A breakdown of South Australia’s federal electorates

A breakdown of South Australia’s federal electorates

South Australia has 10 federal electorates. Thanks to OTR’s 2022 editorial team, you can learn more about yours here. (Image: electoral map of South Australia, via The Guardian)

By On The Record @otr_unisa

Australian electorates are created by splitting state and national populations into different sized areas with the same amount of people living in each, and have the purpose of spreading government representation fairly across Australia.

This means that the number and shapes of electorates in Australia has changed over the years to accommodate population growth and movement. 

Many often confuse their federal electorates with that of their local or state.

There are 47 state electorates in South Australia, which are used in an SA state election to decide a Premier.

But for the 2022 federal election, there are 10 electorates in SA. 

All Australian citizens aged 18 and older must vote, and you must be enrolled to do so.

When voting in a federal election, you will be voting for who you want to represent your electorate in the House of Representatives.

The party that gains the majority vote in the House of Reps forms the federal government.

But you will also be voting for who you want to represent your state or territory in the Senate. 

To give you more clarity on your electorate, the OTR team has broken down all 10. 

Adelaide

The smallest South Australian electorate, Adelaide spans 86 square kilometres –  or a little over five Adelaide Ovals – and consists of the city’s central business district and inner metropolitan suburbs. 

The federal division stretches from the western suburbs of Torrensville and Mile End to Mansfield Park and Northgate in the north, and curves down past Walkerville towards Plympton and Highgate in the south. 

The electorate is considered a safe Labor seat – meaning the party received close to 60 per cent of the vote in the 2019 election after preferences were allocated. 

With an 8.2 per cent margin – which indicates the percentage of votes the Liberals needed to win in the previous election – ABC political analyst Antony Green predicts that Labor’s Steve Georganas will hold onto the electorate for a second term. 

Since its creation in 1903, the division of Adelaide has been held by Labor almost 78 per cent of the time, with the Libs last holding the seat in 2004 when Liberal Trish Worth’s four-term spell ended. 

The 2022 candidates running for this seat are Labor’s incumbent Steve Georganas, Liberal Amy Grantham, The Greens’ Rebecca Galdies, Fusion’s Matthew McMillan, Australian Federation Party’s Faith Gerhard, United Australia Party’s Sean Allwood, and Hanson’s One Nation candidate Gayle Allwood. 

Head here for maps and more information about Adelaide.

Barker

Barker was established in 1903 and has been held by Liberal MP Tony Pasin since 2013.

The electorate, named after British military officer Captain Collet Barker, spans rural towns for 65,206 square kilometres, including Robe and Mt Gambier and up to Murray Bridge.

The electorate includes the town of Penola, which was the home of Saint Mary Mackillop, and Bordertown, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s place of birth.

Since 2000, two former electorates have been abolished, meaning Barker gained Riverland towns like Renmark and Berri in 2004, and areas of the Barossa Valley in 2019.

This seat has been held by the Liberal Party since 1956, with strong Liberal associations since establishment.

With nine candidates, two of which are independent, the voting choice is wide, but current member Tony Pasin is likely to hold his seat.

Barker’s Liberal vote consistently comes out on top by 15-20 per cent, according to the ABC.

The seat is deemed very safely Liberal, with a whopping 18.8 per cent margin; however, with the new wave of independent candidates and Labor support, it could be a closer call.

Head here for more information about Barker.

Boothby

It covers 115 square kilometres of the southern Adelaide suburbs like Marion, Ascot Park and Eden Hills; the division of Boothby is the most marginal seat in SA and so has been widely discussed this election season.

The electorate is named after William Boothby, who superintended every South Australian election between 1856-1903, the latter being the year in which the electorate was created.

The seat has historically favoured the Liberal Party, electing only Liberal MPs for over 70 years; however, it has just as frequently been marginal.

Liberal has taken the seat in the previous two elections with a swing of less than 4 per cent.

On election day in 2019, Labor was ahead in the electorate, recording 51.7 per cent; but after the counting of early and late postal votes, Liberal flipped the scale, leading at 51.4 per cent.

With a current Liberal margin of 1.4 per cent, the long held Liberal seat could soon be Labor’s this next election, but experts and betters alike seem to be split on who will take the win.

With one of the most diverse income ranges of South Australia’s electorates, the issues voters consider a top priority will ultimately decide the result.

Head here for more information about Boothby.

Grey

The electorate of Grey was established in 1903, and covers over 900,000 square kilometres, or 92 per cent, of South Australia. 

It spans from the northern, eastern, and western edges of the state down to Two Wells, separating Light from Barossa and Playford.

Grey includes mostly rural areas such as Ceduna, Whyalla, Clare and Burra.

From 1972-1990, Grey was held by Labor, but it has been a Liberal electorate for the past 29 years, according to the ABC.

Rowan Ramsey has held the seat of Grey for 15 years, but this election doesn’t seem an easy win for him. 

It has been recently reported by The Advertiser and The Plains Producer that, during his time in office, Ramsey claimed $21,704 of travel allowance despite staying in one of his own homes.

Ramsey responded by telling Radio 5AU that the allowance was not for accommodation “itself” but for “extra out of pocket expenses you experience for being away from home”.

He also has fresh competition; independent Liz Habermann, who slimly lost the safe Liberal seat of Flinders in March’s state election, is now running in Grey.

She says the electorate has “some massive issues”, while Ramsey believes Grey is doing fine, according to the ABC.

A cause of protest among voters this election has been the nuclear waste dump proposed by the current government for Kimba, which Habermann has also opposed, according to the ABC.

InDaily has reported that previous Liberal MP for Grey, Barry Wakelin, backs Habermann over Ramsey.

This safe Liberal seat certainly does not seem immune to a steal this election.

Head here for more information about Grey.

Hindmarsh

The electorate of Hindmarsh was established in 1903 and spans over 122 square kilometres of Adelaide’s west, including Henley Beach, Adelaide Airport and Port Adelaide.

The Labor Party held this seat for nine decades until 1993, when it was won by the Liberal Party. 

The ABC says, “Hindmarsh sat close to the trend line for South Australia from 1993 to 2016, but either side of that period was much safer for Labor.”

Currently Hindmarsh is represented by Labor’s Mark Butler, who has been in the position since the 2019 election and is also Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.

Butler previously represented the abolished electorate of Port Adelaide for over a decade.

Based on past voting patterns in this electorate, it is likely that Labor will continue to hold the Hindmarsh seat.

Results from the last election suggest a strong win for Labor in 2022, having secured majorities in 42 of the 56 polling places in 2019, according to the ABC.

Head here for more information about Hindmarsh.

Kingston

The electorate of Kingston (not to be confused with the town of Kingston in SA’s south-east) was established in 1949.

It covers 165 square kilometres, parts of the cities of Marion and Onkaparinga, including the suburbs Hallet Cove, Christies Beach, Seaford and Morphett Vale.

In the past 50 years, it has been a mostly Labor seat, with Liberal having a few wins, according to the ABC.

About 73 per cent of Kingston’s MPs have aligned with the party that ended up forming government that election, and in 2010 Kingston was SA’s most marginal seat.

Kingston is currently a safe Labor seat, held by Amanda Rishworth for the past 15 years. 

Rishworth is the Shadow Minister for both Early Childhood Education, and Youth.

The Advertiser has reported that Rishworth could lose her seat due to the “volatile booth of Aberfoyle Park”.

Looking at the electorate’s voting patterns, 2022 could be Liberal’s year in Kingston.

Head here for more information about Kingston. 

Makin

The electorate of Makin is located in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, including the suburbs of Tea Tree Gully, Parafield Gardens and Salisbury.

One of the smaller electorates, it spans 162 square kilometres.

It was created in 1984 after the House of Representatives grew, and absorbed suburbs previously held by former member Norman Makin: the electorate’s namesake.

The current MP is Labor’s Tony Zappia, who has safely held the seat since 2007.

Since its creation, Makin has shifted from Labor to Liberal, and back to Labor again, having a total of three MPs, including Zappia.

The party’s security, 9.7 per cent, has historically relied on strong preference flows from other parties.

2019 election results showed 41 of 42 polling places in Makin preferred Labor by at least 60 per cent, according to the ABC.

Head here for more information about Makin.

Mayo

Mayo is based in the Adelaide Hills, but also spans down to the Fleurieu Peninsula and across Kangaroo Island, covering 9135 square kilometres, according to the ABC.

The electorate was commissioned in 1984 and was named after Helen Mayo, an internationally influential medical practitioner, who in 1914 became the first female university councillor in Australia.

The Liberal Party held this electorate from its inception until the 2016 election when the seat was won by Rebekha Sharkie. 

At the time, Sharkie was a member of the Nick Xenophon Team. 

Amid the parliamentary eligibility dilemma of 2017 and 2018, Sharkie was forced to resign, but then soundly won her seat as an independent in the 2018 by-election and again in the 2019 federal election.

According to a poll by the Australia Institute in December 2021, Sharkie scored 58.5 per cent of the 800 votes, while Liberal received 41.5 per cent. 

Based on this and the previous elections, Sharkie is tipped to win the electorate in the 2022 election.

The same poll found that the majority of residents in Mayo would like to see a Commonwealth Integrity Commission that has the power to hold public hearings, and also believe in supporting truth in political advertisement laws. 

Head here for more information about Mayo. 

Spence

Known as Wakefield until the rural electorate was redistributed to include the far northern suburbs, this seat went from being safely in Liberal hands to being secured by Labor by a mammoth 14.1 per cent. 

Having only won the seat twice since created in 1903, Labor have held onto it for 15 years which, the ABC reports, has been made easier by the 2019 shrinking of the electorate to just the northern, outer metropolitan government areas of Gawler, Playford and large parts of Salisbury. 

The Bunyip reported that 20-year-old Greens candidate and UniSA social work student David Deex is the second-youngest candidate to be running for this seat, after Liberal’s Shawn Lock. 

Deex – who is campaigning for better housing and education, social security, and including more dental and mental health into Medicare – says, through his own experience growing up in public housing, he can connect with those in the electorate with similar experiences. 

Labor’s Matt Burnell will be replacing Nick Champion, who had retained Spence since 2007 but retired from federal politics earlier this year to run for – and secure – the South Australian seat of Taylor. 

The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, predicts another Labor win this year – but, unlike last year, Hanson’s One Nation party will be joining the fray alongside other right-wing parties like United Australia. 

Check out the AEC profile of Spence.

Sturt

The electorate of Sturt was created in 1949 and covers 97 square kilometres of Adelaide’s eastern suburbs between Grand Junction Road to Mount Barker Road.

Since the electorate’s inception, Labor has only held the seat for two terms.

Sturt has since been secured by the Liberal Party for over four decades, according to the ABC.

Currently, Sturt is represented by James Stevens, who worked as previous South Australian Premier Steven Marshall’s chief of staff before replacing Christopher Pyne in Sturt.

Pyne previously held the seat of Sturt for 26 years prior to his retirement in 2019, according to the ABC.

The ABC says the key seat of Sturt is predicted to remain Liberal in the 2022 election.

Head here for more information about Sturt.



Contributors: Sophie Gauvin, Anisha Pillarisetty, Dani Bozoski, Sarah Herrmann, and Sophie Holder.

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