Seat of the week: Kingston

Seat of the week continues mopping up South Australia in the wake of the recent state election, this week visiting Amanda Rishworth’s southern suburbs seat of Kingston.

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.

A traditionally marginal seat that has strengthened considerably for Labor over the past decade, Kingston covers the outer southern coastal suburbs of Adelaide, from Hallett Cove through Port Noarlunga to Sellicks Beach, and extends inland at its northern end to Happy Valley and Morphett Vale. When created with the expansion of parliament in 1949 it was based further north around Glenelg and Brighton, its then southernmost suburb of Hallett Cove being the only area still in the electorate today. Glenelg was hived off to since-abolished Hawker in 1984, and Brighton was absorbed by Boothby in the rearrangement caused by Hawker’s abolition in 1993.

Kingston had a notional Labor margin of 6.8% upon its creation, but the landslide that ejected the Chifley government from office saw the defeat of their candidate Thomas Sheehy, who had been the member for Boothby since 1943. Pat Galvin won the seat for Labor in 1951, and retained it on variable margins until 1966. It was then caught up in the statewide convulsions of 1966 and 1969, which produced double-digit swings first to Liberal and then to Labor in both Kingston specifically and South Australia as a whole. The Liberals thus held the seat for one term before it returned emphatically to Labor with Richard Gun’s victory in 1969. Kingston subsequently changed hands with the next three changes of government, being held during the Fraser years by Grant Chapman (later to return as a Senator in 1987), during the Hawke years by Gordon Bilney, and for the first term of the Howard government by Susan Jeanes. However, Jeanes did not emerge from the 1996 victory with enough fat on her margin to withstand the GST backlash of 1998, when Labor’s David Cox prevailed by 763 votes on the back of a 2.5% swing.

David Cox held the seat for Labor for two terms in opposition before suffering defeat in 2004 by a margin of 119 votes, having been handicapped by the electorate’s acquisition of the McLaren Vale area in the redistribution caused by the reduction in South Australia’s representation from 12 seats to 11. There followed a swing to the Liberals of 1.4%, which was precisely what Liberal candidate Kym Richardson required to win the seat. However, Richardson’s narrow win gave him no buffer to protect himself against the move to Labor at the 2007 election, although the 4.5% swing was below the South Australian average.

The seat has since been held for Labor by Amanda Rishworth, who achieved the best result of any Labor member at the 2010 election in picking up a 9.5% swing. She was assisted in some degree when Kym Richardson’s comeback bid was scuttled after it emerged he was the subject of a police investigation into allegations he had impersonated a police officer as he sought to have a hotel manager withdraw an allegation of assault against his son. Police did not proceed with a charge of impersonating a police officer as the statute of limitations had expired, and he was eventually acquitted on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Going into the 2013 election she received a 0.9% boost when the redistribution caused McLaren Vale to be moved back into Mayo, a consequence of the electorate’s population growth. The subsequent swing against her was 4.9%, well in line with a statewide result of 5.5% and leaving her with a secure margin of 9.7%.

Prior to entering parliament, Rishworth was a psychologist and an organiser for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, which dominates the state party’s Right faction. She won promotion in March 2013 to parliamentary secretary for sustainability and disabilities, and was reassigned to the health portfolio following the September 2013 election defeat.

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.

382 comments on “Seat of the week: Kingston”

  1. GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 7m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 48 (-3) ALP 52 (+3) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 6m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Primary Votes: L/NP 40 (-3) ALP 36 (+1) GRN 12 (+2) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 5m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Abbott: Approve 38 (-5) Disapprove 49 (+9) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 4m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Shorten: Approve 35 (-3) Disapprove 39 (+14) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 3m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Preferred PM: Abbott 41 (-3) Shorten 36 (+4) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 1m

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Federal 2PP in WA: L/NP 54 (-4.3 from election) ALP 46 (+4.3) #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes now

    #Newspoll Jan-Mar Quarterly Federal Primaries in WA: L/NP 46 (-5.2 from election) ALP 29 (+0.2) GRN 15 (+5.3) Others 10 (-0.3) #auspol

  2. Ms Adventure

    Eh gad. I know I’m silly, but it feels like I keep the plane in the air, while I’m watching. Dopey, or what?

    The kids think I’m crazy, but they like that I’m watching out for them, too.

    Nearly had a heart attack last week when the plane ‘disappeared’ nine kms out from the airport on Gran Canaria.

    Thankfully the airport said plane had landed within a few minutes of it doing so.

    Can’t imagine what it would have been like trying to track the lost Malaysain one, though.

    I’d be clinging on to any hope whatsoever.

    Thanks for understanding.

  3. The search for missing flight MH370 has revealed that the Indian Ocean is full of shit. Unfortunately all that has been recovered is flotsam. No jetsam as yet.

    [Liberals rebound in the West: Newspoll
    Dennis Shanahan, Political Editor
    The Australian March 31, 2014 12:00AM

    THE Coalition and the Greens have experienced a dramatic recovery in electoral support in Western Australia at the expense of Labor as all three face a crucial battle in the Senate election.

    Support for “others’’ — including the Palmer United Party — has fallen in the first three months of the year, leaving the West Australian Senate re-election even more complicated ahead of Saturday’s poll.]

  5. why are glaxy newspoll so divergent – o because newspoll is three montly. so galaxy better predictor for sat. interesting

  6. geoffrey

    [he’s the PM who just keeps on giving.]

    Wish he’d start being the PM who started giving, instead of keeping on taking.

    Even though he reminds me of my larrikin brother, who really doesn’t have a thought in his head, other than what’s the next practical joke, I was hoping for something better than this bullcrap.

    I should’ve known better. Can’t make a silk purse etc.

  7. [Support for “others’’ — including the Palmer United Party — has fallen in the first three months of the year, leaving the West Australian Senate re-election even more complicated ahead of Saturday’s poll.]


    How is it more complicated to have established parties at the forefront of Senate re-election than never-before-heard-of parties and individuals we ‘got’ at the last election?

    Honestly, the Australian needs to get itself laid.

  8. confessions

    Well, I hope the sexist ‘Sports’ party doesn’t get up.

    Get a load of this:

    [The Australian Sports Party should apologise for a Facebook photo featuring a topless woman jogging, a women’s rights group says.

    The picture is accompanied by an anecdote about the woman, described as “voluptuous” and a “babe”, who is running with a sign around her neck saying, “If you catch me, you can have me”.]

    Are blokes ever going to get it? I’m guessing that should be Wayne Dropkick. 😆

  9. Ghost says the TPP of this weekend poll is 50-50, although the online graphic seems stuffed at the moment. I think in the new poll column the two digits are over each other.
    Primaries look like LNP 43, ALP 37, GRN 10, Other 10?
    [Nightmare at Treasury Place: only 34 per cent of people would support the Government slashing welfare spending, new Galaxy Poll reveals
    1 hour ago March 31, 2014 12:00AM
    exclusive simon benson national political editor
    The Daily Telegraph

    TREASURER Joe Hockey is facing a budget nightmare with an overwhelming majority of voters calling for welfare spending to be spared the axe despite new warnings from Treasury that he may have to cut even deeper.

    An exclusive Galaxy Poll commissioned by the Daily Telegraph has revealed only 34 per cent of people would support the Government slashing welfare spending as part of its austerity drive.

    A 56 per cent majority of voters were against welfare cuts in the budget while 10 per cent were uncommitted.]

  10. 371

    I am lead to believe that the Sports Party`s preference position is quite as advantageous as last September. Apparently it is hemp that is in best position to snow ball.

  11. kezza:

    I’m pretty sure most WA voters hadn’t heard of the Sports Party until the Senate results from the last election became known.

  12. The Australian editors certainly how how to write a biased headline favoring the Libs…
    such mastery of the language even when the Govt isn’t doing well

  13. The welfare funding results in the Galaxy are encouraging, at least for those with my view that government is often too stingy to welfare recipients as it is. Even with the question framed in the form “Do you accept…” still only a 34-56 result for welfare spending cuts.

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