Matters South Australian

Three thereof:

• 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.

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.

24 comments on “Matters South Australian”

  1. I’d posted the below in a previous SA thread:

    The Poll is clearly showing that the ALP Government despite its long list of well known shortcomings, is not in the territory of the recently departed NSW ALP Government where the population was saying “anyone but this mob”.

    In SA, it appears the ALP are clawing back voters with “it’s better the devil you know”. The Liberals small target theme is now failing them, and their leader ‘Invisobel Redmond’ is rumored to be facing a challenge by Christmas.

    As bad as the ALP are, I can’t blame people for not voting Liberal as no one knows what the Liberal Party are going to do if in government, not the least of whom are the Liberal Party themselves.

  2. Despite the margin of error, the Advertiser polls on individual seats published before an election have generally been surprisingly accurate.

  3. If Labor had an excellent candidate in Boothby would that be enough to tip the vote even if Abbott is still in the box seat.

  4. Good summary in your introduction William. The Advertiser and The Australian chose instead to portray the poll as showing no bounce to Labor after the leadership announcements, comparing the result with the latest Newspoll.

    This negative spin suggests the Tiser is not going to give Weatherill a honeymoon period. The Murdoch press seem intent in forcing SA Labor from office despite the inept alternative.

  5. William

    [Nah. There was nothing wrong with their candidate last time, and candidate factors in urban seats are pretty slight at the best of times.]

    First statement – correct. Second statement – Nicole Cornes, Boothby, 2007. I rest my case for the negative.

  6. It certainly is a negative spin by the Advertiser. While all within MoE, I’d more likely read that voters are willing to give Weatherill a chance. There is no huge bump because they are suspicious. Also, Rann is still Premier. Of course Weatherill is gonna have to win the public over and starting behind will probably be a good thing (we saw in 2010 what happens when governments go to the polls with unnaturally inflated numbers).

    Redistribution turned out almost exactly how I imagined it would. While Labor are definitely in no position to win Boothby, it demonstrates that, in a good election, it is probably winnable for Labor.

    Next interesting thing will be state redistribution, which will twist things in favour of the Liberals – a hurdle for Weatherill to contend with.

  7. If things continue the way they’re going in SA, I think the Liberal Party are going to have to get rid of Redmond within the next year or so.

    Her small target strategy (or more accurately, no target strategy) appears to be falling apart.

  8. So, I was at an equal marriage rally yesterday and Weatherill’s position on the issue has won him many friends in the gay community and the left. While most of their votes would’ve filtered back to Labor via 2PP anyway, it is still a good sign for Labor that the base may start coming back in the fold (assuming he governs with the same rhetoric)

  9. Yeah, I honestly think, barring some unforeseen variable, Premier Redmond is probably a fantasy now. 2014 will either be a Weatherill victory or that of another Liberal leader. I kinda tend to the former, especially if a) Weatherill governs progressively and b) Abbott is PM.

  10. From where I sit in SA the Libs can still cruise invisibly into power, although the leadership change may make them work for it.

    The boys aren’t going to let Isobel Redmond get the top job by default. If it requires work she had better start putting in or she will be gone.

    I was shot down in a previous SA thread when I suggested that Marathon Resources’ friends in the Right brought down the Premier due to his protection of Arkaroola. Today Paul Caica, the Evironment Minister, said ” [he] expected a variety of views on the protection of the sanctuary. The native title rights of the traditional owners will be respected with the protection of the area.”

    Why would Native Title rights be an issue if Mining is banned in Arkaroola?

  11. Nice work Dr Phibes.

    My snout says that Marathon Resources are not in the least bit happy to settle on $10M compensation, and that the now public appointment of some lobbyists and top silks is to effectively overturn the decision – and that Weatherill was willing to overturn Rann’s decision to get the top job sooner.

    The excuse given will be that the key environmental and tourist precints will be protected as will Land Rights…as a sop to the ALP Left. Within Cabinet the decision will be explained away due to the potential litigation and costs to Treasury.

    I am waiting to hear how ALP hacks will defend this, and they are not allowed to use the above!

  12. It now seems that the mystery of Mr Rann’s decision of when to go is to see the Arkaroola Protection legislation go through. It was slated for November/December but has been brought forward.

    Wonder why he is so determined to make passing this act his last accomplishment as Premier (that is rhetorical).

  13. I hate to burst everyone’s collective bubble but 54-46 was pretty much exactly where it was at for NSW Labor 3 years out from the election, so saying SA Labor are “going better” is not really true.

    And FWIW there were also exactly the same arguments back then: O’Farrell would never win, the factional numb nuts would roll him for some extreme unelectable right-winger, small target would never work, the Libs had 3 whole years to stuff it all up, leadership change would rejuvinate Labor, the Libs should have been 101% ahead, etc, etc.

    Hard to know what to make of the redistribution given Labor’s excellent results there in 2007-10 and the Libs basically “giving up” in order to protect Sturt and Boothby. The 2% shaving in Wakefield might be significant if the tide is running in the opposite direction in 2013, but the Libs will still be forced to shore up Boothby first.

  14. MDMConnell, I agree that Labor are gone but if it is a matter of just a small target win I can’t see why Ms Redmond will be allowed the job when almost anyone in the Libs could get it. Not that I would call the Libs a boys club or anything.

  15. Some facts:

    Nobody is claiming that Labor are winning. Nor, do they assume that 2014 is now a dead cert for Labor.

    Redmond has been repeatedly criticised by the media for her invisibility. The only thing that has kept her safe is the polling has been hugely in favour of the Libs. IF that gap closes, there will be pressure on her. Also the SA Liberal party is notorious for its infighting.

    The assertion that two different governments in two different scenarios that had similar numbers 3 years before an election will garner the exact same polling results is nothing fallacy and fantasy. This analysis is foolish, as it neglects to take into account all of the variables between the two governments.

    By no means are the state government guaranteed a win (in fact, at this point, a betting man would still be wise to back the Libs) however, there is an opportunity to renew things and get people back onside. And yes, 46-54 is a definite improvement over 40-60. No spin will change that.

    Nobody has a crystal ball and you won’t have a real idea of what state the government will be in, in 2014 for a while. We’ll just have to sit back, wait and see.

  16. If I was a betting man I would bet that the world famous SA Liberal Party factional infighting will tear them apart before the next election. These guys could have a donnybrook at a kindy Christmas concert.

    Whether the inevitable challenge to Redmond will help stabilise the Liberals or destabilise them in the longer term I am not really sure…I think she has done well until the last few months where even supporters are now doubting her. The problem is she is seen by both sides as a bit of a compromise, and any replacement will be seen either as a wet or a dry, preumably keeping the other half unhappy.

  17. Got some interesting reading material at the train station today. They’re about to start work on the electrification of the Gawler line. Looks like the plans they have for the upgrade of it all is pretty nifty. Also, once complete, a metrocard system will be put into place, which is overdue, IMO.

    Dunno about vote changing for anybody but it certainly is progress and a step in the right direction.

  18. Today’s Advertiser article on retiring ALP MPs is even more dross than their usual low standard.
    No mention of Carmel Zollo who has said she will not be around for 2014…yet they’ve added Frances Bedford who is most upset as she has no intention of retiring!
    No mention of likely (or agreed replacements for some of the MPs) either.
    It’s public that Gerry Kandelaars is taking Paul Holloway’s spot in the Upper House; Zoe Bettison is running for Rann’s seat, and Susan Close is taking on Foley’s seat when he goes which is expected same time as Rann.
    CM, you might know more than me but evidently Kyam Maher has been shunted back down south to take Gayle Thompson’s seat, but I haven’t heard of more than that.
    Especially interested in who is looking to replace Michael Wright.

  19. “20

    It will be the last of the 5 capital suburban rail networks to be electrified. Long overdue.”

    Yet the Liberal party. Grey Power, and Save Our Suburbs have all been promoted in “The Advertiser” and ABC Radio (especially “Matt and Dave”) opposing the projects for their disruption and expense.

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