SA Department bosses’ jobs in doubt after Labor election victory, Steven Marshall neck and neck in Dunstan

South Australia’s new health minister, Chris Picton, says the jobs of department chief executives will be discussed over the next few days.

Mr Picton is due to be sworn in on Thursday, along with the rest of the new Labor cabinet.

He told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that the decision to reappoint chief executives rests with Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas, who will consider his options.

Mr Malinauskas spoke alongside SA Health chief executive Chris McGowan yesterday, revealing that cancellations of elective surgeries had begun due to an expected rise in COVID-19 cases on Friday, but were not announced.

Mr McGowan said no announcement had been made as the government was in caretaker mode ahead of the election.

He claimed the cancellations only applied to one hospital.

Mr. Picton would not say whether Dr. McGowan would stay on.

He was nominated by the Liberals in May 2018, shortly after they were elected.

“We will be having discussions over the next few days about this,” Mr. Picton said.

“As I said, [I] hasn’t even been sworn in as health minister yet, but we will have those discussions and there will be considerations in due course.”

Kaurna Labor MP Chris Picton will be sworn in as Health Minister tomorrow.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

He said he already had “a number” of meetings with Dr McGowan and other health executives.

“We haven’t gotten to the point yet of whether there will be a change, but I’m certainly looking forward to my discussions so far with Chris McGowan and the other team principals, as well as of course with Nicola Spurrier to get this information from them.”

Mr Picton also revealed it was the Royal Adelaide Hospital that had canceled some elective surgeries, along with a smaller number at Flinders Medical Centre.

The seats of former ministers in doubt

Former Prime Minister Steven Marshall’s Dunstan seat in Adelaide’s east remains too close to call.

With 60% of the vote counted, Mr Marshall trails the two-party preferred tally by 11 votes.

As it stands, there has been a 7.5% swing to Labour.

Five other seats remain up in the air, including former education minister John Gardner’s Morialta seat and former industry and skills minister David Pisoni’s Unley seat.

Woman with short brown hair wearing a white button up shirt smiling at the camera.
Flinders independent candidate Liz Habermann lost to Sam Telfer in Flinders.(ABC News: Bernadette Clarke)

ABC election analyst Antony Green yesterday called Flinders and Heysen victories for the Liberals.

Liberal Party candidate and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer beat independent Liz Habermann to the Flinders seat in the Eyre Peninsula, while Josh Teague retained his Adelaide Hills seat in Heysen.

Green expects Mr Marshall to take the lead at Dunstan and Labor to win Waite over independent Sam Duluk.

Lillian L. Pena