South Australian election expected to be close in three-way contest

Photo: AAP
Photo: AAP

The centre-left Labor party’s 16-year hold on South Australian (SA) government is on the line today when the state goes to the polls in a genuine three-way contest.

The established parties—the centre-right Liberals and Labor—face a huge challenge from a new minor party, SA Best, led by ex-federal independent senator, centrist Nick Xenophon. Their support has softened recently but Xenophon’s star power keeps SA Best in the race.

The state has had a testy relationship with the centre-right Federal government ever since Canberra refused to bail out the now dead car industry in 2014. PM Malcolm Turnbull has attempted to win back SA voters in recent years by shifting lucrative naval projects to Adelaide—a crucial earner for the state.

The election could swing either way. However, watch for a hung parliament as Xenophon is likely to take votes from both parties. meaning SA best could hold the balance of power. Turnbull faces a tight re-election in 2019; fertile ground for a Xenophon-propped SA government to extract maximum promises in the Federal budget after SA politicians criticised the parsimonious allocations last year.

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