Fisher by-election, 2014

December 6, 2014

Cause of by-election
Sitting member Bob Such died in October 2014. Such had held Fisher since 1989. He held the seat as a Liberal from 1989 and 2000, and as an independent since 2000. Such took leave for medical reasons shortly after the 2014 state election, and did not return to Parliament before his death.

Margin – IND 9.4% vs LIB

Geography
Southern Adelaide. Fisher covers northern parts of the City of Onkaparinga, including Aberfoyle Park, Happy Valley, Coromandel Valley, Cherry Gardens, Clarendon, Reynella East and parts of Chandlers Hill, Flagstaff Hill and O’Halloran Hill.

History
The electorate of Fisher has existed since 1970. The seat was Liberal-held at all but one election throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with the ALP winning the seat for one term in 1985. The sitting Liberal MP became an independent in 2000, and has held the seat ever since.

Stan Evans won Fisher in 1970, after first being elected as Member for Onkaparinga just two years earlier in 1968. Evans held the seat until 1985.

The redistribution prior to the 1985 election made Fisher much less safe, and shifted much of the seat into the neighbouring district of Davenport.

Evans decided to challenge Davenport Liberal MP Dean Brown for his preselection. Brown won Liberal preselection, but Evans ran for Davenport as an independent and was elected. Evans ended up sitting as a Liberal MP, and was re-elected in Davenport in 1989 before passing the seat on to his son Iain Evans at the 1993 election. Brown returned to Parliament in 1992 at a by-election, led the Liberal Party to victory at the 1993 election and served as Premier from 1993 to 1996.

The ALP’s Philip Tyler won Fisher, but lost four years later in 1989 to Liberal candidate Bob Such.

Such was promoted to the frontbench when Dean Brown became Liberal leader in 1992, and served as a minister from 1993 until Brown was deposed as Premier in 1996, when he was demoted to the backbench.

Such was discontented with the government, now led by John Olsen, and in 2000, facing a preselection challenge, he resigned from the Liberal Party.

Such was re-elected at the 2002 election, now as an independent, defeating Liberal candidate Susan Jeanes.

Such became Deputy Speaker after the 2002 election, and served as Speaker from 2005 to 2006.

Such was re-elected as an independent at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 elections.

Bob Such was diagnosed with a brain tumour shortly after the 2014 election, and took medical leave until his death in October 2014.

Candidates

Assessment
Fisher was a natural Liberal seat prior to Bob Such leaving the party in 2000, and is likely to return to the Liberal fold, although it is unclear whether any of the independents is a viable challenger.

2014 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Bob Such Independent 9,038 38.5 +3.6
Sam Duluk Liberal 8,249 35.1 +7.0
Jake Neville Labor 4,170 17.7 -8.6
Malwina Wyra Greens 1,112 4.7 -0.5
Daryl van den Brink Family First 936 4.0 -0.8

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Bob Such Independent 13,951 59.4 -8.1
Sam Duluk Liberal 9,554 40.6 +8.1
Polling places in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election. Central in orange, East in blue, West in green. Click to enlarge.

Polling places in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election. Central in orange, East in blue, West in green. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths in Fisher have been divided into three parts: central, east and west.

Independent MP Bob Such topped the primary vote in the ‘central’ area, with 47.9%. In the ‘west’, the Liberal Party narrowly outpolled Such. The Liberal Party also narrowly outpolled Such in the east, but with a much smaller primary vote. The Labor vote was much larger in the east (21.7%) compared to the west.

Despite only topping the primary vote in one out of three areas, Bob Such benefited from Labor preferences which gave him a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in all three areas.

Voter group IND % LIB % ALP % Total votes % of votes
East 33.18 36.06 21.71 10,059 42.80
Central 47.92 31.84 13.05 6,488 27.60
West 41.26 43.18 8.14 1,093 4.65
Other votes 36.49 35.53 17.90 5,865 24.95
Two-candidate-preferred votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Two-candidate-preferred votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Bob Such in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Primary votes for independent candidate Bob Such in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Liberal primary votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Liberal primary votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Labor primary votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

Labor primary votes in Fisher at the 2014 South Australian state election.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room. If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.