South Australian election minus one week

Introducing a guide to the election for the Legislative Council, plus some updates from around the grounds.

With exactly a week to go, two general matters to relate:

• The Poll Bludger state election guide now comes equipped with a comprehensive review of the Legislative Council.

• Jay Weatherill and Steven Marshall squared off for the Advertiser/Sky News People’s Forum debate on Tuesday night. One hundred undecided voters chosen by Galaxy Research, as per the much-complained-about Rooty Hill RSL event during the 2010 federal election, had 38% rating Jay Weatherill the winner compared with 28% for Steven Marshall, the remaining 38% being uncommitted. All three of The Advertiser’s commentators concurred that Weatherill had the edge, although Daniel Wills’ analysis piece was headlined “Premier fails to deliver a knockout”.

And six electorate-level campaign updates:

Adelaide (Liberal 4.2%): A Galaxy automated phone poll of 587 respondents conducted on Tuesday evening for The Advertiser had Labor trailing 54-46 in the one seat which they had entertained hopes of poaching from the Liberals. The primary votes were 49% for Liberal incumbent Rachel Sanderson, 39% for Labor candidate David O’Louglin, 8% for the Greens and 4% for Dignity for Disability. Sanderson had an approval rating of 51% and a disapproval rating of 26%, closely reflecting the ratings for Labor’s Paul Caica at a similar poll conducted last week in Colton. The poll also inquired about the parties’ competing plans for the future of the Royal Adelaide Hospital site, with 38% favouring Labor’s idea of a new public high school and 35% preferring the Liberals’ idea for a privately run medical facility.

Giles (Labor 11.9%): The Advertiser reported yesterday that Eddie Hughes, Labor’s candidate for the Whyalla-based seat of Giles, was given a seven-day suspended jail sentence in 1983 for assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and loitering, following an incident which occurred “in the early hours outside a Whyalla hotel”. As the Liberals accused Labor of having concealed the fact from voters, Labor said it was aware of the arrest but not the specific court outcome.

Torrens (Labor 8.2%): Labor hit back with the revelation that Liberal candidate for Torrens, Michael Manetta, had a criminal conviction from 1997 for driving three times over the blood alcohol limit, leaving Steven Marshall to tell journalists he was “not aware of that”.

Lee (Labor 7.7%): Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley has ordered the Liberal Party to withdraw and air a retraction for a radio advertisement it paid for and authorised which was voiced by Mel Calone, an independent who is campaigning against the government over its handling of the school sex abuse issue. Calone said Jay Weatherill “chose not to tell parents” about the rape of a seven-year-old school student, which was at odds with the findings of the Debelle royal commmission.

Hartley (Labor 0.1%): Nick Xenophon has provided Labor’s Grace Portolesi with a message of support to distribute to voters in her knife-edge marginal seat, in which she is describing as “an outstanding local member in getting things done”.

Colton (Labor 3.6%): The Liberals have promised to spend $6.8 million on a science centre for Henley High School, to be completed in 2018.

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.

78 thoughts on “South Australian election minus one week”

  1. William You need to have a look at Powerful Communities for Legislative Council. Mark Henley lead candidate has been an advocate for Uniting Church and involved in groups like SACOSS for decades. PC has the best run of preferences by far of the micro groups and I think is the best chance of a seat outside the existing represented parties. See comment on earlier thread as well.

  2. William: you might be surprised.

    A lot of people know Mark Henley’s name and he might garner votes from both disaffected and sympathetic major party voters.

    I used to work with him at United Care Wesley Adelaide and he is a great guy – and would be a fantastic MP.

    Now I know he’s running, that’s where I’ll be directing my vote in the Leg Co

  3. Also, William: In your Leg Co analysis, you mentioned the Liberal Democrats garnering 3.5% of the Senate vote last year without the context.

    There is little doubt their vote was so high because of their position on the ballot paper; many erstwhile Liberal voters mistakenly voted for LibDems believing they were voting for the Liberal Party.

    I recall quite a bit of talk about this at the time and it was pointed out this theory was borne out by a comparison of the Liberal vote in the House of Reps vs the Senate.

  4. That’s definitely the case re the Lib Dems, Chinda63, and I’m sure they won’t get 3.5%. However, their ballot paper placement isn’t that bad this time, and they will still get a few people voting for them by mistake.

  5. Well, if the theory that Mr. Henley has some vote pulling power (in upper house races, you can never be certain of outcomes) and he doesn’t get elected, this is how his preferences will to the tickets that seem to have a realistic chance of getting a member elected:

    Dignity for Disability
    Family First

    On the topic of independent LC candidates, I would like to make a criticism of Joseph Masika’s posters/corflutes: His name is written way too small! If you’re driving past one of those things, you’re going to have no idea who that’s advertising because you’ll barely see it. (and he doesn’t have a party to flash the logo of, either.) While he probably won’t get even close to winning a seat, it’s still a bit of an error that stood out to me.

    I wish I had taken a photo of one to share, to show what I mean.

  6. Actually, just playing around with the calculator on Antony Green’s site, Henley receives preferences pretty well and would not need much of a primary vote to get there, in certain plausible circumstances.

    Certainly, if he has a solid enough base of support to get close to 1% or more, there are plausible ways for him to get there. So, while I am doubtful due to my always cautious nature on independent candidates, it’s not an entirely ridiculous notion that he could get in.

  7. Having a quick play around it is certainly possible for Henley to get in with about 1%.
    That compares with Darley who seems to need at least 5% and maybe even much higher to be elected. I highly doubt Darley is going to get close to being reelected.

    It is certainly not as strange a proposition as some of the things that happened in the Senate last year. Henley would be known, quite vaguely mostly, but known to quite a few South Australians.

  8. Oops! Just realised that I didn’t include the Xenophon Group in post #6. It is placed in between D4D and the ALP in the preference flow…

    [I highly doubt Darley is going to get close to being reelected.]

    On his own, I’d agree but the name of his group as well as all of their advertising heavily implies that it’s Nick Xenophon running on that ticket, which might pull quite a few votes to him (NX got nearly 25% of the vote back in September; if Darley gets a reasonable fraction of that, he’ll get over the line.)

  9. I hope there are not too many so stupid as to think they are voting Xenophon, but you could be right. Also Darley can get as much as 6%, maybe even more, and not get elected due to preference flows.
    I might be completely wrong, the group might get 15%+ and Darley will get in plus the second candidate.
    Perhaps if people are stupid enough to think Xenophon is a candidate they might be stupid enough to think group X on the ballot paper is equivalent to the X team and accidentally not vote for him.

  10. D4D will be on both of my ballots and I will be giving them my number 1 vote on both because they stand for good things (Vincent has been great) and, contrary to the belief of some, they are not a single issue party – they are generally progressive.

    I will be preferencing Labor over Liberal on the House of Assembly ballot. Not sure exactly what order I am going to vote on the Legislative Council ballot but it will generally flow from progressive/left to conservative/right.

    Family First will be going last.

  11. I don’t think Darley will get more than 5%. People have watched the fiasco with Ann Bressington over recent years and many X supporters will know that there is no guarantee that a Nick X backed independent will have any particular policy. And with X now in the Senate even less reason to think a vote for Darley is somehow a vote for X.

    Darley has a pretty low profile,lacks any serious presence in the community and will not be expected to see out the 8 year term given his age.

  12. [Esther Simbi, 36, embodies determination. Sudanese by birth, Esther came to Australia after 19 years in refugee camps in Uganda, having survived extreme hardships. With a strong belief that access to quality education gave her opportunities to establish her career as a social worker, through an ongoing emphasis on education Esther wants to spread the message that disability is not inability. Her resilience and perseverance in relation to her own story will assist her in working towards overcoming inequality and disadvantage for people with a disability.]

  13. I was driving through the seat of Adelaide today and noticed the Libs corflutes for Sanderson had had an extra sticker added saying “Substance not Spin”.

    It kind of sums up the election that I still don’t know if it was Labor or the Libs who added the sticker.

  14. Dio

    The Liberal organisation in most of the electorates north of the CBD have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. I know this from personal experience

    They’re going to get hit in the backside with a rainbow this time and they’ll think it’s entirely due to their campaign efforts

  15. The trouble with Simbi winning the seat is that D4D, despite winning a seat last election, are coming from a very low base. They got a great run of preferences last time, they will not be getting such a great run this time.

    From running the calculator a few times a critical point is quite possibly going to be whether Simbi can get a head of and stay ahead of the Henley snowball of preference gathering. This might also be critical for whether Henley gets a seat or not even if Simbi is nowhere near a seat.

    While it seems Darley probably only going to get elected if he gets 6% plus of the votes Simbi might get elected with as little as 2 or 3% so her chances are perhaps higher.

    In other points it would not surprise me to see a bit of a boost to the votes of the two fishing parties given the Marine Parks issue.
    Also I wonder if Henley gets votes whether he is likely to be taking votes away from Family First but I might be way off there.
    Also I have found that it is possible that if the Liberals get about 40% of the vote they might only get 4 seats while Labor could also get to 4 seats with a vote around 31-32%. However I have also had a 5-3 split of seats from the same major party figures with different mix of minor party votes. 5-4 is also a possibility.

  16. [If you look closely you can see that Labor spins clockwise while the Libs spin counter-clockwise.]

    A Coriolus Effect.

  17. Dio @ 16

    I am assuming it is the Libs as it is illegal to adorn other candidates’ posters and the ALP wouldn’t do that, would they?

    On the other hand, the stickers are the same shape, size and colour as Labor ones appearing on ALP posters saying “Let’s keep Grace” like they did Federally with “Let’s keep Kate”.

    OK, I don’t know who put them on either.

  18. I ran my own calculator simulations using as a mean what I think everyone will get and then running through a few hundred variations around them. EG ALP i gave a low of 24% and a high of 32% – mean of 28%. I did this for all but for the lone guy who has not a ticket lodged as he is a lone independent (whom ironically is a friend of mine) and this is the interesting scenario it throws up:
    1. LIB – 4
    2. ALP – 3
    3. X-Team – 1
    4. Family Fist – 1
    5. Greens – 1
    6. Multicultural Party – 1

    In fact, the Greens are the last one to be elected if they get less than 7% of the vote, tipping out the ALP’s 4th.

    The Multicultural Party candidate gets elected on as little as 0.5% of the vote – and only 8% of my simulations got Mark Henley across the line – and for that he needed over 1.05% of the vote which I very much doubt he will get near, despite how well known he is amongst the intelligentsia.

    So, check out our potential newest party in SA Parliament: – and to save you the bother, their preferences are going to almost all the other Indies and micros before hitting Family First at 32 then the ALP at 44, then Greens, X-Team and the Libs, last. Can’t call them a Labor plant.

  19. First week of the campaign, the Liberals in Elder put up corflutes with a red background and white lettering that said “STOP LABOR’S TOLL ROADS!” (I assume they were from Rob Lucas’s team because his corflutes went up the same day and they looked like something his feral mind would have come up with)

    A week later the ALP put up corflutes underneath them that had an arrow pointing upwards and were in a light blue background, with yellow and white lettering that said “Another Liberal Lie”

    A lot of them have been taken down now which is pretty funny.

    Further down the road, last week in West Torrens, Tom Koutsantonis has got a whole heap of black corflutes up that say “Liberals will cut funding to South Road” or something along those lines.

    New ones seem to be going up and coming down all the time. It’s funny to watch

  20. Speaking of posters (the corflute kind, not the nice kind we find here), someone told me that Michael Atkinson was not putting up corflutes on stobie poles etc this time.
    As I live nor work anywhere near his electorate, I had to some up with an excuse to drive around there today and to my surprise, only saw two of his posters – one on a private fence, and one on a business premises.
    Curious. Anyone know any more?

  21. By the way, for all those mocking Kym Richardson a few weeks back, he has secured the key endorsement of Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald on his website (which has been updated). I think if will put him over the top! 😛

  22. Independently Thinking

    I drove around that electorate a couple of times in recent weeks. I only saw the same two corflutes. Was wondering the same thing. Maybe he’s decided to censor himself

  23. I managed to get Henley elected with 0.8% using the calculator, perhaps some of my other figures where way off.
    Not seen the Multicultural Party get close to getting up but there must be a way if you managed to get them up.
    Of course all of this speculation does not take into account below the line voting which could chance things considerably, especially since in a lot of the simulations I have run it has been extremely close to who gets the final few seats.

  24. So the sum total of the Liberal campaign is…. to reduce water levies? Wow! That will fix everything.

    I fear Labor will still lose, but at this point Labor is certainly winning the campaign.

  25. EM, I got the MP up every time on 0.5% regardless of what other rats and mice were on. When they dropped below .5% then either Henley got up, or ALP 4th, or even once Your Voice Matters – but from memory I think that was when I gave them 1.3% instead of their 1% mean.

    Let’s face it, we are using scientific methods but using made up variables so really it is educated guesswork.

    And I totes agree (as the kids would say) on the BTL votes but I think the candidates who can attract a lot of these may hold themselves in the count a little longer as others fall away – this I think is where the Multicultural Party is likely to face a weakness compared to Henley’s group.

  26. IT, I have played around some more and still not seeing the MP getting up, I don’t seem to be getting them to .2 of quota . At the moment I am getting 4 Liberal and 3 Labor first then exclusions start that lifts PC up through every to be elected 8th on the exclusion of Darley. Then the overflow from PC gets both the 5th Liberal and FF’s Hood up in 9th and 10th. That leaves a razor thin margin between Greens and Labor for the last seat, sometimes less than 100 votes.
    I am boosting the two fishing parties votes a little because of the Marine Parks issue. I am not giving D4D much of a vote, not the the disability issue is a big as 4 years ago although I might be wrong. Darley only 3%, FF about there standard vote of 4.5%, Liberal Democrats 2% due to name confusion with Liberals and PC down to .75%. Even with MP on .7% they are not getting anywhere. I will play around some more and see what I get.

  27. Looking at closely Henley/Powerful communities needs to get more votes than at least one of the Animal Justice Party or Independent Your Voice matters initially and then use the preferences of the one he is ahead of to get past the other one. If he does that he is extremely likely to get a seat. There might be other ways to victory to Henley but that looks like the most likely.

    If he doesn’t then the Multicultural Party will get the preferences of Joseph Masika and Mark Aldridge Alliance if they get more votes than either of them. This should be enough to stay in the vote long enough to get on a very simalar preference snowball that PC would have got if not eliminated.

    It appears Henley/PC has a slightly tougher task of staying in the count at the very early stages because it is likely the first preferences he will get will get a bit more of the vote than the first couple of preferences MP will get. However if he does manage to stay in the vote he will get the preferences ahead of the MP so MP will be eliminated quite early in the count.

    It is quite possible both will not get enough initial votes to stay in the count beyond a couple of eliminations but if one of them does it seems pretty certain that a seat will go to one of them.

    I am also getting the occasional 4-4 Lib – Lab split which would rather annoy the Liberals.

    All of this speculation is based on Darley/Xenophon group not getting a vote of more 6%, if Darley does everything will change as he might be able to hang in there and get the seat PC or MP might preference snowball towards. They seem to make a quota when Darley is excluded. Also changes if D4D gets more votes than I am giving them as they might get a seat.

    It is rather interesting to see the Greens might be in trouble if they get less than 7% depending on where the Labor vote sits.
    Darley probably has to get over 6% maybe even higher to get elected.
    Simbi/D4D probably has to get over 2%, maybe higher to get elected.
    Henley/PC and MP could get elected on less than 1%.
    Preference deals give parties/candidates different hurdles to overcome to get a seat.

  28. Rex Jory in the Tiser today says that Steven Marshall hasn’t been put under any scrutiny due to a disaffected electorate and “an overworked media”!

    Even for The Advertiser, I doubt I’ve read a weaker excuse for laziness, bias or just dumb media.

  29. EM

    I have the X-Team on 8.5% mean, but they are safe once they get to around 7.2% as they will pick up (just) enough preferences from some rats and mice to squeak across the line.

    I heard a rumour on Saturday that someone (I was told whom) had done some upper house polling and ALP were on 3.5 quotas, Libs on 4.5 and X-Team on just under 1 with FF on 1/2 of one and Greens on 3/4 of one. After that they reckon D4D was on 1.5% and all others 1% or less.

    Can’t verify source as my source was told by accident (he reckons) by an overtired staffer after 3 ciders.

    Put those figures in and Darley gets elected relatively safely, leaving the Greens to battle with ALP, Libs and the micros for the last two spots.

    More fun than Adelaide on a Thursday night!

  30. This is the sum total of Marshall promises in an email mailout today.
    [If elected, a Marshall Liberal Government will:

    cap council rates, saving families almost $200 a year;

    increase energy and water concession payments, reducing the cost of energy and water for around 200,000 concession recipients;

    abolish the Save the River Murray Levy, keeping the expenditure on the River Murray in place, but saving 570,000 households $42 a year from 2016-17;

    ensure water rates do not increase above CPI for the next two years;

    scrap the REES scheme to bring your power bills down;

    abolish land tax for 16,000 South Australian families and businesses;

    scrap Labor’s car park tax;

    establish a South Australian Productivity Commission focused on reducing the cost of living, reducing the cost of business, making South Australia more productive and creating a higher standard of living.]
    This is classic magic-pudding economics. Taxes cut, rates capped, yet no reduction of spending?

    Marshall has not got a single promise here that will directly create a single job. It will merely reduce taxes for wealthy land owners and retiree concessions. An SA productivity commission is a duplication of the federal one (more bureaucracy – great!) and the Federal PC has presided over an era of declining productivity itself.

  31. IT, interesting, I certainly have not been giving Darley enough votes then. I put those numbers in and had to fiddle the 1% and under up a bit more than I would have liked.
    First time I get 4 liberal, 4 Labor, FF, Henley and Darley.
    No Greens but razor thin between them and the 4th Labor for the last spot.
    The ratio of Labor, Liberal, Greens and FF has been about what I have been using by a little lower for all of them to allow for the higher Darley/X-team vote

  32. Looks like SA Unions have decided to wage a full scale war on Xenophon during the final week. I just got a robocall advertisement from them and new corflutes are up all over the place mocking his campaign’s cartoon corflutes by saying he’ll support cutting penalty rates. I think, if anything, this will just push people further to the “X-Team” but we shall see

  33. The Advertiser has been shockingly bad during this campaign. Not so much bias (which you’d expect), but just pure laziness. I’ve got all my information on the campaign from the ABC

  34. On ITs rumored figures it looks like 4 Liberal, 3 Labor, 1 FF(Hood), 1 X-Team(Darley) for 9. The last two seats seems to be a toss up between Labor and Greens for a seat and 1 seat for a preference snowballer, PC(Henley), MP(Nguyen) or D4D(Simbi).

    Perhaps backing up the fact X-team is polling well is the fact I just got a phone call from SA Unions. It did two things,
    1. Attempt to link Abbott and Marshall as it seems Abbott is viewed as a negative for the Liberals.
    2. Attack Nick Xenophon on weekend penalty rates.

    I live in Fischer, presumably a safe independent seat held by Bob Such, so it seems this call was all about the LC and a lot about trying to defend a seat there from Xenophon. Although it might not work as even if Xenophon does not get a seat. That extra seat might go the Liberals with a 5-3 split between the major parties, the Greens getting a seat plus Hood and one of the preference snowballers.

    Having said Such is safe I do expect Sam Duluk, the Liberal candidate, to make a bit of a dent in the margin. Not only because there will be a swing to the Liberals state wide but because he has been getting his name out for quite a while. His campaign has been quite obviously getting out and promoting him hard.

  35. spur212, maybe it will push people towards the X-team but maybe they have found a weakness to exploit.

    Will an attack on someone not running as a candidate in the election really work?

    Not sure it is really a good thing if it does work.

  36. IT, EM, Socrates. The Darley vote is hard to predict. I certainly don’t see them getting near a quoata – maybe 5 -6% would be a fair guess. The figures suggested by someone might just be someone’s guess. Doubt anyone will bother to do serious polling – any evidence that is happening?

    Socrates – Unions SA campaign might raise Darley vote but if it does not by increasing % of the Darley from from Liberals it might not be a bad result. I assume Unions SA want to warn their supprters to be careful with Darley option?

  37. spur

    [The Advertiser has been shockingly bad during this campaign.]

    I think the Tiser is just reflecting the general lack of interest in the election.

    There really isn’t much interest in what happens. It’s not that people dislike both their choices (like in the last two Fed election), they just don’t care.

  38. I think everyone thinks the Liberals are going to win, perhaps they are even voting for the Liberals but they are not looking forward to a Liberal win with any sort expectation of something good. They just see it as passing the baton from a government who has run its course, and needs to be replaced, with a opposition that inspires no confidence. No real hope of improvement.

  39. The SA Unions campaign is actually paid for and organised by United Voice (formerly known as the Liquor etc Union) and whose former State Secretary is Kyam Maher MLC who is in the unenviable position of 4th on the Labor ticket.

    Obviously they believe cutting the X-Team vote will help Kyam over the line.

    They would have evidence for that I think – and part of that would come from research that shows Mr X is popular amongst newly enrolled teen voters – the types in casual jobs covered by the SDA and UV…but I didn’t reveal that, sssh!!!

  40. Nick Xenophon voters have probably already decided they are not going to vote for either major party and are looking for somewhere to park their vote. The danger is that in driving people away from the X-team they drive them to the Greens.
    As in some scenarios the Greens and Maher are fighting for last seat it way well be that this campaign hurts Maher rather then helping him.
    It might also drive people to the Liberals perhaps giving them a 5th seat.
    The X team is an opponent, but if they want to help Maher it might be more beneficial that they target the Greens.

  41. EM

    I think you might be onto something there. I think the campaign is pretty weak and all it is doing is giving Mr X and his coat tail hangers some free publicity they would not have otherwise got.

    Not a good sign for the majors when the 20 yr old lady in my local pokies palace tells patrons she’s voting for Nick X’s team…

  42. Labor would have to be doing fairly poorly for them to have Maher contesting with Greens for last spot. Labor and Greens will be looking at 5 seats between them – 4 Labor and 1 Green. Given Labor is preferencing Greens with any surplus it would be ridiculous for Labor to be criticising Greens.

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