SA election 2013

Electorate: Dunstan

Margin: Liberal 4.8%
Region: Inner Eastern Suburbs
Federal: Adelaide/Sturt
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map

The candidates


Liberal (top)

Dignity for Disability


Labor (bottom)

Renamed with the latest distribution in honour of its most famous former member, and held since the last election by the current Liberal leader, the electorate formerly known as Norwood extends northwards from Norwood itself through Payneham across the river to Vale Park and Klemzig. Labor is weakest in the western part of the electorate, where it skirts the edges of the city at Vale Park and St Peters, and stronger at Marden and St Morris in the electorate’s east. Apart from the new name, the redistribution has left it unchanged.

Norwood had an unbroken existence after multi-member electorates were abolished in 1938, and was a hotly contested seat until Don Dunstan consolidated it for Labor after his election in 1953. Dunstan held the seat through his two spells as Premier, from 1967 to 1968 and again after 1970, before retiring due to ill health in 1979. It was lost to Labor for the first time in three decades when Dunstan’s successor as Premier, Des Corcoran, called an early election later in the year. However, the Liberal win was overturned after a legal challenge and Labor recovered it at the re-match. The seat joined the long list of Labor casualties at the 1993 election when it was won for the Liberals by John Cummins, who had contested for Labor preselection way back in 1979.

Cummins did well to come within 0.8% of retaining the seat against the counter-swing of 1997, but was nonetheless defeated by Norwood mayor Vini Ciccarello. Ciccarello again won narrowly in 2002, a crucial result in the context of an election that brought a Labor minority government to power, but the 3.7% swing she picked up in 2006 was well below the city-wide result of 9.3%. This may have reflected the popularity of the Liberal candidate, former Adelaide Crows star Nigel Smart. Ciccarello’s 3.7% margin going into the 2010 election was well short of what was needed to withstand the forceful swing against Labor in Adelaide at the 2010 election, although it was one of only three seats the Liberals were actually to gain from Labor, together with Morialta and neighbouring Adelaide.

The victorious Liberal candidate on the back of a 9.1% swing was Steven Marshall, who in just four years has ascended from Liberal candidate in a Labor-held seat to Leader of the Opposition. Marshall was elevated to the front bench in December 2011, taking on a weighty load of portfolios including environment, industry and small business. An even bigger break came the following October when he was enlisted by Martin Hamilton-Smith as his candidate for deputy when he challenged the floundering Isobel Redmond, a key to securing moderate support. Hamilton-Smith failed by one vote to topple Redmond, but the upheaval inspired Mitch Williams to vacate the deputy position in the name of renewal. Marshall duly won the position, leaving Redmond with a deputy who had been a key party to a bid to have her removed. In the reshuffle that followed, Redmond defied convention to give the Treasury portfolio to her ally Iain Evans rather her deputy, with Marshall exchanging the environment portfolio for health. When Redmond announced her decision to stand aside the following January, cross-factional support consolidated behind Marshall to succeed her, Hamilton-Smith agreeing to give him a clear run.

Labor’s candidate is Jo Chapley, who according to an Advertiser report is the “lead in-house lawyer” for Foodland supermarkets, and the co-manager of its Norwood franchise.

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.

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