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Back from the dead: Labor veteran shelves retirement


Reports of Russell Wortley’s political demise have been exaggerated before, and the Labor MLC is hoping they will be again as he today backflipped on his stated retirement plans.

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Wortley, who was last year pushed out of the winnable first four spots on his party’s Upper House ticket, was this morning endorsed as Labor’s Number Five candidate.

The party has not won five seats in the Legislative Council for decades, but Wortley insists “the time is right for us to win it”.

He says his active connections with SA’s multicultural community mean he can galvanise electoral support for his bid to postpone political retirement for another eight-year term.

Wortley has long been a remarkable political survivor: elevated briefly to cabinet after fellow Right-winger Bernard Finnigan’s 2011 arrest, before a deal to see him installed as Upper House president when he later stood aside from Jay Weatherill’s ministry – if the Government was returned – was vindicated when the ALP won a surprise fourth term.

“We’re getting a good feeling that there’s a mood for change,” he said today when asked about his chances of re-election.

But other party sources were less confident.

“One in 100,” was how another insider described his prospects.

“It’s not impossible – but it would need a whole heap of things to go right for him.”

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