Boothby – Australia 2022

LIB 1.4%

Incumbent MP
Nicolle Flint, since 2016.

Southern Adelaide. Boothby stretches from the coast to the bottom of the Adelaide Hills. The seat covers suburbs such as Brighton and Marion in the western part of the seat, Blackwood, Aberfoyle Park and Flagstaff Hill in the south-east and Hawthorn in the north-east.

Boothby has almost always been held by conservative parties, with a few exceptions in periods of Labor dominance. The ALP held the seat for most of the first decade-and-a-half following federation, as well as during the depression years, but in both cases lost the seat through a defection to a new conservative party. The ALP also held the seat for six years in the 1940s, with the seat remaining in Liberal hands for the last seventy years.

The electorate of Boothby was created for the 1903 election. The seat was first held by the ALP’s Lee Batchelor, who served as Minister for Home Affairs in the Watson government and Minister for External Affairs in the first two Fisher governments. He took responsibility for the Northern Territory when it was ceded to the federal government in 1911 and died in office the same year.

While the ALP lost the seat to the new Commonwealth Liberal Party in the 1911 by-election, the seat was won back in 1913 by George Dankel, who joined the new Nationalist Party in 1916. He retired in 1917 and was replaced by William Story, a Senator and another former ALP member in the Nationalist Party.

Story lost his seat in 1922 to John Duncan-Hughes of the newly-formed Liberal Party, made up of Nationalists disenchanted with Billy Hughes’ leadership, and Duncan-Hughes entered the Nationalist fold upon Hughes’ retirement as Prime Minister and held the seat until 1928.

John Price won the seat for the ALP in 1928, was re-elected in 1929 and then followed Joe Lyons across the floor in 1931 to join the newly founded United Australia Party. He held the seat until his death in 1941, when Grenfell Price won the seat and held onto it for one term.

The ALP won the seat in 1943 at the depths of the UAP’s ill-fortunes and held it for six years until the 1949 election, when the seat was won by the Liberal Party’s John McLeay. The ALP has never won the seat since.

McLeay served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1956 until his retirement in 1966, and still holds the record for the longest-serving Speaker. He was succeeded by his son John McLeay Jr in 1966. McLeay junior held the seat until 1981, and served as a minister in the first two terms of the Fraser government.

McLeay junior’s resignation in 1981 saw the seat won at a by-election by former South Australian Premier Steele Hall. Hall had been Premier from 1968 to 1970, when he lost office. He had resigned from the Liberal and Country League in 1972 to form the progressive Liberal Movement, and was elected as a crossbench senator in 1974 and 1975 before rejoining the Liberal Party in 1976 and resigning from the Senate in 1977.

Hall held the seat until his retirement in 1996, when Andrew Southcott defeated Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill in a preselection contest. Southcott held the seat for the next twenty years.

The seat has trended away from the Liberal Party over the last two decades. While the Liberals maintained a majority of the primary vote and a two-party-preferred vote of approximately 60% from 1984 until 1996, the 1998 election saw them fall below 50% for the first time. They remained steady in 2001, before Southcott suffered another swing against the national trend in 2004, falling to 55.4% of the two-party-preferred vote.

In 2007 the ALP preselected “star candidate” Nicole Cornes, who was generally considered to have performed poorly by the media and the ALP, but still managed a swing of another 2.5%, reducing Southcott’s margin to 2.9%.

In 2010, despite a national swing to the Coalition, Southcott’s margin was reduced further to 0.75%. In 2013, Southcott finally gained a swing back to the Liberal Party, with his vote increasing by 6.5%.

Southcott retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate Nicolle Flint. Flint was re-elected in 2019.

Sitting Liberal MP Nicolle Flint is not running for re-election.

Boothby is a very marginal seat, and the only marginal seat in South Australia. The absence of the sitting member will make this an attractive prospect for Labor.

2019 result

Nicolle Flint Liberal 49,97345.2+3.5
Nadia Clancy Labor 38,29734.6+7.7
Stef Rozitis Greens 13,22412.0+3.8
Trevor JonesIndependent2,8432.6+2.6
Geoff RussellAnimal Justice2,6752.4+1.0
Peter SalernoUnited Australia Party2,0941.9+1.9
Adrian David CheokConservative National Party8680.8+0.8
Carol WongRise Up Australia6030.5+0.6

2019 two-party-preferred result

Nicolle Flint Liberal 56,81251.4-1.3
Nadia Clancy Labor 53,76548.6+1.3

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts. The “east” covers the Mitcham and Unley council areas. The “west” covers the Holdfast Bay council area and a small part of the Marion council area in the south-western corner of the seat. The “central” area covers the remainder of the Marion council area.

The map shows a clear divide, with the Liberal Party winning the west of the electorate (with 53% of the two-party-preferred), Labor winning the centre (with 56%), the Liberal Party winning the north-east and Labor winning the south-east.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes10.755.419,34817.5

Election results in Boothby at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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  1. A Labor gain shouldn’t be surprising since the overlapping state seats swung very strongly to Labor, much more than the rest of SA, and with a retiring MP, the momentum from the state election is likely to carry on to the federal election. If Marshall was able to hold onto power, I would tip the Liberals to hold on to the seat.

  2. Same pollster that gave 57-43 to Labor a month ago, before the election call. So suggesting a 2% tightening since then – in line with what national polls have indicated. I also expect this to be a goner unless a second miracle happens, which isn’t looking very likely, and perhaps even then.

  3. Swan, Pearce and Boothby are essentially gone for the Liberals no matter what, even if there’s a second miracle for Morrison. If he can retain seats like Bass, Chisholm and Reid and make sure the Teals don’t pick up any seats, or at least only limit their gains to Goldstein and/or Wentworth, as well as pick up a bunch of Labor seats like Parramatta, Dobell, Macquarie etc. then he has a chance to form government or at least the Coalition could form minority government if a deal with the crossbench means Morrison goes and Frydenberg or a moderate replaces him.


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