Region: Yorke Peninsula
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Goyder consists of the Yorke Peninsula together with further rural territory on the eastern side of Gulf St Vincent, roughly 40 kilometres north of Adelaide. The redistribution has caused the latter extension to creep closer to Adelaide with the absorption of 2000 voters in and around Two Wells, while further to the north 1600 voters in and around Balaklava are transferred to Frome. Lacking a major population centre, the electorate’s farms and small towns make the seat reliably conservative. It was nonetheless out of Liberal hands for a period in the mid-1970s, commencing with Steele Hall’s win at the 1973 election as candidate of the breakaway Liberal Movement, which he had abandoned the Liberal leadership to form a year earlier. Hall had previously been member for the neighbouring seat of Gouger, and won Goyder at the expense of Liberal incumbent James Ferguson. The following year he quit state politics to successfully contest a Senate seat in the 1974 double dissolution, with Goyder remaining in Liberal Movement hands with the success of David Boundy at the ensuing by-election.
The Liberal Movement was absorbed back into the Liberal Party in 1976, and Boundy contested the 1977 election as the endorsed candidate for the Liberal Party. However, he was defeated by independent Liberal candidate Keith Russack, who had succeeded Steele Hall as member for Gouger in 1973. Gouger had been abolished ahead of the 1977 election as part of further electoral reform which moved five seats from the country to the city, causing Russack to unsuccessfully contest Liberal preselection in Goyder. Having won the seat he was absorbed into the parliamentary Liberal Party, and held the seat as a Liberal until John Meier succeeded him upon his retirement in 1982.
With Meier’s retirement at the 2006 election, Goyder passed on to its present incumbent, Steven Griffiths. A former chief executive of Yorke Peninsula Council, Griffith rose rapidly through party ranks to assume the positions of deputy leader and Shadow Treasurer position when Isobel Redmond became leader in July 2009. Griffiths hit trouble during the 2010 election campaign when he appeared to agree with an interviewer’s assertion that his party’s costings for the Royal Adelaide Hospital redevelopment were merely spin. After the election he was informed by Redmond that she wished for him to relinquish the deputy leadership and Treasury portfolio in favour of Iain Evans, whose Right faction had emerged as her key supporter. The party room then embarrassed Redmond by electing Martin Hamilton-Smith over Evans, creating an impasse that was resolved when MacKillop MP Mitch Williams emerged as a compromise candidate.
Meanwhile, the factionally unaligned Griffith assumed the porfolios of economic and regional development, transport and infrastructure and government enterprises, before being dropped altogether in the December 2011 reshuffle. He returned to the front bench in the reshuffle that followed Martin Hamilton-Smith’s narrowly unsuccessful challenge to Redmond’s leadership in November 2012, taking on regional development and local government.
Labor’s candidate is Elyse Ramsay, a 20-year-old law and media student at the University of Adelaide.
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.