Margin: Labor 15.4%
Region: Western Suburbs
Federal: Port Adelaide/Adelaide/Hindmarsh
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Known as Spence prior to the 2002 election, Croydon is located to the immediate north-west of the city with the River Torrens as its southern boundary, extending from Flinders Park to Dudley Park with Croydon and surrounding suburbs in between. The redistribution has clipped the electorate in the west by transferring the suburb of Findon and its 1700 voters to Cheltenham, and extended it northwards by adding 1800 voters in Woodville Gardens, northern Kilkenny and southern Ferryden Park, previously in Enfield. The changes have added 1.1% to the Labor margin.
Croydon has been held for Labor since 1989 by Michael Atkinson, who is noted for his power base in the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and, relatedly, the Catholic tendency of the Right. Atkinson had risen to the position of Shadow Attorney-General by the 1997 election, and maintained the portfolio when Labor came to power in 2002. A plan to make him deputy leader after the 1997 election was reportedly vetoed by the Left. He remained a contentious figure with the party’s liberal tendency as Attorney-General, pursuing a hard line on law and order and exercising his nation-wide veto over legalisation to classify R-rated video games. Much of his first term in government was spent embroiled in the “Ashbourne affair”, in which charges were brought against Mike Rann’s media adviser over an alleged offer of statutory board positions to former deputy Labor leader Ralph Clarke, in exchange for the settlement of defamation actions between Clarke and Atkinson. The media adviser was acquitted in June 2005, while the Director of Public Prosecutions concluded there was insufficient evidence to pursue Atkinson.
In the meantime, Atkinson built up an impressive margin in Croydon, peaking at 26.0% at the 2006 election, although he wasn’t spared the double-digit swing that struck Labor’s Adelaide heartland in 2010. Perhaps relatedly, he became noted for the amount of time he devoted to his electorate, reportedly to the chagrin of some of his colleagues. Following the 2010 election, Atkinson made the surprise announcement that he was stepping down from cabinet, citing the need for renewal and a desire to spend more time with his family. He returned to prominence in January 2013 when he took over the Speaker’s role from Lyn Breuer, who was dumped as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
The Liberals have preselected Glenda Noble, a locally based occupational therapist.
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.