Margin: Labor 8.2%
Region: Inner Eastern Suburbs
Outgoing member: Robyn Geraghty (Labor)
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
|| DANA WORTLEY
To be vacated at the election upon the retirement of Robyn Geraghty, Torrens covers inner suburbs north-east of the city, extending from Greenacres and Klemzig in the west to Hope Valley in the east, with the river that bears its name serving as the southern boundary. The electorate merges into more Liberal-friendly eastern suburbs territory at Dernancourt, but its centre and west forms part of Labor’s northern suburban heartland. The redistribution has resulted in two minor transfers out of the electorate, with Manningham and its 900 voters going to Enfield in the west, and an area of Dernancourt accounting for 450 voters going to Morialta in the east.
Torrens was created in its modern form at the 1993 election, at which Labor’s performance was sufficiently disastrous that they could not carry even this naturally solid seat. The elected Liberal candidate, Joe Tiernan, died a year later, initiating a by-election held in the immediate aftermath of the Brown government’s unpopular first budget. An 8.6% swing delivered the seat to Labor’s Robyn Geraghty, who enjoyed further emphatic swings of 7.7% in 1997 and 10.7% in 2006, interrupted by a 2.0% swing the other way in 2002. Like many seats which swung heavily to Labor in 2006, there was a forceful correction 2010 when the Labor margin was cut by 11.4%. Geraghty was originally associated with the Progressive Left Alliance, a Left sub-faction with its origins in the old Peter Duncan grouping, but defected to the Right shortly after the 2006 election. The state branches of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union moved from Left to Right at around the same time, the state secretary of the latter being Geraghty’s husband, Bob Geraghty.
Labor’s new candidate for the seat is Dana Wortley, who served in the Senate from 2005 to 2011 and has more recently been state secretary of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. Wortley held the number three position on the Labor Senate ticket at both the 2004 and 2010 elections, but only on the former occasion did Labor succeed in winning a third seat, being edged out on the latter occasion by Penny Wright of the Greens. Her husband is Russell Wortley, an upper house MP who maintains a power base in the Transport Workers Union. The Liberal candidate is Michael Manetta, a self-employed barrister and commissioned legal officer in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.
Eight days out from polling day, Labor revealed that Michael Manetta had a criminal conviction from 1997 for driving three times over the blood alcohol limit. This gave Labor a response to Liberal claims it had concealed its knowledge that the party’s candidate for Giles, Eddie Hughes, was given a seven-day suspended jail sentence in 1983 for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
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.