Seat of the week: Wakefield

Seat of the week visits South Australia one last time to cover Wakefield on the northern fringe of Adelaide, held for Labor since 2007 by Nick Champion.

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.

Wakefield extends from outer northern Adelaide to rural territory as far as Clare 100 kilometres to the north, with overwhelming Labor strength around Elizabeth and Salisbury partly balanced by support for the Liberals in the Clare Valley. It has existed in name since South Australia was first divided into electorates in 1903, but its complexion changed dramatically when its southern neighbour Bonython was abolished when the state’s representation was reduced from 12 seats to 11 in 2004. Previously a conservative rural and outskirts seat encompassing the Murray Valley and Yorke Peninsula, it came to absorb the outer suburban industrial centre of Elizabeth while retaining the satellite town of Gawler, the Clare Valley wine-growing district, and the Gulf St Vincent coast from Two Wells north to Port Wakefield.

Prior to 2004, Wakefield was won by the major conservative party of the day at every election except 1938 and 1943, when it was won by Labor, and 1928, when it was won by the Country Party. The Liberal member from 1983 to 2004 was Neil Andrew, who spent the last six years of his parliamentary career serving as Speaker. Andrew at first considered challenging Patrick Secker for preselection in Barker after the 2004 redistribution turned Wakefield’s 14.7% margin into a notional Labor margin of 1.5%, but instead opted to retire. Wakefield was nonetheless retained for the Liberals at the ensuing election by David Fawcett, who picked up a 2.2% swing off a subdued Labor vote around Elizabeth to unseat Martyn Evans, who had held Bonython for Labor since 1994. Fawcett’s slender margin was demolished by a 7.3% swing in 2007, but he would return to parliament as a Senator after the 2010 election.

Wakefield has since been held for Labor by Nick Champion, a former state party president, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association official and staffer for state Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright. The SDA link identifies him with the potentate of the South Australian Right, outgoing Senator Don Farrell. He nonetheless went against Farrell by coming out in support of Kevin Rudd in the days before his unsuccessful February 2012 leadership challenge, resigning as caucus secretary to do so. As with Labor’s other South Australian newcomers from the 2007 election, Champion had no trouble retaining his seat at the 2010 election, a 5.4% swing boosting his margin to 12.0%. However, the seat has since returned to the marginal zone following a redistribution in which it traded an area around Salisbury for Lydoch and Williamstown east of Gawler, reducing the margin to 10.3%, and a 7.1% swing to the Liberals at the 2013 election, which has left it at 3.4%.

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.

2,933 comments on “Seat of the week: Wakefield”

  1. zoomster

    [Well, Jesus said that tax should be paid, so I don’t think ESJ would have much time for him…]

    Liberals consider morality = anti-gay.

    Everything else is allowed. (especially, lies, corruption, fleecing the poor, giving benefits to my mates etc etc)

  2. I don’t need to discuss the faults of my “team”. The Liberal shrills do enough of it for all of us.

    They are so pathetic, if Abbott complained that he had a flat tyre of his bike, it would be Labor’s fault

  3. Bible supports work for the dole:

    Thessalonians 3:10

    For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

  4. As referred to earlier in the PB day. You gotta laugh.

    Too many references to cite about this MOB. One will do.

    These scummies are the representative future of the Libs.

    The Australian

    Student gathering sees young Liberals at war

    Julie Hare
    The Australian
    May 30, 2012 12:00AM

    NO longer a battle ground between the Trotskyites and Stalinists, university campuses are now the scene of bitter factional battles between the hard Right and the rest of the Liberal Party.

    The annual general meeting of the University of NSW Liberal Club last Tuesday turned into farce as about 300 people from opposing sides crammed into a room hoping to influence the outcome. But to no avail. Only 10 people in the room, all acolytes of NSW heavyweight David Clarke, held voting rights.

    In the end, the club declared the results of the vote on its website. Ten nominations were received for nine positions and each received 10 votes.

    Video footage reveals the meeting descending into a chaotic scene with a fight only narrowly averted.

    Racial slurs can be heard in the background. Liberal staffers look on aghast before getting caught up themselves in the throng.

    The meeting was eventually shut down by university security staff.

    Tim Kaliyanda, 22, president of the University of NSW Student Representative Council, said he’d never seen anything like it.

    “I was there from the beginning and I didn’t see a vote being held. But the results have been released and all the positions were uncontested,” he said. “We saw people lining up to get credentialled to get on the voting list.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/student-gathering-sees-young-liberals-at-war/story-e6frgcjx-1226373022707#

  5. Paul Murray on Sky is going right off, poor Tone is copping it, it would appear the only voice of support i can see was Terry McCrain in today’s HS

  6. esj
    I do not believe in wealth redistribution. I believe in ripping it out of the rich b’tards hands and using it to fund the social wage. I believe in taxing them once, taxing them twice and taxing them until they bleed out like a trout caught in a boat propeller. I think it is best to start by assuming rich b’tards got that way by ripping off some poverty-stricken sods and by using miserable underhanded tactics to get someone else’s resources. If some rich b’tards can prove they or their forebears did not rip others off then they can be excluded from the filthy and despicable rich club.

    Wealth redistribution? pffft!

  7. Its true the family home should not be counted in the pension asset test but the investment income of $1.126 million cap should be reviewed maybe to $500,000 or $750,000

  8. zoomster,
    That it does. It encourages people to use their ‘talents’ and I take it from that premise, that people who destroy jobs, thereby preventing other people from using their own talents, are not being very godly.

  9. Oh. I forget.

    Someone here mentioned the Libs Facebook page. I had a look.

    Another laugh a minute.

    The posters going on about the Lib ‘policy.’

    It is amazing that Eadie, Rex and co. are not burnt out coping with all the derision.

    Still, at $2.00 a day, beggars can’t be choosers.

  10. What I dont understand is this: why doesnt anyone ask Abbott the obvious? As in “The PPL should be means tested, just like pensions. Please explain why it isnt subject to means testing”

    If hubby is a big earner or the family is asset rich, “fairness” would demand that eligibility should be determined in the same manner as pensions.

  11. There is a funny side to Tone’s PPL, pretty much every women on $100k have little more than a Bachelor degree or an Estate Representative License.

    Yet Tone doesn’t seem very interested in education.

  12. The PPL should be means tested, just like pensions. Please explain why it isnt subject to means testing

    Means testing won’t fix the fundamental problem with the suggested PPL scheme.

    Whether the payout is capped or the payout is cut off above various levels, the PPL as it is structured at the moment (paid for out of government revenue) means that the benefit received is proportional to your income. No other benefit works like that.

    If it’s a workplace entitlement, as some suggest, then the employer pays it and there is no cap or threshold – it’s simply part of your salary package.

    If it’s a government funded benefit then there is no way it should increase with increasing income.

    It’s a frankenstein bits-of-this-bits-of-that thought bubble that cannot be redeemed by tinkering at the edges.

  13. ESJ

    Au contraire. That was Paul, not Jesus. Jesus said to take no thought for tomorrow, but to be like the lilies of the field – they toil not, and neither do they spin, but Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as beautifully as they are.

  14. I think that the means-tested minimum wage from the government with the ability for employers to top it up is the correct approach for paid parental leave. It should pay super and as it is leave, it should have leave loading (The usual 17.5%).

    I do think it should be at least 6 months, for each parent.

  15. Jachol

    The you will see people lose their pension, there are many places which today would be classed as high income that were formally working class

    Belmin, Surrey Hills, South Yarra, Richmond etc

  16. Noticed Lang Hancock’s beneficiary at Abbott’s lamentable address the other night.

    She must be doing okay. Even lashed out on a hair style and a number of gold coils around her necks.

  17. 2774

    Reverse mortgages are available as well as other options like downsizing and lodgers. Why should the government be subsidising inheritance? (Answer: it should not).

  18. Tom

    I am not talking about inherit property but property that a person has owned during their working life being excluded from the asset test.

    Why should the government punish a worker from the benefits of their once working class suburb improving in value.

  19. Why should the government punish a worker from the benefits of their once working class suburb improving in value.

    If people can realize the wealth in their housing to support themselves then why should the government be providing them with welfare?

  20. 2777

    When people with owner occupier houses die, their houses get inherited. When have have been on the pension, the government has been subsidising that inheritance.

    That is like saying “why should the government punish people who get a job by taking away their dole payment”. If you own a house of significant value, you have an asset you can and should use to fund your retirement. The more the house is worth, the more you can get from it. Reverse mortgages mean that you can use your house to fund your retirement without moving out of it.

  21. Jackol

    If we want government to act only as a safety net we could but are we willing to apply the same standards across the board for example only funding schools in poor suburbs or roads in poor suburbs or hospitals in poor suburbs or police in poor suburbs while rich suburbs provide for themselves.

    I guess we could but where will there be an incentive for a community to improve and invest in itself.

    Government governs for everybody not just one section of the community.

  22. Jackol

    Why should the Government pay for anything?
    Why have Government, why have Society , Margaret Thatcher thought all were unnecessary.
    Why bother getting out of bed?

  23. mb –

    but are we willing to apply the same standards across the board for example only funding schools in poor suburbs or roads in poor suburbs or hospitals in poor suburbs or police in poor suburbs while rich suburbs provide for themselves.

    Unicorns as far as the eye can see.

    If you want a debate on public education or public health care, fine. We’re not debating those things, we’re debating a welfare payment.

    Government governs for everybody not just one section of the community.

    What a pointless thing to say.

  24. sceptic –

    Why should the Government pay for anything?

    Do you have something useful to contribute or are you going to make stupid comments as well as mb?

  25. mexicanbeemer

    Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Its true the family home should not be counted in the pension asset test but the investment income of $1.126 million cap should be reviewed maybe to $500,000 or $750,000

    The people have spoken.

    They do not want to see the wealthy paying more. They supported Abbott, they supported the lowing of tax on superannuation for the wealthy earning $100,000 plus from the “super”.

    They were prepared to have this happen so that the low paid workers actually pay more tax on their “super” than they do on their weekly wage, while the wealthy pay less tax on their “super” than the low paid pay on their weekly wage. They are happy that cut this tax this cost the budget $16 billion

    They supported Abbott and the theft of taxpayer money through the FBT rorts that cost the budget $1.9 billion

    Because they currently have an unethical, unprofessional media that is content to do the bidding of Murdoch and blame Labor for everything, including Abbott lying and back flipping breaking election promises.

  26. Jackol

    No one ever changes there prejudiced views ..so trying to discuss the merits of society with Libertarians is just a waste of time.

  27. sceptic – perhaps you could explain how debating including the family home in an assets test for the old age pension is a “prejudiced view” of a “Libertarian”?

  28. Okay lets limit welfare to those who actually need it.

    DSP only for those with a disability and nothing else (mental illness is a medical condition not a disability)

    Aged pension only for people over 70 and are not capable of working part time

    Scrap all pensions concessions

    Howes that for a narrow minded welfare budget.

  29. .Reverse mortgages mean that you can use your house to fund your retirement without moving out of it.

    That really helps the following generation.

    With everyone blaming the baby boomers for everything from the corns on their toes to Abbott lying it will now be the fault of baby boomers that the kids get no inheritance.

  30. 2780

    Firstly, schools and other public services are not a welfare payment like the pension is.

    Secondly, schools are are a service to the children, not the parents. Most children do not have any significant income or assents to means-test.

    Thirdly, most public services are most efficiently and fairly delivered as public services. Charging for a service is a means of rationing something according to the ability and willingness of someone to pay for it. Do we want rich people to have better schools, hospitals, streets, and policing? I certainly don`t. Giving out money directly is different from a service.

  31. I think there is a big difference between Gina and the average worker passing on his/her property to their children.

    Gina doesn’t deserve any welfare or subsidies but is receiving plenty.

  32. Jackol

    ” If people can realize the wealth in their housing to support themselves then why should the government be providing them with welfare?”

    Because they have worked & paid tax , thankfully Labor initiated general Super to quarantine payments ( which is another form of tax), to prevent Liberal spivs squandering it on subsidies to miners & aluminium smelter owners.

  33. 2791

    People who get inheritances, of any significance, are often better off than those who do not before they get the inheritance and the inheritance just makes the gap bigger. Not leaving an inheritance is no crime.

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