Sturt – Australia 2013

LIB 3.6%

Incumbent MP
Christopher Pyne, since 1993.

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

Sturt lies in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. The southern part of the seat covers most of Burnside LGA, while Campbelltown LGA covers the centre of the seat, and five other LGAs each overlap with the western and northern fringes of Sturt. Sturt stretches north to Grand Junction Road, and key suburbs include Glen Osmond, Burnside, Magill, Felixstow, Campbelltown, Klemzig, Gilles Plains, Rostrevor, Newton, Paradise, Athelstone and Highbury.

Sturt lost a small area in the west to Adelaide and gained a small area in the south-west from Boothby. This increased the Liberal margin from 3.4% to 3.6%.

Sturt was created for the 1949 election, and has almost always been held by the Liberal Party. Indeed, except for two terms when it was held by the ALP, the seat was held by the same family from its creation until Pyne was elected in 1993.

The seat was first won by Keith Wilson in 1949. He lost the seat in 1954 to Norman Makin. Makin had served in the House of Representatives from 1919 to 1946, during which time he served as Speaker of the House of Representatives and a Minister in the Curtin and Chifley governments, before becoming Ambassador to the United States.

Makin abandoned the seat in 1955 for the safer Bonython, and Wilson returned to the seat. Wilson retired in 1966 and was succeeded by his son Ian. Ian served as a junior minister in the last term of the Fraser government before going to the backbench after the election of the Hawke government.

Wilson was challenged for preselection in 1993 by 25-year-old Christopher Pyne. Pyne served as a Parliamentary Secretary from the 2001 election until January 2007, and he quickly moved into the role of Minister for Ageing.

The 2007 election saw a significant swing to the ALP, with Pyne’s margin being slashed from 6.8% to 0.9%. This was a dramatic shift from the usual range of margins in Sturt. From the expansion of the House of Representatives in 1984 until 2004, all but one election saw the Liberals hold Sturt with a margin between 5.7% and 8.2%, although Pyne managed a 10% margin at the 1996 landslide.

Pyne’s margin collapsed to 50.9% in 2007, and increased to 53.4% in 2010.


Sturt is a very marginal seat, but Pyne has held on in difficult circumstances and should increase his margin this year.

2010 result

Christopher PyneLIB42,41848.05+0.88
Rick SarreALP31,98936.23-5.23
Peter FiebigGRN8,83410.01+3.60
Dale CleggFF3,3463.37+0.37
Jess ClarkLDP6970.79+0.43
Darren AndrewsDEM5580.63-0.54
Jack KingON4430.50+0.50

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Christopher PyneLIB47,17253.43+2.49
Rick SarreALP41,11346.57-2.49
Polling places in Sturt at the 2010 federal election. Central in blue, North in red, South in green. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Sturt at the 2010 federal election. Central in blue, North in red, South in green. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas. The Liberal Party won a large 60% majority in the south, which makes up the largest proportion of the voter population. The ALP won slim majorities in the cente and the north, between 51% and 52%.

Voter groupGRN %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes10.5955.0821,060
Two-party-preferred votes in Sturt at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Sturt at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Sturt at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Sturt at the 2010 federal election.


  1. When drawing historical comparisons, it is important to understand that this seat, while tethered to some of Adelaide’s most affluent suburbs in Burnside, has moved too and fro across the hills face zone and the north east. In its current form, it takes in some fairly industrial areas in its north west; some established aspirational suburbs in the north east such as Athelstone and Highbury, and accommodates in the middle areas identified as the centre (so far as there now is one) of Adelaide’s Italian communities around Hectoville, Glynde and Felixstow. In the past, the seat has extended much further west – up to the borders of the Adelaide City Council – and, in the distant past (until the 1984 creation of Mayo following expansion of the size of the HoR) well into Tea Tree Gully and the Adelaide Hills.

    Pyne should do well, with an unpopular Labour state government and a tendency of SA to swing back toward a 50:50 voter split, after several elections in which it has shown Labour strong support.

  2. So, do you think the ALP might specifically target this seat, with Pyne being a fairly visible shadow minister in a relatively marginal seat, with Rudd’s poll boost?

    Seems like the perfect choice of seat for the “we’re gunning to take some choice seats” angle that parties typically do when they feel that momentum is on their side.

  3. Though Pyne always seems to come across as a ‘privileged, private school boy prat’ he has the required profile in what has some strong LIB voting suburbs. It would be a waste of resources when the ALP needs to target Boothby while also holding all other seats in a state that they have been polling badly in recent months. (Though, noted that the last Newspoll had both parties 1st pref at 41% , Greens at 8%.)

    Speaking of the Greens, I’m a little surprised given some of the suburbs in this seat – mainly the south end from around Burnside & the foothills to Glen Osmond rd area – that they weren’t a couple of % points higher last time. Looks like they lost their highest booth to Adelaide in the redistribution so I wonder if they will maintain 10%?

    FF will run but can’t see PUP getting much. Would be interesting to see an education professional run as an independent in this seat.

  4. Watched the Q&A tonight, Pyne was on along with Bandt and Penny Wong (plus Janet Albrechtsen of The Australian, and Rhys Muldoon). My goodness, Pyne is rude. Every time Bandt, Wong, or Muldoon started speaking, he’d either start talking to someone else just loud enough to interrupt, or directly interrupt with various comments. By comparison, whenever Pyne was speaking, both Wong and Bandt sat quietly, even when he was saying utterly absurd things that they’d have every right to interject on – instead, they waited their turns.

  5. I don’t know how people here can keep electing him he’s just someone who has no respect for anyone because he knows he will never advance to leader. The day he retires is a good day[SNIP]

  6. [SNIP]

    The PUP candidate will be out there shaking hands and offering people a choice of alternative choice (with a right leaning policy base). While they may only get a small percentage of votes, the source of these votes and the preference flow will be critical in some electorates.
    If we put Clive to onside, many of the local candidates have a good local profile and the actual poll could surprise a few people. OR, I could be completely wrong, and PUP could be as popular as the Greens.

  7. Will Pyne hold this? I am in his electorate. I don’t see why he deserves to hold. He hasn’t done much in the Sturt electorate.

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