Fri. May 17th, 2024

The time has come for South Australians to decide who they want to lead the state for the next four years.

Until recently Premier Steven Marshall had admittedly been doing a reasonable job handling the Covid pandemic.

Otherwise, I honestly don’t really know what else he has done.

So too has the Opposition engaged in relatively little criticism of the government, likely to not give the impression of bitterness and division during a crisis.

South Australia’s media has been predominately focused on advocating Marshall’s agenda and pumping up his tyres in the lead up to Saturday’s election.

Articles highlighting vaccination rates and the easing of Covid restrictions have understandably dominated much of the discourse on the upcoming election.

However the recent media excitement over Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas’ swimming pool dip demonstrates there remains a distinct reluctance for South Australian media to take him seriously.

I’ll admit I had a little giggle but I’m not about to criticise Peter Malinauskas for his actions.

A man deserves to go to the pool with his child and have a swim, and if they happen to be hosting a press conference on the same day, well what’s the harm?

But the media’s excitement over the event seemed over emphasised and too much like a cute advertisement this close to an election.

Just yesterday Malinauskas declared on his Facebook page that “a Labor government will ban any further privatisation of public services”.

This policy announcement demonstrates a clear promise and vision of the future however at this point one may question how much of a vote snatcher it will be.

Why then, instead of focusing so much on what the Opposition Leader was (or indeed wasn’t) wearing at a swimming pool, could media not have focused on the actual substance of the conference?

Was it to create a picture of relatability between Malinauskas and the thousands of other fathers across the state? Or purely to get people talking so come Saturday the name everyone remembers is Malinauskas?

The proposal was highlighting investment in infrastructure, which we all know means jobs, which leads to greater security and increased spending.

Why could media attention on this issue not have focused more heavily on those aspects?

The Premier’s response to this excitement was decidedly less playful, quipping that he didn’t have the time that his counterpart “clearly” had.

This close to an election the struggle to balance positive policy announcements, criticism of the government and a good stoush in parliament becomes problematic at best.

So instead of jumping into a media frenzy of whether or not the Opposition Leader going for a dip during a press conference with his daughter did or didn’t “get tongues wagging”, why don’t we focus on the fact that just as it has been since Jay Weatherill’s Premiership, “building South Australia” continues to be on the agenda.

By Melissa Marsden

Melissa Gillian Marsden is a passionate advocate for social justice and a self-confessed political junkie. After being diagnosed with with a life long, life threatening medical condition six weeks after birth she knew from the beginning that fairness and equality are notoriously contested and complex issues. Read more on my 'About Me' page.