ICB: Did the leadership spill lance the boil?
Welcome to another edition of I Call Bullshit. Today we’re looking at the leadership spill in SA, and asking: How does a leader limp on, her team in tatters behind her?
State Liberal Isobel Redmond has clung on by a fingernail, after she managed to shake off the clawing hand of challenger Martin Hamilton-Smith (yes, the Libs do double-barrels in SA).
In a twisted plot worthy of the Labor Party, Mr Hamilton-Smith is himself a former leader of the party. He was toppled when he fell for “dodgy documents” that he thought showed the Labor Party soliciting donations from the Church of Scientology.
After losing to the incumbent by one vote, he’ll have to slink off into the shadows, at least for a while. His ambition is unlikely to let him languish there forever.
His would-be deputy was more fortunate. Stephen Marshall will now serve as Ms Redmond’s 2IC, which obviously won’t prove to be awkward at all.
All this while the Liberals should be a shoe-in to win the next election.
One of the more pitiful things about the carnage is that Ms Redmond, who was known as Honest Izzy, has lost the right to that moniker. She got it because she was a refreshing change to the cultivated spin of the Mike Rann era.
She wasn’t fully spun. She was even slightly unkempt. But not everyone thought that equated to complete honesty – maybe more a lack of control. And that lack of tight control started to show as staffers fled her office and she made a series of silly, silly gaffes. Then she started plenty of pretty politicking around reports she’d offered to hand the leadership to former Howard man Alexander Downer. At which point she said she’d rein things in, determined not to be “caught” again.
And now, she has cast it off forever, as she spun for her life in a post-ballot press conference. She said:
I think this is a good development for the situation in our party room. The party will now lock in behind me and move forward as a united team.
Oh really? I Call Bullshit. This is probably the worst possible outcome. And history and common sense tells us that a party divided is rarely then united. We can expect leaks and counterleaks, whispers behind closed doors, simmering tensions.
Daniel Wills writes: “The Liberal leader used a number of phrases repeatedly during the press conference including; “line in the sand”, “press the reset button”, “move forward” and “lock in behind me”.”
Oh dear. That polliebabble all sounds so horridly familiar. And so hopeless; reverting to this sort of spurious spin didn’t work for Mr Rann in the end; and it won’t work for Ms Redmond. The only thing that would would be some actual honesty. And no more cock ups.
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