Seat of the week: Adelaide

Seat of the week returns after a few weeks on the back burner, with the focus remaining on South Australia.

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 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 east and Malvern to the south. 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 Kate Ellis. In keeping with statewide trends, the seat moved solidly to Labor in 2007 (by 7.2%), recorded little change in 2010 (a 0.8% Liberal swing), and swung to the Liberals in 2013 (reducing the margin from 7.5% to 3.6%).

Kate Ellis is associated with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and its attendant “Catholic Right” faction, and is close to its powerful state figurehead, outgoing Senator Don Farrell. After serving her apprenticeship as an adviser to state Industry Minister Rory McEwen and Treasurer Kevin Foley, Ellis won preselection for Adelaide at the age of 27 in 2004, following the late withdrawal of Tim Stanley, an industrial lawyer and later Supreme Court justice. Her path was smoothed by 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).

Ellis was promoted to the outer ministry at the age of 30 following the 2007 election victory, beating Paul Keating’s record as Labor’s youngest ever minister. Following the 2010 election she was reassigned from her portfolios of youth and sport to employment participation, childcare and the status of women, exchanging the latter for early childhood and youth when Kevin Rudd resumed the leadership in June 2013. In common with the rest of her faction, Ellis was a strong supporter of Julia Gillard’s leadership, making headlines shortly before Rudd’s February 2012 challenge by claiming Rudd had asked her and other SDA figures how they could reconcile their “conservative brand of Catholicism” with “a childless, atheist ex-communist as Labor leader”. Following the 2013 election defeat she received a substantial promotion to shadow cabinet in the education portfolio.

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.

1,361 comments on “Seat of the week: Adelaide”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Arthur Sinodinos and AWH – the full story from Kate McClynontand others.
    Yes, let’s fix this type of thing by cutting more red tape.
    This is supposed to be the 21st century. How can this still be present in our schools?
    Tick, tick, tick . . . .
    I wonder if our wonderful federal government will somehow nobble this proposal despite the empirical evidence of its success in SA. It probably would fall into the responsibility of corporate champion Fiona Nash.
    More proof of their base motives for the workplace.
    More for our nation to be proud of.
    Bianca Hall on Abbott’s “red tape bonfire”. The Senate must put a stop to the financial planning changes.

  2. Good Morning

    I think it would be good for the ABC to have a new programme. It would follow Insiders. It would be called outsiders. The host would be someone who has never been in the Canberra Press Gallery. The panellists would be academics and advocates from groups like ACOSS AMA Unions etc.

    How long before the Insiders view is seen as being run by the Murdoch Canberra Press Gallery agenda?

  3. BK

    From “Purity Balls. Sick.”
    […as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and my family as the high priest in my home]

    Truly is :PUKE:

  4. “@InsidersABC: Coming up on #insiders this morning: @lenoretaylor @ToryShepherd & Gerard Henderson. Barrie Cassidy interviews @SenatorWong. #auspol”

  5. Poroti quotes …

    […as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and my family as the high priest in my home]

    Sounds as if it should come from a tabloid covering a story about ritual abuse. Aren’t “high priests” always doing bizarre stuff with animals and naked virgins? How many priests does a home need anyway? Wouldn’t an ordinary priest satisfy the averagely devout household of god-botherers?

  6. [“@InsidersABC: Coming up on #insiders this morning: @lenoretaylor @ToryShepherd & Gerard Henderson. Barrie Cassidy interviews @SenatorWong. #auspol”]

    Tory Shepherd and Gerard Henderson are on the Murdoch payroll.

  7. From BK’s excellent summation of news items. True colours of the Liberals are on show.

    [Some of the country’s lowest-paid workers could lose almost a quarter of their weekly wages under changes quietly introduced by the Abbott government.
    Thousands of workers will be hit by the changes, which will strip between $172 and $225 a week from the pockets of full-time contract cleaners who work in government buildings.
    The changes are among the 9500 regulations to go under Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s red tape ”repeal day” on Wednesday.
    Buried in more than 50,000 pages of regulations and acts of parliaments to be scrapped is the revelation the government will abolish the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines for cleaners employed on government contracts from July 1.
    The regulations are a form of collective bargaining introduced by Labor that lift the wages of workers hired by businesses that win government cleaning contracts, by between $4.53 and $5.93 an hour above the minimum wage. This brings their weekly wage from $664 to $836 for a 38-hour week for level 1, and from $724 to $950 a week for level 3 workers.

    Read more:

  8. Some Tory (perfect name) Shepherd work in the ‘Tiser.

    [YOU can still hear the howls of frustration that led to March in March……..If you missed it – and I couldn’t spot it through the horde of wild-eyed street-preacher types that obscured the crowds in Adelaide – March in March was a social-media inspired and incoherent outpouring of rage against the machine……..If your form of protest makes people either snigger in contempt or want to pat you on the head or give you a good bath and a spelling lesson, then you’re doing it wrong.

    As March in March shaped up it was exciting to see pent-up passion spread from clicktivism to the real world.But the Marchers in the end threatened to disappear up their own proverbials in a puff of BO and bong smoke]

  9. lizzie

    Fortunately while Abbott was trying to hide human rights abuse the judge responded…

    [Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court has temporarily halted a judicial inquiry into human rights……..After being informed of the stay, the judge immediately launched a second inquiry and granted Australian lawyer Jay Williams one week’s access to the detention centre to interview 75 detainees he says are his clients.

    While Mr Williams cannot appear before the PNG courts as a lawyer, any person can mount a human rights challenge.]

  10. “@profsarahj: Rule of law gravely suspect in Nauru & PNG. At our end we get operational secrecy. The situation of asylum seekers is being disappeared”

  11. Liberal Party White Knight alert!

    Yes, the very same Bill Heffernan who used forged Comcar driver sheets to pursue Justice Michael Kirby is, in fact according to this well-sourced Samantha Maiden piece in the Murdoch press, a hero.

    Hard to believe? Read on…

    [But Heffernan’s pursuit of the mystery raises questions about what the Prime Minister knew and when he knew it over political problems with Sinodinos’ business entanglements.

    Heffernan even interro-gated Sinodinos in NSW Liberal Party candidate review committee process in 2011 as a delegate of the Liberal leader. His concern at the time was to ensure that Sinodinos’ business interests did not yield any “surprises’’ for the party down the track, according to witnesses. Good instinct. Two years ago, when Heffernan uncovered what he ­believed to be secret donations to a fund the Liberals HQ had never heard of, from a property developer who was prohibited from making donations, he acted. A failed Liberal candidate, Matthew Lusted, mentioned he had ­donated to the Liberal Party.

    Heffernan asked to see the receipt. When Lusted handed him a copy of the $5000 ­receipt, Heffernan informed him he would have to report it as he believed it breached electoral laws banning donations from property developers.

    It also transpired the ABN number on the receipt was ­invalid but a GST component was charged. According to colleagues, Heffernan set out on a personal mission to find out what EightByFive was.

    “Bill’s heart is in the right place,’’ former NSW Liberal ­director Mark Needham says. “Bill just wanted to protect the party. He did the right thing. We did the right thing. We ­reported it.”]

  12. Miranda Devine:

    Abbott’s loyalty and decency meant he would do no less but it never should have reached that point.

    There’s that “loyalty” things again. They think that if they keep on stating and re-stating it, the punters will come to believe it.

    Abbott promises are not worth the paper they’re never written on.

  13. Is Little the real target of the Hird camp (family plus various hired guns’) serial vicious personal public assaults on Demetriou and on the AFL Commissioners?

    Is Demetriou merely the whipping boy?

    After all, Demetriou is a dead man walking – done and dusted – yet another casualty of EssendonGate.

    Is what we are really seeing the Hird family and their hired guns versus Little and his mates?

    And Thommo is Hird’s best mate, right? Ask the Catz whether Hird can trust what Thommo says.

  14. Ah the wisdom of Ernie award winner Heffernan.

    [ “I mean anyone who chooses to remain deliberately barren … they’ve got no idea what life’s about.”

    Senator Heffernan stood by his comments in an interview in The Bulletin magazine today.]

    Arfur may now reconsider his Sgt Shultz over this “alleged” incident.


    On 20 May allegations were reported in the media that Heffernan struck a fellow Liberal party member and suspended electoral officer, Ray Carter, so hard that he was toppled onto a chair, before allegedly whispering to him “I didn’t know you were a poofter.” during a branch meeting on 3 May. The president of the NSW Liberal Party, fellow New South Wales Senator Arthur Sinodinos, dismissed the allegations]

  15. Morning all.

    After the years the press gallery has carried on about Sinodinos and how awesome he is (he was the brains behind Howard!!!), suddenly he’s shown to be seriously wanting when contrasted with Heffernan of all people.

    Spin, spin, spin.

  16. @Sprocket18

    IIRC what brought the Comcar thing undone, was that those involved were able to remember where they were.

    It was the 50th birthday of Col Joye’s wife on a Barrier Reef island.

    Anyone who was anyone was there.

    Poor old Bill Heffernan!

  17. Bw

    [And Thommo is Hird’s best mate, right? Ask the Catz whether Hird can trust what Thommo says.]

    Going to descend into every man for himself, I’d say.

  18. Boerwar,

    Demitriou retired at the start of the season after a dozen or so years of leading the AFL. He is not a victim of anything.

    My reading is the Hird camp is trying to find an inconsistency in Demitious’ story by repeating denied allegations from a year ago and seeiing whether a different answer emerges. Unfortunately, Demitriou just repeated what he had said before.

    I remember reading an article about James Hird some years ago about him not being on speaking terms with his father for around twenty years. It’s interesting that the father now emerges as his endorser in this turn of events.

  19. GG


    The goss, for what it is worth is that Demetriou jumped before he was pushed because he was damaged by EssendonGate. Announcing his departure a year ahead of time seems to support this view. But who knows?

    If Hird family and their lawyers are targetting Demetriou because they hope to get him, when he is already ‘gone’, why?

    What does make sense is that they are trying to weaken Demetriou and the AFL as part of the multitude of legal processes that Dank has set in train.

    Hird has claimed all along that he wants his day in court.

    But when he had an option to do so, he avoided it. The Hird camp is now blaming Demetriou’s bullying for this decision.

    It is clear that the AFL were dead set on avoiding the courts and did everything within its power to keep it out of the courts.

    I believe that this is for two reasons. The first is that the brand was best protected by speedy closure. The second is that it wanted to maintain its own quasi-judicial processes.

    But Dank appears to be intent on getting into the Federal Court. If so, Hird may find that he will have his day in court – whether he likes it or not. He may find the consequences rather less pleasant than expected.

    Allan and James had personal family issues but reconciled some years ago.

  20. [Anna Henderson ‏@annajhenderson 19m
    PM Tony Abbott #MH370 update “too early to be definite … we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope”]

    Is he still talking about the plane?

  21. More of Heffernans work.

    [First up, new claims about the fall of John Brogden……. resigning the party leadership and apparently trying to take his own life, there has been speculation about who compiled and leaked the so called dirt file against him. Tonight, we present new allegations that at least two people were involved in spreading the smears about Brogden. It’s claimed that one of them is the Prime Minister’s close confidante, Senator Bill Heffernan

    When Senator Heffernan introduced himself to Denise McTaggart, the independent candidate’s wife, she had no idea who he was. She was astonished at the way he started the conversation.

    DENISE McTAGGART: He said, “I am John Howard’s right hand man,” and he said “I do John Howard’s dirty work.” And he said, “A lot of people wouldn’t like to be seen speaking to me in public.”………….

    ANDREW FOWLER: Despite Senator Heffernan’s denials, Peter Jones, Denise McTaggart and Alex McTaggart continue to stand by their claims.]

    Well said BoF
    [When the Sydney Morning Herald called Barry O’Farrell at about 11 pm to question him about possible leadership contention, he told them, “Excuse me if I say I don’t care about the leadership at the moment, but I am following an ambulance with John Brogden inside. He has attempted self-harm. It sort of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?”.]

  22. “@kimmaree_tweet: nice that Barry is asking Gerard questions as the official Gov spokesperson “Did your side go to far Gerard?” #insiders”

  23. Boerwar,

    That’s “the goss” being pedalled by the Hird camp and compromised journos.

    The AFL aims to keep all challenges to its rule and authority out of the courts because many of the competition rules and adjudications would be deemed illegal or unenforceable if tested. e.g. salary caps, suspensions, push in the back et al.

    This is why despite often severe provocation the teams administrations don’t go to court. The whole circus tent would come down in mid performance which would affect a lot of people’s livelihoods.

  24. GG

    Yep. The teams can’t have it both ways so they go for whatever pain they have to take in order to have a workable competition.

  25. Arfur may now reconsider his Sgt Shultz over this “alleged” incident.

    It wasn’t just Sinodinos who didn’t believe the allegations:

    The Sun-Herald has learnt the CCTV footage showed a confrontation between Senator Heffernan, 69, and Mr Carter, 67, at the Breakers Country Club but that the vision supported the senator’s version of events that he had placed his hand on Mr Carter’s shoulder as he sat back down. Mr Carter told police he had been struck and fell back into his seat.

    In a statement, NSW Police said they had concluded their investigation. ”No evidence to support the alleged assault was found. As a result, no charges have been laid. All parties to the matter have been informed of the investigations’ conclusion.”

    The whole thing seems like a complete factional mess, with a bunch of people making stat decs, which presumably the police decided were a load of baloney:

    Mr Carter, who has a heart condition, has made a statutory declaration detailing the incident on May 3 at the Breakers Country Club in Terrigal. His statement is backed by statutory declarations from two Liberal Party witnesses.

    A third witness confirmed that Senator Heffernan launched an anti-gay tirade against Mr Carter after the meeting.

    Or perhaps the police decided that no one got hurt, it amounted to a he-said he-said case, there were clearly a lot of egos, politics and internal factional brawling, and they should just stay out of it.

    The slightly funny thing is that the ALP thought they could use the incident because it might have weakened Heffernan’s position, when the actual potential pay dirt turns out to have been in what Heffernan had unearthed.

  26. I wonder how many of those low paid contract cleaners (and/or their spouses) who are about to lose a large chunk of their income were stupid enough to vote for an Abbott government. I also wonder how many of them will be even more stupid and do it again next time around.

    I have never understood why genuine battlers choose to vote against their own economic interests.

  27. Jackol

    [Or perhaps the police decided that no one got hurt, it amounted to a he-said he-said case, there were clearly a lot of egos, politics and internal factional brawling, and they should just stay out of it]
    That would sound like a very sensible conclusion by the police.

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