It’s almost six months out from the State election and already the Liberal Party has taken up a war footing before any other candidates have been announced in the Hills seat of Kavel.
In a remarkable move for the Liberals – which have historically held the seat with a comfortable margin – Kavel candidate Dan Cregan has already engaged in a head-on fight, with Nick Xenophon’s emerging SA Best Party the first target in his sights.
Mr Cregan has denied that SA Best is his biggest obstacle to winning the seat, but his claims don’t match the actions of his Party which developed the anti-SA Best flyers distributed to letterboxes in the district recently.
That is a strange position for the candidate to take and perhaps one that is less than genuine. Whether or not Mr Cregan sees SA Best as his biggest threat to Kavel, it would seem someone in the Liberal Party hierarchy does.
In his eagerness to take over the seat from Mark Goldsworthy, Mr Cregan may well be missing the elephant in the room.
Preventing the formation of another Labor Government is undoubtedly the Liberal’s chief concern, but targeting a single minor Party in the pursuit of that end sends the clear message to voters that the Liberals are unsettled by that Party.
With several decades of comfortable Kavel margins under its belt, the State Liberal Party seems to be noticing that this time the outcome of next year’s election in Kavel may be far from pre-determined.
The months leading up to the election will be fascinating to watch in this region.
But irrespective of the evolving political dynamics, all candidates must ensure their campaigns are contests of ideas and vision, rather than of fear-mongering and scare tactics.
When all the candidates are announced, it will be their responsibility to sell their policies to the electors.
Candidates must convince Hills voters of why their Parties’ policies will benefit them and their region over the next four years rather than simply tearing down their opponents.
Everyone knows that marginal seats are the squeaky political wheels and in a seat such as Kavel – which is experiencing significant growing pains and in need of more attention from State and Federal governments – a close result is the equivalent to a good dollop of oil.