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Mike Rann’s Decision

August 1, 2011

It should be his decision to make. What advantage South Australian Labor will get from forcing the pace of Mike Rann’s resignation is yet to be explained or seen.

Mike Rann is South Australian Labor. Without his deft leadership the party would not have won office in 2002 by the smallest of margins, forming a minority government with an independent. The media had trenchantly supported the coalition government of Rob Kerin, and in a one-newspaper town that meant a lot.

In government Rann facilitated a mining bonanza that saw him give approval to the Olympic Dam mine, the largest known reserve of uranium in the world and potentially worth trillions of dollars. There are a raft of new mines in the pipeline.

It was his leadership that delivered the funding and the plan which will give Adelaide the best hospital in Australia, the rebuilt and consolidated Royal Adelaide Hospital. A private room with ensuite for every patient; gardens and light and air; a transformation of the working conditions of doctors and nurses; all delivered by mobilising private capital (I should declare that I work as a consultant for Macquarie and Macquarie is part of the winning consortium). The hospital was opposed by a claque of the medical profession and the State Opposition which made it an issue in last year’s election.

Under Rann’s leadership South Australia forged ahead in renewables. The government pushed the environmental agenda as far as possible.

Mike Rann has lead South Australian Labor for a total of 16 years. He was planning to retire when he made 10 years as Premier in March next year or shortly after.

The next election is not until 2014. Going at a time of his choosing should have been seen as his right.

  1. Johnny permalink
    August 1, 2011 12:22 pm

    Sorry Bob, thats “a right” no leader has. Long or brilliant service bestows no such priviledge in politics. Rann had developed into a problem which has now been dealt with. It’s just a shame he didn’t react more appropriately when he was first tapped on the shoulder a couple of months ago. This would have led to a much more appropriate farewell than he will now receive. Unfortunately thats of his own doing.

  2. August 1, 2011 12:39 pm

    It is a very bad sign that this transition has been handled in this manner. Unless Mike Rann’s “time of his choosing” was after the next election, then this leak and subsequent public take-down can only be to satisfy the egos of a few at the expense of public respect for the party.

    Whilst not confined to the Labor Party, this does seem to be a common distraction at the moment. Perhaps the party needs to get ahead of the problem, by adopting a – 3-term limit for parliamentary leaders?

    Do the American political parties suffer from the same churn in their leadership positions?

  3. Helen permalink
    August 1, 2011 7:31 pm

    With due respect Mr Carr, you do not have your ear to the ground in SA. For months members in sub-branches having been asking for Mr Rann and Mr Foley to go for the good of all South Australians and for the SA Labor party. Neither have listened; that has been their problem, they ceased listening some time ago. Both had to have police escorts to the State Convention last year or they would not have made it past the angry public. They have foregone the privilege of leaving gracefully so, in the case of Mr Rann, he had to have an ignoble push. Time will tell what happens to Mr Foley.

  4. August 1, 2011 10:03 pm

    “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it”.

  5. Charles permalink
    August 2, 2011 9:39 am

    Sorry Bob, I disagree … vehemently.

    In my view, no matter how strong a leader’s legacy, they diminish their record tremendously – and damage the party that gave them the honour of leadership – when they lose touch and openly defy community and party sentiment.

    Why is it that politicians with such strong leadership skills – Hawke, Howard and Rann all come to mind – so often succumb to hubris and fail to put their party’s welfare first when the writing is on the wall?

    Others, including you, Wran and Beattie, seem more realistic. You were smart enough to choose the timing of your own retirement before the numbers turned against you and that decision was widely admired as a result.

    As a former resident of NSW now living in SA, I despair for the state of South Australian governance while the ALP goes all squeamish in the face of an inevitable – and now agreed – finale.

    Only politicians with electoral grace and finesse have the right to choose the timing of their exit. At an absurd extreme, the alternative would see MPs fairly beaten at the polls clinging to the metaphorical doorframe because they felt they had more things to achieve and weren’t ready to go. Sorry, but that’s the brutal nature of the game.

    Mike Rann should salvage some dignity and go now. Otherwise, he’ll look like the shameless alcoholic last guest at a party who won’t let the hosts go to bed while he finishes all the beer in the bathtub.

  6. Ralf Kluin permalink
    August 8, 2011 7:51 am

    I agree with Bob. If a leader, chosen by the party to lead, has carried out satisfactorily his/her tasks, according to the party’s agreed policies, then at a time when the term of parliament/government is due for election, in consultation with party members, that leader should be allowed the dignity to relinquish leadership. Of course the ALP, can change the party rules governing the length of service, when it comes to local, state & federal elected office. A party member, supported by the party, elected into public office, takes the oath or affirmation of office as an individual citizen.

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