15 January 2008

Rann staying put...or so he says

Premier Rann has pooh-poohed a suggestion from one of his party's senior figures, ex-Senator Chris Schacht (pronounced "shot"), that he will retire after the 2010 state election:

Premier Mike Rann - already the nation's longest serving premier - says he intends to stay in politics for another 10 years despite speculation he may quit.

Mr Rann, 55, said today he intended to continue his political career until he turned 65, although he conceded whether or not he remained premier for all that time was up to the voters.

"I've actually named the date, I've done what (former prime minister) John Howard didn't do," he told ABC NewsRadio, referring to Mr Howard's refusal to specify exactly when he would retire.

Tongue-in-cheek, Mr Rann said when he turned 65 he would: "Pursue that career in the film industry that I've been training for."

The premier will turn 65 on January 5, 2018.

If, as ex British PM Harold Wilson said " a week is a long time in politics", Mr Rann , who entered parliament in 1985 and has been Premier since 2002, must fancy himself as a political Methuselah. Does his vocabulary include the word hubris?

In the past week Mr Rann has been subjected to a lot of critical comment from the media, eg

  • The Independent Weekly's Don Riddell over his continuing refusal to accept an anti-corruption commission:"in rejecting calls for SA to set up an independent commission against corruption, he appears to see a "lawyers' picnic" or "festival" rather than another necessary step in our growth as a state."
  • The Advertiser/ Adelaide Now pointing out that the opening of the Bakewell underpass, while welcome, does not do much to deliver a better transport system to the metropolitan area: "the fact remains that one bridge cannot fix a transport system that has much wider problems.Traffic congestion in South Australia will only get worse unless the State Government comes up with an integrated plan to get people moving more efficiently. "
  • The Advertiser/Adelaide Now also refusing to let the issue of the state's water supply go away: "Premier Mike Rann was caught short last year on the politics of water and still does not appear to have responded adequately to community frustration."

I wonder whether Mr Rann really believes that he has another ten years in which to come to grips with these problems? Even if SA, as you've predicted, becomes "the Kuwait of uranium" will we have enough water to drink, wash and perhaps water our gardens a little), an anti-corruption commission with effective powers and a half-decent transport system?

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