Electorate: Port Adelaide
Margin: Labor 12.7%
Region: North-Western Suburbs
Federal: Port Adelaide/Makin
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
|| BRAD VERMEER
Port Adelaide has existed as an electorate since the abolition of multi-member districts in 1938, although its name changed to Hart between 1970 and 2002. It covers a large area for a metropolitan electorate, including Port Adelaide proper, Largs North on the tip of the Lefevre Peninsula to the west, and the inland side of the Barker Inlet including the rapidly growing Mawson Lakes plus a portion of Parafield Gardens. The redistribution has clipped the electorate at the northern end around the Bolivar sewerage treatment works, shifting 750 voters in Bolivar and Paralowie to Taylor and 550 voters in a part of Parafield Gardens to Ramsay. Port Adelaide and Hart between them have been held at all times throughout a lengthy history by Labor, although that came close to changing when a by-election was held in February 2012 on the departure of former Deputy Premier Kevin Foley. The seat was retained for Labor by Susan Close, but she faced a strong challenge from Port Adelaide-Enfield mayor Gary Johanson, who fell 2.9% short after preferences. Johanson will run at the coming election in the neighbouring seat of Lee.
Kevin Foley’s arrival coincided with Labor’s near-obliteration at the 1993 election, which also gutted the Centre Left faction of which he had been a member. He successfully integrated with the Right and began a quick climb up a much-shortened party ladder, making Shadow Treasurer in 1996 and reportedly knocked back an approach to run for the leadership when disaffection with Mike Rann developed in 2001. With a Labor minority government coming power after the 2002 election, Foley assumed a deputy leadership that had been made vacant by Annette Hurley’s failure to win Light. As speculation again mounted in 2008 of a possible takeover from Rann, Foley announced that not only that would he “never be seeking leadership of the Labor Party”, but he also had “a joint exit plan from politics after the next election”. He proved as good as his word, standing aside as Treasurer in February 2011 and resigning from parliament the following December.
The resulting preselection was won without opposition by Susan Close, an executive with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Close is a member of the Left faction, and said to be close to Jay Weatherill. She was promoted to parliamentary secretary to the Public Sector Minister in the February 2013 reshuffle. Her Liberal opponent will be Brad Vermeer, a Salisbury councillor and adviser to upper house MP John Dawkins.
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.