A Former South Australian Liberal Leader Has Defected To The State Labor Government

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill . Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Former South Australian Liberal Party Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith has defected to the state Labor Government.

It’s a stunning development that caught the state’s political watchers by surprise.

“There is no question, friends that I have had for a very long time I will lose,” he told a press conference.

The Advertiser reports the deal was brokered over a series of lunches with Labor minister Tom Kenyon – a peculiarly Adelaide twist in a city known for its lunchtime deals.

Hamilton-Smith will join cabinet with responsibility for investment and trade, defence industries and veteran’s affairs.

“I look forward to being a competent and effective member of the Government,” Hamilton-Smith said.

“It’s been a tough decision but the right decision.”

His defection will strengthen the numbers in the state parliament, giving the Labor Party 23 seats and the support of two independents in the 47-seat lower house.

Premier Jay Weatherill said: “Mr Hamilton-Smith will strengthen the government of south Australia.”

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