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Has Mali learned lessons from last Labor government?

Summary

The speed and scale of Labor’s election win on Saturday was astonishing. It highlighted the volatility of the electorate. If the public believes a government has taken them for granted or it has become out of touch, punishment will be quickly dispensed. It’s a warning the new Labor government is going to have to remember.Labor has made big promises, particularly in health, and judgment will be harsh if they are not kept.All Labor has demonstrated, so far, is that they are excellent in campaign mode.They ran a well-executed, ruthless, brutal campaign based on simple messages that resonated with voters and outpointed the Liberals on every score.The Liberal campaign, in turn, was reactive, negative and ultimately directionless. It ceded the battleground on health to Labor. It seemed to believe Labor’s weakness was in spending too much money, without appreciating that voters might be quite happy to have buckets of money tipped into health. At different times, Steven Marshall leant on his government’s economic record, quoting encouraging numbers on growth and job creation. But that’s all he did. Lean on the past. There was little attempt to excite voters with a bold vision for the future and how SA could continue to grow and generate jobs.So, yes, Labor has proved it can campaign better than the Libs. The next question is a bigger one – can it govern as effectively as it campaigns?Which leads to another question – has it learned its lessons from the last time it held office? Labor lasted four terms the last time. You can argue the merits or otherwise of the first three terms, but it’s inarguable that its last four-year stretch, leading up to losing the 2018 election, was its worst.This was the era of Transforming Health, Oakden, child protection horrors, rising electricity and water prices, scandals in TAFE to name but a few. Even through its dying days, the last Labor government hung onto an air of arrogance that it always knew what was best. Hopefully, four years in the political wilderness has brought back a little humility.

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