Post-match report: South Australia

Welcome to episode two in the slower-than-anticipated Post-Match Report round-up of federal electorate results, which today brings us to South Australia.

Of the three seats that were highly marginal for the Liberals going into the election, Kingston emerged with the smallest Labor margin following a relatively subdued 4.5 per cent swing. The swing was reasonably consistent throughout the electorate, though slightly heavier at Morphett Vale and the Liberal-voting suburbs to the north than along the coast. Makin produced the third biggest swing in the state, perhaps boosted by the retirement of sitting member Trish Draper, with the 0.9 per cent margin obliterated by an evenly distributed 8.6 per cent shift to Labor. In Wakefield the swing was 7.3 per cent, which was markedly lower than in the small towns in the north of the electorate than in the low-income outer Adelaide centres of Elizabeth and Salisbury.

Only at four of Boothby‘s 42 booths did Nicole Cornes achieve a swing greater than the 5.4 per cent needed to win the seat. All were in strong Liberal areas, including the coast around Brighton and the Adelaide Hills suburb of Flagstaff Hill. Labor’s worst results came in the area closest to the city, with swings to the Liberals recorded at Mitcham, Myrtle Bank, Kingswood and Hawthorn West. The Greens’ vote picked up 3.1 per cent, perhaps benefiting from embarrassment surrounding Cornes’s performance. In Sturt the Labor candidate Mia Handshin picked up a close-but-no-cigar swing of 5.9 per cent that was concentrated in the heavily mortgaged northern end of the electorate, with swings near or above 10 per cent at Dernancourt, Gilles Plains and Windsor Gardens. Pyne now sits on an uncomfortable margin of 0.9 per cent.

The 7.2 per cent swing in Adelaide was slightly higher than the state average of 6.8 per cent, and was driven in remarkable degree by the stronger Labor areas to the north and north-west of the city. The swings in many of these booths cracked double figures, whereas the strong Liberal booths to the north-east and south-east of the city mostly came in at well under half that. Labor’s Hindmarsh MP Steve Georganas also had a much more relaxing election night this time around after prevailing by 108 votes in 2004, picking up a 5.0 per cent swing that was fairly evenly distributed throughout the electorate.

Labor’s biggest swing in South Australia was wasted in the safe Liberal rural seat of Barker, where Liberal member Patrick Secker went to preferences for the first time since 1998 after his primary vote fell from 53.2 per cent to 46.8 per cent. Labor was up 8.6 per cent on the primary vote and 10.4 per cent on two-party preferred. Swings were larger in the bigger centres than the small rural booths: all five Mount Gambier booths produced above average swings, peaking at a remarkable 21.4 per cent at Mount Gambier North. Talk of a swing in Grey big enough to endanger the Liberals was partly borne out by double-digit swings in the seat’s traditional Labor centres of Whyalla, Port August and Port Lincoln. Swings were much more gentle in the many smaller rural and remote booths, dampening the overall shift down to an insufficient but still severe 9.4 per cent.

Alexander Downer’s seat of Mayo followed the statewide trend in swinging to Labor by 6.5 per cent. Particularly heavy swings were recorded at the southern coastal towns of Victor Harbor and Goolwa. Nine years after coming within an ace of winning the seat, the Australian Democrats can now manage only 1.5 per cent. The Greens did well to increase 3.4 per cent to 11.0 per cent, partly assisted by the donkey vote. Another good seat for the Greens was Port Adelaide, where they picked up 3.3 per cent and boosted Labor from a 3.7 per cent increase on the primary vote to 6.8 per cent on two-party preferred. Remarkably, all but one of the 10 booths in Paralowie, Salisbury and Parafield to the east of Port Wakefield Road produced a double digit swing, a trend which carried over into neighbouring Makin. Swings in booths further west varied around the 4 per cent mark.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

557 comments on “Post-match report: South Australia”

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  1. GG @ 550 – The way Richie Benaud tells it, both Sri Lanka and India were going to play here in a one day series during December, but SL pulled out (forgotten why) and that prompted India to also pull out for a quick home series against Pakistan. No doubt that was more profitable but it was at the expense of the team’s chances now. Seems cash is more important to the BCCI than national prestige or the players’ reputations. Pity.

    Steve @ 549 – I hope Fitzgibbon also takes another look at upgrading the F-111s with a view to keeping them until 2050 and/or pressuring the Americans to revisit selling us at least one squadron of F-22s, even if it means taking them without the radar absorbing coating. An alliance based on only one side putting in isn’t worth having, IMHO.

    If he wants a better understanding of the F-111 issue he should be talking to the blokes at Amberley and the CAF, not DoD. If he cares to look he’ll also find a couple of interesting reports on the matter in the deepest, darkest recesses of DoD. They’ll probably be the ones covered by the thickest layer of dust.

    As for the $300 penalty to break the SH contract, Nelson should be asked to contribute seeing as it was all his idea!

  2. Steve #549,

    This should make for some interesting times in Parliament for Horatio the Super Hornet (otherwise known as Horatio the half-Nelson). The look on his face when Fitzgibbon reminds Australia that it was Nelson’s signature that purchased those sight unseen should be priceless.

    Happy New Years, All!

  3. Mathew Cole @ 553 – Horatio’s mouthpiece is now claiming that the “Super Hornet acquisition was recommended by the Australian Defence Force, including the RAAF”

    Which is at odds with reports that the RAAF specifically told Horatio the aircraft weren’t needed or wanted and claims the CDF and CAF first knew of the order just before Horatio’s press conference announcing the purchase. Wonder if the CDF will issue a statement on the matter as he did over the ‘childrens overboard’ male bovine excreta?

  4. Phil Robins. I agree with the amount of BS on Nicole Cornes and Boothby. Neighbouring Kingston only got a 4.5% and Hindmarsh only a 5% swing. Both (especially Kingston) are naturally more Labor seats and therefore could’ve expected to get larger swings than Boothby which in many booths (especially in the eastern suburbs) the doctors wives vote wouldve been maxed out in ’04. Given the intense and at times unfair media scrutiny on Cornes, I think a 2.5% is quite an achievement. Many in the media cried how bad this swing was, but they wouldve said so even with a swing of 3 or 4%. The point is many had their stories written before election night and I would think many privately predicted she wouldnt do as well as she did. Many I think wouldve predicted a 2PP swing to Libs due to neg. media. Also there was a prominent independent getting free media and 5% of vote which explains the decline in ALP primary. This wasnt present in 04. Southcott is a lucky man and is on political death row come 2010/11. A dud and a true underachiever if I ever met one.

  5. I don’t want to bury this comment deep in an article, but Will, we really appreciate these post match reports. When it comes to the next election in 2010, these reports are what I’ll be turning to to gain some insight into the likely permutations of what’s likely to happen.

    That’s if you haven’t been snapped up by Channels 9 or 7 as an election commentator before then! 🙂

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