Xenophon Making Waves in SA Election Featured

Something strange is happening in South Australia, they are preparing for a three-way state election and while the new contender, Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party, have flagged a good result giving them three to five seats which could foreseeably see them in the position of forming a minority government.

Having walked away from his safe and powerful position in the Federal Senate Xenophon is preparing to run candidates in 36 of the 47 seats in the South Australian lower house as head of his new party. Most of his candidates are relative unknowns picked from local councils or having defected from other micro parties all running on the back of Xenophon’s profile with the South Australian public.

Having a viable third-party candidate running creates a problem for pollsters even this close to an election (just two weeks away) with results showing SA Best’s vote anywhere from three to thirteen seats Xenophon may soon be deciding between Jay Weatherill’s Labor and Steven Marshall’s Liberal party.

Prior to Xenophon entering the race it had been expected that the Liberal party would have managed to win a slight majority following 16 years of Labor government rule after a large scale redistribution which looked likely to favour the Liberals.

SA Best has found itself making policies on the go without costings and lifting policies from various lobby groups, the Liberal party has focused on declaring a state of emergency that can only be fixed by them and the Labor party has continued focus on employment and energy policy.

The first battle for Xenophon will be to win the seat he is standing in, Hartly in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, from popular Liberal member Vincent Tarzia who has been receiving help from federal member Christopher Pyne whose seat of Sturt covers overlays the seat of Hartly. This will not be an easy task for Xenophon having failed to win the federal seat in the lower house for NXT party candidate Matthew Write in the 2016 election taking 21% of the first preference vote.

There is further difficulty for Xenophon in Hartly as Labor candidate and former member Grace Portolesi is polling well in the electorate leading to three horse race that could all come down to a handful of votes and preference deals.

Further trouble is also predicted for the SA Best party in the South Australian Upper House where grass roots party Advance SA is running for Nick Xenophon’s former staffer and partner Jenny Low who has accused of Xenophon of insisting their relationship be kept a secret and of being controlling, a claim Xenophon has rejected.

Steven Marshall has already ruled out a deal with SA Best for fear that having a deal like that in place would give disappointed would-be Liberal voters a reason to vote for the third party while Jay Weatherill, seeing the potential for losing government altogether is remaining tight lipped on any possible deals they are willing to do. This hasn’t stopped the Labor party from touting Xenophon’s former membership of the South Australian Liberal party and his recent voting record in Canberra as a sign that he remains a closeted Liberal.

With only two weeks remaining the polls have the new party with a primary vote near twenty percent behind the Labor which is currently polling in the high twenty’s and the Liberals in the mid-thirties in a contest that remains too close to call.

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