03/02/13

      There is much truth in the statement that good government requires good opposition.  Sadly, for many years we have been lacking in both.

    • philip says:

      09:28am | 03/02/13

      lainie you are talking absolute rubbish our state is a basket case labour soldout our forestry workers so they had the money to help fund the refurbishment of a stadium, and your attacking the libs because someone is actually retiring from politics???

    • stephen says:

      09:46am | 03/02/13

      I heard Tony Abbott last night on telly say ... ‘a once in a 200 year event’, in relation to the Bundaberg floods.
      I’ve got news for him : these floods and fires are permanently on a 15 year rotation. They are here for good.
      But Campbell Newman is right when he says that governments cannot keep writing cheques for infrastructure repairs after natural disasters, when the rebuilding does not take into account the fact that these disasters will keep happening and better designs are needed to save lives and money.
      (North Bundaberg, by the way, was always ripe for a flood : the houses and roads were low and of poor quality, and Hinkler avenue was really the only road north continuing on to the Bruce Highway.)

      Abbott was right to delete the school’s bonus.
      Now he can rid us of all the other middle-class bonuses ... if he has any guts, that is.

    • The Silver Fox McScrooge says:

      01:34pm | 03/02/13

      I’m, interested in how you know this will be a 15 year rotation Stephen? Not saying you’re wrong, just that I haven’t seen that figure quoted even by climate scientists?

    • james says:

      01:38pm | 03/02/13

      Instead he is increasing taxes and welfare for his gold plated maternity scheme.
      Bloody socialist.

    • stephen says:

      05:21pm | 03/02/13

      @silver fox ..‘taps his head’.
      Kidneys, mate.

    • Mik says:

      09:51am | 03/02/13

      Get stuck into all of them Lainie, not just a bunch of unknown SA opposition pollies. Show your colleagues how good, without fear or favour, journalism is done.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      10:03am | 03/02/13

      The instability for the Liberals will not end no matter who they put in as Leader of the SA Liberal Parliamentary Party.
      At least it won’t until the likes of the publicity-mad Alexander Downer step back & shut up!
      Oh! Yes, Alexander has said he is not a candidate for the current vacancy but he has deliberately refused to rule out “Making a tilt for the job at a later date”
      No Political Party needs any of their members, particularly, allegedly, senior ones like Downer, deliberately causing that sort of instability for whomsoever they do elect. Nothing destroys the chances of being elected better than Internally created Instability. That is what the hierarchy of the Liberal Party in SA are doing.
      Downer’s job with the UN is coming to a close. He is hooked on being in the public eye. Once the UN job ends, he is no longer an MP, the media will ignore him. That is as it should be. He has had his “Day in the Sun” so I suppose all he sees ahead of him is his “Winter of Discontent”. He should follow media Mike’s example and disappear from view.
      Policies? What Policies? They have all been so busy destabilising & stabbing each other in the back they haven’t had time to develop any policies.
      If Steven Marshall gets the nod then he is going to have to be one hell of a tough cookie, brook no disloyalty, no destabilisation, no disunity. The first time he hears any Liberal MP say anything like “Steven, has my Full Support” he will have to act & cut her/him out. For that, as we have seen in Canberra & here in SA, is the signal that Betrayal is imminent
      Isobel Redmond & all the other leaders the Libs have elected during the last 12 years have all been deliberately & maliciously undermined by their own MPs simply because, like Julia Gillard, they have had personal, over-riding ambitions & egos yet not one of them have had any ability to actually become the leader.

    • Shadey says:

      03:32pm | 03/02/13

      Rinehart has rescued Downer. He’s now in bed with climate change sceptic Ian Plimer and sharing the same boardroom. (but don’t mention climate change)

    • W J Craig (Mrs) says:

      10:34am | 03/02/13

      Lainie,
      The plague of TV stories about SA businesses going to the wall will not stop.
      Bob Hawke & Paul Keating started the rot. John Howard & Peter Costello made it worse. Rudd & Gillard have completed the destruction of so much business.
      Where, Lainie, has almost our entire Manufacturing Industry, (clothing, footwear, electronics, food production, Whitegoods & other large & small Household gadgetry for just a few) gone? many of them were here in SA. All gone.
      It has ALL gone off-shore. Tariffs have been abolished by Australia but by no-one else. In fact, in some of our so-called “Trading Partners” have actually increased their tariffs so as to exclude our exports. Despite Howard’s much-touted Free Trade Agreement with the USA the only beneficiary of that agreement has, by their own figures for the most part, been the USA.
      Locally what chance do SA-based companies, in any fields including Construction, have to make a go of it when the ALP State Government of SA gives all those big jobs to Interstate or even Overseas companies?
      Isn’t it some overseas company which was awarded the contract for the Adelaide City Councils disastrous $30 million re-vamp of the Rundle Mall?
      Thanks to successive State & Federal Governments we are supporting & enhancing other countries economies.
      What about our own?
      State politicians are allowed, for a pathetic $7000, to have the “Motor Vehicle of their Choice”. There was a time when the, then SA Government-owned, “FleetSA” had a policy that, with the exception of specific types of vehicles for specific purposes, ALL SA Government Motor Vehicles had to have been manufactured in, preferably, SA or at other plants around Australia.
      That ruling was very conveniently abandoned by the State ALP Government of SA when our politicians awarded themselves “The Car of Choice”. Almost without exception they chose top-of-the-range, Fully Imported, Luxury vehicles - not one of which is manufactured in Australia - let alone SA

    • PJ says:

      11:24am | 03/02/13

      The Gillard Government has recklessly spent. Given us $300 Billion debt and $120 Billion plus in Budget deficits. We’re looking at paying debt as a nation for the next 131 years after only 4 years of spending.

      Now there is no money for flag Ship projects like NDIS and Gronski, which remain a small pilot scheme and a little research project.

      I know, your puzzled, because Gillard’s been talking up the policies like they are delivered, done deal.

      Next up is the French style 75% tax and nicking larger chunks of your Superannuation. You’ll live retirement in semi poverty, because you worked hard and earned a decent living, but voted for a crap Government.

      with 6 Gillard spin docs in the Canberra Press office for every Journo, you’ll never know the truth of it under this Government…

    • Geronimo says:

      11:59am | 03/02/13

      Talking politics in Daisy Downer’s little Salt Lake State has the same effect on House Nous as natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits,  they’re the object of scorn to smart Mexicans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.

    • maria says:

      01:32pm | 03/02/13

      So what do we need from this rabble?
      You’ll get nothing because we are all irrelevant after each election.

      A true opposition? why don’t you take the plane and fly to Switzerland for a while to see how an opposition is really working there.

      In Switzerland there is no opposition party, no presidential veto, and no strict party discipline.
      Switzerland has a stable government and a diverse society and shit rarely happens.

    • marley says:

      05:45pm | 03/02/13

      Yes, Switzerland has a stable government.  That’s because, In Switzerland, nothing happens.  It’s why they were 50 years behind the rest of the world in letting women have the vote.

    • ramases says:

      03:34pm | 03/02/13

      Nice try Lainie but no cigar. This was I suspect supposed to create a diversion from the imploding Federal ALP but the truth be known nobody really cares what happens to South Australia in the scheme of things. Be it LNP or Labor wont make a scrap of difference to the people when we have this shower of a Federal Government in power.
        If the truth be known, I know that is a foreign concept to most ALP supporters, it is the Federal Government that has almost destroyed not only SA but also most states who for some reason known only to themselves believe that jobs are better going overseas than staying in this country.
        We have through increasing Union demands for wage increases, a Fair Work Australia policy, increased and ludicrous Work Place Health and Safety regulations, increased Green regulations and copious amounts of Red tape and increased Taxes of all kinds made Australia one of the most expensive places to do business.
        Some businesses must comply with over a thousand Green regulations before even a sod of earth is turned over and if that’s not bloody crazy what is. We are Wage Increasing, Red Taping, Green Regulating, Work Place Health and Safety and over pricing ourselves out of the market place at such a rate that the plight of SA is but a drop in the ocean compared to the whole of Australia.
        I’m no Einstein but it seems to me that first we should fix the Federal arena before we even contemplate worrying about what’s happening in the varied States and Territories.
        Its like fixing a boat that has been damaged, what good to fix the deck when the hull is leaking water to such and extent that it will sink anyway.

    • TheFatMan says:

      04:31pm | 03/02/13

      Chris Pyne compared Labor to the end of Nazi Germany.  Yep Labor appears to be coming apart - mainly because they got too far to the right.

      As for Nazi well Chris I suggest you and Tony paint on tooth brush mo’s and look in the damn mirror because the only difference between the way the Libs are going and where the Nazi’s did is the Nazi’s had policy and the Libs never have or none I can find on their website anway.  I’m always astounded by what appears to be the gulf between State Lib’s like Can’t Do Campbell and Barnett and the Feds.  State Lib’s get stuff done the feds well… last achievement of any note was almost destroying the country when Fraser just would not sack Howard and how he ever, Howard, got to be PM is beyond my comprehension.

      Preferences, a system both side rort by failing to educate voters, the distinct lack of a credible centrist third party, and voters with damn short memories are the only things that keep the 150 plus dipsticks living off the public purse in Canberra where they are.

      As for most of the East including SA - basket cases living off of WA.

 

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