Davenport by-election thread

A thread for discussion of a South Australian state by-election that has sadly fallen off my radar, thanks to the distraction of Queensland.

A South Australian state by-election will be held tomorrow in the electorate of Davenport, to be vacated by Liberal veteran Iain Evans. I would love to be able to tell you more about it, but you know how it is. My review of the electorate from before last year’s election can be read here. Here is a thread for those wishing to discuss the matter.

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.

61 comments on “Davenport by-election thread”

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  1. tomorrow? chokes on weeties!

    Non-Labor for 45 years since it started in 1970.
    Labor/Liberal/Green candidates +FF + Ind (Walker) who ran in Fisher
    I think Labor will get 4% swing, about half what they would need.

  2. I heard a piece on ABC radio the other day where the Libs and their supporters were all bitching about how stupid Abbott was. They are fearful that the swing will be big, and are already blaming Tony.

  3. http://indaily.com.au/news/2015/01/29/labor-finally-safe-fisher-libs-pray-davenport/
    [Labor finally safe in Fisher as Libs pray for Davenport

    ADELAIDE | There will be no court challenge to the knife-edge by-election result in Fisher.

    The cut-off for lodging a disputed returns notice with the Supreme Court ended at close of business yesterday.

    Independent candidate Daniel Woodyatt told InDaily via text message this morning: “I will not be challenging the Fisher by-election result.”

    Woodyatt finished 219 votes behind Labor’s Nat Cook, who beat Liberal Heidi Harris on preferences by just nine.


    The hotly-contested Fisher poll was a stark contrast to the ongoing spectacle in neighbouring Davenport, where voters are gearing up to elect a replacement for retiring Liberal Iain Evans on Saturday.

    Evans protégé Sam Duluk is in the box seat but, stung by successive poll failures, senior Liberals privately maintain it will be “tight”.

    Duluk – who contested Fisher for the Liberals in last year’s state election – told ABC radio today “we worked hard in Fisher (and) received an 8 per cent swing”.

    “A lot of the issues that are in Fisher are the same issues in Davenport,” he said.

    “They’re adjoining seats…so many of the issues are the same in terms of transport, infrastructure, jobs and the economy.”]

    [Davenport by-election: Tony Abbott’s decision to knight Prince Phillip could affect voters
    PM By Natalie Whiting
    Updated yesterday at 6:20pm

    The repercussions of Tony Abbott’s decision to knight Prince Phillip could extend to a by-election being held in South Australia this weekend.

    Voters in the traditionally safe Liberal seat of Davenport will return to the polls after long-standing MP Iain Evans retired from State Parliament last year.

    The Liberals won the seat with an 8 per cent margin at the state election in March 2014, but Mr Evans announced he would be retiring just months later.

    Peter, a Blackwood local who will voting in the by-election believed federal politics could come into play.

    “My impression is that it’s not so much local issues, people are worried about what’s happening with Tony Abbott,” he said.

    “I think if that looms large on election day, people might take that into account.”]

  4. It is highly unlikely Labor will win this by-election. I think Rocket Rocket has it about right – perhaps a 4% swing to Labor. Labor’s candidate has certainly been a good choice and has a nice local feel to him – the type that tends to do well in by-elections. Labor should be able to achieve somewhere between 30-35%. An additional factor is how well Greens+Democrats do. I think their combined vote will need to be >20% for the ALP to have any chance. If that can happen, Liberal bums will be squirming in their seats.

    I think the issues have been about a dead-heat in this last few weeks. The Gillman land issue has been a pretty bad look for the government, but this has been certainly counteracted by the obvious Abbott sideshow.

    However the very fact Labor even has a sniff of a win in Davenport is pretty instructive in itself.

  5. I’ll take a punt at a 6% ALP swing, driven by:

    a) The competence (if not the inspiration) of the Weatherill Government;
    b) A good ALP candidate;
    c) The incompetence of the SA Libs of late; and
    d) Anti-Abbott sentiment.

    I think that the Libs will still keep the seat, but it’ll be close – triggering another round of recriminations.

  6. Matt – 6% would be lovely. Would love to see it at least in the “undecided” column by the end of Saturday night. Especially if Campbell Newman has lost Ashgrove and Qld Labor has got about a 10% swing.

    Then sit back and listen to Tony Abbott on Monday at the National Press Club tell everybody again what a great “Captain” he is. I just heard him say that on the radio and nearly crashed the car!

  7. Rocket, surely it would be even more “lovely” to see more posters concentrating on upgrading their literacy / analysis skills to the extent that instead of simply attacking public figures who fail to follow the posters’ various political prejudices, they were better able to analyse issues?

  8. I said back when this was first called that I expected a swing of 5% or so to the Labor Party, but that was before Tony Abbott spent a lot of time as a national laughing stock.

    I’m not convinced the Libs will actually hold this one.

    It’ll be close.

  9. A comfortable Liberal hold but a small move to the ALP. Both major candidates pretty good, with the Labor man less of a carpetbagger.

  10. Norman 8 – an interesting thought.

    However – the policies and government of South Australia will not be changed by this by-election result.

    And secondly this was a totally unnecessary by-election. If every member of a party that lost an election just quit soon afterwards how would that help democracy and good policy debate?

  11. Rocket, one of the drawbacks of Parliamentary Pensions ending up being excessively generous is the way politicians can spit the dummy with no fear of pecuniary loss.
    Not entirely dissimilar problems have occurred with generous Public Service Pensions [aided by loose Taxation Laws] where people can retire far too early and lead lives unattainable to most ordinary workers even in full employment.
    All progress isn’t a plus?

  12. I actually don’t personally blame Iain Evans who retired. He had been in Parliament for 21 years since 1993 aged 34. Aged 54 he had the choice of going back into private business or staying on in opposition for who knows how long.

    Obviously he was expecting the Liberals would win in the 2014 election (as were most people) and he would have stayed to spend a term or two in government.

    In the USA many in parliaments tend to stay there just about until they die. Here more make a choice in their 50s or 60s to do something else and I can understand why.

  13. Libs will retain but have a scare – the seat has a larger than average number of under 30 aged voters who apart from, due to age, are generally more likely to vote ALP/Green are also less likely to be impressed with the PM’s royal wrangling and on the other side, probably disinterested in the State Government’s clear incompetence (at best) surrounding Gillman as it is not an issue that resonates with them.
    I have spoken to on the ground workers from both ALP & Libs and the ALP think they might pick it up but don’t want to alarm the people of Davenport by telling them that!

  14. Libs should retain this one. This seat is a lot more Lib than Fisher, which Labor only won by a hair’s width. While I expect Labor to hold up well, due to Tony Abbott, recent events have been less rosey for the state government as they were back in December (although, I think the tactic to put opposition eggs in the Gillman basket is a bit silly as most people I have spoken to seem not to care much on that issue – despite it being a potentially big one.)

    I should also state the dirty tricks and sulking has begun. Labor had to change its HTV cards because the ones they were handing out this morning said that Sam Duluk didn’t live in the electorate, which is untrue – he moved in to the electorate a couple of months ago (not that it really matters).

    The counter-accusation is that the Libs are resorting to an astroturfing campaign of getting young people who look “hipster-like” in plain clothes, to hand out anti-Labor flyers. Of course, this is reminiscent of the 2010 HTV flyers scandal – except they weren’t handing out HTVs.

    I won’t be as active on this thread as I normally am when there’s an SA topic because I am currently in bed sick but I will try to contribute (even though the rest of you will probably have the information sooner than me)

  15. Greens polled 15.3 percent in this seat at the state election, in spite of not putting a huge amount of work in. This time the Greens have a very strong candidate who has been campaigning in the area for some time. So watch for a high Greens vote tonight!

  16. Carey – get better soon (ie before Abbott totally guts the health system!)

    As a “democrat” (in true sense) – I fear for the future of the Liberals in South Australia, they just seem to be able to not capitalise on any advantages they ever have.

  17. Gillman’s one of those things where the people who pay attention realise how big it is and how bad it is, but “nobody” ie. the general public really want to pay attention because it’s boring.

    The best scenario for Labor is probably a mea culpa and a (re)commitment to due process in the future, but if they keep digging their heels in and grandstanding about how they did nothing wrong, and they learn nothing from it, then things will only get worse.

    Sometimes you have to own up to an error, even an error incurred in the commission of something you believe in.

  18. CM @ 19

    Never a need to apologise Carey. I was just thinking how much I agreed with everything you wrote lol!

    Get well soon, can’t afford not to have you here.

  19. Thanks for the well wishes!

    FWIW, now that we’re almost at the end of the day, Labor people are being a bit more frank now and are conceding it’s unlikely they’ll win tonight. Not really a surprise. The real question will be of whether the ALP can still achieve a swing to them or not.

    If one issue does hurt the ALP, it won’t be the Gillman deal, it’ll be the ESL raise – especially as a lot of Davenport is in the foothills where many volunteer for and depend on the CFS (or, at the very least, aren’t far from where people do.)

  20. Labs and SA pol bods on Twitter confirming your assessment, Carey.

    Nothing to see here. Back to Queensland for your regularly scheduled wackiness.

  21. Good luck to all Labor folk on this lesser-to-be-noticed election night. On the bright side, winning this one is probably less important given the Government’s position and it may allow Marshall to be kept on that bit longer.

  22. Carey – thanks for that. Historically of course any swing to a sitting government at a by-election is unusual, especially a 13-year old one. I still hope for my 4% swing though!

    Had a few pleasant days in Adelaide recently. As a Melbournian I did love catching the tram all the way on its extended route to North Terrace.

  23. Rocket Rocket, I am following the QLD news. I am just waiting for the results because I don’t want to get caught up in premature euphoria. I will try to make some contribution on its thread too.

  24. According to Nick Harmsen’s Twitter:

    [Nick Harmsen ‏@nickharmsen 1m1 minute ago
    Labor has conceded defeat in #davenportvotes #saparli]

    Still a 5 or so percent swing to Labor in a by-election when they are a 4th term government is not a good thing for the Liberals.

    Add QLD’s results (which are still playing out but are certainly bad for the LNP), I can say that today is the day I came to the conclusion that Abbott’s PMship is irreparably finished (and Marshall might be caught in that tide as well.)

  25. Labor 858 behind
    356 others in Eden Hills to be distributed – I’m calling it for Libs.

    Solid swing though, likely to be overshadowed by the stunning results in Queensland, which is then likely to be overshadowed by Tony Abbott being rolled next week.

    In fact Abbott may well resign at that party room meeting – never thought I’d say that.

  26. Raaraa – no, this night is definitely a goal for Australia.

    Abbott gone next week. Will last a shorter time than Rudd or Gillard.

    Abbott is the fourth Prime Minister he will have taken down!

  27. Raaraa – no, this night is definitely a goal for Australia.

    Abbott gone next week. Will last a shorter time than Rudd or Gillard.

    Abbott is the fourth Prime Minister he will have taken down!

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