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Seat of the week: Barker

A conservative rural seat since the dawn of federation, Barker is under new management after Tony Pasin defeated incumbent Patrick Secker for Liberal preselection ahead of the 2013 election.

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Liberal and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Barker encompasses South Australia along the Victorian border from Mount Gambier north to the Riverland and its population centres of Renmark, Loxton, Berri and Waikerie, extending westwards to the mouth of the Murray River and the towns of Angaston and Murray Bridge 75 kilometres to the east of Adelaide. It has existed since South Australia was first divided into single-member electorates in 1903, at all times encompassing the state’s south-eastern corner including Mount Gambier, Bordertown and Keith. From there it has generally extended either westwards to the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island or, as at present, northwards to the Riverland. The former territories were lost when Mayo was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, but recovered from 1993 to 2004 as Mayo was drawn into Adelaide’s outskirts. The Riverland was accommodated by Angas prior to its abolition in 1977, and by Wakefield from 1993 to 2004. Barker’s present dimensions were established when South Australia’s representation was cut from twelve seats to eleven at the 2004 election, causing Barker to take back the Riverland from a radically redrawn Wakefield, while Mayo recovered the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

The areas covered by Barker presently and in the past have long been safe for the conservatives, the Riverland last having had Labor representation when Albert Smith held Wakefield for a term after the 1943 landslide. Barker has never been in Labor hands, nor come close to doing so since territory in southern Adelaide was ceded to the new seat of Kingston in 1949. Archie Cameron held the seat for the Country Party from 1934 to 1940, having been effectively granted it after helping facilitate a merger of the state’s conservative forces as the Liberal Country League while serving as the Country Party’s state parliamentary leader. Cameron succeeded Earle Page as federal parliamentary leader in 1939 but was deposed after the election the following year, causing him to quit the party and align himself with the United Australia Party and then the Liberal Party, which has held Barker ever since. He was succeeded in Barker on his retirement in 1956 by Jim Forbes, who was in turn succeeded in 1975 by James Porter.

Porter was defeated for preselection in 1990 by Ian McLachlan, a former high-profile National Farmers Federation president whom some were touting as a future prime minister. He would instead serve only a single term as a cabinet minister, holding the defence portfolio in the first term of the Howard government, before retiring at the 1998 election. McLachlan’s successor was Patrick Secker, who led a generally low-profile parliamentary career before being unseated for preselection before the 2013 election. Despite endorsement from Tony Abbott and moderate factional powerbroker Christopher Pyne, Secker reportedly lost a local ballot to Mount Gambier lawyer Tony Pasin by 164 votes to 78, with a further 40 recorded for Millicent real estate agent and Wattle Range councillor Ben Treloar. Pasin picked up a 3.5% swing at the election and holds the seat with a margin of 16.5%.

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  • 101
    Patrick Bateman
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Sorry, murder and manslaughter.

  • 102
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    A particularlly irksome development is the growing encroachment of the Amercan ‘z’ in verbs and nouns: realize instead of realise and so on. There should be a campaign to save our s and ban the z.

  • 103
    MTBW
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    PB

    That may be so but what about the brain damages and the effects on families that the so called “king hit” disgrace that appears in Sydney nearly every second week.

    It is no consolation for those families who have to deal with it.

    The perspective is very different for those poor souls and their families.

    Maybe there are some things worse than death.

  • 104
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    rossmore

    bit late – I was being taught that ‘s’ and ‘z’ were interchangeable in words like ‘realise’ in the seventies.

  • 105
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    MTBW

    all that PB and I are doing is pointing out that these reported incidents do not mean there’s been an increase in violence on the streets.

    We still deplore the violence — but to hype it up to be something it isn’t is playing right into the ‘law and order’ meme the Liberals like to push.

  • 106
    MTBW
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “of the so called “king hit”.

  • 107
    DisplayName
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Is that a zee or a zed?

  • 108
    zoidlord
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    1. So we have Senator Bernadi on “individual work contracts” which is the start of IR2.0

    2. We have the ACCC telling gov (which I find very hard to believe) that we should sell government assets?

  • 109
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I hope Cory never reads the Bible. Jesus handing out the loaves and fishes to those people too irresponsible to bring their own lunch just encouraged an entitlement mentality amongst his followers.

  • 110
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Asha Leu@89

    @guytaur 80

    I’m pretty sure she’s pro-life. I seem to remember an interview shortly after she was elected where she said she had fairly conservative views about those sorts of social issues.

    I really object to the adoption of the term pro-life by a certain narrow group, with the deliberate intent of falsely labelling their opponents, as Bernardi has done explicitly, pro-death.

    It is disgusting, abhorrent and calculated. It needs to be turned back on them. :mad:

  • 111
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Zoomster, 104, that may be so I suppose, but in my case old habits die hard. I refuse to use z – it’s omnishambling English.

  • 112
    Patrick Bateman
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    There should be a campaign to save our s and ban the z.

    I read a really interesting article not long ago about how the ‘z’ actually came from England, not the US!

    Here we go:

    http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-recognize-and-internalize-the-us-suffix-ize-19828

    Don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion that we should go back to it, but it was not what I assumed in terms of the history.

  • 113
    WeWantPaul
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I really object to the adoption of the term pro-life by a certain narrow group, with the deliberate intent of falsely labelling their opponents, as Bernardi has done explicitly, pro-death.

    It is disgusting, abhorrent and calculated. It needs to be turned back on them.

    I can’t stand Bernardi, but it is not an all together unfair characterisation?

  • 114
    Patrick Bateman
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    That may be so but what about the brain damages and the effects on families that the so called “king hit” disgrace that appears in Sydney nearly every second week.

    Sure, it’s a problem – but unless you’ve got stats, I don’t accept that it’s a growing problem.

  • 115
    rossmcg
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Zoomster

    Gold! My dear old mum would like to meet some of our so-called Christian leaders and point out that Jesus hung around with fishermen and dodgy women, helped the sick and the poor and was a very forgiving person.

  • 116
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Rossmore@102

    A particularlly irksome development is the growing encroachment of the Amercan ‘z’ in verbs and nouns: realize instead of realise and so on. There should be a campaign to save our s and ban the z.

    Sign me up! :P

  • 117
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    zoomster@104

    rossmore

    bit late – I was being taught that ‘s’ and ‘z’ were interchangeable in words like ‘realise’ in the seventies.

    Another failure of the education system. :D

  • 118
    Patrick Bateman
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I can’t stand Bernardi, but it is not an all together unfair characterisation?

    Are you pro-death when you cut living cancer cells out of your body and kill them?

    Are you pro-death when you scratch your arse and kill a few skin cells?

    It’s a stupidly emotive term which equates “killing” an undeveloped bundle of cells with murdering a sentient adult for political purposes. And it’s profoundly offensive to women who have had abortions, which very frequently are for medical reasons and profoundly distressing.

    To tell a woman who has lost a pregnancy that they are “pro death” is about as offensive as it gets, actually.

  • 119
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    WWP

    ‘pro abortion’ makes me think of people rushing up to pregnant women in the street, waving pamphlets and saying, “You know, you don’t HAVE to have that baby.”

    Pro-choice is a far more accurate term.

  • 120
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    bemused

    I’m on the record – frequently – as saying that the sixties and seventies weren’t that great when it comes to public school education.

    Fortunately, things improved in the eighties.

  • 121
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Patrick Bateman@118

    Well said Patrick!

    It is deliberately calculated to offend and it is disgusting.

  • 122
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    zoomster@120

    bemused

    I’m on the record – frequently – as saying that the sixties and seventies weren’t that great when it comes to public school education.

    Fortunately, things improved in the eighties.

    Evidence please.

  • 123
    Patrick Bateman
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Instead of slagging off education in the 70s, read the link I posted above about z and s – I was as militant as you but it’s not so clear cut, actually.

  • 124
    zoidlord
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Now we know the truth about Gov doing $6 dollar fee on GP visits, plans to sell Medibank.

  • 125
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    bemused

    why? you didn’t provide any.

  • 126
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    zoomster@125

    bemused

    why? you didn’t provide any.

    I relied on what you provided. Thank you. :D

  • 127
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Patrick Bateman, thanks for the link on s and z. Interesting piece. I suppose it’s an aesthetic thing at the end of the day. When I see z replacing s I just gag at the crassness. It just doesn’t feel right, like the aftertaste of a McDonald’s burger or an Abbott smile.

  • 128
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    PB

    for the record, I’m perfectly comfortable with using ‘z’ and ‘s’ interchangeably, and that are a lot of so-called “Americanisms” have simply preserved the accepted English at the time of colonisation.

  • 129
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    bemused

    You’re the one who claimed the education system was failing. I’m asking you to provide proof of that.

  • 130
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Patrick Bateman@123

    Instead of slagging off education in the 70s, read the link I posted above about z and s – I was as militant as you but it’s not so clear cut, actually.

    I always thought that the Americans had picked up English spelling and made subsequent modifications which I therefore rejected as aberrations.

    However, more recently I have read that American English actually preserves some older spellings that were abandoned by the English themselves.

    A chap by the name of Noah Webster had a fair bit to do with this.

  • 131
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    zoomster@129

    bemused

    You’re the one who claimed the education system was failing. I’m asking you to provide proof of that.

    I merely cited the evidence you provided.

    I did High School in NSW and it was more rigorous than anything I subsequently observed my kids doing in Victoria in the 1980s & 90s.

    My Victorian peers also seemed to have received a good secondary education in the 1960s. I can’t comment on the late 60s through to the early 80s.

  • 132
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I believe the ABC and the federal and state bureaucracies’ style guides still insist on z not replacing s … a small comfort I suppose.

  • 133
    WeWantPaul
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    WWP

    ‘pro abortion’ makes me think of people rushing up to pregnant women in the street, waving pamphlets and saying, “You know, you don’t HAVE to have that baby.”

    Pro-choice is a far more accurate term.

    I’m on your side but I can see (no to be fair I’ve had the discussion with an intelligent conservative) they would say pro-choice is quite misleading as without abortion there are a whole range of choices available to the mother.

    The comparison by the pro-choice side to miscarriage and cancer is at least as offensive as Bernardi and that is no mean trick.

  • 134
    lizzie
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I have always been a paranoid user of the ‘s’, but someone linked recently to an explanation that the z is ‘correct’ when something is actively transformed. So realise should be s, but standardized, evolving from standard, should be z.

    And the excuse that ‘gotten’ is correct because it’s ‘old English’ has never persuaded me. What happened to ‘all language is always changing?’ :lol:

  • 135
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    The purest form of English I believe is NZ English. That is, the NZ vernacular is closest to how English was spoken in the first half of the 19th century England. Something to do with distance and isolation. A good reason I would contend for not slavishly preserving old English, with apologies to the NZers on here.

  • 136
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    PB

    Interesting one – seems to me that if they invent something, they can probably decide how it’s pronounced. Plus as someone who used to work in computer science in Australia, I’m quite happy that I didn’t spend my time talkign about ‘rooters’.

    Speaking as someone who teaches IT in a secondary school, I’m never pronouncing it like that.

  • 137
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    bemused

    as I was in schools daily for most of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and zeroies, my experience outweighs yours.

    (Oh, I know a lot more teachers, as well…)

  • 138
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    zoomster@137

    bemused

    as I was in schools daily for most of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and zeroies, my experience outweighs yours.

    (Oh, I know a lot more teachers, as well…)

    I defer to your greater experience of bad educational practice. ;)

  • 139
    Rossmore
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Zoomster, surely Zeros?

  • 140
    don
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    lizzie@87

    Perhaps the Americans are too prissy to say rooter!!

    No, that’s not it – root as in sexual congress does not exist for them.

    They are always ‘rooting for the home team’.

  • 141
    zoomster
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    rossmore

    Yes, but I liked zeroies better….

    bemused

    hence I recognise improvements when I see them.

  • 142
    lizzie
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    don

    OK.
    Actually, I have heard both rowt and root pronunciations from Americans (as in Route 66″). I think it might depend on state of origin.

  • 143
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    zoomster@141


    bemused

    hence I recognise improvements when I see them.

    Or you confuse change with progress. :P

  • 144
    don
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Rossmore@102

    A particularlly irksome development is the growing encroachment of the Amercan ‘z’ in verbs and nouns: realize instead of realise and so on. There should be a campaign to save our s and ban the z.

    While I agree, the z and the s are actually interchangeable in correct English spelling.

    The Yanks don’t ever use the s form.

    But there is also history – gotten is my favourite. It is actually an old form of English which the colonists took to NA, and never lost, while it went out of favour in the homeland.

    It now survives only in the archaic ‘ill-gotten gains’.

    I like gotten, I often use it as appropriate.

    We used to use fall for autumn, but it was pushed out by the use of the anglicised French word.

  • 145
    don
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    zoomster@137

    bemused

    as I was in schools daily for most of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and zeroies, my experience outweighs yours.

    (Oh, I know a lot more teachers, as well…)

    Zoom, it is not like you to play that card. For shame.

  • 146
    bemused
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hi don.

    You made a comment yesterday about the physical property of water expanding when it freezes as being important to the existence of life. Can you explain why?

  • 147
    don
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    lizzie@142

    don

    OK.
    Actually, I have heard both rowt and root pronunciations from Americans (as in Route 66″). I think it might depend on state of origin.

    It is confusing. Sometimes they will ask ‘what rowt should I take?’

    Then somebody else will say ‘Root 66′

  • 148
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I came across this site while browsing the web for furniture. It’s way out of my budget and made in Turkey of all places and I’d go nuts keeping the four-legged household members off it so I won’t be buying it, but I just found it so gorgeous that I thought I’d share.

    http://www.namedesignstudio.com/htmls/Patchwork.html

  • 149
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Senator Bernardi is a coward.

    He would form and lead a breakaway party if he had the courage of his convictions.

  • 150
    psyclaw
    Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Zoomster

    You say education improved in the 1980s!!!!

    I have heard you self describe as a teacher …. let me guess…. a secondary teacher?

    No objective assessment of education in the 80s when the ill researched American based “whole language” took off here could award that period as being one of “improvement”.

    In NSW it coincided with the rise of the “consultancy”. This new arm of the bureaucracy presented a new career path (in the main taken up by females) for those tired of classroom practice who were gifted at, and preferred to spend days “teaching teachers” ….. and so came the rise of the public funded, free lunch talk fests which invariably shared a common feature …… no basis of orthodox research.

    Now most capable teachers saw through the crap being “taught” and simply enjoyed the day away from school.

    But unfortunately the upper echelon boffins (ie the inspectors) especially those who liked disciplining teachers joined in, and in many places insisted that the new “whole language” be taught, and be exclusively taught, in the form some pretty young consultant had explained it to them.

    And who were the inspectors …. at that time across NSW 80%+ were ex-secondary, specialist subject teachers who knew as much about the teaching of literacy as the typical primary teacher knew about advanced physics.

    I am familiar with numerous cases where primary schools were banned outright from teaching spelling (you learn to spell by just doing lots of writing and spelling experiments … eventually by osmosis you stumble on the correct form …. every educator knows that!), and where teaching the various methods of word attack (ie what options are available when you stumble on unfamiliar words in text) were banned. Banned by ex secondary teacher inspectors.

    And the biggest “crime” of course was the banning of any aspect of teaching phonics … why on earth would you need an understanding of phonics in a phonetically based language system …. you know it makes sense! ( …. eat more lamb says Sam and your reading and writing will look after itself!!)

    And now people wonder why so many teachers in the 30 to 45 age range who were “educated” themselves in the 80s can’t spell, know nothing of the structure of language, and cannot write a sentence with any degree of structural or vocabulary sophistication.

    Nah. Things didn’t improve at all in the 80s in schools.

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