Nominations closed today for South Australia’s Port Adelaide and Ramsay by-elections (UPDATE: Apologies – Antony Green points out nominations for Ramsay are in fact open for another week), which will be held on February 11 to fill the respective vacancies of Deputy Premier Kevin Foley and Premier Mike Rann. The Liberals are not fielding candidates in either seat. It doesn’t say much for the Libs’ confidence if they won’t back themselves in Port Adelaide, where the margin of 12.8 per cent is half what the Liberals were getting in by-elections in NSW and even in the ballpark of the Victorian Liberals’ 12.3 per cent swing in Altona. Sitting out Ramsay is a lot more understandable, as the margin there is 18.0 per cent.
Port Adelaide appears the more interesting of the two constests by virtue of the candidacy of Port Adelaide-Enfield mayor Gary Johanson, who according to a poll published by The Advertiser today has 23 per cent support compared with 48 per cent for the Labor candidate, 14 per cent for a LDP that clearly stands to gain from homeless or just confused Liberals, and 9 per cent for Sue Lawrie (the sample was a small 475 and the margin of error a high 4.5 per cent; a larger sample poll in September which included the Liberals as an option had Labor leading 55-45 on two-party preferred). Port Adelaide has attracted a hefty nine candidates, who are in ballot paper order:
Sue Lawrie (Independent): The Liberal candidate from 2010.
Colin Thomas (Independent Ban Live Animal Exports): Beneficiary of SA’s law allowing indepenents five words to explain themselves on the ballot paper.
Bob Briton (Independent Communist Australia): Un-independent communism no longer being enough of a concern to achieve registration.
Elizabeth Pistor (Democratic Labor Party).
Grant Carlin (One Nation).
Susan Close (Labor). Department for Environment and Natural Resources executive and Left faction convenor.
Justin McArthur (Greens).
Gary Johanson (Independent): See above.
Stephen Humble (Liberal Democratic Party).
Ramsay has attracted only four candidates, with not only Liberal but also the Greens declining to enter the fray (UPDATE: As noted above, nominations hadn’t closed when I wrote this but they have now, on January 26, so the following list is complete and in ballot paper order).
Mark Aldridge (Independent Voice of the Community): You can learn more about him in this post’s comments thread.
Ruth Beach (Greens).
Trevor Grace (Independent Trevor Grace Save the Unborn): Anti-abortion, would be my guess.
Zoe Bettison (Labor): Former state director for Labor’s public affairs firm (some prefer spin doctors) of choice Hawker Britton. Antony Green relates she has also been party secretary in the Northern Territory and a ministerial adviser in the NT government, government relations manager at Great Southern Rail, and that she got her start with the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association.
Chris Walsh (One Nation).
Mark Lena (Free Australia).
Christopher Steele (Liberal Democrats).
More detail available from Antony Green.