Political parties launching attacks on opponents during election campaigns have been part of politics for time immemorial.

And the start of the Dunstan by-election contest in Adelaide’s inner eastern suburbs has hardly bucked the trend.

Over the last 10 days, the battle for the state’s most marginal seat has intensified.

Both Labor and the Liberals have attempted to strip political paint off each other’s candidates — Cressida O’Hanlon and Anna Finizio — in any way they can.

It reached a crescendo on Friday when it was revealed the Liberals’ Ms Finizio applied for a job in 2020 with then Labor shadow attorney-general Kyam Maher.

The application was made before Ms Finizio became a Liberal Party member, staffer, or candidate.

Cue the government’s chief political agitator Tom Koutsantonis calling for her disendorsement on the day nominations for the seat closed.

Tom Koutsantonis says he has concerns about the Liberal candidate’s “authenticity”.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

“Credibility matters. Authenticity matters. What you believe matters. Who you are matters,” Mr Koutsantonis told reporters on Friday morning.

“And what we’re raising are concerns about Ms Finizio and her authenticity.”

The release of Ms Finizio’s resume and cover letter to the media sparked questions about possible breaches of privacy laws and regulations.

Mr Koutsantonis is adamant the government won’t investigate how Ms Finizio’s information was made public and says there was no breach.

“The Labor Party makes no apology for this whatsoever. Zero,” he told reporters.

“Because it’s in the public interest that this be out.”

Ms Finizio says she’s considering legal options over how her private information made its way into the public domain.

Opposition frontbencher Michelle Lensink described the story as a “complete and utter beat-up” while leader David Speirs confirmed he only found out on Thursday Ms Finizio had applied for the position.

“I’ve got no issue with the nature of the job,” he said while Ms Finizio told reporters the position was “a policy and research role”.

David Speirs says he has “no issue” with the fact that Anna Finizio had previously applied for a job with Labor’s Kyam Maher.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

But when it comes to how the ruckus started, arguably it was the Liberals who flung the first handful of dirt.

Ms Lensink rose in the Upper House on February 21 and, covered by parliamentary privilege, questioned contact between Ms O’Hanlon and her husband when she worked for Labor MLC Reggie Martin.

Citing an email between the pair, she raised the prospect of possible breaches of the state’s lobbying laws over a “request from James O’Hanlon for Cressida O’Hanlon to secure him a meeting with a government minister so that he can discuss securing taxpayer funds for his business”.

“If true, they demonstrate a breakdown of the necessary protections of government decisions from personal preferment and the improper use of privileged access to senior government decision-makers,” Ms Lensink told the Legislative Council.

Senior state government figures have privately told ABC News the claims are “BS” and Ms O’Hanlon has been publicly backed repeatedly by Premier Peter Malinauskas.

Peter Malinauskas has repeatedly publicly backed Cressida O’Hanlon.(ABC News: Carl Saville)

Labor has come back at the Liberals with interest, through a coordinated multi-day attack on Ms Finizio, spearheaded by Mr Koutsantonis.

First, there were accusations Ms Finizio had “airbrushed” her LinkedIn profile to exclude her involvement with her family company, Formway Group.

It went into administration more than two years after she stopped being a director, with debts topping $20 million.

Ms Finizio responded to media questions on Wednesday saying she was only a director “on paper” and had no involvement with the company.

That gave rise to a secondary attack on Thursday morning from Labor with Mr Koutsantonis, who wrote to ASIC to ask the watchdog to investigate the matter.

Then came the story about Ms Finizio’s application for a job with Mr Maher, which she was never interviewed for, nor was offered.

When asked if the directorship or job application were formally disclosed during the Liberal Party’s candidate vetting, which is understood to include a signed statutory declaration, neither Mr Speirs nor Ms Finizio would comment about the process.

Mr Koutsantonis argues the scrutiny that has been applied is part of the political process.

“I don’t think telling the truth is mudslinging. I don’t think being open and honest is mudslinging,” he said.

The bigger question is if the electorate cares, or pays any attention to the manoeuvres seen in recent days.

If the feedback from listeners to ABC Radio Adelaide on Thursday morning is anything to go by, the answer is no.

One text to the program stated:

“This sort of rubbish is why people lose interest in politics.”

While the major parties have been consumed by politics, there doesn’t appear to have been a lot in the way of policy specifically pledged for the people of Norwood, Payneham or Beulah Park.

With three weeks to go until polling day, there’s time for more policies to emerge and for major parties to dish out more than just dirt.