Defection Dan

Kavel MP Dan Cregan believes passenger rail can co-exist with freight and provide a public transport service to the city from Mt Barker.

The defection of Kavel MP Dan Cregan has undoubtedly sent shock waves through the Hills community … and the ranks of the first-term Liberal Government.
As a former president of the SA Young Liberals, Mr Cregan appeared to be a rising star when he won the seat at the 2018 election.
His long history with the party only makes his defection all the more surprising.
But what is even more astounding is the Liberal Party’s failure to learn anything from the loss of its former blue-ribbon Hills Federal electorate of Mayo in 2016.
Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie’s shock win – and the Liberals’ repeated failure to win back the seat in 2018 and 2019 – should have alerted those in Liberal Party HQ not to take the people of the Hills for granted.
And yet, just five years later, the State Liberal Party’s refusal to put any meaningful plan in place to deal with the rapid growth of Mt Barker could potentially cost it a very safe seat.
It’s a sad indictment on the Liberal Party that a local MP feels the only way the demands of his community can be taken seriously is to become an independent and attempt to hold the balance of power.
Mr Cregan’s wishlist – including a new hospital, a new ambulance station, a public transport solution and more investment in schools – is not unreasonable for a community that has seen little large-scale infrastructure investment over the past few decades in what is tipped to become the State’s second biggest city in less than 20 years.
Mr Cregan has changed his mind about his future twice in the past two months and his clear indecisiveness has exposed a vulnerability that will undoubtedly be exploited by his critics in the lead up to the next election.
But with three Liberal MPs having voluntarily left or been forcibly moved out of the Party since the last election, the Government cannot afford to gamble with historically safe electorates.
If it will not listen to one of their own, perhaps it will be forced to listen to the voice of the community at the next election.
And it might not like what it hears.