/ 18 March 2022

South Oz gets ready to rumble

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty


You know how long we’ve been waiting for an election? Since 1 May last year when Tassie decided to keep its Liberal government. And tomorrow, voters in South Oz will elect their state government. It’s an interesting one because the polls are pointing to a change in which party has power. And to be Captain Obvious for a sec, it’s also going to be closely watched by politicos across the country because of its proximity to the federal election, which is due by 21 May. 


  • The premier is 54yo Steven Marshall, who was hailed a hero by supporters when he won the election for the Liberals in 2018, ending 16 years of Labor in power. Since then, it’s been hard going with 3 Liberals becoming independents last year, pushing Marshall into a minority position in the 47-seat Assembly. And he’s on a strict keto diet, so go gently… 
  • The Liberals are facing off against Labor under its leader Peter Malinauskas (pronounced mala-nows-kis). He’s 41yo, he’s fit, and he’s the new face of the party in the state after a sweep out following defeat in 2018. And he’s taken a different road to some opposition leaders: Malinauskas has taken a bipartisan approach to supporting Marshall’s handling of the pandemic. 
  • And then there’s 4 members on the crossbench – all former Liberals. So even if things were going Marshall’s way, he would still have a lot of work to do. That’s because the Liberals have to win all their seats, and battle to regain seats they won last time that are now occupied by independents who have had the benefit of office. 


No. And that largely comes down to the government’s handling of the Omicron outbreak. South Oz remained relatively untouched by the pandemic, enduring just one 6-day lockdown. Marshall opened the border on 23 November and the next day, Omicron was declared a thing. Case numbers rose, the health system came under pressure, and many families had Christmas in iso. Marshall maintains that opening up was the right thing to do, while Malinauskas talks about the “calamity” that was summer. But long story short, it gave Labor a chance in this election that they didn’t seem to have 6 months ago. Fun fact via the ABC’s expert Antony Green: “Of the nine opposition leaders around Australia in January 2020, only 2 have survived the political dislocation of COVID. Those 2 are Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, and South Australia’s Labor leader Peter Malinauskas.” The experts say its hard to predict a winner, and don’t expect a result tomorrow night. Insert gritted teeth emoji… 

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