South Australian State Election, 2006 - Issues


One of the most publicised issues prior to the election was the tram extension from Victoria Square to the Adelaide Railway Station which the Liberals, despite having proposed the idea in their previous transport plan, now opposed. Construction began in April 2007 and was operational as of October 2007. The Adelaide Airport expansion suffered fuel delivery related delays that Labor was criticised for. A perrennial election issue, lack of safety improvement of the Britannia Roundabout was focused on by the Norwood Liberal candidate. Land and payroll tax cuts worth $1.5 billion were announced by Labor, the largest in the state's history. The tax cuts coincided with South Australia achieving an economic "Triple A" rating under the current Labor government. Business SA chief executive Peter Vaughan "praised" Labor's economic management.

The Advertiser revealed details of "the biggest project of its kind in South Australia's history", a $1.5 billion redevelopment on the western bank of the inner harbour. The development will include 2000 new homes on government-owned land and new buildings as high as 12 storeys. This followed the awarding of a $6 billion air warfare destroyer contract to the Australian Submarine Corporation, based in the electorate at Osborne.

The future of the River Murray has come under threat due to falling water levels, and in an unprecedented move, Nationals MP Karlene Maywald was given a cabinet position as Minister for the River Murray in 2004. Possible nuclear waste dumps were of concern to many Adelaide residents; Premier Rann successfully lobbied against any federal government proposals.

Law and order was another key issue, with Labor promising extra police. Tough drink and drug driving laws had also been introduced which included zero tolerance roadside testing for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Methamphetamine, and later MDMA. Labor introduced speed limit reduction legislation which took effect in March 2003 which saw non-arterial non-main roads and most Adelaide CBD roads reduce from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. The Liberals proposed to increase the speed limit back to 60 km/h for several roads, concentrated mainly around the Adelaide Park Lands.

Allegations were made over the condition of the state's health system and the capacity to deal with mental health issues. Labor pledged to buy back Modbury Hospital located in the district of Florey, privatised under the Liberal government to alleviate the effect of the State Bank collapse.

The need for homosexual law reform was acknowledged by both major parties; however, there was disquiet within the Labor Party over delays. December 2006 saw the Domestic Partners bill pass which provides greater recognition to same sex relationships on a range of issues such as superannuation. The bill was supported by all parties after much negotiation, but in the end was voted against by both members of Family First, as well as Liberal Terry Stephens.

Electoral reform policies received little attention, as did the eventually shelved referendum proposal by the Rann Government to abolish or reform the Legislative Council. WorkCover underfunded liability increases have also received little attention, despite the fact that the liability has climbed from a disputed $67 to $85 million to $700 million since Labor came into government in 2002 due to a more generous compensation scheme. Labor have since looked into reform for the scheme including cutting payments to injured workers.

There were claims that federal industrial relations reform, WorkChoices, was an influential issue in the election. The Liberals announced 4,000 public service job cuts to pay for election promises.

Read more about this topic:  South Australian State Election, 2006

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