Seat of the week: Adelaide

Kate Ellis’s electorate of Adelaide is a one-time Labor stronghold which has generally been marginal since the late 1980s, although she has enjoyed a handy buffer in the wake of Labor’s strong statewide performances in 2007 and 2010.

The electorate of Adelaide has existed without fundamental change since South Australia was first divided into electorates in 1903, currently stretching from the city centre to the Labor strongholds of Prospect, Enfield and Brompton to the north and an electorally mixed bag of areas to the east and south. There are sources of Liberal strength in Walkerville to the north-east of the city, Toorak Gardens to the west and Malvern to the south. The areas south of the city include Unley, home to the high school which Julia Gillard attended.

Labor first won Adelaide in 1908, and it was usually held by them from then until 1988. It was lost in that year at a by-election caused by the resignation of Chris Hurford, falling to Liberal candidate Mike Pratt with an 8.4% swing. Labor recovered the seat at the 1990 election, but an unfavourable redistribution together with a swing fuelled by hostility to the state government delivered it to Liberal candidate Trish Worth in 1993. Worth’s margin never rose above 3.5% in her 11 years as member, and she survived by just 343 votes in 2001. Labor finally toppled her in 2004 when inner-city seats across the land bucked the national shift to the Coalition, a decisive 1.9% swing delivering Adelaide to Labor’s 27-year-old candidate, Kate Ellis.

In keeping with statewide trends, Adelaide swung solidly to Labor in 2007, by 7.2%, and recorded little change in 2010, swinging 0.8% to the Liberals. The latest redistribution has added 1600 voters in Vale Park to bring the electorate into line with a municipal boundary, which has garnished the Labor margin from 7.7% to 7.5%. The area covered by the electorate swung resoundingly to the Liberals at the 2010 state election, with Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith losing the Adelaide electorate with a swing of 14.8%, and the eight neighbouring electorates (all of which are partly within the federal electorate) swinging by between 8.5% and 14.3%.

Kate Ellis is associated with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the mainstay of the “Catholic Right”, and its powerful state figurehead, Senator Don Farrell. After serving her apprenticeship as an adviser to state Industry Minister Rory McEwen and Treasurer Kevin Foley, Ellis won preselection following a three-way factional deal that secured Hindmarsh for Steve Georganas of the “soft Left” and Makin for Dana Wortley of the “hard Left” (who nevertheless lost the preselection to Tony Zappia, but was compensated with a Senate seat).

Her elevation to the position of Youth and Sport Minister after the 2007 election victory made her Labor’s youngest ever minister, at the age of 30 – the previous record holder being Paul Keating at 31. After the 2010 election she was reassigned to employment participation, childcare and the status of women. In common with the rest of her faction, Ellis emerged as a strong supporter of Julia Gillard’s leadership. Shortly before Kevin Rudd’s challenge in February 2012, she told Adelaide radio that Rudd had approached her and other SDA figures at a hotel to ask how they could reconcile their “conservative brand of Catholicism” with “a childless, atheist ex-communist as Labor leader”.

The preselected Liberal candidate for the next election is Carmen Garcia, director of Multicultural Youth SA and a daughter of Filipino migrants.

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.

2,009 comments on “Seat of the week: Adelaide”

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  1. Victoria: I was told by an ex-Ruddista caucus member that she believed Rudd had fewer numbers in February than he would have if he had stood for the ballot in June 2010.

    Can’t remember now exactly when the conversation was (a few months after the February challenge), but the gist was he had even FEWER again since, people were/are locked in behind Gillard and every example of disloyalty and white-anting by Rudd loyalists in the caucus serves only to steel the resolve of the others to ensure he never gets the gig again.

  2. Thanks, it was a worrying couple of days. It was very efficient. My doc had the results the next day. All on Medicare.

  3. Morning rant.
    I’m angry with the Greens over the Murray-Darling. They say they won’t support it but will “negotiate”.

    This is now a decades old problem and something needs to be done.

    It’s just like the Carbon Reduction scheme. Deja vu all over again.

  4. And Wilkie is going to “consult the experts”. Sheesh! As if there haven’t been enough expert reports already. If he hasn’t taken any interest before (since he lives in Tassie) he’s got an awful lot of catching up to do.

  5. [So why does Hartcher – in particular – keep writing about it?]

    Bushfire Bill he is still having withdrawal pains from being deprived of the “teat” ?

  6. haveachat
    Just dropped by to thank you for the link

    Great story,

    Goes with my little effort of trying to make people
    Understand bitterness just shuts doors,
    Some. Labor now outsides should read archies story.
    They may learn

    Too late for some tne door is locked and bolted

    Talkin of bolting

    Charlie will be bo,ting down the track at. Litle. A s soon

  7. The Greens will investigate, re-negotiate, suggest completely new studies, etc ad infinitum on the Murray-Darling.

    Because once an agreement is done the reasons for their existence as a political party look very questionable.

  8. A guy walks into the bar, orders a beer and sits down. The barman says, “Excuse me a minute, sir” and vanishes into a back room.

    The guy sits there.

    Then he hears a tiny voice: “You’re wearing a very nice tie.”

    He looks around. Nobody in sight.

    The tiny voice again: “I really like the way that shirt brings out the colour in your eyes.”

    He looks around. No one.

    “They’re beautiful eyes, by the way.”

    He’s panicking now. Puts the beer down rather firmly.

    The barman wanders back in.

    “Something wrong, sir?”

    Bloke clears his throat, and says, a little nervously, “I keep thinking I hear voices.”

    “Ah,” says the barman. “That’d be the peanuts. They’re complimentary.”

  9. Lizzie:

    [It’s difficult to believe that McKew has actually written her whole book without talking to anyone on Gillard’s “side”. That can’t make for a balanced view. ]

    I find the concept of ‘balance’ too imprecise to be useful in evaluating information. The more serious problem with not casting about widely is the inability to attach significance or weight to the initial observations. To what extent did they represent the sentiments of the caucus as a whole?

    It’s a bit like the problem of conducting a strawpoll — sampling error — though in this case it seems the error was not so much an anomaly (like seeking random opinions about voting intent without realising that the cafe you’re standing outside of is a meeting place for political activists) as it is an example of cherrypicking — looking expressly for data that will appear to found your preferred opinion.

    If one is going to make contentious claims, it’s incumbent on the person to deal with at least the most commonly cited objections to them, by allowing those most associated with them to expound them. One can still attempt to debunk the objections, but they do have to be there.

  10. So this travelling salesman is sitting in a bar and a local bloke walks in.

    “What’ll it be, Donkey?” asks the barman to the local.

    “Schooner, thanks Bill,” replies the new arrival.

    Fourteen schooners later the newly arrived and now inebriated man says “Thank, Bill” and walks out.

    Next day, the same thing happens. Donkey walks in, drinks fourteen schooners, and totters out, barely able to stay upright.

    The travelling salesman is in town four five days. Each day he arrives at the bar to have a quiet ale, and each day Donkey comes along for his fourteen schooners.

    On the last day, just as he the 14th schooner is finished, the salesman leans over to the local and says,

    “Boy, you sure can drink! I’ve seen you drink 70 schooners in 5 days!”

    “Yeshh,” the local slurs, “I like a drin, thasss fer sssshure..”

    The salesman summons up his courage and asks, “Do you mind? I’m curious. Why does Bill the barman call you ‘Donkey’?”

    “Dunno, dunno,” the drinker burps out.

    “He-aww… he-aww… he always calls me that.”

  11. [ Prime Minister Julia Gillard will set out an ambitious, long-term strategy to increase Australia’s integration with Asia when she launches a long-awaited foreign policy roadmap this weekend.

    She will launch the Asian Century white paper at the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney on Sunday.

    Thirteen months in the making, the 300-page policy blueprint is expected to set a series of long-term targets for Australia’s political, economic and personal ties with the rapidly rising region.

    Announcing the paper in September last year, Ms Gillard said the dramatic shift of economic and strategic power to Asia would have a profound and unrivalled influence on Australia’s future prosperity and security.

    “These changes have barely begun. These changes will define our future,” she said. ]

  12. This is not about getting numbers, this is about publicly settling political scores.

    [ Mr Swan was responsible for bungling the introduction of the mining tax and Mr Rudd called in the Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, to fix the mess, Ms McKew writes in Tales from the Political Trenches, to be published on Monday.]

    Read more:

  13. Dennis Atkins makes a valid point.

    I thought Maxine’s book was suppoed to be a tell-all”?

    [One aspect of these events – leading to weeks of weirdness as the election campaign unfolded – not covered in McKew’s book is one of the big unanswered questions: who leaked the damaging claims against Gillard that almost destroyed her election bid in July 2010? Perhaps that was a little too close to the Rudd camp for McKew to go near. ]

    Or does Maxine think it’s OK to nobble an election?

  14. mari

    Hartcher continually writes about Rudd so we dont forget him. Dumping Rudd was not ideal of course, and Hartcher and his lackies are not in any mood to make anyone forget. Would have been nice if these journos had directed their focus on more serious issues which should not be forgotten, such as our participation in the iillegal invasion of Iraq for example.

  15. Good morning all.

    For once I am appreciating the jaded cynicism of the press gallery. With the exception of a few they seem to have collectively shrugged their shoulders at McKew’s book.

  16. Fran

    [If one is going to make contentious claims, it’s incumbent on the person to deal with at least the most commonly cited objections to them, by allowing those most associated with them to expound them. One can still attempt to debunk the objections, but they do have to be there.]

    I was being a bit sarcastic in regard to ‘balance’,(refer the ABC) but I agree with you. It seems that Maxine made little attempt to get the whole picture.

  17. [Would have been nice if these journos had directed their focus on more serious issues which should not be forgotten, such as our participation in the iillegal invasion of Iraq for example.]

    Hartcher wishes to taint the Gillard government with illegitimacy by going back to square one and calling Rudd’s replacement illegitimate.

    It’s not as if there haven’t been PM’s and leaders deposed before: Gorton, Snedden, Hayden, Howard, Peacock, Hawke, Howard, Downer, Beazley (after Rudd white-anted him), Crean (after Rudd white-anted him), Latham (by Rudd!), Nelson, Turnbull (by Abbott!), and then Rudd.

    Out of all of them, Rudd had the most abysmal record in party room ballots when it came to a spill. “0” in the first, and “31” in the second.

    That looks pretty conclusive to me.

    They wanted him gone, twice, and they don’t want him back.

  18. The finns

    What does McKew, Rudd, McClelland and others believe they will achieve by rehashing their version of the dumping of Rudd? He was dumped. Was it an ideal thing to do? I am sure in hindsight, the party would say no. Should the party do something like this again? Of course not. But to go on and on and on about it, apart from being utterly boring. Is counterproductive and only dminishes the party.
    A return to Rudd would make the party a laughing stock in any event. The party played its cards this way. They lost credibiility, but now would be good if they were given a clear run to get on with enacting their policy agenda for the country. Self serving indulged fools, the lot of them.

  19. BB

    I would almost want PMJG to call another leadership spill, just to shut up Hartcher for once and for all.

    But of course, Hartcher and others will only remind us that the caucus got it wrong again because everyone loves kevvie. Arrgghh…..

  20. [THE opposition frontbencher Bronwyn Bishop has revealed that Tony Abbott would have called another election had he succeeded in negotiating with the independents in 2010 to form minority government.

    Ms Bishop’s revelation confirms the long-held suspicions of the independents, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who never trusted Mr Abbott’s assurances he would govern for the full term.

    It has also been seized upon by the government’s Craig Emerson to claim Mr Abbott ”has been exposed as a liar”.]

    Read more:

    This was patently obvious to everyone at the time, so why does Phil Coorey think that telling us this 2 years later is newsworthy? Why wasn’t he hounding out this story back then?

  21. [It seems that Maxine made little attempt to get the whole picture.]

    Maxine is just following the lead of the newspapers – If you hear a story or have a view on happenings that might get a headline you just publish it because talking to players on both sides will often send the proposed story to the ‘Nothing to write about’ bin.

  22. Darn:

    News reports yesterday afternoon were that the PM refused to discuss the McKew book, or wtte of. So I’m guessing she was asked.

  23. mari@62,
    What a fantastic story! Another young lady saved from the vicissitudes of anorexia and low self esteem. 🙂

    If you want my opinion, the Ernies should have a parallel awards night, call them the ‘Ernestines’, where acts of chivalry by males towards females are honoured.

    Now, my story.

    Just last week I had my little red Excel serviced, greased and oiled, for the trip up the Mid North Coast in a few weeks. So this entailed my having to drive the car down to the mechanics in Woy Woy, and then get a bus back home. Later to get a bus back at lunchtime to pick it up again.

    Well, to say that travelling in a car is the equivalent of driving yourself around in an impervious bubble, was something that was driven ( 😉 ) home to me the other day, as I walked from the bus stop, down the road to the mechanics.

    There I was, standing at the lights, minding my own business, waiting for the red light to stop traffic and then the green light to walk across the road.

    So the light goes red, and, as often happens, a car was left unable to get around the corner on the right arrow. So the car ended up stranded across the path I was about to walk along to get from one side of the road to the other. It was a designated pedestrian crossing. There were no other cars behind, or coming up behind the car that was blocking my way. So the car could have easily done a little reverse back behind the line. It didn’t.

    So I decided to give the guy driving the car one of those looks you do when you know they could have, and should have moved their car back behind the unbroken line for traffic.

    I couldn’t see the driver of the car because it had dark-tinted side windows. It was one of those low to the road, narrow-wheeled, hotted-up numbers, so I had a rough idea what sort of eejit would be behind the wheel.

    And I was not disappointed to see a weedy little boy-man, in a ‘wife-beater’ tank top(that is the vernacular, I am reliably informed by #2 Son who knows these things 🙂 ), boardshorts and ostentatious tattoos. Accompanied, of course, by the sort of young woman, found most recently in episodes of ‘The Shire’, who is impressed, not by the nature of the driver’s intellect, but by the narrowness of the width of the tires on his car. Not particularly by the hotness of the guy, but moreso by the hotness of the engine of his car.

    So I gave him ‘the look’ and kept walking around his car and across the road.

    As quick as the mind of one of these Cashed Up Bogans works, I heard from behind my back, screamed at the top of his lungs(in order to impress the Boganette, no doubt):
    “What are you looking at you fat sl*t!?!”

    Now, of course, these types believe that the utter shame and humiliation of being called ‘a fat sl*t’ in public, will be enough to make you instantaneously go to water, slink off and hope no one you know was around to hear it.

    But I’m smarter than that, and I’ve been called worse than that, on the internet, and face to face, simply for standing up for what I believe in. So, as I knew that the lights were about to change, and the little loudmouth would have to turn right, away from where I was going, quick as a flash I overcome any feelings of humiliation that had washed over me, and came back at him, through the open window that he had got his girlfriend to wind down so he could have a go at me:

    “Yeah, well, at least I’m not a brainless dic*head!”

    Whereupon the lights changed, the green arrow came on, and he had no choice but to cop the retort on the chin and drive away. Screeching his tires, of course, as he did.

    I kept on walking to the mechanics, feeling vindicated, instead of humiliated.

    So, the moral of the story is that, like the Prime Minister and Brooksey, we have to start standing up to the bullies, who have gotten away with their public denigration for way too long.

    The time for turning the other cheek is gone. It’s being mercilessly exploited.Now is the time to start standing up to defend your honour and what you believe in. As humorously as possible if you can, because that’s what hurts the most. 🙂

  24. People keep talking about how badly the leadership change was handled etc etc and suggest that, if they had their time over, the party wouldn’t do it again.

    Firstly, at the time, I thought it was handled brilliantly. Quick, deft, no ballot; Rudd accepted the situation (seemingly) and behaved graciously, as did all concerned.

    The polls reflected this. The immediate result was a bounce for the ALP – such a bounce that Labor looked like it would pick up even more seats than in 2007.

    Things only went pear shaped later, when the leaks started.

    It’s fine now to use the rear view mirror and say “Rudd was dumped; Labor nearly lost the next election; therefore the dumping of Rudd was handled badly” but that’s confusing the wrong causes with the wrong effects.

    IF Rudd’s backers (to give him the benefit of the doubt, particularly as his health was bad at the time) had continued to behave graciously, and there had been no leaks, it’s quite probable we would all be saying how well the whole thing was handled, particularly compared to the way the Libs had handled their leadership transitions.

    Secondly, I doubt that, given their time again, the ALP would do it much differently. They didn’t move lightly, but out of fixed determination. That caucus couldn’t work with Rudd anymore and that the government was effectively marking time were obvious to those at the coalface – I kept being told by junior staffers how shockingly bad the government was, well before the dip in the polls – and that it required fixing was also obvious.

    If you’ve decided that you can’t work with a leader, taht the leader is incapable of change and that this is leading to bad governance, then the problem needs to be solved as quickly as possible.

    Finally, the numbers against Rudd the first time around were so overwhelming that the NSW Right was told that it didn’t matter which way they voted, Rudd was gone.

    The ALP had a problem. There was only one way to fix it. They took it.

    They’d do the same again, if they had their time over.

  25. fess,

    The news is Bronwyn Bishop confirmed the story in that TV programme with Emerson. Her statements were a direct contradiction of the utterances of Abbott at the time of the negotiations to form Government with the Indies.

    What it does starkly demonstrate is that Abbott was lying.

    Now you, me and half the world may have believed this to be the case. The political case for a rush back to the electorate by Abbott with him as PM is overwhelmingly obvious. However, this is the first open corroboration of those suspicions which have been denied up until now.

    The Government will have another weapon to attack Abbott in Parliament about his lying and misleading conduct. This will be a handy weapon to blunt the incessant Opposition political attacks on Gillard on the same isssues.

  26. zoomster

    You make a good point about the vindictiveness of those who have not accepted the will of the majority. If that had been the case from the beginning and continued to this day, the party would be in a strong position. Alas, as evidenced by the conduct to date, the opposite is true. At what point will these people to get on board with the program?

  27. Ctar

    The Greens will be pushing for more backbone on saving the Murray.
    A good support for the Prime Minister. The Libs and Nats are trying again their fear tactics.

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