Mount Gambier – SA 2018

LIB 7.2% vs IND

Incumbent MP
Troy Bell (IND), since 2014.

Geography
South-eastern corner of South Australia. Mount Gambier covers the Mount Gambier and Grant local government areas. Most of the population lies within the town of Mount Gambier.

Redistribution
No change.

History
The electorate of Mount Gambier has existed continuously since 1938, although the seat changed name to Gordon from 1993 to 2002. The seat has been represented by three independent MPs, and apart from those was won by the ALP prior to 1975 and by the Liberal Party after that date.

Independent MP John Fletcher held the seat for twenty years, from 1938 to 1958.

Labor MP Ron Ralston held the seat from 1958 to 1962, followed by Labor MP Allan Burdon from 1962 to 1975.

Harold Allison was the seat’s only Liberal MP, holding the seat for eighteen years from 1975 to 1993, and then held the renamed electorate of Gordon for one more term, until 1997.

Allison retired in 1997, and Scott Dixon defeated Mount Gambier council chairman Rory McEwen for Liberal preselection. McEwen ran as an independent, and narrowly overtook the ALP for second place on primary votes, and then narrowly defeated Dixon on Labor preferences.

McEwen easily won re-election at the 2002 election, with the electorate renamed from Gordon back to Mount Gambier. He did not support the Labor government immediately after the election, but in November 2002 accepted a new ministerial position in the Labor-led minority government.

McEwen won re-election in 2006 with a reduced margin, and again joined the ministry in the Rann government, despite the ALP holding a comfortable majority in the House of Assembly.

McEwen resigned from the ministry in 2009, and retired at the 2010 election.

At the 2010 election, the contest was between the two mayors covering the electorate: Liberal candidate and Mount Gambier mayor Steve Perryman and independent candidate and Grant mayor Don Pegler. Pegler narrowly won.

Pegler lost in 2014 to Liberal candidate Troy Bell. Bell resigned from the Liberal Party in 2017 over allegations aired at the state ICAC.

Candidates

  • Troy Bell (Independent)
  • Craig Marsh (Liberal)

Assessment
Mount Gambier will likely go to the Liberal candidate: a one-term MP who has become an independent in Troy Bell’s circumstances is not likely to have a strong personal vote. These seat is also a strong area for Nick Xenophon (ninth-best in 2016), so it is possible SA Best could take advantage of the split Liberal vote.

2014 election result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Troy Bell Liberal 11,10051.8+9.3
Don PeglerIndependent5,87227.4-8.8
Jim Maher Labor 2,33810.9-1.5
Peter HeavenFamily First1,0955.1+0.8
John Baseley Greens 1,0314.8+2.5
Informal6162.8

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Troy Bell Liberal 12,25157.2+7.7
Don PeglerIndependent9,18542.8-7.7

2014 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Troy Bell Liberal 71.4+5.9
Jim Maher Labor 28.6-5.9

Booth breakdown

Booths in Mount Gambier have been divided into three areas. Polling places in the Mount Gambier urban area have been split into east and west, with the rural remainder grouped as Grant.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from just under 56% in Mount Gambier to 59% in Grant.

The Labor vote ranged from 6.3% in Grant to 12.3% in eastern Mount Gambier.

Voter groupALP prim %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Mt Gambier West10.955.75,38025.1
Grant6.359.03,94918.4
Mt Gambier East12.355.63,93718.4
Other votes12.458.08,17038.1

Election results in Mount Gambier at the 2014 SA state election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Liberal vs Independent) and Labor primary votes.

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Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.

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