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Campaign Diary: a great debate (really)

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Last night’s leader’s debate on ABC TV was the most interesting in recent memory.

Jay Weatherill and Steven Marshall spent 55 minutes debating economic and social policy, finding time also to compliment each other.

The question-and-answer format in front of a live audience at the ABC’s Collinswood studios delivered voters a genuine basis on which they could make their decision.

There were, however, some side shows.

If you were relying on Twitter for commentary and coverage of the debate, you’d have been disappointed.

Twitter’s #savotes was overrun by anonymous party hacks from both sides venting their spleens in a political version of the Crows v Port cheer squads.

Shortly after the debate ended, the tweets had disappeared.

Most analysts viewed the result as a line-ball, which is a win for the Opposition Leader who is seeking to build his recognition and credibility having spent just four years as an MP.

Earlier in the evening Channel Seven released the details of its Reach-Tel poll – it gave the Liberals a 55-45 lead and a commanding 59-43 lead to Marshall as preferred Premier.

The headaches continued for Labor this morning with The Advertiser reporting that parent’s right-to-know campaigner Danyse Soester will contest Education Minister Jennifer Rankine’s marginal seat of Wright.

Soester, 45, brought to public light how the 2010 rape of a student was kept from parents for two years.

The case led to the  Debelle Royal Commission last year and cast a 12-month shadow over the State Government.

Soester said she is receiving support from Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

Her preferences will flow to the Liberals, making the seat of Wright, with a margin of 4.6 per cent, another one on Labor’s danger list.

It will force the party to spread its thin resources into another seat that it once felt was safe.

Today, both leaders appeared on FIVEaa’s breakfast program.

Presenter David Penberthy mused later that perhaps South Australia’s politicians are “removed from reality”.

“The political lifestyle for MPs who get ferried around in white cars in their small electorates can leave them disconnected from reality,” he said.

Penberthy would be pleased to know that one of the last actions of the current government has been to ask Treasury to review guidelines for the use of ministerial cars, a parting gift perhaps from the Labor Government that enjoyed 12 years of white-car rides.

If they can pull off an unlikely win, those tightened guidelines might not last.

 

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