Australia's Liberals win state election in blow for renewables lobby

Australia's Liberals win state election in blow for renewables lobby

Liberal leader Steven Marshall will become South Australia's new Premier after his party won the state election, ending 16 years of Labor government in the state.

Internal Labor polling, however, has predicted the state will soon have a hung parliament.

South Australian Labor leader Jay Weatherill said on Saturday night he had called Marshall to concede and wished him all the best in taking on the role of premier. He later took to Facebook to share some photos of the night and to guarantee the state that he has South Australia's best interests at heart.

Despite being the main focus during much of the campaign, the recently formed centrist SA-BEST party, led by former Federal Senator Nick Xenophon, failed to make a splash at the polls, receiving just 13.7 percent of the primary vote.

In South Australia, Nick Xenophon was spoken of only weeks ago as a shock contender to be premier but he finishes with no office at all.

"I do feel like one of those horses who has won four Melbourne Cups and I think the handicap has caught up to us on this occasion".

Mr Xenophon says the party's failure to elect any lower house MPs, including himself, is his fault and was the result of its resources being spread too thin and the "dirty" campaign waged against it.

InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia.

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'We have come second in a whole swag of seats, so for the first time, instead of seeing two-party-preferred Liberal-Labor, its going to be two-party-preferred Liberal-SA Best or Labor-SA Best, so that's pretty good, that's a pretty good foundation to build on.

He did not concede defeat in Hartley, but acknowledged the party was trailing in his electorate and a number of others.

"You're the future of progressive politics in our party", she told the Greens members gathered at the event.

After thanking the voters of South Australia for putting their trust in him and the Liberal team, Marshall promised that "a new dawn" was on the horizon.

Labor insiders were philosophical about the loss noting that a hostile redistribution of electoral boundaries had meant the Weatherill government needed a three percentage point swing towards it just to hold its current seats and even then it was still short of a majority.

"A majority Government will be able to drive the reform agenda we so desperately need", said Marshall.

It will also have implications in Canberra where relations between the Turnbull government and the SA state government have been explosive - particularly over energy and the state's ambitious renewable energy policies.

"Jay Weatherill said this was a referendum on energy policy", he said in Sydney.

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