Questions for Mr. X – but not many | Libs dig in on Sturt

In… of today Comments about Adelaide, as Election Day looms, the campaign fields get… weirder – with a prominent South Australian hopeful simply trying to explain how to vote for him; as the Libs shift their focus from Boothby to Sturt.

Will Mr. X’s campaign on the ox wither?

Former state and federal political phenomenon Nick Xenophon forged his initial success with wacky stunts, and there’s more than a hint that he’s returning to his classic repertoire for his latest bid to re-run the Senate.

There are signs that the campaign is running on a tight budget.

His campaign slogan, “I give a damn,” is a nod to classic Hollywood, but he’s also quoted “A Few Good Men” in recent days with the ravishing pun that on the issue of dental care for seniors, the major parties “can the tooth” – a sound bite delivered via extreme close-up.

If the optics of that were confrontational, I’m not sure anyone needed the Facebook video of the former and ambitious senator sitting on his proverbial “throne” — his dignity protected only by a strategically placed advertiser insert — urging viewers to vote. for someone who “gives a shit”.

Xenophon, of course, faces the heir to his throne (no, not that one — the Senate), former staffer Rex Patrick, whose name will be visible above the line on the Senate ballot.

Because of the 11e However, his candidacy time is an hour later, but Xenophon’s won’t be – so his last week’s pitch to potential voters has him explaining as creatively as possible how to actually vote for him.

That means he has to fill out the box marked ‘O’, so Xenophon’s latest ‘viral video’ has him ingeniously pair the letters O and X to make his point (though he’s certainly sort of a ‘no bull’ here). -crossover motif is missing?)

It’s unclear how viral it is, though: By morning’s end, the post on Twitter had garnered fewer than 400 views — quite a bit less than a Senate quota.

But at least the former stuntmaster’s social media output has surpassed his campaign’s homepage, which features a list of burning “FAQs” asking for an answer.

Well, really only three questions.

The first, he answers through a decidedly sombre video speech, in which a black-clad Xeno complains that for four years he “tried to be a political recluse” but now “can no longer sit on the sidelines,” suggesting a free for the obvious opportunity for another movie quote, Al Pacino’s desperation ‘just when I thought I was gone, they pull me back’ from the third in the increasingly unpopular Godfather series).

The next two questions are answered quite rudimentarily: is a crossbench vote useless? Why no, apparently not!

And what about its Huawei connections?

A simple misunderstanding.

Precious little in the Tolkien gestures of large parties

Still, Xenophon’s years of wacky campaigns may have shifted the country’s political goals.

Because as we enter the final week of the campaign, even a former senator on the toilet isn’t the strangest sight we’ve seen at the proverbial hustings.

By coincidence, both major parties came up with Lord Of The Rings themed campaign material in the past 24 hours.

Labor started with a Gollum-inspired ScoMo meme.

Not to be outdone, the Liberal Party dropped one of the weirder campaigns of recent times (no, let’s say “ever”), a minute-and-a-half digital animation (although it’s more like stop-motion) of a Gollum -like Anthony Albanese (though more like Annie Hall-era Woody Allen) giving a high-pitched monologue about the joys of taxation.

Is it worse than the Libs’ last ad, the most obnoxious political earwig attempt of all time sung? a cappella to the tune of ‘There’s a hole in your bucket’, but with the ingenious replacement of the word ‘budget’?

Probably not. In fact, it’s strangely convincing, although we’re not convinced it will shift votes.

Double blues for the Libs in Sturt?

And right now the Libs are trying to collect all the votes they can.

Recent NewsCorp polls, both national and local, suggest the battle to hold on in Boothby may well be over — something SA insiders seem to have realized some time ago, as campaign resources began to shift east to sturt.

But a NewsCorp YouGov poll this week suggested that Christopher Pyne’s longtime empire — now overseen by his protégé James Stevens, a former chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Steven Marshall — was very much in play, with the bipartisan vote virtually neck and neck.

The response was immediate – if not a little obvious.

After focusing most of their SA appearances thus far on Boothby and her candidate Rachel Swift, the Libs today instructed Employment Secretary Stuart Robert, flanked by Stevens in Holden Hill, in Sturt, to talk about “how the coalition invests in local jobs in South Australia”.

Oddly enough, only one ABC reporter showed up for this seismic event, with Stevens telling him, “I think I’m in a very tight match at Sturt…I don’t take it for granted at all.”

However, losing Stevens Sturt would be a major blow to the SA liberals, whose moderately dominated government lost power in March.

Stevens is a banner for the moderate faction, while the Sturt voter would give the local ALP the one thing they couldn’t get in the state election: a foothold in the Eastern Suburbs.

As for Boothby, it feels like it’s featured in nearly every election this century, only to set the stage for a succession of failed Labor efforts, including Nicole Cornes’ high-profile candidacy and two attempts by Annabel Digance (later stands MP for Elder and currently facing the court charged with attempted blackmail now – Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas).

Senator Don Farrell, once a student of Labor history, noted today that his party’s bleak past in Boothby goes back a little further; indeed, the last ALP member to hold it was Thomas Sheehy, from 1943 to ’49.

But Farrell notices an intriguing parallel.

“That was the year John Curtin was prime minister – and until two Saturdays ago that was the last time Labor ever launched its campaign in Perth,” he told reporters.

“So there’s a good omen there.”

As for Malinauskas, he is “reluctant to use the word confident” because he is “very wary of paying too much attention to polls”.

“The polls were right and they were wrong… it’s up to the folks at Boothby and Sturt to decide,” he said, but admitted it would take a “very good day” to win the latter.

Still, the SA Libs have had a few bad days lately.

Comments about Adelaide is an occasional column that tells the inside stories of Adelaide people, politics, institutions and issues. If you have any information that you think should be included in this column, please email us: editorial@solsticemedia.com.au

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