This was a different budget. The SA Budget papers were coated in soft blue hues and carried a picture of a nurse and a baby. Even before state Treasurer Jack Snelling opened his mouth yesterday to tell assembled reporters all about his first budget the message was clear. This is a different Treasurer and a new era.

We are family

The hard edges that so oftened characterised his predecessor Kevin Foley were to be buffed smooth by Snelling. Foley used to love Budget day. He would relish the battle with the media, jumping in boots and all, to defend, sell and promote his budget.

That was all very well in the days when the Rann Government was flying high. When elections were being won and the cash was rolling in from Canberra there was plenty to shout loud about.

But now as the Government languishes in the polls, and struggles with issues such as credibility, arrogance and trust, the idea of a combatative Treasurer taking glee in slashing public servant numbers and conditions was not an option.

And so yesterday Snelling, dressed in the appropriate dark suit and sober tie, took a different tack. Only one small joke about losing his budget ``cherry’‘, little attempt to match egos with the watching hacks.

His favourite words were moderate, responsible, comfortable, restrained. So often did he repeat those words a new game may be born in time for next year’s budget. Budget drinking bingo. The only problem being we’d all be under the table before the press conference finishes.

And then there was family. Snelling, a father of six, told stories of his own family, of shopping for groceries, of catching the O-Bahn. Of how he had framed the State’s budget in the same way as a family would look after their own finances in hard times.

It all seemed to be another attempt to distance the new from the old. To empahise the solidity and ordinariness of Snelling against the volatility and flamboyance of Foley. And perhaps even at a darker, and unfair level, to say Snelling is a family man who loves his kids, where Foley was the ``Playboy of the Western Suburbs’‘.

But the ghost of Foley was still there yesterday. His hard yards in last year’s budget allowed Snelling to present an essentially inoffensive budget that required little of the drastic surgery seen last year. The new Treasurer was gracious enough to concede the point.

It may be the last time that happens though. Snelling and the Government understand they have to put as much room between them and the man who delivered the first nine State Labor budgets if they are to remake their image before the next election.

New faces and a new approach, they hope will mean a new Labor.

Disclaimer alert: Michael McGuire was Kevin Foley’s media adviser between 2004 and 2006.

Most commented


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    • BL says:

      05:48am | 10/06/11

      Different treasurer? Different era? What’s different about it? is Snelling not a former Unionist who Labor have once again given a cushy job to? Is Snelling & the Rann Government once again promising everything to families like they usually do each budget? How is any of this different? Nothing’s changed, it’s the same old Labor.

      The problem with the Rann Government is one thing. It’s a Labor government and nobody trusts or wants Labor governments anymore, especially one with Mike Rann in the top job, where he has tried everything to cover-up his corruption and lies and has failed miserably.

      People in SA want Rann and Labor gone and no amount of budget promises is going to change that.

      And privatising the SA Lotteries? Have governments not yet learnt their lesson that privatising only ends up costing the tax payers more? I for one remember when ETSA was privatised, years later and we are ALL paying for it. So expect the cost of that ezipick to SKYROCKET over the next few years.

    • dovif says:

      07:57am | 10/06/11

      Oh yeah

      The NSW/Federal ALP method of renewal, Dump a premier/PM and rush to the poll before the government start to smell too bad, and repeat again next election

      While the ALP thinks Australians are dumb, soon Australian will show the ALP what Australians thinks of all the lies and incompetancy

    • acotrel says:

      08:02am | 10/06/11

      ‘His favourite words were moderate, responsible, comfortable, restrained. So often did he repeat those words a new game may be born in time for next year’s budget. Budget drinking bingo. ‘

      I get so sick of these smooth talking front men! All parties and public service departments and corporations have them to hide their cynicism.

    • Nafe says:

      08:42am | 10/06/11

      Dovif, “While the ALP thinks Australians are dumb,”

      Australians are dumb. They vote the same way all the time hoping for a different result. The ALP pull the same trick every election and the public fal for it every time, be it Iemma in NSW, Bligh in QLD or Gillard in Federal. Australians are stupid, the sooner we can admit it, the sooner we can address the problem.

    • Tom says:

      10:18am | 10/06/11

      @Nafe, I cannot fault what you just said. The cornerstone of Labor’s Hawker Britton propaganda machine is that the electorate is stupid.

      @acetrol, “All parties and public service departments and corporations have them”? Perhaps. But, unlike the ALP, some do not regard telling lies as a badge of honour.

    • BL says:

      10:48am | 10/06/11

      I agree, the electorate are stupid and most voters are brainless wankers. That said, The Liberals have hardly offered a viable alternative, and most people vomit at the idea of Tony Abbott being PM of Australia.  I think if the Liberals got their act together and got a leader who can appeal to the general public they would have a much better chance of winning.

      I just cannot fathom though how any intelligent person can think of even voting for Labor again after the monumental f***ups in the past 3 years.

    • Rose says:

      11:04am | 10/06/11

      BL, the only reason I am contemplating voting Labor again is because having Tony Abbott as PM is scarier than anything else. Find someone else to lead the Libs and I might consider them.
      What I would prefer though is a third party, one which hovers around the centre of the political spectrum and uses evidence based policy (not evidence from ideologically biased think tanks) and which is able to balance human rights and equity with economic intelligence. At this point I don’t believe there’s a hope in hell of such a party so I’m caught between a rock and a hard place!

    • acotrel says:

      11:44am | 10/06/11

      @Nafe A minute ago:
      Australians are dumb. They vote the same way all the time hoping for a different result. The LNP pull the same trick every election and the public fal for it every time, be it Askinin NSW, Bjelke Petersen in QLD or Howard in Federal. Australians are stupid, the sooner we can admit it, the sooner we can address the problem.

      SO WHAT HAS CHANGED? The ideolgy is identical.  The bullshit is the same.  Only the rhetoric has become more toxic?

    • Harquebus says:

      08:17am | 10/06/11

      Any economic statement that does not factor oil depletion is toilet paper. The era of economic growth is over folks. Peak oil mate, peak oil.

    • BobM says:

      04:05pm | 10/06/11

      @Harquebus, some say that peak oil was reached in 1997 (I think) and that is probably true. We used to squeal when oil hit $30 a barrel, and now it is over $100. I’m sure APEC and all the other oil magnates know we are running out of oil and are squeezing every last cent they can out of their dwindling supplies by pushing the price higher and higher. The instability in the Middle East is a good cover for them.
      Eventually something else will come along to replace oil and others will become multi squillionaires because of it…....

    • Harquebus says:

      06:44pm | 10/06/11

      Eventually, maybe. Another great die off and 50 million years of waiting. Who knows?

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      12:53pm | 10/06/11

      Snelling’s budget looks a bit better than that of most profligate ALP Governments who like to spend their opponents’ tax dollars on puppet theatre productions for left-handed, tree-hugging, lesbian single mums and other such esoteric initiatives rather than on anything useful to those of us who actually pay tax, but the fact remains that his budget is going to look good because they are selling of SA lotteries. 
      You can only sell the family silver once.

    • bikinis on top says:

      01:32pm | 10/06/11

      Labor always does the right thing. It never takes notice of the left wing.
      South Australia could sell off the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power to Tasmania, Northern Territory,Papua new Guinea or New Zealand. However The Adelaide Crows AFLand Port Adelaide Power AF;would only incur losses.Even the Adelaide Rams NRL would incur less losses in 2011.

    • Edward James says:

      06:51pm | 10/06/11

      The Labor Party not just its governments has been no dam good for almost twenty years. If you really want to help Labor change, its simple vote them right out of government and into the street do not let them pick up almost four dollars of your money for each vote over a certain number your give them.  Federal State and Local the Labor party is just no dam good and John Faulkner is about fifteen years to dam late with his spray! Edward James .
      Link to published political attack ads


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