South Australia Archive

Council elections in Tasmania and SA

Two Australian states are in the process of electing their local councils for the next four years. Unfortunately due to the large volume of state elections currently taking place, I won’t be able to provide any coverage of these elections, but others have produced some useful coverage elsewhere.

South Australian elections take place every four years. All SA council elections are conducted by postal ballot – ballot papers will be sent out over the week of 20-24 October, and voting closes on November 7. SA councils are elected by a mixture of single-member and multi-member wards, as well as directly-elected Mayors in most (or possibly all?) councils.

Until this year, half of each Tasmanian council was elected every two years for a four year term. This year is the first time that entire councils have been up for election at the same time. Tasmanian councils have no wards – so this means that all councils are proportionally elected, and the quotas will drop significantly. Mayors in Tasmania tend to be directly-elected. Tasmanian ballot papers will be posted between the 14th and the 17th of October, and must be returned by the 28th of October.

The shift in Tasmania towards conducting all council elections on one day every four years means that only one Australian state now conducts staggered council elections. In Western Australia, councillors are elected every two years for four year terms. The next WA council elections are due in late 2015.

Queensland’s next council elections are due in early 2016, while both New South Wales and Victoria are both due around the time of the next federal election in late 2016.

Tasmanian psephologist Kevin Bonham has completed an in-depth profile of the Hobart City Council election, including analysis of how sitting councillors’ have voted and lists of candidates. I recommend it for those eager for more elections news.

Radio AdelaideĀ programĀ The Scrutineers, by Casey Briggs and Dianne Janes, has produced a special episode focusing on South Australia’s local government elections. You can listen to the show online, as well as subscribe to the podcast and download old episodes of the show.

South Australian redistribution: draft maps released

Late last week the Electoral District Boundaries Commission of South Australia released draft boundaries for the next South Australian state election in March 2014.

Antony Green has covered the changes and their significance in more depth, including margins for every seat and a description of each seat’s change. You can also see the maps at the ECSA website.

South Australian electoral law requires a redistribution following every election. In addition, SA electoral law requires that electoral boundaries be ‘fair’, which in the past has been interpreted as drawing electoral boundaries that would result in the party that wins a majority of the two-party-preferred vote winning a majority of seats.

Despite this law, the last election saw the ALP win a majority of seats while the Liberal Party won a solid majority of the vote (51.6% of the 2PP vote). This was largely achieved due to the ALP suffering massive swings in their safest seats while largely holding their ground in their marginal seats.

It was expected that this would require a significant redrawing of the electoral map to give the Liberal Party a notional majority of seats. However, the Commission instead decided to make relatively minor changes. Not a single seat held by the major parties has changed hands on the boundaries. As Antony Green has said:

The Commission’s justification is that it has decided the boundaries at the 2010 election were fundamentally fair. However, the differential nature of the swing denied the Liberal Party a majority. The Commission has decided the differential swing was a campaign factor, not one caused by an unfairness in the boundaries drawn in 2007.

It is yet to be seen if the final boundaries will produce a more significant change. Even with boundaries that preserve the ALP’s majority, it is likely the ALP government will suffer a significant swing in 2014, making this redistribution largely irrelevant.

You can download my Google Earth map of the draft 2014 boundaries along with the previous four seats of maps at the maps page. You can also download a time series map that shows the changes in SA electoral boundaries since 1997.

2010 South Australian electoral boundaries, showing the Adelaide area.

Draft 2014 South Australian electoral boundaries, showing the Adelaide area.

New maps posted

The blog has been quiet for a while. Partly this has been due to me being very busy with other projects and with my day job, but the main reason has been due to me doing my work on this website behind the scenes.

Over the past two months I’ve produced maps of the election results for all 89 Queensland state electorates for the 2009 state election. This is part of my plan to produce a guide to the upcoming Queensland state election, as I have done for the last state elections in New South Wales and Victoria, and last year’s federal election.

Over the last week I’ve been working on a different project. Maps have now been posted on the blog’s maps page for two jurisdictions. The new boundaries that will be used in Victoria for the next federal election have been posted, along with the draft boundaries for South Australia. The Victorian maps are the result of a redistribution which was concluded at the end of 2010. The South Australian redistribution is expected to be finalised in the next few months.

In the next few months the calculation will be made as to whether any states or territories gain or lose seats at the next election. It doesn’t appear likely that there will be any change in seat numbers, so there isn’t expected to be a redistribution in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory, as all of these states held redistributions before the 2010 election. A redistribution is due next year in the Australian Capital Territory, which should be a relatively simple endeavour. I’ll keep you posted.

Update: I have now finished the redistribution for the NT Legislative Assembly, which will face an election on the new boundaries next year. I have also checked the timetable for the ACT redistribution, and it appears it won’t commence until January 2013, leaving an open question of whether it will be finished in time for the federal election. I also realised that I had improperly marked the two previous sets of ACT federal boundaries, so these have been fixed.

Seat profile #98: Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide is a safe Labor seat in northern Adelaide. The seat covers the aforementioned port and surrounding areas. It was first created in 1949 and has always been held by Labor MPs. It was won in 2007 by Mark Butler, a prominent figure in the South Australian Labor Left, and now a Parliamentary Secretary. The ALP shouldn’t have any trouble retaining the seat in 2010.

Continue reading…

Seat profile #96: Mayo

Mayo is a large regional seat covering the Adelaide Hills and areas to the south and east of Adelaide, including Kangaroo Island. The seat has been held by the Liberal Party since its creation in 1984, but it has been targetted by minor parties on a number of occasions. The Democrats came close to beating Alexander Downer at the 1990 and 1998 elections. Downer retired in 2008 and the ensuing by-election saw the Greens come close to defeating Liberal candidate Jamie Briggs.

Continue reading…

Seat profile #84: Barker

Barker is a safe Liberal seat covering a large part of rural South Australia. Barker covers the southeastern corner of South Australia, stretching from Mount Gambier in the south up to the Barossa Valley and the Riverland, covering the upper parts of the Murray River within South Australia. The seat has been held by Liberal MP Patrick Secker since 1998.

Continue reading…

Seat profile #79: Adelaide

Adelaide covers the central suburbs of Adelaide in South Australia. It has been held since 2004 by Minister for Youth and Sport, Kate Ellis.

She holds it by a sizeable 8% margin, although the seat has a long history of switching between the major parties, and was held by the Liberal Party from 1993 to 2004.

Continue reading…

Seat profile #68: Wakefield

Wakefield is a seat on the northern fringe of Adelaide, covering the suburbs of Elizabeth and Gawler and rural areas as far north as Clare. The seat has only been won by the ALP three times, and had been held by the Liberal Party continuously from 1946 until the ALP’s Nick Champion won it in 2007. The seat underwent a redistribution in 2004 which moved it into more urban areas on the northern side of Adelaide. The seat is held by the ALP by a 6.6% margin.

Continue reading…

Seat profile #60: Grey

Grey is a massive seat covering most of South Australia, including the outback towns of Roxby Downs, Coober Pedy and Woomera, as well as the South Australian coast from the Yorke Peninsula to the Western Australian border and the coastal towns of Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Lincoln. Grey has a long history of Labor victories, but has been held by the Liberal Party since 1993. Rowan Ramsey won the seat for the first time in 2007, suffering a swing of over 9% to hold on to the seat with a 4.4% margin.

Continue reading…

Profiles of key Adelaide seats

I’m still slowly making my way through writing my guide to the federal election. I have now finished 13 House of Representatives seat guides, with the latest being the four most marginal seats in Adelaide: Boothby, Hindmarsh, Kingston and Sturt.

Now that redistributions have concluded in New South Wales and Queensland, I will start working from the top of the pendulum, starting with supermarginal Bowman, in order to ensure that marginal seats are finished in case an early election is called. It’s quite time-consuming to write these guides so I’m prioritising the more interesting seats. So keep an eye out on the pendulum page for new guides to be posted.