Election winner

For all the fireworks in recent weeks, the local government elections in the Hills have ended with a whimper rather than a bang.
That is particularly true in the Adelaide Hills Council where all incumbent members, including Mayor Bill Spragg, have been comfortably re-elected.
The only three new members are former councillor, Liberal Party member and Back to Basics candidate Val Hall and newcomers and Australian Greens members Nathan Daniell and Kirrilee Boyd.
They replace retiring councillors Bill Gale, Simon Jones and Kate Hosking.
In terms of philosophical leanings – conservative or small ‘l’ liberal – the new members appear to replace like with like.
The result is in stark contrast to the last election when the council had seven new councillors due to retirements and election defeats.
That new blood brought in a very different mix of philosophical leanings, tending more to the liberal end of the spectrum.
Trying to readdress that change was one of the ambitions of the Back to Basics experiment in this election.
The loose coalition of 12 candidates campaigned on a platform of economic conservatism and opposition to “non-core” spending on the environment, arts and culture.
Only three of their members won a council position and two of them were sitting councillors Andrew Stratford and Ian Bailey.
The result was not a resounding success and the defeat of their leader Leone Taylor – 3766 votes to Mr Spragg’s 6124 – was convincing.
There’s no doubt the recent media exposure of Ms Taylor’s involvement with a leaked council email did considerable damage to both her and the entire Back to Basics campaign.
However, the incident cannot be viewed in isolation and it was probably one of several reasons why the Back to Basics group failed to achieve its desired success.
Perhaps their message didn’t get through or it did and was rejected by voters or they too closely resembled a political Party.
Maybe voters just liked the current councillors.
With 35% of enrolled voters filling in their ballot papers this election compared with 36% in 2010, it doesn’t appear that Back to Basics managed to flush out the support for which the members had hoped.