The complicated deals done between political parties over the allocation of voting preferences before elections is a part of the political process that is lost on most people.
Parties approach such pre-election negotiations with both short and long-term goals in mind.
The nuances are many and the strategies run deep.
However, points of difference established over decades and strengthened by opposing philosophical positions can be forgotten in an instant and swept under the carpet if a brief but ultimately doomed “marriage of convenience” can cause pain to a common foe.
The art of political negotiation is a cheap and dirty game and these “relationships” are designed to be forgotten faster than those on Married at First Sight.
In fact they are only relevant for one day out of 1500 (as elections are only held every four years) and are mutually annulled the morning after. Almost as though they never happened.
And it appears in this month’s looming election the usual negotiations have been fast and furious with almost everyone seeing SA Best as enemy No.1.
The Greens and Labor have done a deal to preference each other ahead of SA Best in most Hills seats effectively making the job of the Liberal Party to hold those electorates much easier. Why would the Labor Party want the Liberals to win seats in a close-run election?
Because the deal making game is played on a much broader playing field than the Hills, and a myriad of other ‘arrangements’ will have been done in other electorates by which the Labor Party is advantaged.
It appears the old duopoly is fighting to see off what it fears is a potential new force in SA politics.
They may be correct about their concern for their own welfare or, alternatively, the SA Best star may fade as quickly and spectacularly as Clive Palmer’s.
But it should be remembered that the preference swapping arrangements are only a guide to voters and, try as political parties might, the power still rests with those poised with their stubby pencils in the wobbly cardboard booths.
Voters do not have to follow how to vote cards. They can think for themselves!
No matter the outcome of March 17, Hills electorates look likely to become more marginal and that has to be a good thing for our rapidly growing region with its new-found ability to inflict political pain and reap the subsequent rewards.
Making the Hills more marginal is a win for everyone.