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Campaign Diary: Silence is golden

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Another day, another leak.

Premier and Treasurer Jay Weatherill found himself today defending the numbers shown in the second part of a Treasury document that first surfaced two weeks ago.

The first part had shown that the Government had ignored Treasury advice on the Hewlett Packard jobs and training deal.

The second part, released by the Opposition’s Iain Evans today, shows net debt grew by $212 million since the last Budget Outlook on January 22.

Weatherill appeared on 891ABC Adelaide and pitched the notion that the debt was manageable and he could still get the budget back into surplus by 2015-16.

And then came one of those “moments”.

Presenter Matt Abraham asked: “In your time as Treasurer, have you met any of your surplus forecasts?”

The prolonged silence was awkward, followed a half-baked “we’ve got very close”.

Expect that moment to be part of a TV ad very shortly.

Over at FIVEaa the topic was road funding.

On a day where motorists from the eastern side of town queued up to get through Clipsal road closures, Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis spruiked Labor’s road funding policies.

He also took a moment to claim success on the Britannia Roundabout, telling listeners that the number of road accidents at the notorious intersection had gone from “once a week to just one since it was opened (in early October)”.

If that means the new roundabout configuration has prevented 20 accidents in just five months, the Campaign Diary wonders just how many unnecessary accidents have happened there in the 30 years that the crazy intersection’s been a problem.

At around 1500 accidents that should be a source of great shame to the governments of all colours and the Transport Department engineers that couldn’t figure it out until now.

Not far from the roundabout Adelaide’s Fringe Festival is in full swing; but the political parties that spent so many years on the fringes of power now seem to have disappeared.

When election candidate nominations closed yesterday there were no Australian Democrats, Democratic Labour Party, One Nation or United Australia Party candidates – the first time since 1993 that there has been such a barren landscape on the ballot paper.

Even the Nationals are at their lowest level (two), F.R.E.E. Australia is down to one and last election’s oncers (Save RAH and Fair Land Tax) have disappeared.

The 2014 election has drilled down to a major party contest with counterbalancing preferences from third-stringers the Greens and Family First.

Family First has come up short in five Lower House seats, unable to find candidates for Adelaide, Bragg, Dunstan, Heysen and Unley.

The Greens have rolled out a candidate in all 47 Lower House seats.

There are no Lower House candidates from Palmer United, Katter’s Australia or the Nationals.

Poster theft, meanwhile, has risen to a new level.

The major parties have reported prolific theft in the seat of Adelaide where posters are removed from poles and just as swiftly new posters are put up by a range of low profile candidates for the Upper House.

Incumbent Liberal MP Rachel Sanderson told InDaily “it’s warfare out there this time”.

“Last election I lost one poster,” she said.

“This time they are going by the dozens every night and before we can get a replacement organised, another poster has taken the pole.

“We’ve had posters shredded, torn up and even run over.”

Labor’s David O’Loughlin hasn’t returned calls on the subject.

South Australia’s commercial fishing sector gave notice today it’s going to hold a media event in the city to launch a new video about the “economic and social impact that marine parks will have on thousands of South Australians should they come into effect under a Labor Government later this year”.

“The media event will take place at The Oyster Bar on East Terrace from 12.30pm and include a light lobster lunch for journalists,” the note said.

That’s bound to pull a crowd.

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