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

    Perhaps because unemployment has been lower, annual real wage rises, inflation, and interest rates have been better under Liberal versus Labor governments?

  2. “@kimmaree_tweet: #insiders “when The Australian came out saying he should step aside, it was clear that the decision had to be made” infers
    Gov by Murdoch”

  3. The real message of the search for the plane is that our most remote oceans carry rafts of human rubbish.

    Nothing on this planet is pristine.

  4. Nice little schtick going on here…..when the media is critical of the ALP government, it is sexist, when it is critical of the Lib government, then it is running the show!

    Hang on a second……could it be that the media is critical of governments?

    NO NO HANG ON A SECOND BACK UP (BEEP BEEP) BACK UP….go with the grand conspiracy theory, thats much sexier! 🙂

  5. lol

    Everything wants to screw the lowest paid people in the work force FOR THEIR OWN GOOD!

    It reminds me of Abbott who had the destructive gall to tell the Indonesian ruling couple that they were being spied on FOR THEIR OWN GOOD!

  6. Everything

    Thanks for confirming the theory spot on. If it was a load of BS you would not have bothered posting on it.

    [Yes Minister nothing is true until officially denied]

  7. “@TomRichardson: BREAKING: Jay Weatherill speaking to media in an hour…expected to be a decisive announcement. Details @9NewsAdel #YouDecide9”

  8. Exactly which load of BS are we discussing guytaur?

    You need to be more specific as there are many options! :devil:

  9. [Everything
    Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 9:46 am | PERMALINK
    ….I have never understood why genuine battlers choose to vote against their own economic interests.

    Perhaps because unemployment has been lower, annual real wage rises, inflation, and interest rates have been better under Liberal versus Labor governments?]

    Nice try ML. Did you read the earlier post about how Abbott is in the process of ripping them off? (not to mention how Howard tried to dud them with workchoices).

    Please don’t insult our intelligence.

  10. Offsiders is interesting this morning. The soccer coach sitting in the middle of the lounge is putting some sense into the loopy two wet lettuces on his left and right.

  11. [@AmyFeldtmann: ‘You can’t win if you’re a Prime Minister in Australia these days’ — @JuliaGillard might agree with you Gerard Henderson.]

  12. Reality check!

    Gillard was the least popular PM, or close, in all the surveys.

    2. JWS research May 2011 (N=2141 in 20 most marginal seats of both sides)
    “Which of the past 5, have been the best government of Australia”

    50% Howard
    13% Keating
    13% Hawke
    12% Rudd
    4% Gillard
    8% unsure

    LNP 50% vs. ALP 42% (54% TPP)

    3. Galaxy poll Jan 25th 2013:
    “Best Australian PM of past 25 years”

    35% Howard
    16% Rudd
    15% Hawke
    9% Keating
    5% Gillard
    20% uncommitted

    LNP 35% vs. 45% ALP (44% TPP)

    4. Essential March 2014
    “Best PM of the past 40 years”

    39% Howard
    14% Hawke
    8% Rudd
    8% Whitlam
    7% Keating
    4% Gillard
    3% Fraser
    3% Abbott

    ?14% unsure

    LNP 45% vs. ALP 41% (52% TPP)

  13. [‘You can’t win if you’re a Prime Minister in Australia these days’ ]

    That was Gerard Henderson who said that. It’s amusing to see all those who were so critical of Gillard as PM now having to make excuses for Abbott’s incompetence in this way.

  14. Everything, no!

    Unemployment is now higher, real wages are lower, inflationary pressures are greater and interest are expected to rise under Abbott than that of Rudd and Gillard.

    It reflects accurately on your intelligence to be unable to distinguish from irrelevant situations in the past to the present.

    As I have said, according to your mind, St.George should be favourites to win the competition because they won the most in a row.

    I’d rate your IQ at about a 25 tops.

  15. [Andrew White ‏@litbright 15m
    Mathias Cormann will take on Senator #Sinodinos’ responsibilities.
    What a pity there were no Women of Calibre up to the task.]

  16. Centre:

    I will restrain myself from reciprocating with a reflection on your IQ, however, the correct analogy would be to say that one team (Libs) have been competing with another team (ALP) and we looked at the main 6 performance indicators and found that one team (Libs) beat the other team (ALP) in all 6 performance indicators, throughout the last 40 years.


  17. This is interesting on Bolt’s high dudgeon over QANDA:

    Speaking of the Langton comments and the objective rationale for calling Bolt a racist, Carlo Sands notes:

    Or possibly she just clicked on a random Bolt blog post — such as the one filled with such violent hatred of asylum seekers it celebrates the savage attacks on detainees on Manus Island in February that left 23-year-old Reza Berati dead.

    Headlined “Detainees met a PNG police force that hits back”, the February 21 post featured a letter from “Reader Herb”, a “PNG resident of some time”, who gleefully told a story of witnessing PNG’s Police Boi Riot Squad carry out brutal assaults, before concluding: “If the refugees fronted a Poice [sic] Boi riot squad anywhere near as disciplined … they would for sure clobber those thin middle eastern skulls.”

    The comments published underneath the post ranged all the way from “couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch” to “can they come and train our coppers please”.

    Bolt censors stuff he doesn’t like, unlike QANDA, but some things require neither censorship nor apology, apparently.

  18. Perhaps because unemployment has been lower, annual real wage rises, inflation, and interest rates have been better under Liberal versus Labor governments?

    I’d like to see your evidence of when interest rates were lower under Liberals compared to the last Labor Govt.

    And evidence of when inflation was lower than under the last Labor Govt.

    And I’m sure the aged and child care workers, and now cleaners would disagree that wages are better under Liberals.

  19. Steven GH

    Former Melb Victory coach, extremely knowledgeable (very impressed) and Wheatley I think or whatever his name is and another (female) whose name escapes me.

    Two really bad wet lettuces ewwww!

  20. Seeing the comments of Liberal trolls only shows how embarrassed they are of their Liberal PM and his MP’s.

    Consistent comparisons with previous governments and events under previous rather extolling the great (sic) work being done by their masters.

    Discuss anything except the what the government is doing to reduce wages, increase debt, destroy the environment, damage international relationships, reduce communications to the 20th century

  21. [Gary
    Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 10:29 am | PERMALINK
    Notice how ML is on here to set us all straight.]

    A very important community service too! 😉

  22. Everything

    [I will restrain myself from reciprocating with a reflection on your IQ,]

    Yes of course you will. We’d have to bring back Tisme to find someone’s as remotely close to yours.

  23. I have always found it deliciously ironic that Andrew Bolt was a Labor staffer in the 80’s. Was he bad then or did he go bad subsequently ?

  24. And Malcolm Fraser was a Liberal staffer … urm Prime Minister … in the 80s. Was he bad then or did he go bad subsequently?

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