Adelaide – Australia 2013

ALP 7.5%

Incumbent MP
Kate Ellis, since 2004.

Map of Adelaide's 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Click to enlarge.
Map of Adelaide’s 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Click to enlarge.

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 expanded west, gaining a small area around Vale Park from Sturt. This slightly reduced the Labor margin from 7.7% to 7.5%.

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 and 2010, and has served as a minister in the Labor government since the 2007 election.


Adelaide’s 7.5% margin will probably be enough for Kate Ellis to hold on, but in current circumstances it is possible the Liberal Party could gain enough of a swing.

2010 result

Kate EllisALP38,16243.89-4.37
Luke WestleyLIB32,67337.57-0.86
Ruth BeachGRN11,90113.69+3.94
Suzanne NealFF1,9002.18+0.15
Marie NichollsDEM8190.94-0.59
Gemma WeedallSA7860.90+0.90
Christopher SteeleLDP7160.82+0.82

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Kate EllisALP50,16457.69-0.84
Luke WestleyLIB36,79342.31+0.84
Polling places in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election. Central in orange, North in green, South in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election. Central in orange, North in green, South in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas. Adelaide covers parts of nine local government areas, and they are divided between the three areas in this way:

  • Central – Adelaide, Burnside, Norwood Payneham and St Peters, Walkerville and West Torrens.
  • North – Charles Sturt, Port Adelaide Enfield and Prospect.
  • South – Unley.

The ALP won a majority in all three areas, varying from 52.7% in the centre to 65.4% in the north. The Greens vote varied from 12.3% in the north to 14.7% in the centre.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes14.2455.4219,555
Two-party-preferred votes in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Adelaide at the 2010 federal election.


  1. I think Kate Ellis is in for a real fight. Internal polling shows that she and other ALP colleagues in SA are in a lot of trouble. I think she will have to win from second in primaries. Green preferences may make the difference but the Green vote has fallen a lot in some places.

  2. Will be a very close contest, I agree with DB, it will come down to Green preferences. I would predict the Liberals Carmen Garcia will just get over the line here.

  3. There are parts of the seat that have moved very strongly away from the Liberals since the mid-1990s: both the band from North Adelaide through Walkverville to St Peters, and across the southern boundary of the electorate are prime affluent Liberal areas, with (historically) good levels of organization, but lots of “Doctors Wives”. Declines in those areas were partly off-set by Worth targetting “Howard battlers” in the northern parts of the seat, where older working class voters identified with an active and not particularly partisan local member.

    If Garcia can rebuild support in the middle band and southern areas (which both swung heavily back to the Libs in the 2010 state election, suggesting they are potentially volatile) she should be able to get over the line desptie what will probably be continued weakness in the North as the ALP runs a “sandbagging” campaign.

  4. Yeah, it’s odd the volatility that this seat has had, especially for an inner-city seat that wasn’t lost by the Libs in 98, that it’s now such a strong seat for Labor. Part of that is a good local member in Kate Ellis, but has it been largely affected by redistributions or demographic change in the last decade?

  5. DB, are you still suggesting that Ellis will lose – noted that this was before Rudd’s return? I really cannot see that happening given the margin she sits on.

  6. Really, I thought that Ellis was fairly popular? I wonder if that polling is just a surge post Abotts visit to launch Garcia’s campaign office a week ago or if it will hold? Greens have a fairly solid vote here which should increase a little this election.

  7. This would be more difficult for the libs to gain. Its a state capital and the libs struggle to cut through in areas like them. They won’t win Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Denison probably lose Solomon and Brisbane. They are better off targeting other seats

  8. The Adelaide Advertiser reports the latest Galaxy automated phone poll for Adelaide and gives Labor a 54-46 lead with a swing to the Liberals of 3.5%. The samples in these polls have been about 550, with margins of error of about 4.2%

  9. Just received a mailing from the Libs. It tells me virtually nothing about Carmen Garcia. That annoys me. Why should anyone vote for an anonymous person to represent them in a national parliament? I am not a donkey.

  10. Does it still seem that this will be a retain as opposed to the talk of a few weeks ago of a possible LIB chance here?

  11. This is interesting;
    “Over the weekend Liberal candidates started to put up posters with Tony Abbott in the frame. The Liberal candidate for Kate Ellis’s seat of Adelaide, Carmen Garcia, has been replacing single posters of herself with joint images including the Opposition Leader. It is a sign that Abbott is no longer considered to be a negative on the Coalition’s vote at this election.”

  12. This was posted on PB 20 mins ago #1499 for what it is worth
    “Independently Thinking Posted Friday, September 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm
    Just a quick update from SA:

    Labor have written off Hindmarsh, and if that wasn’t obvious, having Jay Weatherill campaign today in Adelaide instead of for his factional ally in Hindmarsh says it all.

    In Adelaide, both parties’ internal polling showing 50:50 with a high non 2 party primary vote, so not only will it come to preferences, but thanks to Palmer and co, it is a lottery.

    Champion will prevail in Wakefield where his 2PP has about halved but the Libs never looked in the hunt up there since Julia was flicked.

    Boothby may have been the most marginal LNP seat in the country, but not by this time tomorrow as Southcott will stretch his lead to about 7%. Labor’s Dignance will then be declared their candidate for the State seat of Elder by the end of the month.

    Makin will see Tony Zappia returned with a 6% buffer – handing out for himself at prepolling probably helped.

    The other seats in SA are not of interest in the scheme of things.

    Senate predictions when I come back from wedding anniversary dinner and Mrs IT asleep from champagne.”

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