Electorate: West Torrens
Margin: Labor 11.0%
Region: Western Suburbs
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
Known as Peake prior to the 2002 election, when it lost the territory north of its present boundary at the River Torrens, West Torrens takes in Adelaide Airport and suburbs to the east and north-east, from North Plympton and Kurralta Park in the south through Richmond and Brooklyn Park to Lockleys and Thebarton in the north. It has been substantially redrawn by the redistribution, losing the coastal suburb of West Beach and its 3300 voters to Morphett and its areas south of the airport, including 2600 voters in Novar Gardens and Camden Park, to Ashford. It also loses 1000 voters at Lockleys in the north-western corner to Colton. The corresponding gains are provided by a chunk of territory accounting for 7000 voters in and around Richmond in the electorate’s south-east, who were formerly in Ashford. The changes have boosted the Labor margin by 6.1%.
Peake was won by Labor at every election from its creation in 1970 barring 1993, when it absorbed Liberal-voting territory that had previously been in Hanson (now Ashford). This prompted Heini Becker, who had held Hanson for the Liberals since 1970, to jump ship for Peake, which he had no trouble winning in the context of the 1993 landslide. Becker retired at the 1997 election, and Peake was gained for Labor by twenty-six year old Tom Koutsantonis with a 12.0% swing. Koutsantonis picked up further swings of 4.1% in 2002 and 9.4% in 2006, before an 11.5% correction cut his margin to 6.9% in 2010.
Koutsantonis came to politics via a position as industrial officer with the powerful Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union, and was at one stage the Right faction’s convenor. Despite reportedly strong resistance to his ambitions from Mike Rann, Koutsantonis was elevated to cabinet in March 2009, assuming the correctional services, road safety, gambling, volunteers and youth portfolios. He was forced to relinquish road safety after a month in the job when a leak to the Sunday Mail, presumably from enemies within, revealed he had been fined 30 times for traffic offences over the previous 15 years. A number of his fines had not been paid by the due date, and he had at one point lost his licence. His portfolios have since been frequently reassembled amid a generally upward career trajectory, trading youth and volunteers for industry and small business after the 2010 election; gambling for mineral resources after Kevin Foley stood aside in February 2011; correctional services and industry for manufacturing when Jay Weatherill became leader in October 2011; and small business and manufacturing for transport and housing in the January 2013 reshuffle.
The Liberals have endorsed Serge Ambrose, owner of an information technology business.
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.