Mayo – Election 2010

LIB 7.1%

Incumbent MP
Jamie Briggs, since 2008.

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 has always been held by the Liberal Party, although it has 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.


  • Bruce Hicks (Family First)
  • Jamie Briggs (Liberal) – Member for Mayo since 2008.
  • Andrew Phillips (Independent)
  • Diane Atkinson (Greens)
  • Bill Spragg (Independent)
  • Sam Davis (Labor)
  • Rebekkah Osmond (Democrats)
  • John Michelmore (Climate Sceptics)

Political situation
This seat should see a high Greens vote in 2010, but they will need a strong result to come in second place, and in the context of a general election it is unlikely to be enough to win the seat off Briggs.

2007 result

Alexander DownerLIB45,89351.08-2.56
Mary BrewertonALP27,95731.12+14.63
Lynton VonowGRN9,84910.96+3.36
Trish NolanFF3,6154.02+0.37
Andrew CastriqueDEM1,3691.52-0.29
Rachael BaronsCCE1,1651.30+1.30

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Alexander DownerLIB51,26457.06-6.53
Mary BrewertonALP38,58442.94+6.53

2008 by-election result

Jamie BriggsLIB30,65141.20-9.80
Lynton VonowGRN15,85121.35+10.39
Di BellIND12,08116.27+16.27
Bob DayFF8,46811.40+7.38
Mary BrewertonIND1,8682.52+2.52
Bill SpraggIND1,5452.08+2.08
David McCabeDLP1,4261.92+1.92
Andrew CastriqueDEM9231.24-0.28
Rachael BaronsCCE7250.98-0.32
Matthew KeizerON5030.68+0.68
Malcolm KingIND2190.29+0.29

2008 two-candidate-preferred result

Jamie BriggsLIB39,38153.03
Lynton VonowGRN34,87946.97

Booth breakdown
Booths in Mayo have been divided into six areas. Those booths on Kangaroo Island are treated as one area. Mount Barker LGA is also treated separately, as is Onkaparinga. The council areas of Alexandrina, Victor Harbor and Yankalilla have been grouped as “south”, while the Barossa Valley and northern parts of Adelaide Hills council area have been grouped as “north”, while the remainder of the Adelaide Hills are grouped as “Hills”.

The Liberal Party’s strongest vote at both the federal election and by-election was in Kangaroo Island, while the worst was in the Hills area, which was the only part of Mayo that the Greens won in 2008 (with 55% of the two-party preferred vote).


Polling booths in Mayo. North in purple, South in red, Mount Barker in orange, Hills in yellow, Onkaparinga in blue, Kangaroo Island in green.

2007 election breakdown

Voter groupGRN %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Mount Barker11.7454.1313,34314.85
Kangaroo Island9.1463,662,3972.67
Other votes10.1959.4017,51819.50

2008 by-election breakdown

Voter groupLIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Mount Baker50.1211,32115.25
Kangaroo Island61.912,1032.83
Other votes60.4611,28115.19
Results of the 2007 federal election in Mayo.
Results of the 2008 by-election in Mayo.
Results of the 2007 federal election in central Mayo.
Results of the 2008 by-election in central Mayo.
Results of the 2007 federal election around Victor Harbor and Port Elliot.
Results of the 2008 by-election around Victor Harbor and Port Elliot.
Results of the 2007 federal election around Mount Barker.
Results of the 2008 by-election around Mount Barker.
Results of the 2007 federal election around Onkaparinga.
Results of the 2008 by-election around Onkaparinga.


  1. Ben, the 1998 result wasn’t a record primary vote for the Democrats, Janine Haines did better in Kingston in 1990.

    Also, you’ve got there “The seat was won in Mayo in 1984”.

    Can anyone explain why more votes were cast at the Victor Harbor booths in the by-election than in 2007, bearing in mind that all the same booths were used for both polls? Seems odd.

  2. Nick,

    Although the booths might be in the same location this does not force people to vote in the same booths each election. Activities like watching local football games or other events can lead to people voting in booths which are more convenient on the day and thus mobility causes the number of votes lodged at a booth to vary from election to election.

  3. Apologies Bill, if I’d seen your candidacy announcement earlier I’d’ve posted the link for Ben to include.

    My prediction: 1% swing to Labor.

Comments are closed.