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. As Sinodinis is appearing as a witness only at thsi stage, is Ms O’Dwyer predicting bigger things for Arty in the near future?

  2. China:

    “”I think the slowdown is not over yet and our expectation is that the deceleration will continue into Q2,” she added.”

    “Today’s report gives some indication of how much a slowdown in the first two months of the year extended into March. Economists at companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group earlier this month cut their projections for China’s growth after fixed-asset investment rose at the slowest January-February pace since 2001, industrial production trailed estimates and exports fell by the most since 2009.”

  3. Richard Marles 😆 how can the Libs win votes if you make it a bipartisan issue?

    The Libs need boats to win votes – let’s get real!

  4. I read on this site tonight a comment to ESJ – something to do with victims of sexual abuse – children – sitting around with tambourines. What a disgraceful comment.

    I am trying to work out whether the maker of the comment is also a repressed victim.

  5. LOL The Libs want boats to win votes. They’ve been at it since 2001. Rudd tried a humane approach and the MSM with Abbott belted them.

    Get REAL, this is stupid, call it as it truly is!

  6. Abbott has the interests of his backers at heart – the IPA and its member organisations and people, Murdoch, assorted spivs and shonks – not the people of Australia.

  7. Big Mouth O’Dwyer says there is no need for the ASs making the handburning allegations to be interviewed. It is enough that senior government and ADF have denied the allegations.

    Only Sinodinos should be afforded due process.

    Conservo airhead, yet she’s touted as leadership material. What a pathetic talent pool the conservos have.

  8. zoid @1310

    ‘The State Council, or cabinet, said this month that China will speed up construction projects and other measures to support the world’s second-largest economy’

    So the government will increase spending in order to stimulate demand? Why is it that this supposed third-world country understands how the economy works, but ours is still stuck in slash-and-burn mode.

  9. Marles is in the wrong party, as are many of the right faction of the ALP. Fortunately, shorten so far has impressed as a leader who seems to genuinely ‘get’ progressive issues despite his factional background and support base. i think he’s a consensus politician who listens across the party and realises the talent (plibersek, albo, wong, butler, leigh, etc) are not in his faction.

  10. Poroti

    There’s a video doing the rounds on facebook a few months ago from a domestic T20. The batsmen completely middled an on-drive that hit the non-striker and the bowler took the simple rebound. The batsmen looked at the non-striker, who was motionless after the blow, took a step down the wicket to see if his mate was ok, then thought stuff him, he cost me 4 runs and then walked off.

  11. [The Roy Morgan poll also has Labor ahead in Western Australia with 52 per cent on a the two-party preferred basis, just two weeks before the re-run of the West Australian Senate election.]

    Allowing for the morgan bias, what will this translate to in votes – will there be a state breakdown of primary votes?

  12. One point Richard Marles did make well.

    The LNP set the standard on being “clean”. Now they have to live by that standard.

    This is the major reason for the slide in the polls. Nothing much new has happened in politics federally besides this. It flows from the secrecy regarding the boats all the way to ICAC. Reminding people of wedding expenses as shown by the clapping of pigs in trough remark by Rachel Griffith.

  13. TheOz:

    The Opposition Leader’s satisfaction rating has lifted, from 33 per cent to 36 per cent, the first rise since a steady fall from 44 per cent last December to his lowest of 33 per cent, two weeks ago.

    According to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian on the weekend, primary vote support for the Coalition was 40 per cent, marginally down from 41 per cent two weeks easlier, while ALP support was 36 per cent, compared with 35 per cent in the previous poll.

    As a result of higher Greens support and a lower independents’ vote, Labor’s two-party preferred lead over the Coalition went from 51 to 49 per cent two weeks ago to 52 to 48 per cent last weekend.

  14. Sus Future 1332 Agree. Shorten is a slow burner. Showed his mettle at Beaconsfield, his political nous with the NDIS, and his oratory, altho a work in progress, has a touch of R F Kennedy about it.

    Give him time, he has potential to be a great leader. And his progress to date, in the circumstances, has been solid and pleasing. He’s in a three year race. He’s jogging along nicely in front and his main opponent looks flustered at the moment.

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