Davenport by-election, 2015

January 31, 2015

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP and former Liberal leader Iain Evans resigned on 30 October 2014.

Margin – LIB 8.1%

Southern Adelaide. Davenport covers Bellevue Heights, Blackwood, Craigburn Farm, Coromandel Valley, Eden Hills, Glenalta and Hawthorndene, and parts of Bedford Park, Coromandel East, Darlington, Flagstaff Hill, O’Halloran Hill, Panorama and St Marys.

The electorate of Davenport has existed since the 1970 election, and has always been won by the Liberal Party.

The seat was first held in 1970 by Liberal and Country League MP Joyce Steele. Steele had been elected as the first woman in the House of Assembly in 1959, winning the seat of Burnside. She served as Minister for Education from 1968 to 1969, and shifted to the new seat of Davenport in 1970.

In 1973, Steele announced her retirement in the face of an impending preselection threat from Dean Brown. Brown won the seat.

Brown held Davenport throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, until the 1985 election. Brown served as a minister from 1979 to 1982, and in 1982 was unsuccessful in a bid to serve as Liberal leader after the party lost power, losing to John Olsen.

Prior to the 1985 election, the neighbouring seat of Fisher shifted, and the member for Fisher, Stan Evans, challenged Brown for preselection in Davenport. Brown won preselection, but lost the election to Evans, running as an independent.

Brown returned to politics at the 1992 Alexandra by-election, in a bid by the Liberal Party to bring both himself and his rival Olsen back into the state parliament. Brown was elected Liberal leader shortly afterwards, and led the Liberal Party to victory in 1993, winning the new seat of Finniss.

Brown served as Premier from 1993 until his deposition by Olsen in 1996. He later served as Deputy Premier from 2001 to 2002, and then as Deputy Leader of the Opposition until 2005, retiring in 2006.

Stan Evans rejoined the Liberal Party shortly after the 1985 election, and won re-election in 1989. He retired in 1993.

Stan Evans was succeeded in 1993 by his son, Iain Evans. Evans served as a minister in the Olsen and Kerin governments from 1997 to 2002. He then served as deputy leader of the opposition from 2005 until the 2006 state election. He was elected Liberal leader following the party’s landslide defeat in 2006, but barely lasted a year before losing the job in April 2007.

Evans was re-elected in 2010, after a failed bid to win preselection for the federal seat of Mayo for the 2008 by-election. He was re-elected again in 2014, and retired in late 2014.


Davenport is a reasonably safe Liberal seat, and should be retained by the Liberal Party.

2014 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Iain Evans Liberal 11,581 51.0 +1.5
Lucie Lock-Weir Labor 6,498 28.6 +4.1
Stephen Thomas Greens 3,468 15.3 +1.6
Natasha Edmonds Family First 1,158 5.1 +1.1

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Iain Evans Liberal 13,192 58.1 -2.8
Lucie Lock-Weir Labor 9,513 41.9 +2.8
Polling places in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election. North-East in blue, North-West in green, South in orange. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election. North-East in blue, North-West in green, South in orange. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three parts: north-east, north-west and south. Most of the electorate’s population lies within Mitcham council area, and these polling places have been split into north-west and north-east. Polling places in Onkaparinga council area have been grouped as south.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, winning 61% in the south and 56-57% in the other two areas.

The Greens came third, with a vote ranging from 11.8% in the south to 18.2% in the north.

Voter group GRN prim LIB 2PP Total votes % of votes
North-East 18.15 56.27 8,381 36.91
South 11.76 60.89 6,945 30.59
North-West 15.58 56.74 2,323 10.23
Other votes 15.19 57.93 5,056 22.27
Two-party-preferred votes in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election.
Greens primary votes in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election.
Greens primary votes in Davenport at the 2014 South Australian state election.


  1. I would laugh so hard if the SA Libs lost this seat. They have an unfortunate record of safe seats being won by conservative independents; some of them take old leaders’ seats or deny potential new ones, while others turn around and support the Labor Party. There must be a few nervous party folks, no matter how safe the seat is. (And it should be a lot safer – that 2.8% swing to Labor doesn’t say much for Iain Evans’ personal vote.)

  2. Greens will do well, Jody Moate is a great local candidate with a caring yet sensible approach to local community issues 🙂

  3. mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-09/davenport-mark-ward-fisher-by-election-independent-dan-woodyatt/5953370

    Like Donkey Kong

  4. Can’t see Labor winning here – the seat has only left the Liberal fold to conservative independents, and Fisher is more of a Liberal-leaning seat, like say, Kingsley in WA. Labor winning Davenport is akin to Labor winning the likes of Churchlands or South Perth in WA.

  5. Stephen Thomas has nominated as a supposed independent. In fact he was the Greens candidate in Davenport at the previous election and also in the federal seat of Boothby at the previous federal election. No prizes for guessing where his “independent” preferences will go, or who he will support if elected.

  6. I’m not so sure about that one, Duncan. Stephen Thomas seems to have a lot of beef with The Greens and has been highly critical of his former party.

    On a side note, I wonder what the Greens did to Stephen Thomas for him to have so much angst towards them?

  7. Local Flagstaff Hill resident Jeanie Walker is also running, for the Australian Democrats. The Dems have been missing from the political stage for a while, but I know they’re active. I’m supporting them because I want that centrist, common sense and compassionate voice to come back. If you miss the Dems and want to help them return, help by spreading the word.

    Jeanie’s Davenport campaign available online – easy to find with a google search.

  8. Five candidates nominated:

    Sam Duluk – Liberal
    Natasha Jane Edmonds – Family First
    Jeanie Walker – Independent Australian Democrats (who also contested the Fisher by-election)
    Mark Ward – ALP
    Jody Moate – Greens

    Stephen Thomas didn’t nominate. Given his Facebook page seemed to be mostly about his opinion of the Greens and individual Greens members when I looked at it last month perhaps he wisely decided that wasn’t a sufficient election platform.

  9. Mark Ward, the Labor candidate is a a true local who’s been a driving force in local action groups and a Mitcham Councillor for many years. Davenport has been represented from Opposition for too long. With a driven and active Labor Member in Mark Ward there’ll be someone within Government putting forward Davenport’s needs at the decision-making table. With a Liberal, we’ll simply get the same old toothless representation we have already.

  10. I live in Davenport. It is supposed to be a safe liberal seat (very high socioeconomics). Yet the Liberal party has already sent us 6 leaflets (three of them glossy). Either the state Liberals are bad at managing money or they think that will lose the seat. I note that a friend said that they had got a leaflet from Labor, but I have yet to receive one.

    So Libs are spending up big in a safe seat. Either they have money to waste, or they are really worried. Last Federal election, we got not only our seat’s liberal pamphlets, but those for the next door one as well (boundary is 200 metres away). So on past evidence The State Liberal party do not know electoral boundaries, and do not care what they waste by delivering stuff into the wrong electorate.

    A bit like the Feral (oops federal) LNP really.

    To inter-staters: This is why SA votes Labor. Lib talk big, but stuff up when in government.

    Life under Labor is fine. Schools get just enough funding (nothing is falling apart or in crisis), Hospitals are almost adequately funded, people are kept in employment, those losing jobs are assisted to retrain. The government seems to care for its population, unless Liberals who alway seem to find a crisis which requires that we sell public assets to their mates. We still do not know what the is in contract ‘leasing’ our electricity assets, signed abut 15 years ago (99 year lease).

    Media: we have Advertiser and Australian papers only, both murdoch, (fairfax is flown in , hits the shops at 11 am) but even the Advertiser cannot find anything to hit the State Labor government with.

    It is relaxing and comfortable to live under a Labor government, they still believe that a government should serve the people.

  11. Very disappointed Labor has not supported its candidate with at least a Facebook page – but there is nothing! Had to do my own search. This guy is quite interested in roundabouts in Blackwood solving the traffic and safety problems locally – tick for that. Libs seem to want a superhighway through Blackwood – big cross for that. Come on Mark – lets see what you have before we vote blindly!

  12. Re James of adelaide.

    You’re either very young or very narrow minded. What sort of comment is

    Life under Labor is fine. Schools get just enough funding (nothing is falling apart or in crisis), Hospitals are almost adequately funded,

    The crisis to which you refer was the state bank disaster. The asset sales were the only revenue option available. It may have escaped your attention but the electricity supply contracts and the details are all public knowledge. The contracts were all done by public tender. It’s a bit difficult to flog things to your mates under those circumstances.

    Contrast that with the PPP for the new hospital -we certainly are never going to told the details.
    I suspect you would love to live under a government that did all your thinking for you. It’s comfortabke living under labor because They do exactly that. But what happens when the next disaster strikes. Will it still
    Be comfortable? Why is it ok to just find schools enough , and why are hospitals nearly adequately funded ?

    I was trying to decide whether you were writing these things in gest or whether you were truly in the language of ancient Athenian greek : an idiot.

  13. You sound like a cranky old man Harry. If you think the LNP will fund health and education better than Labor would, perhaps dementia may be setting in?

  14. Kahn, The Greens were committing illegal activity against Davenport residents and refusing to address it. Stephen Thomas won’t stand for any party that has those ethics. Greens candidate Moate has actively avoided addressing this issue, and calls it an ‘internal’ matter. That shows the integrity of the local Greens – apparently the law is not a public matter for them. Penny Wright has tried to sue me for exposing their illegal behaviour – guilty behaviour from a hypocritical and naive egotist. I don’t care how many koalas you save – if you won’t obey the law, you have no position in public office.

  15. Joe, your argument is based on emotion, not reason or fact. That itself is one of the great problems with Australian politics and public debate – being emotive and name-calling doesn’t contribute anything positive or helpful.

  16. Libs win with 52.1% of the 2pp.

    For reference, even amidst the Rann-slide of 2006, Davenport still went 56.4% Liberal. (That’s not a strict apples-for-apples comparison, since there have been boundary changes in that time. Though I doubt they’ve been a great significance.)

    A very good result for Labor, though unsurprising after the shock win in Fisher.

  17. It’s a great result for Labor and it’s not just the Abbott effect. In the past Labor has not put effort into campaigning in Davenport due to its strongly blue ribbon Liberal stamp. This time they did and also had an excellent candidate who had a service history in the area. He has lived there for 18 years, in contrast to only months of rental and no history for the now elected Duluk who had tried previously to win in other electorates including Fisher. With the seat now a marginal one, Labor will be sure to put much focus on Davenport next time.

  18. thanks for that Jake, I’m not sure how i was being emotional but id love for you to demonstrate with facts and reason how the LNP funds health and education better than labor does. I cant see where I called any names either, did you miss Harrys “idiot”?
    Regardless of all of that, the current LNP is a rudderless embarrassment damaging not only the country, but itself in a drawn out suicidal train wreck. Even previous LNP heavyweights are astonished.

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