Adelaide – Australia 2019

ALP 8.3%

Incumbent MP
Kate Ellis, since 2004.

Central Adelaide. The seat of Adelaide includes the Adelaide CBD as well as the surrounding suburbs including Unley, North Adelaide, Norwood, St Peters, Prospect, Croydon Park, Hindmarsh and Blair Athol.

Adelaide shifted west, losing Dulwich, Hackney, Joslin, Maylands, Norwood, St Peters and Stepney to Sturt and gaining Angle Park, Mansfield Park, Regency Park, Ferryden Park, Kilkenny and West Croydon from Port Adelaide, and also gaining Cowandilla, Torrensville, Hilton, Marleston and Kurralta Park from Hindmarsh. These changes increased the Labor margin from 4.7% to 8.3%.


Adelaide is an original South Australian electorate, having been created for the 1903 election, the first at which single-member electorates were used in South Australia for a federal election. While the ALP has held the seat for a majority of its existence, it has been held by conservative parties for much of this period, including eleven years in the 1990s and 2000s.

Adelaide was first won in 1903 by Protectionist candidate Charles Kingston. Kingston was a former liberal Premier of South Australia who was elected one of South Australia’s seven MPs in 1901 before winning Adelaide in 1903. He was Australia’s first Minister for Trade, but resigned from the ministry in 1903. He was re-elected to Adelaide in 1906 before dying of a stroke in 1908.

The ensuing by-election was won by the ALP’s Ernest Roberts. Roberts served as a minister in Andrew Fisher’s government and was re-elected in 1910 and 1913 before dying suddenly later in 1913. Another by-election in Adelaide was held in early 1914 and was won by the ALP’s Edwin Yates.

Yates was re-elected at the 1914 and 1917 elections, but was defeated in 1919 by Nationalist candidate Reginald Blundell, who had previously been a state MP and minister in the state Labor government before the split over conscription and continued in a conservative government until its defeat in 1918. Blundell only held Adelaide for one term, losing to Yates in 1922. Yates held the seat again for the ALP until 1931.

In 1931 Yates was defeated by United Australia Party candidate Fred Stacey. Stacey held the seat for the UAP until 1943, when an ALP landslide win swept Stacey aside, and Adelaide was won by ALP candidate Cyril Chambers. Chambers served as Ben Chifley’s Minister for the Army following the 1946 election until Chifley’s defeat in 1949.

Chambers remained in Parliament in opposition, although criticism of HV Evatt’s leadership saw him expelled for a year in 1957-8, and by the time he was readmitted it was too late to be preselected for the 1958 election, and he was replaced by the ALP’s Joe Sexton.

Sexton held Adelaide until 1966, when he was defeated by Andrew Jones of the Liberal Party, who was 22 at the time and one of the youngest people ever elected to Australia’s federal parliament. Jones held the seat for one term but lost it in 1969 when the political balance swung back from the Liberal landslide of 1966.

The ALP’s Chris Hurford won the seat in 1969, and held the seat for eighteen years. He served as a minister in the first two terms of the Hawke government before retiring at the end of 1987 to take up the position of Consul-General to New York. His retirement triggered a third Adelaide by-election in February 1988, where a large swing saw the seat lost to Liberal candidate Mike Pratt.

Pratt only held Adelaide for two years, losing to the ALP’s Bob Catley at the 1990 election. Catley lost the seat in 1993 to Trish Worth, who held the seat for the Liberal Party for over a decade. She held the seat at the 1996, 1998 and 2001 election, but lost in 2004 to the ALP’s Kate Ellis, going against the trend of a strong national result for the Liberal Party.

Ellis was re-elected in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016, and served as a minister in the Labor government from 2007 to 2013.

Sitting Labor MP Kate Ellis is not running for re-election, but Labor MP Steve Georganas, who currently represents Hindmarsh, is running for Adelaide.

Labor’s hold on this seat will likely be weakened by Ellis’ retirement, but the redistribution has solidified Labor’s hold and they should retain the seat.

2016 result

Kate Ellis Labor 34,32535.9-6.339.1
David Colovic Liberal 34,80936.4-5.632.5
Joe HillNick Xenophon Team12,28312.9+12.913.7
Sophie Guy Greens 9,97310.4+0.310.0
Adrian RivishFamily First1,8321.9-0.52.2
Matt TidswellAnimal Justice1,2921.4+1.41.5
Tyrone LockLiberal Democrats1,0301.1+1.10.8

2016 two-party-preferred result

Kate Ellis Labor 52,21954.7+0.758.3
David Colovic Liberal 43,32545.3-0.741.7

Booth breakdown

Polling places have been divided into three parts: north, south-east and west.

The ALP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 51.7% in the south-east to 64.2% in the west.

The Nick Xenophon Team came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.7% in the south-east to 15.7% in the west. The Greens came fourth, with a primary vote ranging from 8.2% in the north to 13.3% in the south-east.

Voter groupGRN prim %NXT prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes9.315.955.218,62118.2

Election results in Adelaide at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Nick Xenophon Team primary votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. When you look at the federal boundaries for SA you have to wonder if the toughest battles for an aspiring politician in SA will be in preselection.

    Move on by, safe ALP seat…..diarise for 2022.

  2. Given the popularity of local MP Kate Ellis, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a small swing to the Liberals.

    Possibly 1-2% max.

  3. Yes. The Labor MPs from SA have certainly entrenched themselves like barnacles. Adelaide, Makin and Kingston were all marginal seats throughout the Howard Government.

    This is a good election to be handing over to a successor.


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