Seat of the week: Makin

Held by the Liberals throughout the Howard years, the north-eastern Adelaide seat of Makin swung heavily to Labor in 2007 and 2010, and remains firmly in the party fold despite the 2013 election defeat.

Red and blue numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Labor and Liberal. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The north-eastern Adelaide seat of Makin extends from Pooraka near the city to Tea Tree Gully and Greenwith at the limits of the metropolitan area. Labor is especially strong in the areas nearer the city, from Walkley Heights north to Salibsury East, beyond which are generally newer suburbs with more mortgage payers and families, who have helped keep the Liberals competitive or better for most of the seat’s history. Together with Kingston in the south of the city and Wakefield in its outer north, Makin is one of three Adelaide seats which the Liberals held in the final term of the Howard government before blowing out to double-digit Labor margins at the 2010 election, and which remain securely in the Labor fold despite the 2013 election defeat. In Makin’s case the Labor margin reached 12.0% in 2010, before the 2013 swing reduced it to 5.1%.

Makin was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984 from an area that had mostly formed the southern end of the safe Labor seat of Bonython, the majority of which was in turn absorbed by Wakefield when it was abolished in 2004. It was held for Labor by uncomfortable margins from 1984 to 1996 by Peter Duncan, a former Attorney-General in Don Dunstan’s state government. A 4.8% swing put Duncan on the Keating government casualty list in 1996, and he returned to the headlines in 2007 after being charged with fraudulently obtaining government grants for his plastics recycling company. The seat was then held for the Liberals by Trish Draper, who emerged as a prime ministerial favourite after strong performances at the next two elections. A swing against Draper of 0.2% in 1998 compared with a statewide swing of 4.2%, and she consolidated her margin by 3.0% in 2001. Draper hit trouble in the lead-up to the 2004 election when it emerged she had breached parliamentary rules by taking a boyfriend on a study trip to Europe at taxpayers’ expense, but she survived by 0.9% in the face of a swing that was not reflected in neighbouring seats. Draper retired at the 2007 election citing an illness in the family, before unsuccessfully attempting a comeback in the state seat of Newland at the March 2010 election.

The seat was then won for Labor on the second attempt by Tony Zappia, who had been the mayor of Salisbury since 1997, a councillor for many years beforehand, and was at one time a weightlifting champion. Zappia was widely thought to have been a victim of his factional non-alignment when the Right’s Julie Woodman defeated him for preselection in 2001, and a repeat performance appeared on the cards when a deal ahead of the 2004 election reserved the seat for Dana Wortley of the “hard Left”. The arrangement displeased local branches as well as party hard-heads concerned that a crucial marginal seat should be contested by the most appealing candidate, and Premier Mike Rann successfully prevailed upon Wortley’s backers to throw their weight behind Zappia. The move appeared a dead end for Zappia in the short term as he proved unable to win the seat, whereas Wortley was elected from the number three Senate position she was offered as consolation. However, Zappia performed considerably better with the electoral breeze at his back in 2007, demolishing the 0.9% Liberal margin with a swing of 8.6%. This was achieved in the face of a high-impact publicity campaign by Liberal candidate Bob Day, housing tycoon and national president of the Housing Industry Association who has since been elected as a Senator for Family First.

The once non-aligned Zappia is now a member of the Left, and is believed to have been a backer of Kevin Rudd’s leadership challenges, and of Anthony Albanese over Bill Shorten in the post-election leadership contest. After spending the period in government on the back bench, he won promotion after the election defeat to shadow parliamentary secretary for manufacturing.

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.

1,400 comments on “Seat of the week: Makin”

Comments Page 1 of 28
1 2 28
  1. BK

    Thank you and so pleased to hear Logan has got his one kilo certificate

    Hope sean is banned permamently after that comment last night. I admit I had just about given PB away in despair, hopefully things will improve now ?

    frednk 3

    Agree with you

  2. yes look on last night’s posts on previous thread sean told another PBer ‘To top themselves” disgusting I have friends who have lost a son through suicide and many PBers complained to William

  3. Surely leisure suit is Sean. Please dont feed him. The only people more pathetic than Sean are those who respond to him

  4. I think John Quiggin’s observations in his latest article apply to a lot of the current Liberal membership:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that nuclear power advocates, like climate delusionists (virtually all climate delusionists are nuclear fans, though not vice versa) are essentially immune to empirical evidence. So, I’d prefer no comments from our usual advocates (hermit, Will B etc) unless they have something genuinely new to say.

    The Liberals have turned their back on science they are not interested in developing or applying rational arguments, so why bother.

  5. Does anyone have a link to the whole Bill Maher episode (rather than just the “New Rules” bit- as funny as that was!!!)?

  6. The news of a naval officer mistreating an asylum seeker is hardly surprising. The culture from both major parties has largely been about demonising them. A fish rots from the head.

  7. Thanks for the reading BK. This is surely taking the piss:

    [In fact, Mr Abbott speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews than he did in opposition]

    Read more:

    How on earth would anyone know given we’ve barely seen Abbott since the election? I can’t recall his last interview that I saw, and he doesn’t do media conferences anymore.

  8. [I’ve come to the conclusion that nuclear power advocates, like climate delusionists (virtually all climate delusionists are nuclear fans, though not vice versa) are essentially immune to empirical evidence.]

    I can think of a few AGW realists who advocated for nuclear power – Barry Brook as the obvious eg.

  9. Since Stephen Smith left the job I have heard nothing about how the federal Government is attacking the culture that has led to incidents in Defence.

    Is this silence Abbott walking past a standard because it suits him?

  10. Scott Ludlam on 24 talks of the unfolding disasters of the Abbott Governent.

    I agree with him of course. The interesting thing is he is saying this on national television.

  11. On Abbott’s speech – ‘he’s becoming a puppet.”We all knew he was a puppet ages ago.

    I reckon the slow speech is due to medication and illness, not coaching. If there has been coaching it has been done to help cover up signs of deterioration. For quite a long time it has been obvious there is something wrong with Abbott’s health, most likely a mental health issue or the onset of something like Parkinsons Disease. The longer all this hiding and dodging the media goes on the more certain I become. There have been a lot of media comments from his fan club about the ‘new, calmer’ Abbott. Medication will do that.

    It must take weeks of preparation to get Abbott fit to attend a big event like APEC or next week’s Davoz summit. Remember how he went into hiding after the election, reappearing when it was time to head to APEC? We were told he was in his office, hard at work running the country. Yeah, sure…. He’s gone missing again now, he has not appeared to offer his support and condolences to fire victims, he has not said a word about Indonesia. The only appearances he has made since parliament’s last sitting have been light weight and trivial, the sort of thing a trained monkey could handle, like going to the cricket and chatting to some holiday fill-in bloke on 2GB. The important issues have been left to his ministers. If he has had anything to say it has been done via video so any mistakes can be edited out. Even his interviews for 7.30 have been pre-recorded. Why would this be done so often if it wasn’t to hide obvious impairment?

    After his disastrous effort at APEC his minders must be absolutely terrifed by next week’s ordeal. How many more world leaders will he offend? What gaffes will he make? Who will have to be there to hold his hand and whisk him away when the medication wears off?

  12. Morning all


    What was very curious to me is that on the same day, we had Truss out and about as acting PM
    And Abbott attending the PMXI and doing the coin toss. Hiw can there be sn acting PM and PM on the same day?

  13. Since Stephen Smith left the job I have heard nothing about how the federal Government is attacking the culture that has led to incidents in Defence.]

    They were opposed to tackling the culture of abuse in Defence. They didn’t say as much overtly, but there was a noticeable lack enthusiasm from the coalition whenever the issue was raised.

  14. leone:

    I don’t agree that Abbott has a health problem. People in poor or deteriorating health don’t do the marathon-like quantities of physical activity that Abbott does.

  15. The missing Abbott; I wonder if any small part of this is due to the stories that are told on social media of his marriage problems. That and been totally incapable of handling political pressure

  16. Physical exercise is meant to be very good for people suffering mental health issues. It’s called a natural anti-depressant.

  17. Leone @ 27

    They could also be preparing him for a dignified step down by alluding to an illness.Even the tories know the PM’s popularity rating is going south and by feigning an illness, avoiding pressers and keeping him on a very tight leash at least takes the spotlight off the worst PM in history.

  18. Just on reasons for Abbott’s ‘gone missing’ behavior, it may well be a build up of the stress of being PM. When people get promoted several levels above their capability, and are confronted by the challenges, they can react like Abbott is appearing to do so now.

    As Victoria says, glaring examples this last week such as attending a cricket game and talking about his times playing rugby, whilst being absolutely silent on bushfire disasters nationwide (given his own affinity with firefighting) is strange.

  19. As per the Age editorial posted yesterday. In my view, a senafe inquiry is in order

    [Mr Morrison triumphantly declares that not one boat-borne person had been transferred to immigration authorities since December 19. That may be correct. What Mr Morrison did not reveal, however, was that a week ago the navy took custody of 56 asylum seekers, photographed and interviewed them over two days, then transferred them to a Border Protection vessel, which held them for a further three days. In all, those asylum seekers were held for five days in Australian custody, on Australia-flagged vessels, before they were loaded onto an Australian lifeboat and sent to sea again. This is a clear abrogation of our responsibilities under the UN convention.]

    Read more:

  20. [Physical exercise is meant to be very good for people suffering mental health issues. ]

    I doubt any mental health professional would recommend people suffering mental health problems exercise at the high levels Abbott does.

  21. C’mon, it’s difficult to ignore Tisme at all times.

    You just feel like jumping in there, giving him some biff then jumping back out. It’s nearly irresistible.

    I enjoyed telling him to loosen his undies because they were restricting the oxygen flow to his brain.

    But what he said was unacceptable – a send off offence for sure.

  22. From defunct thread…

    I have long found Adams a genial chap to listen to in short bursts, but what I did find annoying was his tendency to talk over the often very interesting guests and to put words into their mouths, often when they were coming to the point he inserted over their commentary or else when they were about to go somewhere more interesting to me.

    I’m not sure whether this was Adams showing he knew stuff or whether he really was just over enthusiastic about the guest’s particular corpus of expertise, but in a short show it was really annoying.

  23. [
    Positional errors were totally eliminated from air and sea navigation decades ago for the smallest craft with satellite positioning. Even the smallest tinnie, these days, has perfectly precise GPS positioning.
    Or to put it another way, even truthie knows where he is and Morrison wants us to believe the Navy got lost.,6075

    Love the cartoon at the end.

  24. LSL

    [In many ways he was the opponent you bludgers deserved. Your conservative mirror. He only attracted so much attention because there was only one of him and so many more of you.]

    I don’t agree that ST was a conservative. The persona was simply a reactionary megaphone. No item of LNP nonsense was so palpable that ST would decline to utter it in tones of high dudgeon and culture war and then make not even a modest attempt to defend it.

    Most who post here lean to the right or here and there cautiously and ever so slightly to the small-l liberal left, depending on the issue. IMO that makes this place on the whole conservative. Few propose radical change in favour of the socially marginalised. Most favour substantial action on climate change but the idea that some effort to protect the balance of ecosystem services that enabled humanity to live as well as we do is a conservative idea rather than a radical one. Favouring renewables is not culturally radical either, as one can do this out of a preference for localism or a cleaner biosphere or energy independence or the desire for profitable business.

    Most here are sympathetic to same sex marriage, but there are conservative arguments for this as well as those founded in social justice or respect for the humanity of others. Marriage is a conservative concept in the mind of most leftists.

    ST was boorish. He (?) brought a foul odour rather than fresh air to discussion and wouldn’t even discuss why he was directing his malodorous venting here. I suspect that as with RT the author(s) decided it was time to retire the character and this motivated the imprecation to others to top themselves. I expect the next iteration to have the initials TT but I suppose we’ll see.

  25. One thing I reckon did happen. Tony got the PM gig and got the fright of his life when he found out how hard it is. Whether he has the guts and talent to grow into the job, as Julia Gillard did, is another question. I say, not an ice block’s hope in Hell..

  26. Leone – certainly food for thought. Lots of people chase away the blues with exercise.
    I can also well imagine that someone like Abbott (who deals in slogans and has no real core beliefs – other than about female reproduction) might find the complexity of office and the competing demands too much for him.

  27. Puffy

    Abbott had to step in when Pyne was shitting all over the place on the education funding. He had no choice as parliament was still sitting during that time. Parliament does not resume for another three weeks. Morrison and Bishop are tasked with dealing with the Indonesian fiasco. If it all goes to shit, telfon tony will emerge unscathed. That may well be the plan.

  28. Puffy:

    What’s more likely is Team Abbott have amped up the extreme makeover in an attempt to arrest his declining personal ratings.

    The weird behaviour could be a manifestation of stress, as others have suggested. Then again, Abbott has always behaved weirdly.

Comments Page 1 of 28
1 2 28

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *