Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SA Libs move some more deck chairs

In an exemplary display of class and taste, new Leader of the South Australian Opposition, Martin Hamilton-Smith, chose his now erstwhile leader Iain Evans' absence in Canberra at the memorial service for the late Sentaor Jeannie Ferris as the ideal moment to knife Evans in the back, mounting a leadership challenge that saw him elected leader this afternoon by a slenderish 13 votes to 10.

Hamilton-Smith's first move as leader was to announce that the party would be 'more aggressive'. Oh goodie, I can hardly wait.

Former Liberal leader Rob Kerin, universally regarded as the archetypal good bloke, mildly pointed out on the teeve a minute ago that the timing really was rather unfortunate in its upstaging of the service for Senator Ferris. This remark could have been a bit of belated payback for Hamilton-Smith's unsuccessful challenge to Kerin's own leadership in 2005.

Deputy leader Vickie Chapman, elected 13 months ago on a so-called 'dream team' ticket with Evans despite the fact that the two were rumoured to dislike each other, will remain Deputy, something about which her fellow Liberal Isobel Redmond has declared herself less than thrilled.

Hamilton-Smith says he wants Evans on the front bench, which could mean a demotion to the back bench for former Treasurer Rob Lucas. Evans says he'll think about it overnight.

That is to say, everything's normal in the SA Liberal Party: they're all at each other's throats.

Of course, if the Libs had wanted to change leaders with a view to actually winning the 2010 election, they would have installed as leader not Hamilton-Smith but Chapman, well known in SA legal and political circles as the sharpest knife in the Liberal drawer and a highly personable and charismatic presence to boot -- far more so than either her former or her current leader.

Perhaps she's biding her time. Hamilton-Smith assured journalists this afternoon that she would remain as Deputy.

That's what he's saying this week, anyway.


Francis Xavier Holden said...

If I didn't slum around writerly type blogs I wouldn't have known this. I assume it's big news in SA.

Martin Hamilton-Smith.


Sounds very old Adelaide squatter?

Pavlov's Cat said...

See, we have a purpose in life. Mind you, it only happened a few hours ago.

Big news? Same as it would be in any other state if there were an unexpected and successsful lightning-strike leadership challenge, yes. At the top of the ABC TV news here, as you'd expect.

SA doesn't have squatters within the meaning of the act -- mid-19thC legislation was designed specifically to prevent land grabs of the kinds that were happening in the eastern states, so the whole demographic and state identity-sense is rather different. Hamilton-Smith was in the Army for 24 years and is ex-SAS and before that ex-RMC Duntroon. He makes a point on his website of his family having lived for generations in his electorate, viz Adders' wealthy south-south-eastern suburbs.

R H said...

The SAS practise stealth: creeping up to knife sentries in the back. Politicians (and sentries) need eyes all round their heads.

James said...

Whilst inevitable, this was a very poor showing from Martin.

He waited for Evans to go interstate (attending Jeannie Ferris's funeral mind you) to launch a leadership challenge.

Evans was dull and useless and I expect Martin will be the same.

The SA Liberal party needs two things right now: young blood and money. I don't see them getting either anytime soon.

James said...

Somehow I managed to glance over your first paragraph, totally missing the part where you already mentioned Evans attending the funeral.

My apologies :)

Great post too btw. I'm just waiting for a Creasy tribute now.

ThirdCat said...

I'm not saying anything. Otherwise I'll write a comment that's longer than your post detailing the full range of my opinions (actually reasonably well-informed for once) about all manner of things and probably ending with me banging on about the trams.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh go on, 3C. I would love to hear what you have to say about this, if any of it is legal, especially if you have inside information as you clearly do -- I'm just going on what I've observed for myself plus an array of anecdotals from trusted friends and acquaintances about Vickie Chapman.

steve said...

PC, What a great yarn, even the Queensland Liberals could not top a challenge while the leader was away at a funeral! Pure gold!

Francis Xavier Holden said...

pav - sorry re my snark.

last night i was tired, grumpy and full of shiraz.

tonight - I'm not so tired

Pavlov's Cat said...

It wasn't all that snarky, FXH, I've heard much worse -- I lived in Victoria for nearly 20 years, so from long experience I take it for granted that any Victorian will smirk at SA almost as a reflex action. I assume that this has something to do with football.

So, was -- um, is it a SA shiraz?

Silly you, if not.

*Runs away*

redcap said...

Well. Mr Evans is a bit of an unimaginative nance, but then Major Major is one of those macho tosser types with his leathers and motorcycle and "Ooh, look over here! I was in the SAS, old bean!" I thnk the best description for MHS is, "The Great FIGJAM". Because he is.

Ford knows I'm no Liberal voter, but I really didn't mind old Kero the Dero. If you asked him a straight question, he'd answer youl, which is more than I can say for most politicians. He'd get trashed and dance on tables and pinch bums and have a good ol' country chat, but he was never a niffy twit. And no-one likes a niffy twit now, do they?. /rant

ashleigh said...

This afternoon Hammo challenged Premier Rannbo to a duel. Oops Debate. On TV. Which was declined. What a surprise.

Then he came out and said (and I kid you not) "We Liberals need to show the people that we are back and fighting and have meaningful things to say".

Well, you hardly think Premier Rannbo is going give him the chance to push his own barrow, especially given that objective.

Oh dear, what an utter tosser.

Nai said...

So glad I dropped by this afternoon, I rely on for my news, and I doubt this would have made the covers (or internet equivilent of same).
I once drunkenly removed several campaign posters for MH-S. I was staying at a friends', she was irate that he would dare to post them on her street. We had forgotten about it until her mum (yes, we were very, very young) asked us if we'd had a big night while gesturing meaningfully to the pile of posters we had dumped on the lounge room floor.Ahem.