Margin: Labor 4.7%
Region: North-Eastern Suburbs
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
Wright was created at the 1993 election to accommodate an area of rapid growth in north-eastern Adelaide, and has only ever been won by the Liberals at its inaugural election. It covers the northern part of recently developed Gulfview Heights; Greenwith, Golden Grove and Wynn Vale, which were developed through the late 1980s and 1990s; and the more established lower-income Salisbury East in the western part of the electorate. The Salisbury East area is of a piece with the very safe Labor neighbouring electorates of Ramsay and Playford, whereas the heavily mortgaged remainder helped keep Makin in the blue column throughout the Howard years, while moving strongly to Labor at both state and federal level thereafter. The redistribution has extended its share of Greenwith with the absorption of 2100 voters from Little Para, while transferring 1200 voters in the southern half of Gulfview Heights to Playford and 450 in Salisbury Heights to Little Para. The changes have had no effect on the margin.
Wright was won for the Liberals in 1993 by Scott Ashenden at the expense of Labor’s Trish White, who would enter parliament the following year at the by-election to replace Lynn Arnold in Taylor. Jennifer Rankine gained the seat for Labor with a relatively mild 3.1% swing at the 1997 election, securing her hold with a 12.1% swing in 2006 before a 10.7% swing reduced her margin to 4.6% in 2010. Rankine won promotion to parliamentary secretary in 2004 and to cabinet after the 2006 election, taking on the consumer affairs, state/local government relations, status of women, volunteers and early childhood development portfolios.
Despite hitting a rough patch in early 2008 after four of her ministerial staff quit in quick succession, Rankine reportedly retained the strong support of Mike Rann and was promoted to families and communities, housing, ageing and disability the following July, together with a newly created northern suburbs portfolio which she lost after the 2010 election. When Jay Weatherill became Premier in October 2011, Rankine was reassigned to police, correctional services, emergency services, road safety and multicultural affairs. All of her existing portfolios except multicultural affairs were exchanged in January 2013 for education and child development, which she took over from the embattled Grace Portolesi. Although factionally unaligned, Rankine is said to be close to the Left.
The Liberals have endorsed Lyn Petrie, who according to the party website is “currently employed in taxation”.
Danyse Soester, who has gained a high profile as a critic of the government and the Education Department amid the school sex abuse scandal, has announced she will run against the Education Minister as an independent. Soester has won backing from Nick Xenophon, and has ruled out directing preferences to Labor or supporting them in government in the event of a hung parliament. Her announcement scored her a front page photo story in The Advertiser, although it was soon followed by a column in which the paper’s Amanda Blair dismissed Soester as a poster girl for the conspiracy theorists, and a blow-up doll inflated at every media opportunity by the likes of Nick Xenophon and shadow education minister David Pisoni.
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.