Boothby – Australia 2022

LIB 1.4%

Incumbent MP
Nicolle Flint, since 2016.

Geography
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.

History
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.

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

Assessment
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

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
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
Informal5,4534.7+0.6

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
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
East14.348.128,80426.0
Central11.844.020,14718.2
West11.953.418,51516.7
Pre-poll10.356.823,76321.5
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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53 COMMENTS

  1. Methinks this seat one of the strongest prospects for Labor outside of WA. With the caveat of course that state poll breakdowns have been very volatile in SA.

  2. Wreathy of Sydney
    Hello there. Have so eagerly been anticipating our discussions .
    This one will be fascinating. You may be right here. However the big issue, or subject of interest, is how Nicole Flint was attacked, with such venom, & hatred, last election. How silent the MSM, & the “Sisterhood” were (about it). Like they didn’t know!!!!!!!. Yeah right!!!!. Yeah Penny Wong didn’t know what was going on the the only contested seat in her state !!!??? Yeah right. Such hypocritical bullshit.
    Consequently I’m going contrarian & predicting a small swing to the Libs, unless Georgina Downer runs !. If that happens Labor will win !
    Unlikely though Labor never take my suggestions seriously !

  3. winediamond,

    Dr Rachel Swift is the Liberal candidate here so no chance of Downer being the candidate and besides I believe she has a new job now. I agree the liberals will hold, Moderate sensible liberal candidate for this lower case liberal seat. I believe Flint is supporting her as well.

    The only chance Labor has here if Penny Wong herself switches to the lower house and runs here (which will not happen) and besides a senior Labor member wouldn’t want to risk their political career on a marginal seat, whoever wins Boothby will likely be on the backbench for their entire career.

    Labor will probably win this in 2024/25 regardless of the presumed Liberal members personal vote/sophomore surge. The only 2 safe seats for the Liberals in SA are Gray and Barker. (and Mayo if Sharkie retires)

  4. Daniel
    Thanks for the reply.
    Interesting that i get the feeling that you weren’t much impressed with Flint, but admire Wong. I find this remarkable in view of the fact that they are the SAME personality Perfectionist/Reformer type 1. some minor differences in flavour, focus, etc….
    Doubtless you won’t be surprised that i vehemently disagree with you re Penny Wong !!. I’d be delighted if she were to stand, for any lower house seat. Not picky!
    Instinctively i see this seat drifting towards the liberals , (in the future) due to the biggest issue for voters -cost of living. Boothby is a fulcrum seat in this respect. A future redistribution could also be kinder….
    Interesting that you see Sturt as a marginal.
    cheers WD

  5. Georgina Downer doesn’t even live in South Australia anymore. It was reported she moved back to Victoria a year and a half ago. I doubt she would come back again for this seat. She probably looking for a seat in Victoria to contest if she was to try her hand again at politics. And as Daniel mentioned the Liberals already have a candidate in Dr Rachel Swift.

  6. The 2019 election makes a lot more sense in hindsight but I’m still surprised Labor didn’t pick this one (or Chisholm) up. An absolute must gain for them in 2022 and I think they will.

  7. John
    What didn’t make sense at the time that does now? Btw the election will be this year 2021.

  8. @Winediamond – every single opinion poll had Labor winning the election and they lost, and it wasn’t even clear what seats the LNP could win back to offset a few inevitable losses.

    In hindsight, seats like Longman and Braddon weren’t in the clear just because Labor held on from the s44 byelections, there were key demographics that didn’t like Turnbull but liked Abbott and Morrison (or didn’t carw about Turnbull’s demise), and fence sitting was a “worst of both worlds” strategy which wouldn’t help them win any QLD marginals.

    But Labor did actually pick up a swing in Boothby and Labor has every chance of repeating that to win here especially with no incumbent.

  9. A seat that covers much of the affluent middle class suburbia south of Adelaide, this should be a comfortable Lib seat. It’s had two weak members in Southcott and Flint, both of whom have come close to losing it. A competent Lib who goes down well in Netherby (Flint was a little too Sarah Palin for those sorts) will hold this for as long as she wants.

    Steele Hall became Premier of SA in 1968, not 1966. He is, I think, the oldest living former Premier of any state and the longest-lasting. His contemporaries in office included Bjelke-Petersen, Askin, Bolte and Brand – names to be reckoned, for sure, but now mostly distant memories.

  10. St Vincent de Paul Society SA CEO Louise Miller-Frost has been announced as Labor’s canidate in Boothby.

  11. (edited) Excerpt from the OZ 10.00 pm

    The woman who led the rape-case crusade against former attorney-general Christian Porter will run as an independent at next year’s federal election.

    Arts administrator Jo Dyer will contest the ultra-marginal South Australian seat of Boothby under the “Voices of” banner. .
    Ms Dyer has been endorsed by the grassroots “Voices of” campaign and is running in the seat – held by retiring Liberal MP Nicolle Flint on a margin of 1.4 per cent – on a platform of greater climate action, the better treatment of women and integrity.

    “Yes, people, this is happening: I’m running as an independent for the mighty seat of #Boothby,” Ms Dyer tweeted on Monday. “It’s way beyond time to reset the toxic mess of our current politics and demand honesty, integrity and accountability from our leaders.”

    Ms Dyer shot to national prominence when she became the public spokeswoman for the friends of Mr Porter’s rape accuser, who took her own life in 2020, launching a public campaign for an inquiry into the allegation and the former attorney-general’s suitability to be a senior cabinet minister.

    Mr Porter, who will leave parliament at the next election, was seen as a potential prime minister before the allegations, which he strenuously denies, came to light in an ABC report. In announcing his decision to leave, he lamented the “harshness” of elected office, declaring there “appears to be no limit to what some will say or ­allege or do to gain an advantage over a perceived enemy”.

    If i were the Lib Candidate i’d be cracking a bottle of (australian) champagne !

  12. Is Flint a conservative? If so how on earth was she re-elected twice. It just shows voters don’t seem to care about their mps views extreme or not. They vote for the government/party not the MP.

    It would surprise me if she pulls a Bernardi and quits the party before or after the election. Her replacement is a moderate I believe and it would much suit this electorate better should they retain the seat which is looking doubtful at this point but 2019 proves anything is possible.

    Is still a seat I will be closely watching come May. (March election is unlikely if the polls don’t change and I don’t think Morrison wants to cause inconvenience for the Marshall government who is up in march)

  13. Yes, Nicole Flint is a conservative so i do think she is not a good fit for this seat (especially the Eastern end). The East of the seat close to the Adelaide Hills is small l liberal territory and traditionally was strong for the Democrats. The Centre of the seat is Labor leaning and working class. The Western part along the coast are affluent and can be compared to Goldstein. The fact that there are Red booths in both the East and along coast shows the Libs have under performed. In 2016, i believe Turnbull helped the Libs here. This was a seat that Labor thought they had in the bag in 2019. IMHO Labor would have won it in 2010 along with Dunkley and Aston if they had not run a shambolic campaign and instead were focused.

  14. I agree with wine diamond. Can’t help thinking that Jo Dyer’s entry will help the LNP. I don’t think she has much chance of winning so in a marginal seat like this her preferences may make all the difference.

  15. This seat is very much in play. Alas Wine Diamond it will be Labor party that will be cracking the champagne. Now I’m thinking upon whose head could they crack it open ?

  16. The Adelaide Advertiser ran a poll of 150 people in this seat and got the results below. There was no two party preferred vote but Labor’s polling was considerably higher then last federal election.

    How do you intend to vote at the upcoming federal election?
    Labor: 60
    Liberal: 46
    Independents, minor parties: 10
    Undecided or no preference: 34

    How did you vote at the 2019 election?
    Labor: 43
    Liberal: 66
    Independents, minor parties: 13
    Can’t remember/didn’t vote: 28

    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/labor-edges-ahead-in-highstakes-battle-for-boothby-ahead-of-federal-election/news-story/e90194b3ce64ebff3c9af264ae628e1c

  17. My feeling is that having Rachel Swift as a moderate Liberal candidate is too little too late. There seems to be a trend away from the Libs at Federal level in SA – not sure why. Boothby to me will be called early in the night for the ALP. Methinks that Jo Dyer is probably more likely to drag votes away from the Greens and ALP rather than the Libs and will come third by a long way.

  18. I believe that SA may be like Victoria, where ‘swing’ voters prefer more moderate, small ‘l’ Liberal candidates. The Coalition’s shift to the right has hurt them in these states, allowing Labor and independents to pick up the swing vote.

    SA used to have more swing seats, I believe Hindmarsh, Makin and Kingston were once marginal but are now considered safe Labor seats. Hindmarsh is different from the other two in that it underwent significant change at the 2018-19 redistribution, absorbing the Port Adelaide area whilst losing some conservative leaning suburbs to Boothby.

  19. Political Nightwatchman
    redistributed
    Yes, it’s looking like a duck !!. However as i said on the Moreton thread this is the Liberal equivalent of A “gunna” seat.

    Boothby always seems to go it’s own way, with very frequent results that are counter trend to the national result. Instinctively i’m less certain than a few months ago.
    I think Jo Dyer was an appalling choice of candidate, & as a result will find no traction.
    The Labor candidate is only slightly less uninspiring. If Labor fail ( yet again) Miller – Frost ,will be the biggest factor IMV. But the seat in now vulnerable, & in play.

  20. Yoh An, I was also add the seat of Adelaide which used to be marginal and held by Trish Worth for 4 terms. When Port Adelaide was abolished it absorbed solid Labor territory like Hindmarsh. Makin and Kingston should be marginal based on demographics but are not.

  21. Yeah, agree with you Nimalan that Adelaide was also one of the swing/marginal seats before becoming a bit safer having absorbed some parts of the abolished seat of Port Adelaide.

    An interesting point is that most of the state seats covered by Makin and Kingston tend to be safe for Labor, apart from a few northern Adelaide districts like Wright, King and Newland which cover the eastern side of Makin around Modbury and Tea Tree Gully.

  22. redistributed
    I heard something yesterday that changed my mind about Boothby, & the overall result. Apparently Craig Kelly is so stupid as to not negotiate on preferences. He has decided to preference against ALL SITTING MEMBERS. This is likely to make little difference to Marginal Labor seats. However the extra 1000 + votes in a seat like Boothby may make a critical difference.
    I can now see the Coalition losing at least 6+ seats & therefore the election. However Labor will lose at least 3 also. So whomever wins will not be able to form a majority govt

  23. I’ll believe the story about UAP preferences when they start handing out the HTVs and not a moment sooner

  24. Furtive Lawngnome
    So you don’t believe Kelly is that stupid !? I do understand your general scepticism , however there are some people incapable of strategic thinking. It appears Kelly is one such person. Surprising isn’t it.

  25. I would have to agree with the furtive gnome that UAP pronouncements can’t be trusted until there is no turning back.

  26. Kelly’s plan would see the party putting himself last on their HTV
    I wouldn’t be shocked if they put the Greens above Labor on the ticket just to wedge

    Libs should also put Greens above Labor in Macnamara, Cooper, Wills, Canberra, Grayndler, Sydney, Perth, Griffith, Brisbane, Ryan, Melbourne and basically any other seat where the Greens vote is above 18%. Labor would then have to put effort into Cooper and Wills (expect RDA to play a big role) meaning the Libs could sandbag Chisholm to within an inch of its life.

    Also ACT Labor supporting voting rights for 16-17 year olds mean the Greens should be able to leverage that given Labor probably won’t get a majority.

  27. Whatever your estimate of Craig Kelly’s trustworthiness or intelligence (for the record, my own estimates of both are rather low), there remains an unanswered practical element to UAP preferences and that is how many volunteers they’ll have handing out HTVs. As I recall, last election UAP HTVs were a rare sight indeed (at least in my area, which is admittedly nowhere near Boothby). It won’t make a shred of difference what the UAP HTV says if nobody sees it!

  28. https://www.tallyroom.com.au/aus2022/boothby2022/comment-page-1#comment-763119

    LNP preferences won`t be distributed in Brisbane or Griffith, it is a Prahran style battle not to come third in the 3CP count and harvest the other`s preferences.

    Liberals preferences also won`t be distributed in Higgins, so it will be another Prahran style 3CP contest.

    The ALP winning a majority in the House of Reps is, without a significant government recovery, likely.

  29. Ryan
    In your scenario, the Libs should preference Labor above the Greens in Melbourne. That keeps both the Greens and ALP on their toes.
    As for Chisholm, that would depend on whether it is even remotely winnable. They will need to sandbag Higgins to within an inch of its life and they may need to do the same in Goldstein, Flinders, Deakin and Casey.

  30. If Liberals preference Greens, Labor could retaliate by saying that they’ll be preferencing LNP over Greens which will kill the Greens in MacNamara, Griffith and Richmond, as well as in Liberal held Higgins, Kooyong, Brisbane and Ryan. I can see Labor Right aligned Josh Burns and Justine Elliot doing that. Send the “govern alone or not at all” message to North Queensland.

    However such a message will hurt Labor primary in Wills, Cooper, and Canberra, possibly significantly. So they lose those seats, but they also risk losing seats to Liberals, and lose campaign momentum in 3 corner contests. I think ALP will preference Greens even if LNP play funny buggers.

    @Redistributed Liberals preferencing Labor over Greens in Melbourne is status quo. Last 2 elections Labor didn’t make the 2PP but I think an indicative on the night count had Bandt winning 60/40 vs Labor.

    __________________

    I don’t understand why there’s a strong “voices of” campaign here. It’s a winnable ALP seat. Greens will have to think carefully over whether they preference Jo Dyer or Labor. I don’t see Dyer supporting Liberal government and she might have a better chance of winning. Greens will have egg on their face if Labor wins the 2PP but Dyer wins the seat and a Liberal minority government forms somehow. They will also be kicking themselves if it’s a Liberal vs Labor runoff with Labor losing, Dyer narrowly misses the runoff, and Dyer preferences split 60/40 or worse to Labor

  31. I think you’re underestimating the negative consequences of Labor preferencing Liberal over Greens in those seats.

    I do agree, I don’t understand the theory of victory for Voices in Boothby.

  32. Labor preferencing Liberals over Greens when Greens aren’t reciprocating would be absurd. No, I don’t even see Labor Right being on board with that. Maybe the Adam Somyureks of the world, maybe some of the lunatics on Pollbludger who allow the Greens to live rent free in their heads, but otherwise no. Unthinkable.

  33. ntm Josh Burns and Justine Elliot would themselves be among at least a dozen ALP MPs that have no chance of winning without Greens preferences.

  34. Labor preferencing the Liberals over the Greens in three-cornered contests would be like ordering a nuclear strike. It may give Labor the immediate benefit of distancing themselves from the Greens in this election, but the blowback would be enormous. Not only would it hand more seats to the Liberals in future, thus giving them a better chance to form government, I think it would also cause many of the leftists in the Labor base to abandon the party, believing it had been fully taken over by social conservatives and neoliberals. Labor might regard the Greens as a nuisance to their ambitions, but they should never forget who their real enemy is.

  35. @Dryhad – at the last election I was handing out HTVs at a preschool in Dunkley (near Frankston, Vic.) The Palmer guy on the booth quit within 30 minutes, saying “Well he didn’t pay his workers, he’s probably not going to pay me either!” I’m not sure they’re going to have heaps more quality this time around.

    Whoever suggested Labor preferencing Libs over the Greens – not gonna happen. Not even the Somyurek types would go through with something so utterly self-destructive. Labor have to live with the Greens, and need preferences from their strange coalition of eco-social-democrats and tree-Tories to have any hope of winning government.

  36. I know state and federal elections often have little relation, but Gibson and Waite have seen 13.6% and 12.9% swings to the ALP at the state election, and these two seats have lots of overlap with Boothby. That can’t be a good sign for the Liberals in a seat they’re already in a lot of trouble in.

  37. The recent nomination of Jo Dyer as the local Voices candidate changes the dynamics of the Boothby contest totally. Highly articulate with a strong following both nationally and within Adelaide’s arts and literary circles, Dyer is a better match for Boothby’s demographics than the ultra-conservative, anti-progressive Nicolle Flint ever was. The growing attention to the Voices movement nationally will make the 2022 election very different to 2019. It is certainly making the marginally held Liberal electorates it is contesting look shaky.

  38. Bruce Adams
    The problem for Dyer is her chances of making it into the 2CP are little to none. Boothby is almost certainly a Labor gain, not Independent. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Liberals just give up here and sandbag Sturt to try and maintain a presence in Adelaide.

  39. The uComms Boothby poll was carried out for the Australia Institute, which has the full breakdown of all the questions and percentages on its website. Given the ultra-slim margin this is definitely looking like a Liberal loss.

  40. Second most likely Labor gain in the nation after Swan. Would be baffled to see this not change hands, though I’d predict something more like 54-46 or 55-45 than 57-43.

  41. Another seat poll has this at 55-45 ALP. Considering albanese hasn’t even been here yet must suggest they think it’s an easy gain which I’d agree with.

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