Malcolm Turnbull has joined SA Liberal leader Steven Marshall (r) for the party’s campaign launch. Malcolm Turnbull helped Steven Marshall (l) launch the Liberal campaign for the March 17 poll.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged South ns to install a majority Liberal government when they go to the polls next month, to end 16 years of “dysfunctional” Labor rule.
Mr Turnbull said SA Liberal Leader Steven Marshall shared the coalition’s vision for a strong economy where the success of the business community was the foundation on which the prosperity of the state and the nation was built.
“He knows that South ns for too long have been let down by a Labor government that has failed to provide any economic leadership at all,” the prime minister told the Liberal Party campaign launch on Sunday.
“And that’s why this election is so important. A vote for any other party risks another four years of the same tired, chaotic, dysfunction in South n politics and government.”
Sunday’s gathering was an unusually casual affair, with the opposition opting for a suburban surf club venue instead of the usual inner-city event.
Mr Turnbull and Mr Marshall also ditched their ties while some senior Liberals appeared without jackets and with their sleeves rolled up, perhaps symbolic of the job ahead.
The SA opposition leader told the gathering the Liberals had a strong plan for real change and pledged to cut business taxes and reduce cost-of-living pressures.
That included a plan to eliminate payroll tax for all companies with an annual wage bill below $1.5 million, in a move to save the business community about $44 million a year.
“South is a great state, but we are being let down by an arrogant and dysfunctional Labor government,” Mr Marshall said.
“We must immediately address the economic problems that 16 years of Labor government has delivered or we will fall further behind the rest of the nation.”
Premier Jay Weatherill criticised the payroll tax cuts as the Liberals “looking after business mates”, while Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the idea was not new.
“There’s always this argument that if you let businesses get away without paying taxes, they’ll create more jobs,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“The truth is their shareholders just make more money.”
Next month’s election is shaping up as a three-way contest between the Labor government, which has been in power since 2002, the Liberal opposition and Nick Xenophon’s SA-Best party.
Mr Xenophon plans to run candidates in up to 30 of SA’s 47 lower house seats and wants to hold the balance of power in the next parliament.
Recent opinion polls suggest his group is attracting significant support although a recent redistribution has muddied the waters and appears to favour the Liberals, leaving Labor needing to increase its vote just to hold the government’s existing seats.