Margin: Labor 0.5%
Region: South-Western Suburbs
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Bright covers coastal Adelaide to the south of Glenelg, from North Brighton south to Hallett Cove. The Marino Conservation Park breaks the electorate into two distinct areas: Brighton, Seacliff and Marino in the north, which lean to the Liberals, and Hallett Cove in the south, which swung decisively to Labor in 2006. The redistribution has redrawn its northern boundary with Morphett in such a way as to add 1300 voters in the north-eastern corner of Somerton Park while removing the 1100 voters in the suburb’s coastal south-west, adding 0.1% to the Labor margin.
Bright was created at the 1985 election in place of Brighton, which had been held by Labor from its creation in 1970 except when David Tonkin led the Liberals to power at the 1979 election. June Appleby recovered Brighton for Labor in 1982 before moving to the new seat of Hayward at the 1985 election, at which Bright was won for Labor by Derek Robertson. Robertson was defeated at the 1989 election by Liberal candidate Wayne Matthew, who secured his hold with a resounding 16.6% swing in the 1993 landslide. When Matthew retired at the 2006 election, senior opposition figure Angus Redford joined a long line of South Australian MPs who have failed in endeavours to move from the upper house to the lower, the 14.0% swing being the biggest achieved in the context of Labor’s emphatic election win.
Labor’s successful candidate was Chloe Fox, a school teacher, former Advertiser journalist and daughter of popular children’s author Mem Fox. Fox’s first run for parliament had been at the 2004 federal election, when she performed strongly but unsuccessfully as the candidate for Boothby amid a generally poor result for Labor. A member of the Right faction, Fox was thought unlucky to have missed promotion to cabinet during Mike Rann’s premiership, waiting until March 2009 to attain the status of parliamentary secretary. She was finally accommodated in cabinet when Rann and Kevin Foley left the scene in October 2011, assuming the transport services portfolio.
A 6.2% swing at the 2010 election brought Fox within 167 votes of defeat at the hands of Liberal candidate Maria Kourtesis, a nursing agency head who had recently made a narrowly unsuccessful bid for Senate preselection. Kourtesis again contested the Bright preselection for the coming election but suffered yet another narrow defeat, Marion deputy mayor David Speirs reportedly prevailing in the local ballot by 38 votes to 34.
All post-redistribution margins are as calculated by Jenni Newton-Farrelly of the South Australian Parliamentary Library. Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.