Electorate Profile: Dunstan

By RYAN COLSEY

Held by State Opposition leader Steven Marshall since 2010, the seat of Dunstan is one of Adelaide’s most marginal seats in the 2018 state election.

Known as Norwood until 2012 when the South Australian Electoral Commission renamed it to Dunstan, the seat encompasses some of Adelaide’s more affluent suburbs including Norwood and St Peters.

The boundary changes saw the electorate gain the suburbs Dulwich, Felixstow, Glynde and Rose Park, but lose Kensington Gardens and Vale Park.

The electorate map is very similar to the council boundaries for the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters.

Historically the seat has favoured Labor, but a change of demographics and shifting electoral boundaries have seen the seat lean towards the Liberal Party in the last decade.

Former Labor Premier Don Dunstan held the seat for a record 26 years between 1953 and 1979.

According to 2016 Census data, the population of the electorate is well educated and has a high socio-economic status.

The median weekly income of an individual worker living in Dunstan was on average $100 more than the rest of South Australia.

Professional occupations are the most common type of employment in the electorate with over a third of residents being employed in this sector.

The data also revealed 38 per cent of residents hold a Bachelor’s degree or above, compared to the state median of 18.5 per cent.

Mr Marshall will be contesting the electorate for a third consecutive term.

Originally a family business owner from Norwood, he climbed rapidly through party ranks, assuming leadership of the South Australian Liberal party in just three years.

In the 2014 state election, he suffered a 1.7 per cent swing against him from Labor’s Jo Chapley despite an overall state-wide swing of 1.4 per cent to the Liberals.

Mr Marshall has one main policy aimed at the Dunstan electorate in this election.

The first is to extend the opening hours of the Norwood Police Station. Under his plan, the station would open at eight in the morning and close at nine at night, seven days a week, instead of the existing nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday hours.

While Mr Marshall wants to extend the opening hours of the Norwood Police Station, criminal incidents in Norwood have recently decreased.

Data SA statistics show there were 330 reported incidents in 2017, a figure lower than any of the previous five years.

Additionally, the Liberals support the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters Council’s proposal to turn the intersection of the Parade and George St into a scramble crossing, allowing pedestrians to traverse more safely.

He has rejected calls for EastLINK, Labor’s proposed plan to have a tram run between Norwood and the CBD.

BUT WHO ARE THE OTHER CANDIDATES?

Four candidates are challenging Mr Marshall for the seat of Dunstan; Labor’s Matt Loader, SA-BEST’s Jack Noonan, Dignity Party’s Ben Wilson and the Greens Party candidate Harriet De Kok.

Labor’s Matt Loader previously contested Christopher Pyne for the seat of Sturt in the 2016 Federal Election.

Mr Loader has campaigned heavily on social issues including gay rights. One of his promises for the Dunstan electorate is to extend the tram service into Norwood.

Prior to becoming a politician, he was a manager in the Department of Transport, Planning, and Infrastructure.

Ms De Kok is the only female candidate running for the seat and comes from a nursing background.

She has yet to announce specific policies for the electorate but cites youth unemployment as one of her key campaign issues.

Mr Noonan is an Aerospace Engineer and a former SANFL footballer with Glenelg and West Adelaide.

He told OnTheRecord his key priorities for Dunstan was to boost funding to the Women’s Community Centre in Stepney and provide a better transport option than trams.

“The tram proposal by Labor is ridiculously expensive. We need an alternative to the trams, whether that’s something similar to a Skyway we’re still discussing it.”

The Labor Party prefer Mr Marshall ahead of him on the ballot box, a decision he finds “unbelievable”.

Mr Wilson represents the Dignity Party and is an advocate for social justice. He suffers from Huntington’s disease and is the co-founder of the hopeHD foundation.

A former AFL footballer with Collingwood and Sydney, he served as a teacher for 15 years at St Peter’s College in Hackney.

Mr Wilson promises to address the wider concerns of locals and not to be captive to a narrow political agenda.

“My campaign is about building a compassionate, caring society based on fundamental values of respect for others,” he said.

Transport, safety, and education are key platform issues within the electorate.

The proposed EastLINK tram extension unveiled by the Labor Party is the key talking point in the electorate. At an estimated cost of $279 million, it is expected to take over two years to complete.

The City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters mayor, Mr Robert Bria is supportive of the proposal saying it would provide important infrastructure for The Parade Masterplan.

Recent education reports have raised issues about overcrowding in popular public primary schools.

According to Edu suburb rankings, five suburbs in the Dunstan electorate are ranked in the top ten. The rating ranks the suburbs with the best government primary schools based on academic results.

In 2017, Rose Park Primary School had to freeze enrolments, prompting calls from the Liberals at the time for a new school to be built in the area.

Whichever candidate wins the seat, they will have to convince voters their policies cover these key areas effectively.

 

 

Image Source: Tony Lewis/InDaily

 

Originally published as: “Mr. Marshall has two main policies aimed at the Dunstan electorate in this election. […] “His second policy is to turn the intersection of the Parade and George St into a scramble crossing, allowing pedestrians to traverse more safely.”

Edited March 16

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