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.