South Australian State Election, 2006 - Aftermath

Aftermath

After the election, Rob Kerin vacated the position of opposition leader. The party selected conservative Iain Evans (son of former politician Stan Evans) for the role, with moderate Vickie Chapman (daughter of former politician Ted Chapman) as deputy leader. The only other contestant had been Isobel Redmond, who ran because she was concerned by some speculation that the Evans deal may have been stitched up by federal Liberal counterparts Christopher Pyne and Nick Minchin. Preferred premier ratings in July 2006 showed Rann on 71 percent with Evans on 15 percent. Only 27 percent of Liberal Party supporters saw Evans as the preferred premier. Continuing low support for the new Liberal leadership saw Martin Hamilton-Smith replace Evans in April 2007, however this move saw Liberal support decline further to a three-year low according to an Advertiser poll conducted a month after the leadership change. Over half of polling respondents were unable to name the leader of the Liberal Party. This contradicted Newspolls quarterly polling indicating the Rann Labor government slipping to a two-party preferred figure of 57 percent down four percent, with a preferred premier rating of 52 percent down 14 percent for Rann and a first-time rating of 21 percent for Martin Hamilton-Smith. Poll results also show Rann's satisfaction rating was below 60 percent for the first time since coming to office at 58 percent, with Hamilton-Smith receiving a 33 percent satisfaction rate.

Previously unknown quantity Ann Bressington, elected on the back of Nick Xenophon's No Pokies popularity, has proposed mainly conservative social policies such as raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21, zero tolerance of illicit drugs, mandatory twice-annual drug tests of every school student over the age of 14 regardless of whether parents give their consent, and making the sale of "drug-taking equipment" illegal. However, she remains undecided on voluntary euthanasia, calling it "a personal struggle".

Setting a precedent, Sandra Kanck's pro-euthanasia speech which contained suicide methods was censored from the internet version of Hansard in August 2006 as a result of an upper house motion, with Labor, Family First, Nick Xenophon and Ann Bressington voting for, and the Liberals and SA Greens member Mark Parnell voting against. Despite this, the speech was published on a non-Australian website.

The state's budget was released on 21 September 2006. It included 1,600 public service job axings despite an election pledge of only 400, however none of the redundancies will be forced. It also included increases in some fees and charges such as victims of crime levies and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) charges. There were increases in funding for health, schools, police and prisons, and the Department of Public Prosecutions. The 2007–2008 budget released on 13 June 2007 saw additional spending on Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, Health, Families and Communities, and Justice portfolios such as transport initiatives including revitalisation of the rail network, commencement of the $1.7 billion Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital to replace the Royal Adelaide Hospital, funding for mental health reform including the delivery of health services, and funding for new commitments to law and order policies.

No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon resigned from parliament in early October 2007 in a successful attempt to win a seat in the Australian Senate at the 2007 federal election, which according to the South Australian result, he retained 72 percent of his 2006 vote, on 14.78 percent. His replacement is his third candidate on the 2006 ticket, former Valuer-General John Darley, and was appointed by a joint sitting on 21 November 2007, where second candidate and upper house MP Ann Bressington also took the opportunity to accuse Xenophon of lacking integrity and suitability for federal parliament.

A record-breaking 13-hour Parnell-Bressington filibuster occurred in May 2008 in crossbench opposition to WorkCover cuts being passed by the major parties due to the increasing underfunded liability in the workers' compensation scheme.

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