Digance acknowledged last week she was considering a shift to nominate for the neighbouring seat of Badcoe, which fell vacant when incumbent Steph Key confirmed her looming retirement on Friday.
But yesterday’s confirmation that television journalist Jayne Stinson would nominate for the seat – as the ALP right faction’s preferred candidate – has wrong-footed any possible move by Digance, with Weatherill today warmly endorsing the new nominee.
“Absolutely, she’d be a wonderful candidate,” he told ABC Adelaide this morning.
“Obviously the party has to go through a process, but she’s obviously an incredibly well-credentialed candidate… I think she’d be a wonderful representative.”
Asked where that left Digance, the Premier said: “I’d expect that she’d nominate again for Elder.”
He went on to say that that would “certainly” be his preference.
Digance today told InDaily she was disappointed her seat’s borders had been “sliced up quite significantly” by the boundary commission’s redraw, but said: “I certainly support [the Premier’s] wish.”
“I’ve enjoyed serving the people of Elder, that’s certainly the area I’ll continue to serve,” she said.
The campaign in Elder was mired in controversy with Labor issuing a pamphlet roundly decried as racist, but Weatherill stood by his earlier denial that that was the intent.
“I don’t accept that… I don’t agree with it,” he said.
Asked if that meant Labor would run a similar campaign against Liberal Carolyn Habib, who has renominated for the seat, Weatherill did not rule it out, saying: “We will campaign vigorously on our platform.”
“We’ll stand up on a platform of fighting for South Australia, that will be a principal part of our platform. We’ll continue to campaign on a platform of building a modern and vibrant city and state so that we can create the jobs of the future, and we’ll do something that Labor always does and that’s protect the interests of working people,” he said.
“They will be the principal ways in which we advance our campaign [but] there will be lots of hand-to-hand combat in various seats and I expect people to behave with integrity.”
Nominations for candidates in Labor-held seats close next week, with three veterans – Key, Michael Atkinson and Jennifer Rankine – already confirming they won’t recontest. The party yesterday confirmed Australian Workers Union official Justin Hanson will fill the casual vacancy left by the sudden resignation of Gerry Kandelaars in the Upper House.
Questions still surround the futures of a handful of other longtime MPs, with the likes of Frances Bedford and Paul Caica not responding to inquiries today.
A standoff over two new northern suburbs seats, Elizabeth and King, appears to be resolved with Little Para incumbent Lee Odenwalder confirming he will nominate for Elizabeth.
That leaves Jon Gee to contest King (formerly Napier), although a move to the Upper House has also been mooted.
Gee didn’t return calls today.
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