Thursday, 4 August 2011

Party bosses pile pressure on South Australian Premier

South Australian Legislative Council president Bob Sneath has warned Premier Mike Rann if he does not resign by the time parliament resumes on September 13 then Jay Weatherill's Left faction will bring on a partyroom ballot.

Mr Sneath yesterday said the minority Left had resolved to force a leadership spill if necessary after the dominant Right faction reached a consensus to back Mr Weatherill, the Education Minister and leader of the Left.

"If Rann does not choose to go before parliament goes back there is only one member of the faction who does not want to challenge and wants to let him go of his own volition," Mr Sneath told The Australian yesterday.

"The rest of the MPs in the faction are saying if Mike Rann does not choose a date between now and when parliament goes back, well we will take it to the caucus.

It is understood the only MP on the Left who supports Mr Rann staying on until a time of his choosing is Families Minister Jennifer Rankine, a close friend to the Premier. Ms Rankine would not confirm or deny this yesterday.

Mr Rann is due back in Adelaide on Monday from a week-long trade mission to India. In a statement on Sunday from India, Mr Rann said he would stand aside only on his terms on an undisclosed date when "several key projects", including the expansion of Olympic Dam, were completed. "On my return to the state I intend to make a further announcement about my future," he said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Weatherill yesterday said he had not ruled out a challenge against Mr Rann, but was confident one would not be required.

A senior Right powerbroker said the dominant faction wanted to avoid a spill at all costs, but said: "Let's see what happens when Mike returns."

Only six MPs' signatures are required to force a partyroom ballot.

It is understood there is a group of more than six within the Left prepared to force a leadership spill regardless of the wishes of factional bosses, who are spinning a line of a "seamless transition" with the timing of Mr Rann's departure a matter for the Premier.

An ultimatum will be presented to Mr Rann on Monday, a senior party source said yesterday, to either step down within the next five weeks or face a ballot he could not survive.

A spokesman for Mr Rann refused to comment yesterday, but in his India statement the Premier said he wanted to avoid the "undignified spectacle" of a bloody partyroom coup.
Mr Rann has not returned Mr Weatherill's calls since Friday, when union boss Peter Malinauskas and Treasurer Jack Snelling informed Mr Rann the party had chosen his replacement.

Most Labor MPs, asked if they would vote for Mr Rann, refused to declare their intentions.
But upper house MP John Gazzola said: "I won't vote for Rann." Former minister and Right-aligned MP Paul Holloway cautioned that "circumstances can change".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.