SA election 2014

Electorate: Morphett

Margin: Liberal 10.6%
Region: Western Suburbs
Federal: Hindmarsh/Boothby
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map

The candidates


Liberal (top)

Labor (bottom)

Family First


Dominated by the fashionable coastal hub of Glenelg, the electorate of Morphett extends north along the coast to West Beach and south to Somerton Park, and inland to Morphettville. The redistribution has added West Beach and its 3300 voters from West Torrens, which extends the electorate’s coastal frontage substantially northwards. At the opposite end, the southern boundary with Bright adjusts in such a way as to add 1100 voters in the coastal south-western corner of Somerton Park while removing 1300 voters in the suburb’s north-east. At the interior end of the electorate, 1300 voters at Novar Gardens in the north-east of the electorate are are transferred to Ashford, while Elder gains 2400 voters in northern Warradale, which had previously formed a salient in the electorate’s south-east. The aggregate effect of the changes is to reduce the Liberal margin by 0.5%.

A seat called Glenelg existed from 1938 to 1985, concurrently after 1977 with Morphett which was then based on Brighton further to the south. Morphett was held for the first term of its existence by Labor’s Terry Groom, who would later emerge as member for Hartley, before falling to Liberal candidate John Oswald as part of David Tonkin’s 1979 election victory. Labor ceased to be competitive when the electorate moved into territory vacated by the abolition of Glenelg, the Liberal margin at their electoral high-water mark of 2006 falling to 5.4%.

Oswald was succeeded upon his retirement in 2002 by Duncan McFetridge, a former country school teacher and veterinary surgeon. McFetridge won quick promotion to the shadow cabinet in April 2004, and was said at the time to be courting leadership ambitions. In the wake of the 2006 election defeat he was reportedly part of a “conservative core” that was dissatisfied with the proposed unity ticket of the Right’s Iain Evans as leader and moderate Vickie Chapman as deputy, preferring Martin Hamilton-Smith or Isobel Redmond for the latter role. He supported Hamilton-Smith’s leadership challenge against Evans in April 2007, but called for him to stand aside after he survived Chapman’s July 2009 leadership challenge by one vote. McFetridge then stood for the deputy leadership position which Chapman had vacated, but won fewer party room votes than both Goyder MP Steven Griffiths and MacKillop MP Mitch Williams, with the former emerging the winner.

McFetridge nonetheless won promotion at the time to the health portfolio, progressively being reassigned to police, correctional services and emergency services in December 2011 and transport and infrastructure in November 2012. However, he was demoted in the reshuffle that followed Steven Marshall’s ascension to the leadership in February 2013, being placed outside the streamlined eight-person shadow cabinet in the outer ministry portfolio of mental health and disabilities.

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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