• Ellis Gelios

SA Nationals unveil election candidates

Updated: Jan 18

Former Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Gary Johanson will be the face of the Nationals in South Australia as the party prepares to embark upon the upcoming state election in March.

Johanson, labelled by his party as “a prominent South Australian businessman and Community Leader”, did not contest the November local government elections in 2018 and will lead the legislative Council team ticket for the Nationals.


Regional Sportswoman Lisa Sherry will also feature prominently in the party’s election tilt.


The three candidates announced for South Australia are Damien Buijs in Chaffey, Bruce Preece in Schubert and Jonathan Pietzsch in MacKillop.


Key election policies are centred on promoting the capabilities of graduates in South Australia, with an emphasis on keeping them, while eastern states grapple with large daily exodus figures.


Advancing regional education and further developing regional training centres of excellence are other key policies in the Nationals’ election push.


SA National Party President Jonathan Pietzsch appeared on Flow FM Australia this morning to discuss policy issues and the strength of the party’s candidates.


Pietzsch confirmed that the Nationals in SA will take a strong pro-South Australian stance into the party’s election campaign, indicating that historical disputes with federal members of the party may resurface when it comes to the state’s best interests.

“We see the National party as being primarily focussed on real advocacy and I’d say some of our federal and interstate counterparts have a different perspective that is at odds with what South Australia needs,” said Pietzsch.
“We need to be strong in telling them that and that they’re not right, they’re wrong, on certain issues.
“At our federal council meetings...it can be quite a heated discussion at times as those different perspectives are put across.”

Pietzsch also spoke about the importance of prioritising accessible healthcare during the expected peak period of the latest wave of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in South Australia.

“It’s certainly been the one thing that’s been highlighted in all the electorates we’ve been doorknocking in so far and I think Covid has actually focussed attention on that.”
“We’ve got to get the foundations right, we’ve got to look at housing, we’ve got to look at regional health and make sure that when we’re encouraging and inviting people to come back to the country that when they get there, a full gambit of services is there to support them.”

Fraser Ellis, the Member for Narungga, weighed in on South Australia’s mounting Covid-induced problems, raising the issue of a lack of rapid antigen testing kits being made available to regional South Australians.

“There’s been incredible demand from people wanting more access or improved access [to rapid antigen tests] and I’ve been working with really important institutions like the Ardrossan Community Hospital to ensure that they’ve got enough tests so that they can conduct their business of caring for our community.”
“It would have been nice if we had used a bit more of the past two years of Covid’s presence to prepare for this inevitable outbreak and although Omicron has changed the game somewhat, it would have been nice to have had a stockpile ready to go of RAT (rapid antigen) tests.”