Seat of the week: Hindmarsh

Maintaining the recent South Australian focus ahead of the looming state election, the latest instalment of Seat of the Week takes us to the only electorate in the state to change hands at the September federal election.

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.

Covering coastal Adelaide directly to the west of the city centre, Hindmarsh was the Liberals’ only South Australian gain of the 2013 election, at which Matthew Williams unseated Labor’s member of nine years, Steve Georganas. The electorate was one of seven created when South Australian electoral boundaries were first drawn in 1903, its traditional orientation around the working-class suburbs of north-western Adelaide making it a Labor stronghold for much of its history. The creation of the electorate of Port Adelaide in 1949 made it somewhat less secure, pushing it southwards into more conservative Henley Beach, but only with the 1966 landslide was long-term Labor member Clyde Cameron seriously threatened. The watershed in its progress from safe Labor to marginal came with the abolition of Hawker in 1993, which drew Hindmarsh still further south into Liberal-voting Glenelg. Currently the electorate covers the coast from Semaphore Park south to Glenelg South, from which it extends inland to mostly Labor-voting suburbs including Kidman Park and Torrensville in the north and Morphettville and Ascot Park in the south.

The Liberals’ first ever win in the seat followed the aforementioned redistribution at the 1993 election, which cut the Labor margin by 1.2% concurrently with the retirement of John Scott, who had held the seat since 1980. The Liberal candidate was Christine Gallus, who had become the first Liberal ever to win Hawker in 1990, a feat she duly followed by becoming the first Liberal ever to win Hindmarsh. This was achieved on the back of a 2.8% swing, the losing Labor candidate being John Rau, who has since emerged as a senior figure in the state government. Liberal hard-heads rated Gallus’s vote-pulling power very highly, and were duly dismayed when she decided to retire at the 2004 election. Her departure created an expectation that the seat would fall to Labor’s Steve Georganas, a former taxi driver who won preselection for the 2004 election with backing from the “soft Left” faction. So it proved, but the 1.2% swing to Labor was only enough to secure the deal by 108 votes. The unsuccessful Liberal candidate was Simon Birmingham, who went on to enter the Senate in 2007.

Georganas’s margin increased by 5.0% in 2007 and 0.7% in 2010, but these were modest gains by the standards of Labor’s performance in South Australia, leaving him on a weaker margin than Labor colleagues in Makin, Kingston and Wakefield, which unlike Hindmarsh had stayed with the Liberals in 2004. The margin going into the 2013 election was nonetheless a solid 6.1%, having been boosted slightly by redistribution, but this was accounted for by a forceful swing to the Liberals of 8.0%, the largest in the state. The seat is now held by Matt Williams, who had previously been national business development manager with law firm Piper Alderman.

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.

448 comments on “Seat of the week: Hindmarsh”

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  1. [BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?

    SCOTT MORRISON: Could he have avoided overstaying his visa?]

    God that’s so callous. And yeah, what’s the bet he happily took himself off to his happy clapper church afterwards.

  2. I wonder if if this makes the papers?
    Retweeted by L.K. Giesen
    HRP ‏@HRP_org 5h

    Drunken brawl on Nauru last night between locals and australian detention workers #auspol

  3. [386

    Malcolm Turnbull’s Parliamentary Secretary Minister Paul Fletcher has admitted that the Coalition’s estimate of the cost of Labor’s NBN was ‘perhaps a little high’.
    Oh … THAT $34 billion! In the lead up to the last Federal Election, Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition incessantly said that the real cost of Labor’s NBN would be in the order of $90 billion, compared to Labor’s own figure of $39 billion.

    Turnbull’s Assistant Minister has now said that NBN Co’s internal review of Labor’s NBN costed it at $56 billion, still high but much closer to Labor’s figure than the inflated estimate the Coalition took to the election. ]

    Turnbull didn’t even have the basic courage to deliver the message himself. Sent an underling instead. Just like Tones does.

    Not a shred of doubt anymore: Turnbull is a fraudulent unprincipled corporate-fellating coward.

  4. [In what may be perceived as a further snub to Australia, the Indonesian Military (TNI) has said its decision to allow Chinese naval vessels to pass through waters in Indonesia’s southern territory near Australia was in the nation’s best interest.

    The fleet, consisting of surface vessels and submarines, was returning to China from anti-piracy training in the Gulf of Aden last week, said TNI spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul late on Thursday]

  5. On the subject of the cabinet god squad, it is worth noting that the gospel reading at mass today was from St Matthew’s account of the sermon on the mount, a part where Christ was putting some emphasis on how important it was to be truthful. In his homily the Monsignor pointed out how important this was, to tell the truth, to answer yes or no, to not use the fall back on the “little white lie”.
    I wonder what Morrison et al would say about that

  6. Just Me:

    5 years ago Mumble wrote this about the then LOTO, MT:

    [Why is the Liberal party in such a muddle? In part this is just the lot of oppositions, but it doesn’t help when the leader has as little authority inside the party as is clearly the case today. After the leadership change last September the Australian’s Paul Kelly was correct when he told ABC1’s Insiders that “Turnbull needs to be rating better in the polls than Brendan Nelson in order to try and exercise his authority in the party and keep the party united.” If Turnbull had substantially improved on his predecessor’s numbers he would today have the authority to decide strategy and the troops would fall into line. But it wasn’t to be.

    See more at: ]

    If MT had no authority then, I’d imagine he’d have even less today.

  7. Dave

    [prepared to take a stab at the Senate decision ?]

    I was planning to, at various times, predict all outcomes but you have blown my cover.

  8. Turnbull is Australia’s Mitt Romney – say and do anything, ditch his past principles and positions for a shot at power. So he’s thrown his lot in with a party of the hard Right thaat panders to racists, homophobes and other bigots as well as Climate Change denialists. Lie with dogs, rise with fleas.

  9. [If MT had no authority then, I’d imagine he’d have even less today.]

    So what is he hanging around for? He is not respected in his own party and has no chance of ever being leader again, or introducing any decent policy under Abbott (or any plausible alternative leader). He doesn’t need the money and sure as hell is not doing his reputation any good.

    But it is all too late now, for both Turnbull, and our society. I see no winners from this, not even Abbott.

    What an utter farce.

  10. 392

    That is immigration control logic, through and through. Immigration control law being seen as more important than people. That is what happens when there are immigration control laws. That is why they must be scrapped.

  11. [The Prime Minister has refused to comment on reports that Australian spies gathered intelligence for the United States on Indonesian trade negotiations last year.]

    Well actually he did comment. He said:
    [“We use it to uphold our values. We use it to protect our citizens and the citizens of other countries and we certainly don’t use it for commercial purposes.”]

    Well its seems we do use it for commercial purposes, Timor now a US-Indonesia trade issue, what else can it be Tony but trade?

  12. [So what is he hanging around for?]

    Why did the former Member for Griffith hang around? Perhaps MT harbours dreams of once again leading his party, or maybe like Rudd, he dreams of the ultimate retribution. But on the available evidence, he isn’t going to lead the Liberals any time soon.

  13. rossmcg,

    [In his homily the Monsignor pointed out how important this was, to tell the truth, to answer yes or no, to not use the fall back on the “little white lie”.
    I wonder what Morrison et al would say about that]

    For a particular mindset, when you consider yourself “saved”, it doesn’t matter how you conduct yourself. Your seat is booked already.

  14. So we have a report of an international student passing away.

    Without knowing the full circumstances why was an international student even in detention.

    I am all for not allowing people to overstaying visas but and this is where government needs to be cleaned up.

    Is it time we scrap all visas and only have two vises one for 1 Holiday and 2 Migrate

  15. Tom

    No immigration laws should remain but there is a case for streamlining them after all it is too be expected that the government will have a paper trail of people entering the country.

  16. @MB/429

    Visa’s are not the problem, it’s the Government, the implementation and process of those visa’s.

    Sending someone to DT just because they overstayed their visa is wrong, they should have just deported them (it’s cheaper).

  17. 429

    So your saying we should abolish student visas and thus the jobs and other benefits we get from overseas students?

  18. GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 2m

    #Nielsen Poll 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 52 (+4) ALP 48 (-4) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 58s

    #Nielsen Poll Primary Votes: L/NP 44 (+3) ALP 33 (-4) GRN 12 (+1) #auspol

  19. Zoidy

    Yes the government is part of the problem but if we had a streamlined immigration process with just one or two visas it might reduce incidences of detention.

    Deporting would be the easiest option but wouldn’t they first needed to locate the right place to send them.

  20. Victoria,

    [BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?

    SCOTT MORRISON: Could he have avoided overstaying his visa?]

    Well spotted.

    Barrie Cassidy should have closed the interview down there and then. With such a disgraceful response, Morrison showed he is unfit to be a minister of the Crown.

  21. 430

    I was not saying that IDs should not be checked at the border but that all people have an equal right of entry, residence and work.

  22. Tom

    There are two parts to that question.

    Yes i would consider scraping student vises either offering a migrant vises or a third type of visa that being a short term visa (period of five years).

    And no to the second part as we would still be wanting to encourage migrants.

  23. [Fibre continues to put Copper to shame.]

    Always has and always will, was never any other possibility. I was routinely using fibre optic in critical applications over 30 years ago, and even then it was an unremarkable and tested technology. Everybody in electronic and telcom engineering knew about it and its possibilities then, and expected a full fibre network to start being rolled within a couple of decades.

    But then John Howard and his bastard political spawn came along, got down on their knees before their corporate media overlords, and goodbye to any sanity and nation building.

    We have been well and truly sold out.

  24. rossmcg,

    [I would like to think that the Morrisons of this world are in for a bit of a shock]

    As my old dad says, “they’ll die screamin’!”

  25. As there has been no Nielsen since the election and the Liberals won this makes on sense.

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 7m

    #Nielsen Poll Primary Votes: L/NP 44 (+3) ALP 33 (-4) GRN 12 (+1) #auspol


    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 8m

    #Nielsen Poll 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 52 (+4) ALP 48 (-4) #auspol

  26. Turnbull holds out hopes of Rabbott crashing.

    Malcolm Turnbull must believe he’s in with a chance, but it’s hard to see. The Liberals are a party of the hard Right and getting harder. That won’t change for a political generation (say 15 years), if ever. Maybe if Malcolm was 40 he could bide his time and build support.

    But he doesn’t have time now. Today’s Libs won’t turn to Turnbull. He’s still too ‘liberal’ for the ‘Liberals’ in spite of the compromises he’s made. Not that he was particularly crash hot when he had a turn at leadership. They won’t have him, especially while they remain beholden to fossil fuel interests, religious conservatives, finance industry spivs and other ‘illiberals’.

    Why doesn’t he just retire and enjoy his millions.

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