Mayo – Australia 2022

CA 5.1% vs LIB

Incumbent MP
Rebekha Sharkie, since 2016.

Parts of South Australia to the south and east of Adelaide. Mayo covers the Adelaide Hills and the coast of South Australia from Lake Alexandrina to the southern edge of Adelaide, as well as Kangaroo Island.

Mayo was first created in 1984 as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives. The seat had been held by the Liberal Party continuously until 2016, but it had always been a high-profile target for minor parties.

The seat was won in 1984 by Alexander Downer, son of former cabinet minister Alec Downer and grandson of former premier Sir John Downer. He retained the seat safely in 1987 but was challenged by the Democrats in 1990, with the minor party polling over 20%. Downer retained the seat with a 6% margin.

A redistribution and a fall in the Democrats vote saw him retain the seat easily in 1993 and 1996. In 1998, the Democrats ran John Schumann, best known as lead singer of the band Redgum. Schumann achieved over 22% of the primary vote and reduced Downer’s two-party margin to 1.7%, the closest the Democrats ever came to winning a House of Representatives seat.

Another favourable redistribution in 2001 helped Downer win re-election, and he was untroubled at the 2004 and 2007 elections. Downer had served a disastrous year as Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1995 and served as Foreign Minister for the entirety of the Howard government from 1996 until 2007. After the defeat of the Howard government in 2007, Downer moved to the backbench and retired in 2008 to serve as United Nations envoy to Cyprus.

The ensuing by-election was contested between Liberal candidate Jamie Briggs and Greens candidate Lynton Vonow, as the ALP did not stand a candidate. The Greens polled 21%, and the Liberal vote dropped to 40%. After preferences, Briggs won 53% of the vote, and retained the seat by a slim margin.

Jamie Briggs was re-elected in 2010 and 2013.

Briggs lost Mayo in 2016 to Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie.

Sharkie was forced to resign from parliament in early 2018 due to her late citizenship renunciation in 2016, but she was re-elected at the resulting by-election as a representative of the renamed Centre Alliance. Sharkie won a second full term in 2019.


  • Marisa Bell (Labor)
  • Padma Chaplin (Animal Justice)
  • Jacob Van Raalte (Liberal Democrats)
  • Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance)
  • Greg Elliott (Greens)
  • Allison Bluck (Liberal)
  • Samantha McGrail (United Australia)
  • Tonya Scott (One Nation)
  • Mark Neugebauer (Federation)
  • Assessment
    Sharkie strengthened her hold on the seat in 2019. While her party has largely fallen away that doesn’t necessarily impact her in this seat where she effectively is now an independent, and independents often will build up their support over time. Having said that, her margin is still relatively slim and she is not safe.

    2019 result

    Georgina Downer Liberal 42,42637.7+1.0
    Rebekha SharkieCentre Alliance38,52534.2+1.3
    Saskia Gerhardy Labor 15,39013.7-3.0
    Anne Bourne Greens 10,4369.3+1.1
    Michael CaneUnited Australia Party3,5973.2+3.2
    Helen DowlandAnimal Justice2,3022.0+2.0

    2019 two-candidate-preferred result

    Rebekha SharkieCentre Alliance62,12455.1+2.2
    Georgina Downer Liberal 50,55244.9-2.2

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Georgina Downer Liberal 59,20552.5-0.7
    Saskia Gerhardy Labor 53,47147.5+0.7

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into five areas, primarily based on local government boundaries. three groups cover all of the polling booths in a single council area: Kangaroo Island, Mount Barker and Onkaparinga (although the latter also covers a small part of Mitcham council area).

    Sharkie won the two-candidate-preferred vote in four out of five areas, ranging from 52.4% in Onkaparinga to 60.3% in Mount Barker. The Liberal Party polled 54.3% in Kangaroo Island.

    Voter groupALP prim %CA 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Adelaide Hills10.657.918,77516.7
    Mount Barker10.860.313,95512.4
    Kangaroo Island10.345.71,5171.3
    Other votes14.550.614,76513.1

    Election results in Mayo at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (CA vs Liberal), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, the Centre Alliance, Labor and the Greens.

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    1. Sharkie has firmed up against Liberals, but her survival depends on Labor and Green oriented voters either lending her their vote, or preferencing her over each other.

      Unlike Indi, Mayo is actually marginal LIB vs ALP. Even after a term, Sharkie’s primary is in the mid 30s compared to Zali Steggall’s 43% and Wilkie’s 50%

      People who follow politics will know Centre Alliance (mainly Stirling Griff in the senate) have voted for several things that would put Labor and Green voters off side.

      Would both parties advertise that fact to sour voters on Sharkie? Maybe. Both parties need to juice their senate vote. The Greens in particular would like to get their pre-2016 vote back here for a difficult senate race. The classic 2PP margin in Mayo is actually quite close and it could be a tantalising gain prospect. Additionally, Sharkie would be unlikely to back a Labor government, while Greens may find her an unwelcome presence in various balance of power scenarios.

      If Labor and Greens don’t seem interested in the seat (which will be obvious months before election day), then Sharkie should retain.

    2. I have read that Rebekha Sharkie is in trouble here, but the LNP don’t seem to be gaining ground here either this will be an interesting seat to watch.

    3. Bob, If you were reading that indaily article saying the Liberals would be on 40% of the primary vote, It is heavily unreliable and I would take it with a huge grain of salt, UComms is perhaps one of the most unreliable pollsters in the country and you have to be careful looking at seat polls.

      Sharkie to retain with around the same margin as last time.

    4. Reporting this morning on Rebekha Sharkie using her own money and $75K of Climate 200 money for local community grants.

      It might not be illegal but this is to me fails the sniff test. It is one thing when it is public money and there is “some” ” accountability” but it is another when it is private money and there are political implications as the bulk of the money comes from a major political donor to Rebekha Sharkie’s campaign. What is the quid pro quo for the organisations that take the money? Where is the accountability? What next? Bread and Circusses? Free beer for voters like the 19th Century before the secret ballot?

    5. Bob:
      There is no LNP in South Australia as the two parties aren’t in coalition in this state.

    6. redistributed – It’s very obviously a ‘stunt’, a speck in the grand scheme of climate change mitigation, and I don’t believe for a second that ‘It’s got nothing to do with the election’. But if bending policy to donors is fair game, and spilling the public purse for cynical pork barrel electioneering at the expense of the broader public interest is fair game, I don’t see how this is any worse.

    7. But veering back on to the horse race: I don’t see the Libs or Labor getting any mileage out of this whatsoever. But it does indicate Sharkie’s been forming closer and closer ties to the Climate 200 people, which she’s been doing for a while. If they do give up the ‘independent’ charade and form a formal party I suspect she’ll join it, along with Haines, Steggall and whoever else gets elected this term.

    8. Noticed Sharkie has been started to be listed as an ‘independent’ via the Climate 200 website. Her website has also shifted towards stating she’s an independent voice, and she’s been included in a lot of the ‘independents day’ stuff. Bet she’s beginning to distance herself from the collapsing Centre Alliance brand.

    9. If Leon Bignell ever ran here he would definitely have a shot in an open ALP vs LIB contest providing it wasn’t a bad year for Labor. Just look at his ability to retain his normally liberal-leaning seat (without his presence) for the past few elections.

      The fact that his seat now weighs 9% more than state average to Labor says allot.

      Against Sharkie? He probably would make 1st or 2nd place but the Liberals would preference Sharkie so I don’t see him (if he ever runs) run against Sharkie.

    10. Daniel, you make a good point about Leon Bignell and his crossover appeal being able to win some conservative leaning areas around the Fleurieu peninsula. However, I would say that extending this support to the federal seat of Mayo is a bit of a stretch, given that Mayo extends beyond Kangaroo Island to include Goolwa/Victor Harbour (the state seat of Finniss, which did have strong independent support) and the Adelaide Hills (which might still be strongly Liberal leaning, as Labor gained no seats in this area).

    11. More broadly, the quality of both the State and Federal ALP bench in SA has generally been outstanding in recent times. Makes the Libs task very difficult.

    12. The only reason this remained marginal last time is because of the “Downer” brand. But now that it isn’t here and due to the new candidates gathes and the national environment. I expect Sharkie to end up with a similar margin to what Leon Bignell now does. Around 13%


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