Draft boundaries have been published for a redistribution of South Australia’s federal electoral boundaries. Antony Green reviews the damage. This is not one of the more momentous redistributions of recent history: the changes are fairly minor, Labor has no seats on margins of less than 5 per cent, and one doubts the direction of the electoral tide at the next election will be such as to endanger the Liberal margins of Boothby and Sturt. This is just as well for the Liberals in the former case, as three amendments have cut the margin from 0.8 per cent to 0.3 per cent, while Christopher Pyne in Sturt has gained an extra 0.4 per cent buffer on his 3.4 per cent margin. Labor has had a 0.4 per cent free kick in its most marginal seat of Hindmarsh, pushing Steve Georganas’s margin from 5.7 per cent to 6.1 per cent, while Kate Ellis’s margin in Adelaide has been garnished from 7.7 per cent to 7.5 per cent. It’s a measure of Labor’s extraordinarily strong performance in South Australia last time that Kingston, Makin and Wakefield, which were all in Liberal hands late in the life of the Howard government, now have double-digit Labor margins. The redistribution hasn’t disturbed this, although an exchange of northern Adelaide Labor heartland for parts of the Barossa Valley has cut Nick Champion’s margin in Wakefield from 12.0 per cent to 10.3 per cent.
The Advertiser has taken advantage of the leadership transition to conduct one of its occasional self-conducted polls of state voting intention. Conducted in the wake of Mike Rann’s semi-involuntary retirement announcement, this has the Liberal lead narrowing from 58-42 in late June to 54-46, from primary votes of 32 per cent for Labor (up seven) and 44 per cent for the Liberals (down five). However, given a margin of error of around 4.5 per cent, and suspicions that the paper’s polling expertise might not be all that great, caution should be exercised before diagnosing any kind of durable Labor revival. Nonetheless, a substantial 57 per cent of respondents say they expect better from incoming Premier Jay Weatherill than they have been getting from the incumbent.
The date for the Mike Rann-Jay Weatherill leadership transition, in case you missed it, has been set for October 20.