Deep social crisis ignored in South Australian election campaign


Deep social crisis ignored in South Australian election campaign

Mike Head

6 March 2018

For months, there has been alarmed speculation throughout the corporate media that the March 17 state election in South Australia (SA) could see a new “third party” form government, or at least hold the “balance of power” in a hung parliament.

After clinging to office for 16 years, despite only once winning a majority of votes, the state Labor government could be swept out, or forced to rely on the recently-formed “SA Best” party of former federal Senator Nick Xenophon to form a minority administration.

Such a result would be another milestone in the disintegration nationally of the two-party system, based on Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition, that has underpinned capitalist rule since World War II.

According to the latest Newspoll last weekend, Labor’s primary vote has plunged from 35.8 percent to 30 percent since the last election in 2014, while the Liberals sit on 29 percent, down sharply from 44.8 percent. The Greens, who have generally backed Labor, are languishing on around 6 percent.

Yet none of the media coverage, and none of the parties campaigning in the election, has even alluded to the main cause of the collapse of support for the main parties of the political establishment—the intensifying social crisis being suffered by working class households.

Decades of de-industrialisation, capped by last year’s closure of Australia’s last car assembly plant—General Motors Holden in the northern Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth—have created mass unemployment and under-employment in working class areas. Falling real wage levels and soaring living costs, especially for electricity, have produced worsening poverty and social stress.

The impact has been…

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